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June 16, 2024 5:00 PM

Dreams Do Come True

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Jodin Bell and Kyle Chapman pictured with coach Andrea Bank in preparation for the Olympic Qualifier for Paralympics.

A few years ago members of Starclub Equestrian were invited to watch top level competition at Willinga Park and they all left with the same dream of one day competing at this state of the art complex.

That dream came true this week for Kyle Chapman and Jodin Bell and speaking prior to the competition, they could not have been more excited.

In the midst of a rigid training schedule under the watchful guidance of coach Andrea Bell, the Singleton lads were fine tuning their freestyle and dressage routines ready for a level of competition unlike any they have experienced.

Willinga Park is the largest privately owned Equestrian Facility in Australia and has hosted some of the world’s best equestrians including Olympians.  It is of international equestrian quality and owned by Terry Snow who owns Canberrra Airport.  

The three day competition is the Olympic Qualifier for Paralympics and it is the first time in Australia for many years that people with an Intellectual Disability or Autism are able to compete (under Virtus Sport the international sporting organisation for IDs and Autism).  

“It is an absolute privilege that Kyle and Jodin will be riding there,” said Starclub Equestrian founder Sharon Bassett.

They took three horses between them, both to ride two in FEI Para Dressage Grade IV Tests and Freestyle. 

Jodin is classified GII3 (Autism) and Kyle is classified GII1 (ID) under Virtus Sport. 

June last year saw three riders from Australia competing at the Virtus Global Games and winning Gold Medals.  Kyle and Jodin will be competing against those three Riders. 

“It is amazing that the boys have reached this level within Equestrian,” Sharon said.

As for Andrea, her main advice to Jodin and Kyle was to stay focussed, relax, smile and have fun.

The boys would like to thank their sponsors: Coolmore, DK Heavy Plant Services Muswellbrook, Agile Solutions – Hunter Valley, Buck Yeah, Farmers Warehouse,

Hollydene Estate, InVent Air, Lowes Singleton, Vines Restaurant at Hollydene Estate

H&R Last Minute Cricut and Star Club Friday Night Raffles – “The Cali Hotel.

-DI SNEDDON

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