Shannon victorious at fourstar event
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.