Megan Jones, 36 at the time, rides Flowervale Maserati, a powerful horse with a dark coat. As rain begins to fall, the pair of them continue to push themselves, hoofs beating ground and throwing grass into the air.
A variety of interesting jumps have been set up; huge logs balanced over low stumps, trimmed hedges and neatly crafted wooden huts. For this moment, Megan’s entire focus is paired with her horses. Their speed and their movements counterbalance each other’s as they hurtle over obstacles.
The exhilaration of the ride drives them both forward to win the event; a trial held in Ballarat. The skill it requires of the two of them is enough to take Megan to the Olympics, where she won a silver medal in Beijing in 2008. If that skill fails, the risk is severe – with injuries and fatalities occasionally appearing in the news. While Megan has suffered from the intensities of riding (she has a stress fracture in her back that required a 12 week rest from riding), others have lost their lives in the controversially dangerous sport. It is, by any sense of the word, an extreme sport.
With so much danger, intensity, skill and tradition, what kind of an audience does equestrian riding have in Australia? SBS made news recently for scheduling coverage of some of the top international equestrian events, including jumping and eventing. It’s a break from Australia’s surprisingly reticent history of equestrian sport coverage, which rarely makes news unless in the context of the Olympics. Yet equestrian events alone make up a $362 million dollar contribution to the Australian economy, and the equestrian industry in total contributes $6 billion. World-class athletes are being trained in Australia, and a nearly $1 billion a year goes into breeding high class horses.
So why isn’t the equestrian industry covered by television programming? It has everything; excitement, interest, an existing market – there seems to be no reason why equestrian events shouldn’t be all over our screens. And there’s one big reason; quarantine.
Horses coming into Australia are required to be in quarantine for 3 weeks in their country of origin and then for another 2 – 3 weeks when then land in Australia. That’s a potential total of 42 days of quarantine. Horses going into American, as a point of comparison – require only 3 days of quarantine, and 7 days for a small selection of limited countries. Australia is already geographically distant from Europe, where horse riding is more popular, but delays like this make it near-impossible for international competition to take place in Australia.
That means Australia ends up isolated and it becomes much harder to increase the quality, value and competition of the industry. There are no five star events held in Australia, only the four star Adelaide three-day event. Australian riders can become successful; Edwina Tops-Alexander of Australia was the first person to earn over $2 million in an equestrian event. But, much like Tops-Alexander, they move overseas to a European base in order to reach that kind of success.
What Australia is doing is exporting all of our equestrian talent. We’re not completely without hope. Grand Prix rider Lone Jorgensen moved to Australia from Germany and set up base here; proving again that the country has promise in the equestrian field.
The only way to invigorate the already solid industry is to modify quarantine laws to allow more efficient imports. If we can encourage world class internationals to compete in Australia, events will grow and television coverage will follow, unlocking the potential the market already has.
5 Things That Affect Your Office’s First Impression
When people come to visit your office, there are a lot of things that you want to convey. The way your office is built and constructed says an enormous amount about your company and the relationship you are setting up with your guest.
If you’re looking to make an extension or build a new office, remember about the smaller things. They make a much larger contribution to the overall impression that you might realise.
The materials –
There are certain materials that are synonymous with the ugliness of offices. Don’t use brown concrete. The moment people see it, they’re going to want to turn around and run.
Find a material that sets you apart from other offices. A great option, for staying within a budget but creating an interesting building, is steel. Steel is customisable, great to design with, and looks great when coloured (it comes in colours other than beige, too!).
The location of the entry –
This has a big impact on how guests feel, though they don’t often realise it. People have different associations with entry locations. A door that is not immediately visible can make a guest feel they’re entering the wrong door, or that they are doing something that needs to be hidden.
A door in the centre of the building can convey a sense of confidence, especially if the design of the building emphasises it.
One of our clients chose to have their entrance on the corner of their building, a decision which makes the building unique and interesting.
We often don’t think about windows unless they’re out of place. It’s important to remember that guests will usually try to look into the building when the approach it. A wide, clear window that looks into the reception area is great. clearly visible to the guest can make them feel uncomfortable.
A lot of offices want their buildings to impress. Size seems to convey success and power.
For small businesses it’s often more practical to keep the office small. But for those who want to experiment and build something a little more impressive, steel is affordable enough to give you options when making decision on the size of your building.
Another thing most people aren’t aware of is how the building fits with the space it’s in. Most of the time, your guest won’t notice. It only really seems to make a difference if you get it very wrong, or very right.
Download a brochure with detailed photos of our projects at the top of our website, or get a quote by clicking the button below.
5 Things Everyone Should Have In Their Shed
A shed is really all about how you use it. It should be more than just a place to park your cars; you took the time and spent the money to get it built, so why not make proper use of it?
We’ve put together a list of things that every shed should have
A first aid kit
Even if you have a first aid kit in the home, it’s a really good idea to have a spare in your shed. Little bits and pieces always go missing, so it’s good to have a back-up somewhere outside the house.
A tool kit
What kind of a shed would it be if you weren’t able to do handiwork in it? A proper tool kit means that your shed becomes a workshop.
A music player
We’re proud of the sheds that we build and we want people to spend as much time enjoying them as possible. A simple radio or music player will make the difference and get you whistling as you work on your own projects.
A work bench
A workshop is no good without a work bench. Whatever kind of work you do, set aside a bench and a chair so you can get things done.
Always consider the powerpoints. Where are you going to need them and where should they be positioned? If you’re going to be using a lot of power tools, think about where you’ll be doing most of your work so you can avoid long extension cords that get in the way.
To see some of our sheds, download our brochure at the top of our website.