Prominent Yass horseman Stephen Dingwall competed in one of the nation’s biggest showjumping competitions recently, at the Melbourne Equitana event, which was held from November 15 to November 18.
Dingwall competed in two events, the Australian Jumping Grand Prix and the Full Flight Puissance. Despite the former being his primary event, it was actually in the puissance that he made headlines in Melbourne.
A puissance is a high-jump contest which falls under the umbrella of showjumping, and it is rarely found at most showjumping competitions.
November’s puissance marked the first time that Dingwall tried his hand, and he eventually cleared 2.05 metres to become the Full Flight Puissance champion.
Although the event was new to Dingwall and his horse Ludicrous, he said he was not nervous ahead of the deciding jump.
“It’s sort of funny, you get used to just being focused with this game,” he said.
“You don’t overthink things, you just go through the process of what needs to be done and then the outcome’s the outcome. It doesn’t pay to think too much about ‘I’m cantering to 2.17m’, ‘cause you might think it’s a bad idea.”
The horse that Dingwall rode in the puissance was one of two that he brought to Equitana, with the other being an eight-year-old by the name of Du Rouet, who he rode in the Grand Prix.
Du Rouet and Dingwall have been having a stellar year in the Grand Prix and, although they finished 14th at Equitana, they still sit at third place in the overall running, with the grand final set to take place in Willinga Park from December 13 to December 16.
“It’s been a very, very good year,” Dingwall said.
“The younger Grand Prix horse [Du Rouet], he’s been absolutely exceptional and he’s been in the top three in most of the big classes that he started in.”
The event at Willinga Park will be followed by the Horse of the Year show in Hastings, New Zealand, from March 12 to March 17.
“It’s been a really busy year, and it’s not gonna get much better next year,” Dingwall said.
“It’s a good problem to have when you’ve got some nice horses to do these competitions with.”