Payne qualifies for ‘Stars’ event
I T was another successful weekend f or r i ding superstar Nichola Payne, on her impressive black gelding Statford Nullabor, when they took out Reserve Preliminary Dressage Champion at the Tatura Dressage Classic, and 12 hours later took out the five year old Young Dressage Horse as well.
The pair has now achieved one qualifying round towards the prestigious Dressage and Jumping with the Stars, to be held at the National Equestrian Centre in Werribee next year.
The Tatura Dressage Classic was held earlier this month, with Nichola impressing the judges and spectators alike with her winning performances, an incredible feat considering Statford Nullabor has less than 12 months’ competition experience.
Hector, as he is affectionately known, was bred by the renowned Statford Horse Stud in New South Wales, and at only five years of age stands at an impressive 17 hands.
Perfectly matched with Nichola, Hector has come a long way in the 12 months he has spent training with Nichola and her mother, Kim Owen, at Mansfield Riding Centre.
“It takes a lot of work – hours and hours of practising – but Hector performed brilliantly,” Nichola said.
“We have a few other competitions coming up, a big one in September, but to have already one qualified round for the Dressage and Jumping with the Stars next year is incredible.”
Although Nichola is quick to give Hector all the credit, there is no doubt the work involved in preparing for high level competition is a commitment not many 16 year olds are prepared to make.
“To qualify for Dressage with the Stars is a big deal,” said Iole Brzozek, National Equestrian Centre spokeswoman.
“There are only 35 spots in e a c h c a t egory, a nd t hose 35 are the best competitors in the country – successful riders at the competition often then travel overseas to compete.
“Everybody wants to be in it, so just to qualify is an achievement in itself.”
The Dressage and Jumping with the Stars will be held in March, 2016.