An important event for Australia’s Para-Equestrian team on the #RoadtoRio is the Hartpury CPEDI3* beginning in the UK on Wednesday.
Five Aussie riders have made the journey to the UK to participate in the international event, which Australia is using as an opportunity to post a team score to count towards qualification for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, which are now just 428 days away.
Among the riders to represent Australia is Grade 2 Para-Equestrian Emma Booth, who is returning to Hartpury having represented Australia at this event in 2014.
“I’m so excited to be headed back to Hartpury,” said Booth.
“I had the most amazing time last year and learnt so much so I’m really looking forward to competing there again this year. I really hope I can learn just as much this year but perhaps take some of the knowledge I gained last year to improve on my performance this time round.”
Booth’s immediate goal is to get to Rio but one day hopes to mentor riders who share her enthusiasm for the sport.
“I would love to get to Rio and many more Paralympics, but a long term goal I have is to coach and bring on other riders who share the same passion as me.”
The Australian contingent will benefit from Booth’s prior experience and her passion, with three riders set to make their international debut at Hartpury. Zoe Vorenas (Grade 4), Katie Umback (Grade 3) and 16 year old Caitlin Radford (Grade 4) will all step out for Australia for the first time.
“I have had exams, as I am in year eleven at school, so it was been hard to prepare with a lot to do,” said Radford.
“I have really just been trying to ride as much as possible and stay fit.
“The main purpose for me at Harptury is to gain as much international experience as I can. I will be trying to maximize the learning opportunities and make the most of all the experiences,” she said.
The Australians will also welcome the experience from veteran competitor Anne Skinner (Grade 2) who is no stranger to international competition.
Australia’s two strongest team scores obtained from the Hartpury CPEDI3* or the Boneo Classic CPEDI3* of 2015 or 2016 will count towards its Rio qualification. At the conclusion of the qualifying period Australia needs to be the highest ranked country of the Oceania region to gain team qualification for Rio.
Australia’s team of four for the Hartpury CPEDI3* will be announced prior to Wednesday with the fifth athlete to ride for Australia as an individual.
By Equestrian Australia