English duo set for global success

19 Nov, 2015 04:00 AM
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Alice Dunsdon, Surrey, UK, and Fernhill Present are in town to compete at the Adelaide International Three Day Event.
Alice Dunsdon, Surrey, UK, and Fernhill Present are in town to compete at the Adelaide International Three Day Event.

THIS weekend, SA is playing its part in helping English eventer Alice Dunsdon set a new world record.

Alice, from Surrey in the UK, has a goal to be the first person to compete at all six international four-star three day events with the same horse.

She has travelled to Adelaide with horse Fernhill Present to tick off their second last event - the Adelaide International Three Day Event.

The four-star rating refers to the difficulty of the event.

Alice said the idea first came to her in 2012, and she began working to see if it were possible.

The duo have already set one first, with 'Hilly' the first horse from the Northern Hemisphere to travel to compete at the Adelaide event.

Alice has been riding "since I could walk".

With her parents international riders, she grew up with horses.

Alice and Hilly have already competed at Burghley in England, Kentucky in the United States, the Stars of Pau in France and Luhmuhlen in Germany.

She had planned to compete at Adelaide last year, but Hilly had a minor injury and Alice broke her wrist.

However she was determined to compete this year.

"(Hilly) is 13 this year," she said.

"I didn't want to wait until he is any older to do this trip."

Alice bought Hilly as a five-year-old, and says he is the best horse she has at the moment.

"He's a tough horse; not a horse to get worried easily," she said.

The trip to Australia involved two weeks in quarantine in Sydney, then a further two weeks of isolation in Adelaide.

Alice said it could be a lonely experience but Hilly was a horse that didn't mind being by himself.

"He's a really good traveller," she said.

"He always has been so it doesn't phase him at all."

While in quarantine she was not able to ride Hilly, and was concerned it could affect his fitness.

Since she has been in Adelaide she has been able to train him, and work on the Morphettville racetrack.

She said Hilly has settled in well.

"He's very chilled - I think he likes the Australian way of life," she said.

Alice said the three-day event incorporated a dressage competition or "ballet for horses" on the first day, a cross-country competition on the second and showjumping on the third.

Alice said it took a particular horse to be able to successfully compete across all three phases.

"Their personality has to be sensible enough to do dressage, fast and brave enough to do cross country and careful enough for jumping," she said.

"To have a top four-star horse is very difficult to come by.

"It's all about their personality and how they want to work with you as a team."

She said Hilly's particular strength was in cross-country.

"He is a very brave horse and he will do anything to get to the other side of the fence," she said.

Alice said she and Hilly have achieved a few personal bests during the past four competitions, including a good run at Kentucky.

However she said her focus was on attaining her goal.

"It's more now about completing and trying to set a world record," she said.

"If, in this competition, I do well, that's an added bonus."

After Adelaide, the only competition left to complete is Badminton, England, in May, 2016.

Once this goal is out of the way, Alice said her dream goal is to compete in the Olympics.

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