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In the ring and on the field

Neale Lavis and Mirrabooka sail over fence 5 of the Rome Olympics cross-country course, 1960.
Neale Lavis and Mirrabooka sail over fence five of the Rome Olympics cross-country course, 1960. Courtesy: Neale Lavis.

Australian horsemen and women have always competed to test their knowledge, courage and skill, and their horses’ training, ability and quality. From the 1820s, agricultural shows offered riding, driving and breed classes. Team field sports, cross-country riding tests and circus acts featuring performing horses soon followed.

Today, these events have developed into organised sports such as showing, carriage driving, polocrosse, hunting and vaulting. Australian equestrians and their horses participate at the highest levels of international competition. To date, riders have claimed six gold, three silver and two bronze Olympic medals, all in eventing.

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