Equestrian wrap up

12 August 2012

Equestrian: It was not the Games the equestrian team were hoping for, but the riders have all vowed the depth of horses coming through ranks will see the Aussies go bigger and better come Rio.

While there were many impressive performances across all three disciplines, it was the debutants who came out and impressed the fans and their teammates, with Chris Burton (Eventing), Lyndal Oatley (Dressage) and Julia Hargreaves (Jumping) all recording solid performances at their first Games.

For the Eventing team, it was a turbulent lead-in to competition after two horses pulled up lame and were forced to withdraw.  The team had further bad luck on the cross country course after two horses went down forcing Sam Griffiths and Clayton Fredericks to be eliminated, clearly demonstrating how gruelling the sport can be.

Despite the loss of two team members, Australia still finished a credible sixth place with seven time Olympian Andrew Hoy leading from in front to help spur on the final team result.

The Dressage team may not have qualified past the opening Grand Prix round, but scores recorded by the Aussie riders were better than what the team had achieved in Beijing.  The quality of Australian riders is on the increase with Lyndal Oatley scoring 69.392%, Kristy Oatley finishing on 68.20% and Mary Hanna on 67.964%.

The world’s highest ranked female jumping rider Edwina Tops-Alexander had a flawless opening three rounds of competition, recording zero penalty points ahead of the final. But one small error in the first round of the final saw her with one rail down and four penalty points, making it hard of the Aussie to fight back to win a medal.

Edwina put in a strong performance to finish in 20th place, with debutant Julia Hargreaves making the individual final to finish 35th.

All members of the team have admitted they have their sights firmly set on the World Equestrian Games in 2014 and Rio in 2016. The depth of horses the team has will see some younger horses come into contention come Rio which will hopefully see the Aussie riders back on the podium.    

Lauren Ryan in London

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