Sport

Ford and Frank put best foot forward

By Meg Saultry

Benalla and District Adult Riding Club’s own Melanie Ford took out the Series Dressage Championship in the novice section after the Dressage in the Park event came to a close with the Hygain Tatura Dressage Classic at the weekend.

Ford, who hails from Katandra, claimed the series win after posting the highest overall score across three events.

The first two events were held in March and June and were run by the Andalusian Horse Association of Australia, while the culmination the the series — the Hygain Tatura Dressage Classic — was run under Tatura Football Club.

And while she is no stranger to success, having previously won Newcomer Barastoc Horse of the Year among other awards, Ford said it was an absolute thrill to claim the overall title.

“It wasn’t decided until the last test. It was between Jason Dins and I,” Ford said.

“There was less than a per cent in it.”

Ford and six-year-old warmblood Gorserella Let’s Be Frank consistently pulled in firsts and seconds in all three events.

“Frank is a young horse. He put his best foot forward,” Ford said.

“I couldn’t have asked any more of him.''

Hot to trot: Also representing Benalla was Jaime-Lee Hill who rode Heroic to a second place finish in his first preliminary dressage test. Picture: Issie Hill.

Finding a little time for fun in the midst of stiff competition, Ford also took up an opportunity to participate as one of six riders in a special event on Saturday evening to promote retired harness racing horses.

Riders had only 30 minutes to adapt to a horse they didn’t know and do a dressage test.

“It was a great experience, something different,” Ford said.

“[The horse] had nice paces and did everything I asked. It was really great.”

Ford will now begin preparation for the upcoming Elmore dressage competition in September.

“Frank will start moving to the next level, into elementary,” Ford said.

“I’ll also be bringing out some young horses for their first competition.”

Ford is also looking ahead to the HRCAV Top Team Trophy dressage event held in Benalla in November, having last year competed as a rider in the winning team.

Ford would like to thank the major sponsors of the Tatura dressage event, Hygain and Mitavite, as well as Sue and Duncan Terry for putting on a well-organised event.

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