Geraldton equestrian judge Penny Dodd off to Tokyo to officiate at the Olympics

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Penny Dodd with Nero.
Camera IconPenny Dodd with Nero. Credit: Geraldton Guardian

She’s driven the Duke of Edinburgh around in a buggy, helped pioneer sports events in Hong Kong and mainland China after the handover of the former British territory, and volunteered at two Olympic Games.

Now, Geraldton equestrian judge Penny Dodd is off to Tokyo for her third Olympics, but this time she will be participating as an official steward rather than as a volunteer — a role she carried out in London and Rio.

Dodd said equestrian events allowed her not only to indulge her love of horses, but to meet new people and travel to new places.

“You’ve got to have a passion for it,” she said. “You can teach the rules and the regulations, but you can’t teach passion.

“I’ve always loved horses.

“I love the sport, I love the people involved, and I just feel it’s something I can contribute to that I enjoy.”

But before she leaves for Japan, Dodd will be officiating at her last local engagement, the three-day Geraldton Combined Equestrian Club Showjumping Classic this weekend.

She’ll go from watching Geraldton and WA riders make their way around the course to monitoring the world’s best, with Australian riders entered in the dressage, eventing and showjumping sections at Tokyo.

Dodd said ensuring animal welfare will be her first priority, while monitoring for doping or other breaches of regulations.

One particularly challenging event will be the cross-country — with temperatures around 40C and 80 per cent humidity, the event will have to be run and all the riders and horses off the course by around 11am.

Dodd said with the next two Olympics to run in Europe and North America before the chance of a return to the southern hemisphere, she feels these might be her last Games.

But she should have plenty more opportunity in the Asia-Pacific region with the Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games, and multiple events in Dubai and Qatar.

During volunteering at the London Games in 2012, she carried Prince Philip around a cross-country course in a buggy.

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