WELL over 300 horse and rider combinations took part in the Baxter Boots International Horse Trials on the Lynton and Braemar properties just outside Goulburn over the weekend.
Riders ranged from juniors right through to world class standard professional men and women, competing on arguably one of Australia’s most picturesque eventing courses.
The cross country fences and obstacles for the different grades of horses covered a large expanse of the properties and took riders up hill and down dale testing the stamina of all level competitors.
Wet weather and flooding had caused some competitors to miss various other eventing fixtures across Australia so this weekend the entries for the Goulburn event were higher than for many of the other horse trials.
The course also lends itself to great spectator vantage points, where those watching can see several sets of obstacles and the long runs between some of these jumps just by selecting the right place to stand.
During Sunday’s cross country CIC one, two and three star events several hundred spectators found vantage points around the course.
Course designer Neil Kennedy had made some 30 new elements or changes to the jumps since last October to challenge the competitors familiar with Lynton.
These proved too challenging for some of the competitors and a few CIC three-star competitors came unstuck before they were halfway through the course, while others handled it with apparent ease.
One competitor said the gusty wind added difficulty and he needed to pace the horses’ running so they didn’t tire too quickly.
The horse trials are not just about the cross country course. Points are also scored in the dressage arena where riders have to show the horse’s ability at precision riding and changing gait in a precise predetermined pattern.
Competitors also rode a showjumping course where rails down could cost places in the overall standings.
Many of the more experienced riders, like Stuart Tinney, came to Lynton with horses in several grades. He also had a couple of horses in the same grades, meaning they would dismount from one, change numbers and remount, all in a short time.