Theft dev­as­tates tal­ented young rider

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY SARAH SCULLY

Aan tal­ented Ararat equestri

rider has had her float trashed and stripped and tack stolen weeks ahead of a ma­jor com­pe­ti­tion.

Ararat Pony Club mem­ber Han­nah Wigg, 16, is due to com­pete in her fifth Pony Club Vic­to­ria State Showjumpin­g Cham­pi­onships on March 3.

Han­nah’s mother Michelle Moors said Ararat Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit de­tec­tives were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent, which oc­curred about 2am on Thurs­day last week.

“The float – stupidly con­tain­ing all Han­nah’s gear – was locked in the Ararat Pony Club grounds,” she said.

“The thieves cut the gate locks as well as the trailer locks.

“I’m still try­ing to get my head around what’s miss­ing. They stole sad­dles, bri­dles and they even took her hel­met. The hel­met alone cost about $600, which Han­nah worked hard to save up for.”

Mrs Moors said Han­nah was dev­as­tated.

“The thing she’s find­ing hard­est is that not only has all her gear been stolen, she’s feel­ing in­vaded,” she said.

“I’m try­ing to re­as­sure her that it’s not per­sonal and that they’re not out to get her.”

De­tec­tive Se­nior Con­sta­ble Mal Wineberg said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was on­go­ing.

“The float was found on Old Brew­ery Road at Arm­strong about 9am Thurs­day, the same morn­ing it was stolen,” he said.

“We be­lieve of­fend­ers took the float from where it was stolen and stripped it be­fore driv­ing it to where it was found.

“We have ob­tained some grainy footage, and it looks like the ve­hi­cle used to steal the float was a large four-wheel-drive or large dual-cab ute.

“We’re ap­peal­ing to the pub­lic if they saw the float driv­ing around – which would have been un­usual for that par­tic­u­lar float to be out at that time of night – to come for­ward. We are look­ing for a de­scrip­tion of the ve­hi­cle or lo­ca­tion.”

Det Snr Const Wineberg said any­one with in­for­ma­tion could call Ararat Po­lice Sta­tion on 5355 1500 or make a con­fi­den­tial re­port to Crime Stop­pers on 1800 333 000.

Cham­pi­onship tilt

Han­nah has qual­i­fied for this year’s showjumpin­g cham­pi­onships on two horses and is set to com­pete in A and C grades.

“We’ll prob­a­bly be able to bor­row a float but at the mo­ment we don’t have any gear for Han­nah to prac­tise with,” Mrs Moore said.

“Horse equip­ment is ex­pen­sive, es­pe­cially at Han­nah’s level, and it’s spe­cialised, so you can’t just go bor­row it from your neigh­bour.”

Han­nah, who lives at Beau­fort but at­tends Ararat’s Mar­ian Col­lege, is also in Jump­ing Vic­to­ria’s un­der-21 squad.

“They train at Wer­ribee about six times a year, plus we go to all the other com­pe­ti­tions,” she said.

“The float is our home away from home. It has liv­ing fa­cil­i­ties as well. They even stole all our cook­ing and per­sonal stuff. There were trophy rugs with Han­nah’s name em­broi­dered on them.

“It’s not so much the float, be­cause it’s prob­a­bly cov­ered by in­sur­ance, but it’s all the gear we’ve col­lected over the past 16 years.”

Mrs Moors said a sil­ver lin­ing of the or­deal was the num­ber of peo­ple who had of­fered their sup­port.

“I’ve had peo­ple of­fer us their float to bor­row and gear and a lot of peo­ple have asked how they can help,” she said.

“It’s a nice re­minder that there are a lot of good peo­ple out there.

“We will get Han­nah to the state cham­pi­onships, though. With the help of friends and fam­ily, we will get there. We’ll man­age.”

Mrs Moors has set up an on­line fundrais­ing page for peo­ple who would like to help re­place Han­nah’s gear.

Peo­ple can visit https://www. go­ for more in­for­ma­tion or to do­nate.

HELP WANTED: Po­lice are ap­peal­ing to the pub­lic to come for­ward with any in­for­ma­tion in re­la­tion to a ve­hi­cle tow­ing the above float in the early hours of Thurs­day morn­ing.

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