Rising star Pratt joins veteran in high-performance dressage squad

Tristan WheelerManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Sarah Pratt has been selected for Equestrian Western Australia’s State Dressage Recognition Squad.
Camera IconSarah Pratt has been selected for Equestrian Western Australia’s State Dressage Recognition Squad. Credit: Tristan Wheeler/Manjimup-Bridgetown Times, Tristan Wheeler

Bridgetown dressage riders Sarah Pratt and Karen Spice have been selected for the Equestrian Western Australia High Performance Dressage Recognition Squad.

It is the first time Pratt has made the squad, while Spice made the squad for the first time in 1985 and has been in and out of the squad since then.

“I’ve done it with a series of horses over the years until they’ve retired,” Spice said.

“When you start off with a new horse, you think I’m never going to get there, but it’s really exciting and it’s a good challenge.”

This latest recognition is part of a long and storied career for Spice, who has competed at the intermediate two level, a grade below Grand Prix level, which is the Olympic dressage standard.

The Bridgetown contingent of the squad is tight knit, as Spice coaches Pratt.

Spice said it was pleasing to see Pratt succeeding, having known her for a long time.

Members of the squad are selected alongside their horse with Spice being with her horse McArthur Rasta and Pratt selected with Blackwood Ridge Valora (Stella).

“Over the past year, 2019, the selectors look at combinations that have got improving scores at their level over the year,” Pratt said.

“They basically pick a combination that have had good improvement in scores and look like a positive combination for the future.”

Pratt’s bond with her horse Stella is especially strong, as she bred her at home.

“She is in fact my first home-bred horse and we’ve gone from strength to strength,” Pratt said.

“Its been a wonderful journey, having a horse you’ve bred and seen being born, being able to train together and progress up the levels and be a success.”

Stella is an anomaly in the dressage world as she doesn’t have horseshoes.

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