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CFA rider wins bronze at games
The 2015 Victoria Police and Emergency Services Games were held 10 to 19 April. The Sport categories on offer were pretty diverse, from angling and darts to petanque, shooting and surfing.
By Ally McShane
My interest was equestrian and there were lots of entries in the showing sections as well as dressage, jumping and Hickstead events.
I grew up in Scotland as a regular at pony club and then, later in life, riding club events, but since moving to Australia over seven years ago I had tried to concentrate on endurance riding.
With a young daughter and a husband who works weekends as a chef, it's rather challenging. So when I spotted my chance to represent CFA at the equestrian games I got very excited!
But there was one major drawback... I ride a 14hh brumby Victorian Brumby Association Mighty Mouse, who was passively trapped on Mount Bogong as a six year old herd stallion. He'd been traumatised when captured and it had taken me a long time to gain his trust. He is the best pony for bushbashing and endurance but he’d never set foot in a dressage arena or seen show jumps. What was I thinking?
With the help of some friends I borrowed coloured jump poles and rode him in a sand arena but he remained very cautious and I wasn’t convinced that he was 'safe'.
As the first day of the equestrian events dawned, we were already en route to Werribee Park (National Equestrian Centre). I nearly had a heart attack when I saw five immaculate dressage arenas with whiteboards and judges' boxes. Our showing classes were first, and we were thrilled to be awarded the Bronze Medal in the Section C (for newcomers) Best Lady/Gentleman Rider. He had scrubbed up really well and looked great plaited, clipped and wearing a show pelham with double reins.
With a few hours to spare Natalie Wiggett, Brian and I watched some of the others do their dressage and then it was time to get Mouse ready again. I led him around the practice arena and let him see all of the scary things, but I didn’t account for him seeing his own reflection as we trotted up the centreline!
We had a few lateral movements that weren’t required in our two tests but, all in all, he was a superstar and we finished in the top half of both classes.
All of the jumping and Hickstead events were held on the Friday and looked great fun using part of the cross country course as well as the showjumps. Maybe with a bit of practice we can have a bash at that next time.
We had a great two days and I received lots of positive comments and compliments on my 'wild' brumby. I highly recommend anyone interested taking part next year – I’ll definitely be back. It was such a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and a real credit to the organisers.
Many thanks to Natalie for following me to Werribee at 6am as my chief strapper, Brian for his support, encouragement and camping in the float and especially to Beryl Bachelor who created a ladies tie and hat band in CFA red/white checks.
But most thanks go to my superstar wild brumby – VBA Mighty Mouse. A small brumby with an enormous heart.