Paralympics hopeful Louise Duncan made it three from three at the Saddleworld Brisbane CDI recently but is still chasing the necessary scores that could see her qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
The Levin hairdresser and Wolkenstein BC won the FEI grade IV team, individual and freestyle tests at the Australian event. In the team test they scored 65.33%, with runner-up Kaye Hannan and Bradgate Park Wexford on 64.71%; the individual saw them notch 66.42% with Kaye second again on 63.74%; and in the freestyle it was another head-to-head between the two with Louise triumphing with her 70.32% score.
“I was really happy just to get through the tests,” said Louise. “I normally have my tests called but I require a psych test to continue doing that and wasn’t able to have one before we left. It was great to have three wins, but honestly, I was just thrilled to actually be there competing.”
There as her no.1 support team were mum Frankie Webb – who also happens to be an ESNZ coach, dad Lloyd who is also her farrier and the general go-for and husband Justin who did all the heavy lifting and general helping out.
Louise was pleasantly surprised when her local vet Rob Bloomfield and his wife Carol arrived along with Wolkenstein’s breeder Chris Beach and her husband Tony.
“On the first day mum said to one of the stewards that it would be nice to have one of the beautiful CPEDI rosettes and the steward had said we may get a rug to take home. Mum and I just laughed, never thinking for one minute that would be the case!”
However, Louise still needs some vital marks to impress the selectors. As a combination she needs four scores of 70% or greater where the average of the two best scores is 72% or greater. Those scores can only come from the individual or team tests and before international judges at the Para Nationals or Horse of the Year Show in 2019 and 2020, or any FEI CPEDI3* event.
Louise currently has a qualifying mark for each of her horses after notching 72.061% at HOY in the championship test with Wolkenstein BC and 71.22% with Northern Ivanthus in the same class.
She headed home from Australia on a high. “Everything there was so well organised and the para equestrians were very included in the event which was nice. Organiser Leesa Murray was lovely to deal with before and during the event and we received amazing rider packs with all sorts of fabulous goodies. Everyone just bent over backwards for us. In the trot up I was really worried Wolkenstein would get too strong but Equestrian Australia High Performance Sports coordinator Stef Maraun offered to take him for me which was really lovely.”
The event was held at the Queensland State Equestrian Centre in Caboolture which Louise said had brilliant facilities. “It was interesting there were no prelim classes and minimal novice, but there were classes for young ponies as well as young horses. All the medium competitions were over in the first few days meaning facilities weren’t stretched and the paras got to ride in the main oval.”
She’s now thinking through her next steps – firstly Wolkenstein BC will have a few weeks holiday while Northern Ivanthus will come back into work. “Who knows, maybe we will have to give him a trip home to Australia to get the elusive scores.”
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Stephen Mowbray