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By: Michelle Cook
More than 650 horses from across Australia will converge on Camden’s Bicentennial Park for the 2017 Paul Pace Country National Eventing Championships, happening from 22-23 April.
Attracting athletes at all levels of the sport, this year’s staging of the Nationals is expected to be one of Australia’s largest equestrian events, with everyone from Olympians to emerging riders gearing up for the competition.
The 2017 Nationals is being hosted by the popular Equestriad event, an annual competition run by the riders for the riders. The event boasts dual Olympic medallist Shane Rose as its director.
With riders venturing from all corners of the country, Rose said the Paul Pace Country National Eventing Championships was a truly national event.
“The competition is fierce but friendly,” Rose said.
“We have riders as young as eight and athletes in their fifties lining up for a shot at the seven national titles on offer,” he said.
Not one to do things by halves, Rose is one of a host of Olympians competing at the event and he will ride five horses over the two-day competition. Olympic gold and bronze medallist Stuart Tinney is riding four horses and Olympic silver medallist Megan Jones is travelling from her Hahndorf base in South Australia to compete two horses in the main event, the CIC3*.
Katja Weimann is also expecting a busy weekend, the 34-year old has three horses entered in the CIC3* - BP Cosmopolitan, BP Flamboyant and BP Escapade.
As Weimann explains, the trio of horses all have something in common.
“They’re all brothers, they share the same dad,” Weimann said.
“Everyone gets them confused, they think they look the same.
“Obviously I can tell them apart and personality wise they’re all very different,” she said.
Weimann will be a strong contender for the major title with two of her three horses among the most experienced in the field.
“Flynn (Flamboyant) and Cosmo are pretty serious. They’ve been competing at this level for a few years. Oscar’s (Escapade) just started three star so he’s pretty new to it all.
“Cosmo has been going really well on the flat and he’s a good jumper but Flynn probably has the best chance at beating the other two."
Weimann was in the mix for Australia's Eventing team ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games but Flamboyant went lame at a crucial time and she was unavailable for selection.
The Victorian based rider has put the disappointment behind her and will leave Australia in May to base in Germany.
“I’ve always wanted to take horses overseas to ride them," she said.
“I tried to do that last year but it didn’t quite go to plan. They’ve come back from that and they’re going really well, they’re at the right time and they’re at the right age so I may as well give it a go before they get too old.”
Weimann has aspirations to represent Australia at the Olympic Games but will initially campaign for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games, which are to be staged in Tryon, USA.
“The goal is to get them qualified for next year and then we’ll see where we go,” she said.
The National Eventing Championships will be held at the Camden Bicentennial Park. Seven national champions will be crowned across the following classes: CIC3*, CIC2* CIC*, EvA105, EvA95, EvA80 and EvA60.
Startlists, results and more available at www.equestriad.com.au
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