OK, so you may have needed a snorkel and flippers to survive this year’s event, but our 16 All Saints’ College equestrian team members and their families survived the onslaught of weather to deliver some outstanding performances across the range of equestrian disciplines on offer at this year’s Coona Expo.
Friday saw the first day of competition with the Dressage phase of the One Day Event for our B Grade riders, Alice Woodlock, Lyndsay Menzies, Sophie Stockman and Georgia Rosen. All five girls rode fantastic tests and were happy with their positions going into Saturday’s cross country and showjumping phases.
Saturday dawned with grey skies and rain and a big day of competition ahead for our riders. The Combined Training competition kicked off at the racecourse for Libby Crampton, Catie Crampton and Olivia Hazlett and our C and D Grade eventers Jess Butt, Aimy Butt, Emily Sinderberry, Heidi Stokes, Phoebe Suttor, Maddie Jones, Sophie Jones and Teagan Miller saddled up for the Dressage phase of their One Day Event.
The weather got worse and worse as the day progressed and by the time our B and C Grade eventers were lining up to tackle the cross country course it was pouring!! With sheer determination and courage the girls were to be commended on their performances cross country and then lined up for their final Showjump phase in what was by then, torrential rain.
Saturday also saw the Working Horse Challenge qualifier rounds for Jess, Aimy, Emily, Teagan and Maddie and the showjumping phase of the Combined Training competition. Unfortunately our two polocrosse teams had to hang up their racquets as the evening’s polocrosse competition was cancelled - until next year girls!
Sunday dawned to a mud squalor and more grey skies but thankfully no rain. Apparently there was a little over 50mm recorded the day before so luckily the trench that was dug under the All Saints’ marquee had worked well in draining the water away from our campsite!!
Emily, Teagan, Heidi and Phoebe tacked up for an early 7.30am start to the Showjumping phase of their ODE and would then take on the cross country course all before lunch time!! In the main arena, the spectators were enthralled with the finals of the Working Horse Challenge where Jess, Aimy and Emily recorded some outstanding results.
After three solid days of competition, Monday saw another full day of riding. The Open and Restricted Height Showjumping competitions were in full swing from 8.00am and the new event, the Warrumbungle Way, commenced at 9.00am. This new challenge involved riders taking on a series of tasks from a typical day in the life of a stockman in the Warrumbungle Shire, such as rolling up a swag, roping a beast, bareback riding and freestyle whip cracking. There is something for everyone at the Coona Expo.
Meanwhile, Sarah and Sophie (Stockman) tackled the Dressage competition at the racecourse and Jess, Aimy, Libby, Catie, Olivia, Maddie, Sophie (Jones), Teagan, Emily, Heidi and Phoebe also lined up for the sporting events programme.
The final day of riding saw the Hacking competition followed by the Grand Parade and final presentation ceremony. The All Saints’ team was a spectacle on parade and the red, white and blue shone brightly. Unfortunately, Tuesday saw the cancellation of the much anticipated Team Penning event, again due to the weather conditions.
So another year at ‘Coona’ drew to a close. We had survived again through the onslaught of mother nature, sickness, bad campfire jokes and probably one too many bacon and egg rolls - though we all live to tell another tale of mateship, camaraderie and horsemanship.
Interestingly, this year marked the 20th Anniversary of the event which began as a modest event with 40 riders competing on the school oval to become the largest interschool equestrian event in Australia.
Out of 115 schools (and over 600 competitors) at Coona Expo, All Saints’ came in at 6th place. A fantastic result - a huge achievement and something to be very proud of.
The team led by Captain extraordinaire Alice Woodlock recorded the following outstanding results: Lyndsay Menzies 1st Place - B Grade ODE; Sarah Farraway 1st Place - Elementary Dressage, 4th Place - B Grade ODE; Sophie Stockman 5th Place - B Grade ODE/Novice Dressage; Alice Woodlock 4th Place - B Grade ODE; Jessica Butt 1st Place - Stockhorse Challenge, 10th Place - C Grade ODE; Maddie Jones 4th Place - 50cm Restricted Height Showjumping, 6th Place - Team Barrel Race; Phoebe Suttor 6th Place - D Grade ODE; Aimy Butt 4th Place – Stockhorse Challenge/Warrumbungle Way, 6th Place - Team Barrel Race; Emily Sinderberry 1st Place - D Grade ODE/Barrel Race, 3rd Place - Working Horse Challenge/Time Trial, 5th Place - Flag Race, 6th Place - Team Barrel Race, 10th Place - Warrumbungle Way; Libby Crampton 7th Place - 75cm Combined Training and Teagan Miller 3rd Place - Flags, 4th Place - Bending Race
Special mention of Emily Sinderberry who took out the Reserve Champion 15 Years Girl Rider.
A huge congratulations also to the teams first time Coona competitors, Libby and Catie Crampton, Olivia Hazlett, Teagan Miller & Heidi Stokes who took to their first year like ‘ducks to water’- pardon the pun.
Finally, a huge thank you to Greg Woodlock for managing this year’s team, Alice Woodlock for being the Captain with the mostest, and to Mr Stewart Ross who braved the elements and supported the team. Your efforts were much appreciated by not only the riders but their families also.