The Test Event was created by Equestrian Australia to mimic, as closely as possible, the Paralympic environment, exposing riders, grooms and support staff to the conditions they may experience at the Games.
High Performance Director Chris Webb said: “The Tokyo 2020 Test Event is an important component in our Paralympic preparation. The Test Event has been shaped to replicate the logistical framework of a Games and provides the opportunity for riders to experience these conditions within a team environment.”
In addition to a full competition, which ran over three days, Paralympics Australia ran a number of sessions to help riders and their grooms understand the Paralympic experience, with a detailed look at logistics, operations, athlete health and wellbeing, and media.
The Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority presented on the importance of clean sport and shared resources to help athletes stay up-to-date with the latest information, including how to check supplements.
Riders also had the opportunity to attend meetings with high performance management to discuss their program, preparation and performance plan ahead of Tokyo 2020.
“The Test Event is a very good idea from the High Performance Program to put the riders into the surroundings and circumstances like at a real Games, like it will be at Tokyo more or less, as much as we, of course, can,” said National Coach Lone Jorgensen. “This is very similar to if they get picked up by the bus in the morning, get driven out here, return at a certain time in the evening, all back to the hotel and have dinner together.
“The feedback from the riders has been that they have really enjoyed having these intensive days together, and also learning and knowing each other better so they can learn to work with each individual’s small little quirks, which is important especially when under pressure.
“This is also a qualification event, so the scores count. It isn’t just for fun. The riders still need to be able to perform the best they can. For a few of the riders, this has been a very important learning experience for them and it is great that we have the opportunity to do this. The riders have, until now, performed quite well … some have showed they can go very well under pressure directly.
“As there are not many riders, it is very intensive here at the competition. It is all about gaining the best experience and giving us the best experience ahead of the Paralympic Games, and I think we have done that here for the riders and the horses,” said Jorgensen.
The overall grade champions for the Test Event were Victoria Davies (Grade II) and Celere, Emma Booth (Grade III) and Aloha Kings Ramsom, Sharon Jarvis (Grade IV) and Romanos, and Stuart Drysdale (Grade V) and Blueberry 20.
By Equestrian Australia