Matthew Dowsley and AEA Prestige Win the 2018 Australian Grand Prix Championship

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 09:18
2018 Australian Dressage Championships
Matthew Dowsley and AEA Prestige win the 2018 Australian Grand Prix Championship at Boneo Park :: Photo © Stephen Mowbray

Come back kid Matthew Dowsley and AEA Prestige became the new Australian Grand Prix champions winning the big tour classes at the 2018 Australian Dressage Championships which were being stages at the CDI-W Boneo on 19 - 21 October 2018. 

Dowsley and the 13-year old gelding AEA Prestige (by Prestige VDL x Grand Kavalier) won both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Kur with 72.456% and 75.790%. 

Seven months away from the CDI show ring, Dowsley made his come back with Prestige at Boneo Park. Matthew says the horse felt light off the aids and extremely expressive as always.

“The competition was one of the best I’ve ever ridden at within Australia, “ Matthew told Eurodressage. “The Martin Collins surfaces are just beautiful to ride on. We had a huge amount of rain over the 5 or 6 days we were there and within half an hour or so the arenas were just perfect. Would have definitely been the best surface I have ridden on in Australia.”

AEA Prestige obviously enjoyed the conditions, and the horse is slowly becoming more brave in the bigger atmospheres.

“He can be a bit of a “fire breathing Dragon”, but as he is becoming more seasoned his rather bold character is allowing him to express himself in the competition arena,"  Matthew explained.

Matthew is coached by his good friend Andreas Schoeffner, who comes to Australia to give regular clinics throughout the year. “He has helped me produce a number of horses to FEI level. Andreas did his “Bereiter” with Wolfram Wittig. He knows his stuff, is an extremely good communicator and enjoys seeing horse/rider combinations progressing,” Matthew added.

The training goal for the pair at the moment is to work on suppleness, elasticity, and developing more power so that they can get through the Grand Prix with ease. “Now he is pretty much the same at home each day, but at competitions the first couple of days he keeps me on my toes,” Matthew stated.

AEA Prestige is wned by Denise Cheddia from Melbourne, Victoria, whom Matthew met many years ago in a clinic he was giving. "Basically she has come along ever since," Matthew quipped.

“She purchased Prestige as a 3 year old from breeder Dirk Dijkstra of Australian Equestrian Academy in Geelong which it was then. Denise had a regular trainer that she worked with weekly but would attend my monthly or 6 weekly clinics each time. I remember saying to her the first time she appeared on Prestige that she had a “Beauty” there. From day one you could see the horse had “gears”, basically like a V8, just needed fine tuning,” Matthew said. “He had given poor Denise “grief” on and off and she kept threatening him that he was to be sent to me. So nearly 3 years ago the threat became a reality!”

Mowbray and AEA Prestige
Matthew says it’s been onward and upward from then on and that he really enjoys working with the horse.

“He has has a big personality which I enjoy. I had a lovely mare years ago by the name of Cinderella. They are not really at all alike but both have that fighting spirit that I really love and I think it really helps in a Grand Prix horse.”

While there is no real plan for the future Matthew says the work will lighten off now as they are coming into summer and then he will start to build it back up in the autumn where he will probably do another CDI in Melbourne and then back home for the highlight of the year, the Sydney CDI. 

With twelve horses in training at a time, Matthew divides the work with his partner Rodney, who rides 5 or so while he does the rest. He is particularly excited about rising 8-year old Santiago” (by Sandro Hit x Florestan x Weltmeyer), bred by Sally Kean in Australia.

"He has been undefeated at Medium/Advanced levels. Just won both National Titles at the above levels with great scores well into the 70’s. He will now move up into FEI small tour level,” Matthew addsed excitedly!  “I don’t think you can plan too far ahead I just like to keep the horses quietly ticking along and see how we go.”

Photos © Stephen Mowbray

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