Theft devastates talented young rider
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.
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. gofundme.com/53h6mlc 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.