SEVENTEEN year-old equestrian athlete Molly Barry from Kardella South has had her dream come true after winning the Melbourne International 3 Day Event’s CCI (Concours Complet International) Junior One Star class.
Molly rode her seven year old retired racehorse La Muso to victory amongst a field of 25 qualified horse and rider combinations, 11 of those from interstate.
The international event held on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend at Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre is the second longest running three-day event in the world and this year had more than 230 entries in four classes including some of Australia’s best riders looking to be selected for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
On the popular Cross Country day, up to 7000 spectators gathered to watch riders gallop their horses through the grounds of the famous Werribee Park Mansion and the beautifully maintained historic rose garden over a 3.8km course comprising 31 jumps.
This was Molly’s third year competing at this event and also the third horse she has entered.
All 3 horses have been produced by Molly herself, which is unusual in the junior class as most of the horses tend to be much older and more experienced having been previously trained and ridden often at a higher level by more senior riders.
This year, Molly’s homebred and educated horse, Just Joshen was a member of the winning Victorian team and placed fifth individually for the second consecutive year.
La Muso was entered for the first time and won not just the CCI1J* class but also the best performed Off the Track Thoroughbred (OTT) sponsored by Racing Victoria to recognise and promote retired racehorses in their new found careers.
Interestingly, six of the top 10 horses in the CCIJ1* were OTTs.
The competition began on Thursday with a horse inspection followed by a trot up so the ground jury and FEI vet could assess the horses were sound.
At the completion of the dressage on Saturday, La Muso was placed third and Just Joshen 11th.
On Sunday, Molly had a very successful cross country round, coming home clear of jumping and time faults on both horses, enabling her to move up the placings with Josh into seventh position and Muso moving up to second.
Monday started with a second trot up to confirm all horses were still fit to compete after the gruelling cross country the previous day.
The crucial show jumping phase is run in reverse order of placings, meaning the first placed horse was last to ride.
This tends to add pressure on the well placed riders but makes the competition more exciting for the spectators as the placings are not confirmed until the final rider has competed.
Molly had just one rail down on both horses but she was not alone with only one rider having a clear round.
The leader however, had 16 jumping penalties in a nail biting finish, which resulted in La Muso securing the much sought after first place.
Just Joshen’ also finished fifth to the delight of Molly, her support team and sponsors including local business Browns Stockfeed.
Molly plans to take both horses to the Australian International 3 Day Event held in Adelaide at 2-Star level.
She is also working towards making it onto the Trans-Tasman team in 2016.
You can keep up to date with Molly’s progress by going to www.facebook/offthetrackeventing.