Hot to trot
DALE Johnston has ended 2010 high in the saddle and is hoping next year will be even better.
The Coramba rider has proven he is on track to one day be selected for the Paralympics after considerable success at Victorian and NSW State championship events.
At the Victorian Ridability State Championships Dale amassed five first and two second placings in dressage, hacking and jumping to be named the Grade 2 Victorian champion.
Last month at the Riding for the Disabled (RDA) NSW State Championships held at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre, Dale rode his own horse Bouncer Bob to score three first placings and snare the RDA Grade 2 State championship.
The wins capped off a big year for the 21-year-old which started with four months out of the saddle after surgery to realign tendons in his arm and hand.
Other highlights included a fourth place in the open dressage at Coffs Harbour Show and three first and three minor ribbons at the North Coast Equestrian Club’s Open Dressage Championships at Nana Glen in September.
Dale’s mother Karen Spring said 2011 is looking even busier for her son who was given little chance of living after contracting meningitis as a baby. He now lives with multiple permanent complications and developmental impairments.
“Dale will be continuing his equine and agricultural studies at Trenayr TAFE and doing work experience at Coffs Harbour Produce,” Ms Spring said.
“And we’ll be heading south for the Melbourne Summer Royal Show in January and then we have a three-day clinic with leading Paralympics coach Catherine Shelley in Sydney in February.”