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Hawkesbury Showjumpers to Compete for Top Prize in Europe

May 16, 2024

A team of Australian riders, including two from the Hawkesbury, is preparing to represent Australia at the Kronenberg Nations Cup in the Netherlands. The Nations Cup, the oldest and most prestigious team competition in equestrian sport, has been held since 1909. Teams from around the world compete for one of the most coveted prizes in showjumping.

Amelia Douglass from Glossodia and Gabi Chugg from Tennyson will join their Australian teammates, Tom McDermott from Mulgoa, and Thaisa Erwin, who is based in the Netherlands. They will compete against top equestrian countries, including Great Britain, the USA, Belgium, Germany, and Sweden, with the competition kicking off on Friday.

For Chugg and Douglass, this will be their first Nations Cup. Douglass, the youngest rider on the team, said she was looking forward to the opportunity. “It’s so exciting to be here representing Australia in my first senior Nations Cup team. It’s always been a goal of mine. We have a fantastic team and I can’t wait to get in the ring.”

Chugg, who has been based in Europe for more than a year, said the time spent there had been important for her development as a rider. “There is no place like home (the Hawkesbury) when it comes to raising and producing horses and riders,” she said. “However, the top of the sport is in Europe, and it’s where you have to be to get ‘match fit.’ Competing against the best riders and horses in the world week in and week out provides consistency that we don’t get at home. I feel extremely honoured to represent Australia in an event as prestigious as the Nations Cup. It’s a competition we don’t get exposed to in Australia, so gaining team experience at an international level is really exciting.”

Gabi Chugg from Tennyson will represent Australia in the Nations Cup aboard her 13 year old gelding, PSS Levilensky.

In a week’s time, another team of Australians will compete at the Nations Cup in Rome at the renowned Piazza di Siena arena. The team of four include Glossodia based Amber Fuller and former Hawkesbury resident Edwina Tops-Alexander. Australia will compete against ten teams from Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the USA, Sweden, and Italy, with €220,000 in prize money at stake.

The Piazza di Siena arena holds historical significance for senior equestrian enthusiasts. In 1987, Australian Olympian Vicki Roycroft won the Grand Prix there on her Australian thoroughbred, Apache.

In the lead-up to the Olympics, several leading Australian showjumpers have moved to Europe to try to gain selection for the Paris Olympics. Others are using the opportunity to gain experience in Europe while looking towards the Los Angeles Olympics.

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