Focus Makes the Difference
It’s fitting Melissa Galloway and Windermere J’Obei notched a personal best on their way to the Level 4 Dressage Horse of the Year crown.
The combination from Blenheim were in a class of their own in the musical freestyle, scoring 76.111% – a mark no one could match.
“Any improvement is amazing, but this was really special,” said 24-year-old Galloway. “Our previous best was 75%. For the first two tests he was really spooky so I was determined to go into this last one with all guns blazing. I didn’t want to make any mistakes.”
She felt they had been “a little casual” walking from the warm-up arena to the oval previously, making him lose a little focus.
They placed sixth in the warm-up test, and second and first in the two that counted towards the title.
“This is huge for us. The competition is so tight, no one is just letting you have it. Vanessa (Way, who was runner-up) is so tough to beat.”
Galloway is a pupil of Way but her trainer is always hugely supportive. She has had the six-year-old since he was two. He was broken in when he arrived, but she has done everything with him.
“When I went to see him unbroken I only saw him on the lunge and a little loose in the arena. His canter stood out to me then and he had a bit of an average trot . . . which is now his best thing! It shows what you can do with good training.”
The combination were level 4 champions at the National Championships where they won all three of their tests.
Galloway won the level 4 two years ago with Zeilinger, who she is competing at level 8 at HOY.
She also recently competed at the Victorian Youth Championships, at Boneo Park in Melbourne, where they enjoyed success aboard borrowed horses.