HAWKESBURY young rider Claudia Hobson is gearing up to compete at Australia's most prestigious international dressage competition, the 2017 Sydney CDI, next month.
The Kurrajong teenager has dreams of representing her country at the 2020 Olympics, and competing on the big stage at the 2000 Sydney Olympics venue from April 27 to 29 at the Sydney CDI is one more step towards realising that goal.
With two horses currently in work – young mare Fantastia R and her gelding Romulus R – 17-year-old Claudia is already aiming for the top of the sport.
“I hope to be doing Prix St Georges by the end of the year and then I really want to go to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” she said.
Claudia competed at last year's Sydney CDI in the 6-year-old class with Romulus R.
This year she hopes to qualify Fantasia R for the highly competitive 4-year-old class and Romulus R in the Advanced.
Combinations must achieve three qualifying scores to enter in the Sydney CDI young horse classes – for horses aged 4, 5 and 6 years old – and then compete over three days before international judges until there are just three finalists.
A guest international rider then puts the horse through its paces and judges give their final scores to determine the winner on Saturday afternoon.
As the focus in horse sport shifts in this post-Olympic year to the next generation of internationally competitive dressage horses and riders.
Sydney CDI is a platform for talented youngsters like Claudia to get experience in the “big league”.
And it's a competition Claudia loves.
“You think you're going to go there and it's going to be all Olympians and you're not going to fit in at all, but you get there and it's really chilled out and really nice,” she said. “It's kind of really exciting to be there.”
Dressage NSW President Helen Lawson said Sydney CDI proudly nurtured young talent.
“We have some exceptionally talented young dressage riders in this country and it's wonderful to be able to offer them a program of top competition at a truly international event,” she said.
“We are looking at the next generation of riders following the Rio Olympics and ahead of the next one in Tokyo. Now is the time to give our young riders the experience of competing on the international stage.”
With more than $45,000 in prize money up for grabs, the event attracts the best of Australian dressage riders.
Spectators can still enjoy the 2017 Sydney CDI from the luxury of the Top Spot Marquee, featuring a three-course meal plus wine and reserved dining seating for the main event on Saturday night.
For more information, visit www.sydneycdi.com