Sport / News / Community / 14th October 2020
Eventing returns to Coona
Warrumbungle Eventing Club hosted its annual competition on the weekend after being rescheduled from its original July date due to COVID-19 restrictions.
With strict protocol guidelines including contact tracing, sanitising equipment and new procedures for briefing judges, 135 horses and their riders tackled the challenging three-phase event.
Competitors converged in Coonabarabran, travelling from across the region, Hunter Valley and Central Coast.
Initially only able to accept competitors from local districts, without any overnight camping, when restrictions were revised on 1 October the event was opened to riders state-wide.
Warrumbungle Eventing president, Richard Blackman, said many other events had been cancelled, which explained the record number of entries.
“We received wonderful support from local businesses and families and our small, hard- working committee were able to host what proved to be a very successful event,” Mr Blackman said.
Riders from across the local area were well represented, with the prize winners reflecting the strength of eventing in the north west.
Heath Ryan has many connections to Coonabarabran and was placed in his class, as did mother and daughter, Ren and Alex Letts.
Isobelle Deshon was frustrated with the cancellation of her polocrosse competitions and successfully turned her talents to eventing.
Locals Leanne Ryan and Laura Enks were dominant in their class, finishing fourth and third respectively.
Quirindi rider, Millie Macdonald, won the 1* class, while Coonamble mother and daughter, Sue and Kate Burnheim had a successful weekend including a win in one class with their team of horses.
Mullaley rider Harriet King won two classes to round off a successful weekend for locals.
A lot of work went into preparing the grounds for competition, with drought and flooding rain impacting on the cross-country course.
As the course had not been used since July 2019 for competition, some jumps had to be replaced and erosion on the track softened.
A grant from Equestrian NSW to help clubs resume after COVID-19 enabled the warm up arena to be re-surfaced and some new fences erected.
“There was very positive feedback from competitors about the presentation of the grounds and the facilities at the showground for safe camping,” said Mr Blackman.
“Visitors were impressed with the big number of large stables to accommodate the big warmblood horse popular in eventing.”