It is with much pride that Richmond Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Centre announces that Elton was awarded the 2019 RDA Horse of the Year title at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
The Centre qualified three riders for the event which was held in the Schmidt Arena - Bianca, Matt and Fiona. Elton was the mount chosen to help out the three riders, and they all scored ribbons in their events, with Fiona winning a blue.
After the individual events, the course was set for the Horse of the Year competition. For those who have not seen one of these events, it is a bit like a trail class, with horse and rider combinations required to compete set tasks at various stations - walk through rails with blue tarps on either side representing water, move a hessian bag from one drum to another, walk into a square made up of rails on the ground and stand still until asked to walk out, transfer a helium balloon from one side of the horse to the other and go through bending poles. They are judged on the horses sensitivity to its riders ability and the manner in which they complete the course.
Even though Elton is an ex-racehorse and a former eventer, he has proven to be the ideal RDA horse with his lovely calm acceptance of whatever is asked of him. It is interesting to watch him with his different riders and see how he adjusts to their needs. Bianca said she was a bit scared to compete in the Horse of the Year competition as all eyes are on the one horse and rider combination, but being the positive person she is, Bianca managed extremely well and Elton came home with the top award.
The atmosphere in the Schmidt Arena was charged with the public on one side and the cattle used for the Rodeo and Campdrafting on the other side behind a hessian fence - not something many of the horses which were part of the competition are used to.
None of this could have happened without the support and guidence of the Centre's coaches, Wendy Brooks and Tanya Boye, Horse Manager, Mel Neilsen, assistant coach, Mal Cook and the very generous help from Leanne Dalrymple who floated Elton into the Showground and home again.
Pictured is Elton with rider Bianca Fry, coach Tanya Boye and Chief Steward James Bell with the beautiful Mary Pinsent trophy.