There are not enough superlatives in the Oxford dictionary to describe Alex Townsend’s and Derek Pascoe’s Wallaby Hill Farm. From the moment you start the journey down the picturesque Belmore Falls Rd you know you are going somewhere magical. The awestruck posts on FB from 1st time visitors and competitors sums it up. Green, lush, classy, timeless, perfect, warm, friendly and welcoming are just a few words that spring to mind when describing the atmosphere at the conclusion of the Australian eventing season.
Trot up Thursday afternoon for all the star classes saw everyone pass scrutiny in a display of Australian fashion finery. Notable standouts were Yona Lloyd and Sergeant Crisp, regrouping after a fall at the 1st at AI3DE, resplendent in Christmas overkill! Another worthy mention Paul “Slats” Slattery in a not so fancy Santa T-shirt, so both Yona and Slats win the Sit Tight “Getting into the spirit” award.
Dressage day Friday saw the 1 star over in the serene “Ridge View” where the delightful Grace Kay and Celerity Park Faberge scored a whopping and unassailable 32.7 penalty (a smidge over 78%!!!), with Jess Rae and Alabama on 36 and Sam Lyle and BF Valour in 3rd. At the end of the 3 days that is where they finished with none of this trio adding to their micro scores.
2 and 3 star did their square dancing on the lush grass of the main arena surrounded by trade stands, photinia hedges and the irrepressible agapanthus. In the CCI 2 star saw Sam Fasher on the divine “Sulitanos” in front, followed by Rachel Lee on “Chicobello” and Shane Rose and “Swiper” in 3rd. Special mention made of Carlene Barton who gets the Sit Tight “Mother Teresa” award for her patience shown on a very fit and fractious Wine Hunter.
Huge entries (even a wait list) saw 28 starters hit the CCI 3 star at WHF. Tim Boland held 1st and 2nd with Jess Rae on Rascal in 3rd. Whilst all the starry people were dressaging the 95 and 105cm competitors were arriving in droves to fill all the southern cross yards and prepare for Super Saturday at Wallaby Hill.
8:30 AM Saturday and 95cm doing dressage out the back and whilst 1 star kicked outta the start box. Most combos went clear and under over a beautifully prepared and inviting course. 2 star cross country saw very little drama on course, although an unplanned dismount in the warm up won Sam Fasher the Roddy Winchester award. Both Sam and Rachel dropped down a couple of spots with a handful of time each and Stu and the lovely grey mare “Wanda” and Shane with “Swiper” moved up, both with clears.
Next up was the big guns. The 3 star was considered a very good and fair test of fit, brave and accurate combinations. A double of brush apexes at fence 8 saw quite a number of retirements as did the steps down later on. The application of frangible MIMS clips at many jumps (even down to 95cm) saw 11 penalties added here and there throughout the score board.
Whilst all this was going on the organisers were nervously looking at the Bureau of Meteorology radar at the very ominous looking band of rain that was about to hit. Hit it did, right in the middle of 95cm xc and 105 dressage. Gazebos got trashed and blown to Kiama, riders and horses got pressure washed and trees bent in completely unnatural ways. Andy Barnett gets the “Hell or High water” award for completing a 95cm cross country round in 0 visibility. It really was a mini tornado.
Sunday morning trot up, the morning after plenty of sponsors product “Zaccariotto Wines” were consumed at the Saturday Night shindig, the designer sunnies out in force, there were a couple of re-presents making happy customers for AC, the god of “Accepted”. Phew …. everyone got a shot at the show jumping and the queue at the coffee wagon doubled. Super course designing, footing and riding were on order for the bright sunny day of show jumping.
A feature for the prizegiving at Wallaby Hill is the now customary podium prosecco spray, the Zaccariotto flowed freely again. The odour of success filled our nostrils as we packed our goods and chattels for the journey home. Wallaby Hill should be a “not to be missed” event on every equestrian’s calendar.
Now to the all important news for 2018, the early bird offering of Sit Tight membership will not open until the early part of 2018. I can’t say much yet but there’s some ideas being thrown around about next year’s broadcasts.
Thanks must also go to the team that makes Sit Tight Radio, here’s where you hope to not miss anyone one out!! Lindsey (Nairny) Constable, Jo Brady, Chris (Hoppy) Hopkins, Zanna (dressage queen) Northam, Vicki Burgess and newby Farlie Taylor, last but no means least Katie (Hendo) Henderson for being amazing at event write ups and a good mate!
Merry Christmas and looking forward to a big bright 2018! Thanks for enjoying Sit Tight Radio.