OLYMPIC DREAM: Sally Evans, pictured with Basil, is setting up an equestrian and dressage centre at her Wardell property.
OLYMPIC DREAM: Sally Evans, pictured with Basil, is setting up an equestrian and dressage centre at her Wardell property.

Horseplay rears its head in Ballina Shire

By DAWN COHEN

SALLY EVANS is letting her beloved Assassin go in order to create horse heaven in Ballina Shire.

National dressage champion and potential olympiad, Sally Evans, has received council approval to set up the shire's only dressage arena in Kays Road, Wardell.

The complex will include stables and groom quarters, providing stabling and training.

"Dressage is like ice-skating, gymnastics and dancing rolled into one," said Sally, a professional equestrian coach.

The animals are trained to respond to subtle directions with movements requiring flexibility and power.

"Horses show off to each other," said Sally.

"They look so majestic. We try to capture that feeling.

"You are not sitting on the horse, you become part of the horse. It's magic.

"It is like dancing with 600 kilograms of muscle power moving beneath you."

Sally wants Ballina residents to experience the thrill of dressage through her new complex.

But at an estimated cost of $500,000 for the complex, the 42-year-old horse enthusiast must sell Assassin, the gelding she purchased for less than $10,000 nine years ago, and trained for professional competition.

"The bank thought I was buying a car when I took out the loan to buy him," Sally said.

"He is now ready for Beijing."

Assassin, now worth approximately $150,000, is the epitome of a new-age male.

Responsive to the slightest cue, sensitive, yet powerful, and exceptionally graceful, he is a dream male.

"We call him a push-button horse," said Sally.

Sally will keep her 8-yearold stallion A'Seduction, a horse she has trained since he was a colt.

Sally praises him as an even more gifted horse than Assassin.

Horse riding was not Sally's first love.

Her childhood dream of becoming a professional ballerina was incinerated in the stuff of nightmares.

As a six-year-old, the Queensland-born girl was pretending to be a ballet dancer in a long nightie when the garment caught fire on a kerosene heater, burning 40 per cent of her body.

Countless skin grafts and hospital visits saved her life, but left her unable to fully straighten her arm.

With family support, Sally tried horse riding and fell in love for a second time.

Having ridden many national and State winners, Sally is aiming to take A'Seduction to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"Now I dance on four legs with 500 kilograms of power," she said.

What is the most enjoyable experience of dressage?

The extended cantor, she answered.

"It is almost a gallop, but in slow motion.

"It is not like a race horse.

"You are not being rocked around.

"His neck is right up and when he lands, he is in perfect balance and so are you."

Call 66834804 for further information about the dressage centre.



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