Driven to succeed

The Eastern Victoria Pleasure Harness Club hosted the state and national graded driven dressage championships. Pictured is Kimberley Damsma with a team of four.

The Eastern Victoria Pleasure Harness Club hosted the state and national graded driven dressage championships. Pictured is Kimberley Damsma with a team of four.

THE Victorian and national graded driven dressage championships were held at the Maffra Recreation Reserve at the weekend.

The best horses and ponies, pulling an array of stylish carts and buggies, were put through their paces, judged on precision and accuracy.

To win, horses had to complete manoeuvres memorised by the drivers, which were judged out of 10.

There was also a cones course, which was more like showjumping — horses had to complete a course quickly, without knocking balls from a set of cones.

The sport is popular in Gippsland, and the Maffra Recreation Reserve is home to the Eastern Victoria Pleasure Harness Club, which has members from Omeo to Churchill.

Event secretary Cheryl Dowling said the best of the best were on show, with almost 30 entries in the Victorian competition, and 25 in the national championships.

“It’s been a fantastic weekend, and a great eyeopener to the public,” she said, noting there were some rare horse breeds on show.

“We had a Fjord here all weekend, a gelderlander, an international breed, fantastic little Welsh ponies, Shetland ponies, very small equines and gypsy cobs, we’ve also been blessed to have a donkey both days.”

On Saturday night, a freestyle spectacular was held, with teams able to perform to music.

“(It) was definitely dress up and put on a show, there were some beautiful light themes,” Dowling said.

“We had Australiana, we had Dutch clog dancers, we had ABBA, black and white rag, and they were done by various ponies of different breeds.”

Gippsland Senior
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