The 2018 Sydney International Horse Trials begin today and many riders will be out to impress Australian Eventing Team selectors ahead of this September’s FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA.

Shane Rose and his exciting young prospect Swiper (pictured) head a star-studded line-up that will contest the CCI3*class.

Swiper showed he’s well on target for international stardom when he finished runner up to his stablemate Virgil in the CIC3* at the recent Australian Eventing Championships at Equestriad in Camden, NSW.

Other big names that will compete in the main class include Beijing Olympics silver medallist Megan Jones and her chestnut mare Kirby Park Impress plus Sydney Olympics gold medallist Stuart Tinney and his reigning NSW Horse of the Year War Hawk.

Equestrian Australia High Performance Director Chris Webb said;

“Sydney’s a great opportunity for all of our Australian based riders with another three-day outing for 2018. With WEG just around the corner the riders will get a chance to present themselves and their horses at one of the country’s premier events.”

“The organising committee have done a fantastic job and with WEG team positions being considered we are all in for a good show,” said Webb.

Cross-country course designer Mike Etherington-Smith, also an Australian Eventing Team selector, has specifically built a track that will provide the ultimate test ahead of WEG in Tryon.

“Sydney is a testing course and a good test for the WEG horses and we want to make sure they find it a good hit out before selections.”

“We have tried to open the place up a bit more and create more versatility with the direction the course can go.”

“Start and finish is in the same place but there are a few changes and we have been mindful of selections coming up and that horses and people will be trying to make an impression on the selectors.”

“Terrain here is not dissimilar to Tryon. It’s up and down and will produce enough of a test that they would have to be on their game enough to impress the selectors,” said Etherington-Smith.

Sydney International Horse Trials Event Director Fiona MacLeod, who is taking the reins in this important role for the first time, is looking forward to a safe and successful few days of competition at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre.

“It’s been an exciting period leading in to the event and we are really looking forward to it. We have a lot of riders this year, more than we expected.”

With dry conditions prevailing throughout NSW and in the best interests of horse welfare organisers have been mindful of presenting a cross-country course that offers the most comfortable footing possible.

“The single most important thing for the welfare of the horses is that we produce the best footing possible, so we have been top dressing, aerovating and irrigating and that will go on right until cross- country day. A bit of rain out the sky would help too,” said course designer Mike Etherington-Smith.

Dressage starts today at 8AM.

For the full event timetable, start lists and other information about the 2018 Sydney International Horse Trials please go tohttp://sydneyeventing.org/ 

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