THIS year’s Ballarat Horse Trials have been elevated to international status.
The event, on this weekend, will run as a Concours International Combine, under the auspices of the Federation Equestre International.
The rise in status will mean riders can accumulate points towards their international ranking and therefore be in the running to represent Australia.
Local organiser Viv Stephens was extremely proud with the new-found recognition of the event.
“It is a great testament to all the hard work put in by the members of the Friends of Ballarat Pony Club,” she said.
“The event has gone from strength to strength
and this year will see a record number of entries.”
Stephens said about 380 riders would be in Ballarat for the competition, including Beijing silver medallist and London Olympics team member Megan Jones, as well as Sydney Olympian Amanda Ross. Both will be returning for a second year.
“The popularity of this event is mainly due to the facilities that now exist in Ballarat,“ Stephens said.
“There are quality dressage arenas as well as top class show jumping equipment and a challenging cross country course designed by local course builder Ewen Kellett.”
Ballarat Regional Tourism chief executive George Sossi said more than 1500 competitors and spectators were expected to attend the event this coming weekend.
“Having international recognition is a real feather in Ballarat’s cap.
“The fact that such an event is held so close to the centre of Ballarat is unique and gives easy access to visitors or spectators wishing to go along and have a look,” he said.
This year’s Ballarat Horse Trials will be at the Ballarat Equestrian Precinct in Victoria Park.