The AWHA inaugural Free-jumping class set the scene at Oaks Sporthorses, with age classes for horses 3-5 years old, and 6 and over. Our horses are not schooled for free-jump competition like they are in Europe, so it was a new experience for organisers, handlers and horses. A large crowd on on-lookers watched as German judge, Bettina Hoy and Rod Brown put the horses through the lane, challenging and extending the bold, and encouraging the less experienced horses.
Jumping was followed by a panel discussion with judge, Bettina Hoy, Shane Rose and Rod Brown. AWHA president, Julane Bowen prompted the 3 Olympians into sharing their thoughts and experiences on selecting horses for the top sport.
Their stories and advice kept the audience spellbound with their candour and openness in sharing.The night moved on to dinner, drinks and a great deal of discussion and enthusiasm to have the Free Jumping an annual event. The panel was entertaining as well as informative. Congratulations to the AWHA on this innovation.