By Lachlan Ellis
The Paris Olympics and Paralympics may still be over a year away, but aspiring equestrian competitors are already vying for spots.
A Dressage Spectacular was held recently at Boneo Park – including the Para CPEDI 2* and 3* events to qualify for the Paris Paralympics.
Gordon rider Kelly Frost took part alongside fellow athlete Melanie Hilton, with the duo taking out the Grade 3 FEI Championship and Grade 5 FEI Championship respectively.
The goal was to secure MER (Minimum Eligibility Requirement) scores, to stay in the running for Paralympic qualification.
Ms Frost said the event started with vet checks and trot up.
“We then competed in two tests and if we got average scores over 62, we then competed in the freestyle to music. Eight horse and rider combinations secured their MER, with most scores in the event over 60 per cent,” she told the Moorabool News.
“I’m competing with a new combination Karabil Park Janz. We were picked as part of the team of four representing Australia at this comp.
“We [Melanie Hilton and I] both secured MER scores and will work towards the next Victorian qualifier Nationals in October to hopefully secure more scores towards Paris team selection. Ready for Paris 2024.”
A second qualifier event was also held in Sydney the following weekend, though Ms Frost was unable to attend as she has been recovering from a broken femur from last September.
“Melanie and I, and her horse Lacara D, are part of the Victorian Regional Academy of Sport program through Paralympics Australia and also Part of Equine Pathways Australia where we hold scholarships/bursaries that support our development…we receive support from the WestVic Academy of Sport and Gippsland Academy of Sport as part of the program,” she said.