Shan­non vic­to­ri­ous at fourstar event

Tablelands Advertiser - - SPORT - Kather­ine Kokko­nen

A WOMAN’S pas­sion for her sport has taken her all the way from Mutchilba to the in­ter­na­tional stage.

Hazel Shan­non has her sights set on mak­ing the next Olympics and World Eques­trian Games, fol­low­ing her re­sound­ing win at the Aus­tralian In­ter­na­tional four-star class in Ade­laide last month.

The Aus­tralian In­ter­na­tional is the only CCI four-star event held in the South­ern Hemi­sphere and one of only six held across the world.

Shan­non com­peted in all three phases of the event, dres­sage, cross coun­try and showjump­ing, with her thor­ough­bred, Clif­ford.

Grow­ing up in Mutchilba, Shan­non said she has been rid­ing for al­most her whole life.

Both of her par­ents are in­volved in horse sports, with her fa­ther, Val Shan­non, heav­ily in­volved in cam­p­draft­ing.

“Ap­par­ently, I was three when I first got on a horse,” Shan­non said.

“Dad does a dif­fer­ent dis­ci­pline and it was mum and mum’s English side of the fam­ily who got me more in­volved in eventing and dres­sage.

“Eventing is a bit of an adrenaline sport. You can’t get the same kind of adrenaline kick out of any other sport.”

Shan­non said train­ing a horse to com­pete at a high­level of com­pe­ti­tion re­quired years of prepa­ra­tion.

“No mat­ter how good a rider you are and how pro­fes­sional you are, it takes a lot of years to take a horse from a baby to this level,” she said.

“Clif­ford and I have kind of grown up to­gether when it came to learn­ing the ropes.

“It’s also about go­ing out and com­pet­ing and get­ting those miles and ex­pe­ri­ence for your horse.”

Those years of prepa­ra­tion are the foun­da­tion for the unique re­la­tion­ship be­tween a horse and rider.

“I would be nowhere with­out him,” Shan­non said.

“It’s re­ally hard to ex­plain, only a horsey per­son would un­der­stand.

“My life is on the line and you have to have lot of trust in your horse.”

With the big com­pe­ti­tion over, Shan­non will visit her fam­ily for Christ­mas.

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