Irish visitor casts eye over event
JOAN Ahern has travelled from Cork in Ireland to Warwick in Australia to judge at this weekend's National Farmers Warehouse Queensland International Three-day Event at Morgan Park.
There are officials from the Czeck Republic and New Zealand as well as judges from Australia.
Ahern is part of the ground jury, a group which has the added role of determining if all horses are fit in the trot up.
The first trot up was on Thursday and the second is tomorrow morning when the ground jury determines if any horses have minor injuries after today's cross country and should be scratched.
She describes eventing as the ultimate challenge for horse and rider: obedience, stamina, bravery and skill.
"The role of the ground jury is to judge the dressage, resolve any issues during the cross country and showjumping and oversee the trot ups," Ahern said.
A former rider, Ahern has travelled through Europe to judge and has been marking down the dressage of many famous riders, including multiple Australian Olympic gold medallist Andrew Hoy, who campaigns in Europe.
In dressage, she is looking at whether the horse has been trained correctly.
"We are looking at 40-odd movements in dressage, depending on the class," Ahern said.
"The lower the penalties and score, the better."
Ahern is being accompanied to Australia this week by her daughter, Rose, who competes in eventing in Ireland.
They arrived on Monday night and spent each day this week at Morgan Park checking out the course and preparing for the competition, which started with dressage yesterday.
"Australia has some of the best horses in the world and very talented riders, including Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks, who I have judged," she said.