Payne qual­i­fies for ‘Stars’ event

Mansfield Courier - - PROPERTY GUIDE -

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.

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