As the fifth Boneo Classic came to an end, the management team shared feelings of pride and satisfaction for a job well done.  This was a milestone event that brought together many ground breaking changes to the conventional event management model, setting new standards by combining multi disciplined competition, hospitality and commerce in an all-inclusive approach that was enthusiastically received.

The event originally set out to attract a large crowd and promote equestrian sport to the wider community. The progressive upgrades to the facilities and infrastructure at Boneo Park has allowed innovation and diversification that bring a new dimension to equestrian competition and encourages the participation of family and friends.HCFBBoneo Park’s Managing Director Fiona Selby said, “Boneo Park is a family business, we value the participation of family and friends and have designed the 2019 program to make sure that everyone has fun. Bringing all aspects of the event together is a huge job that involved over 100 people, it is impossible to name everyone, however I am very grateful for their expertise and commitment to the success of the Boneo Classic.” 

Above:  Back row left to right: Scott McNaught, Director of Boneo Park and Jumping Manager.  Aengus Wright: Sound and Commentary, Stephanie Wake: Marketing Manager.
Front row left to right: Karen Lawrence, Director of Boneo Park and Competition Manager.  Lizzy Schirmer: Dressage Secretary, Fiona Selby: Managing Director Boneo Park.  Justine Quayle: Event Team Boneo Park – volunteer and stabling manager. 

 “I would also like to thank the grounds maintenance team, their work in the presentation of the complex and fastidious grooming of all competition surfaces, as this enables us to meet the best practise standards for each sport.

Boneo Park works closely with Paton’s Machinery for the supply and maintenance of equipment.

The Australia Day weekend gave competitors, spectators and traders a wonderful celebration of equestrian sport, friendship and fun and brought together the best jumping, dressage and para-equestrian combinations to take part in a comprehensive program of classes up to international level.

The expansion of Boneo Park has allowed some innovative changes to the format of the 5th Boneo Classic. The para-equestrian classes took place in the indoor arena, with jumping and dressage showcased on discipline specific facilities that share a central hospitality area that is designed to foster cooperative interaction.

April 2019 will see the opening of Arilla, the upper level restaurant that overlooks both main arenas and will be open to the public all year round. Competitors and spectators were unanimous in their praise of this innovative approach and the future possibilities!

The specialist, state-of-the-art competition surfaces are discipline specific and have been designed, engineered and purpose built by Martin Collins to meet best world standards. The main showjumping arena is considered to be one of the best grass jumping surfaces in Australia! Not only did the beautiful expanse of green make for a picturesque setting, it stood up to the high traffic of 500 rounds ridden over three days.

A great deal of work behind the scenes has taken place to comply with the FEI’s stringent requirements to host a jumping World Cup Qualifier and to run a prestigious World League Final for dressage. The Boneo Park bid was approved and this was largely attributed to the vision and expertise of dressage supporter Deb McNicol, her tireless efforts and success were acknowledged at the Grand Prix CDI-WLF Freestyle presentation ceremony.

Pic: CDI-WLF top three are congratulated by chair of the Ground Jury Susie Hoevenaars (right)  Deb McNicol centre.

Thirty specialist traders added interest and wide variety to those in need of some retail therapy, and the inclusion of entertainment for adults and the younger fans created a non-stop festival atmosphere. 2,500 visitors came through the gates over three days and numbers are sure to grow as the word gets out and people reserve Australia day weekend for the Boneo Classic.

Fiona Selby said, “The success of the Boneo Classic relies on teamwork that comes together in the spirit of goodwill and generosity. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the valued support of our sponsors, we could not stage this event without their help and it has been uplifting to work with them, listen to ideas, and come up with a program that supports their business activities.

The Boneo Classic attracts Australia’s top jumping, dressage and para-equestrian combinations and this is a win/win/win, as successful riders inspire participation, which grows the fan base with a flow on effect to professionals and suppliers of equine products and services.

Our main name sponsor IRT (International Racehorse Transport) has been a trusted friend to owners of elite horses for over 45 years and as Australians have become more involved at international level, IRT has grown and now has overseas offices to better service increased demand.  We are enormously proud to stand along side IRT and share their commitment to Australians and their sport.”

Since the FEI’s inclusion of para-equestrian in 2006, this arm of the sport has grown significantly and Australia was proud to win Olympic gold in 2012.   A strong contingent (including London winner Joann Formosa) took part and showcased their abilities to a wider audience.

Para-Equestrian riders share friendship and fun at the Boneo Classic.

Australia celebrates the winners of the two main events; their Boneo Classic success puts them in strong contention to represent Australia at the 2010 Tokyo Olympic Games.  Seeing them in action was a real thrill for everyone that packed the stands.

The IRT Dressage Grand Prix CDI-WLF saw a resounding win go to NSW rider Rozzie Ryan, partnered by her elegant chestnut Jarrah R.  Even though she no longer owns Jarrah R, one can only imagine Rozzie’s pride and reflection, as he was bred at Ryan’s Horses and was sired by Jive Magic (by Jive), her former Grand Prix partner. 

The pair won Saturday’s Grand Prix test and went on to win the deciding Freestyle to Music, gave Rozzie the opportunity to step into her comfort zone, riding to music she chose and arranged to fit with her own choreography that so beautifully suited her dancing partner.  It was a light and ethereal performance that resoundingly confirmed the harmony and ease of this performance.  The 5 judges awarded a wonderful score of 72.710%.

Congratulations to the runner up Holly Cutler who rode her lovely imported mare Diva Royale to score 68.695% just ahead of Rio Olympian Sue Hearn and Remmington on 68.180%.

Full dressage and para-equestrian results can be found at http://equiscore.com.au/?page_id=1001.  Boneo Park will progressively add pictures to their web site so refer back periodically.

Huge jumping entries promised to make the three day program a special gathering of riding and non-riding fans.   The bright green perfectly manicured grass, along with the colourful and creative jump wings and poles, were peppered with strategically placed Audi Mornington vehicles. A wonderful display that made for a picture perfect setting, and the performances were in keeping with the ambiance. 

Course designer David Shepherd is well respected for his knowledge and skill, his track gave the riders’ appropriate challenges but not at the expense of appropriate safety considerations.  The height of obstacles at World Cup level seem to pose an impossible dream, but the athleticism and ease shown by these experienced campaigners, is a jaw dropping testament to the years of training, which gives them confidence and trust in their rider.

David Shepherd steps out the World Cup distances before approving the course for a start.

The final round of the Robertson-Smith Partners World Cup Qualifier saw a number of riders with a chance at success but the added dimension of speed combined with accuracy and timing brought forward the eventual winner.  Queensland’s Billy Raymont and Anton made it look easy, but the knowledgeable capacity crowd understood the significance of this internationally recognised achievement.

Pic: World Cup Qualifier winner Billy Raymont aboard Anton is congratulated by Veterinarian Glenn Robertson-Smith and his associates, who were proud sponsors of the class and provide ongoing support to performance horses, with the latest technology for correctly diagnosing lameness.

Second place went to Andrew Lamb and CP Argento, they jumped clear in 55.70 seconds.  A disagreeable rail proved costly for the third placegetter Steven Hill and the imposing Yalambi’s Bellini Star.  They jumped convincingly and fast, recording a time of 49.95 but the 4 penalties gave Lamb the advantage.

Clay Simmonds and Oaks Castanza recorded the fastest time in the final round, 47.46 seconds. Starting the decider with 4 penalties on the scoreboard, they needed luck to overtake the horses that had jumped clear, but it was not to be!

Full jumping results for the weekend are here: https://online.equipe.com/en/competitions/28774

Written by Berni Saunders


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