Roger and Sylvia Roberts at the pink jump on the cross country course at the National Farmer’s Warehouse Queensland International event.
Roger and Sylvia Roberts at the pink jump on the cross country course at the National Farmer’s Warehouse Queensland International event. Gerard Walsh

Designer jumps in for a good cause

FIFTEEN years after first working on the cross country course at Morgan Park, Sylvia Roberts is at the end of a six-week building program for this year's event.

Competition starts tomorrow in the National Farmers Warehouse International Queensland Three-day Event with 200 horse-and-rider combinations, including Olympian Rebel Morrow.

Sylvia designed the course within set guidelines and with help from husband Roger and 2000 Olympics' course designer Bill Thompson, has upgraded the course.

There are 200 individual jumps on the course with different levels of difficulty for different classes.

Sylvia's journey into course designing started in 1995 when she was returning with her horse Dymantina Symphony from an event in Melbourne and thought about the possibility of setting up a club and building a course in Warwick.

"I was inspired by a great horse," she said.

She called a meeting, and as they say, the rest is history.

A club was formed, she served as secretary, a cross country course was built, dressage and showjumping arenas, and club facilities followed.

"A lot of different people have been involved in the club," she said.

This weekend, the Warwick Horse Trials facilities are being leased by the Queensland Three-day Event committee.

Sylvia and Roger lived in the Warwick area for the first half of their involvement in eventing before moving to Clunes near Byron Bay where they operate a cleaning business.

Moving interstate has not dinted their enthusiasm for the sport.

One of the closest jumps to the Warwick Horse Trials Clubhouse at Morgan Park is the Pink Jump which was built in time for last year's Queensland Three-day Event.

"It is designed like a ribbon and painted pink, we will be asking for donations to the National Breast Cancer Foundation during this weekend's event," Sylvia said.

After first helping on the course, Sylvia has become a course designer and builder in her own right.

Last year, she travelled to France for a workshop through the Global Education Program and in October this year goes to another workshop in Italy.

She said it was important to have consistency across the world which was why officials from Ireland and the Czeck Republic were in Warwick for this weekend's event.

While the highest-profile horse-and-rider combinations are in three-star, the main class was two-star.

Roberts said the two-star cross country course was 35 efforts (jumps) over 4.4km with a time of eight minutes.

Dressage is from 9am tomorrow, cross country from 9am Saturday and showjumping from 8am Sunday at Morgan Park.


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