In an exciting evolution EQUITANA Melbourne, with the support of Equestrian Australia (EA), will move three Olympic disciplines into the Australian Open (AO) portfolio.
Previously the title was reserved for the western disciplines of Reining, Cutting and Barrel racing with AO hosting some of the richest prize pools in the sport within Australia. In a first, the titles will encompass the traditional sports as well as Exhibition Eventing, Jumping and Dressage.
Equestrian Australia acknowledge that the European style atmosphere unique to EQUITANA is one of few opportunities for Australian riders to engage in an electric and intimate competition environment, complete with full scale audio-visual production. EQUITANA’s show jumping and dressage events have FEI World Cup™ qualifying status, and the Exhibition Eventing is run at two star level, thus attracting the pinnacle of Australia’s elite riders, making this a feast for spectators.
“EQUITANA is held in high regard by Australia’s leading riders; with EA’s focus on Rio, this year presents an excellent opportunity for both spectators and competitors alike to promote the Olympic sports to the Equine Industry and beyond” said EA CEO Paula Ward.
EQUITANA will engage international officials including Dr. Deitrich Plewa (GER), Bo Jena (SWE) and Susan Hobson (NZ) who will work with President of the Ground Jury Ricky McMillan (AUS), and Jane Ventura (AUS) to oversee the CDI-W Dressage. The CSI-W Show Jumping course will be designed and built by John Vallance, with acclaimed Cross Country Designer Ewan Kellett taking the reins building the Exhibition Eventing course.
EA and EQUITANA will work together to create a new, all-encompassing brand that horse-lovers of all interests can support. EQUITANA have long term plans and hope to evolve the AO into an event worthy of vast commercial investment.
“By fusing the six most popular equine sports under one umbrella we are able to create a new platform and offering to those outside of the industry. Moving forward this model will allow for ‘teams style’ competitions and will offer a communal space for the governing bodies encompassed in Equestrian Australia, National Cutting Horse Association, Australian Barrel Horse Association and Reining Australia to work together and get some wonderful exposure for horse sports in Australia.” Said EQUITANA Director Rod Lockwood.
With generous prize money, Swarovski Crystal Stallions, rugs, buckles and more on offer, the 2016 EQUITANA Australian Open is on track to be one of the most thrilling features of the event.
Tickets will be on sale later in July, more information at www.equitana.com.au