Scenic Rim horses shine at national championships

CHAMPIONS: The national champion cattle team in Tamworth for the ANWEL National Working Equitation Championships in Tamworth. Photo: Supplied
CHAMPIONS: The national champion cattle team in Tamworth for the ANWEL National Working Equitation Championships in Tamworth. Photo: Supplied

RATHDOWNEY horse breeder Lyndie Panitz came home from the ANWEL National Working Equitation Championships in Tamworth with two wins on May 13.

Held since 2007, the competition involves a variety of different riding techniques developed in countries that used horses to work on farms and with livestock.

Ms Panitz said the sport had been well suited to Australian horses.

“The variety of components is great for producing genuine all-rounders and working equitation gives things like dressage more relevance,” she said.

Ms Panitz said the competitions had four phases – dressage, ease of handling relating to obstacles judged on style, obstacles at speed, and cattle.

“The cattle phase is a timed event consisting of a team of four riders and is similar to team penning,” she said.

“The obstacle course includes gates, side pass poles, stock pen, a bridge, small jumps and various pole and barrel patterns.  

“A unique element of the course is a large cut-out of a bull.

“The rider takes a traditional Portuguese garrocha pole from a barrel at speed, takes a ring off its shoulder on the fly, then replaces the pole in a barrel.

“The individual championships are awarded based on results of the first 3 phases, and team results include cattle phase.”

Ms Panitz trained and rode Welsh / Connemara mare Greenacres First Lady to take overall champion at Consegrados 2 level, having achieved wins in the dressage and speed and fourth place in the style phase. 

“Lady also placed fourth in the open take your own line speed event,” she said.

Connemara stallion Glenormiston Tipper O’Toole earned the title of overall reserve champion at Debutante W level, having achieved third in the dressage, fourth in the speed and fifth in the style phase.

“Tipper was also a member of the national champion cattle team with the three other Queensland competitors from the Noosa District Working Equitation club and Samford Equestrian Group,” Ms Panitz said.

She said she had initially become interested in the sport as a way of exposing her younger horses to a wide range of exercises.

“Working Equitation is a sport with a wonderful variety of equestrian skills, and a range levels from walk and trot up to one handed riding the highest dressage movements,” Ms Panitz said.

“It is not limited to a particular breed and a wide range of breeds were successful at the championships. 

“You may not be the best at each phase but it’s a great achievement to be able to do well overall.”