Festival kicks off in the Parklands on Thursday with 3-Star Dressage precision & fun for all ages

Adelaide, Australia – The Adelaide Equestrian Festival is thrilled to be back after a 3-year Covid hiatus to host the highly anticipated day one of this year’s festival, featuring the Racing SA CCI 3 Star Dressage competition on Thursday April 20, 2023.

This thrilling event will showcase the best 3-star division equestrians from Australia as they compete in front of crowds of over 25,000 as well as Olympic selectors for Paris in the first discipline of dressage.

Adelaide Equestrian Festival Chairman Greg Rolton is excited about the start of the festival saying “The CCI3*L Dressage event begins the Adelaide Equestrian Festival, and spectators can expect to witness great upcoming riders and horses demonstrating their skills in this elegant discipline.

“The first phase of the competition highlights the precision, elegance, and athleticism of the horse and rider.

Lauren Browne on Skys Da Limit, Photo Walter Berger

“We are thrilled to host the Racing SA CCI 3 Star Dressage competition on Thursday as the kick off of our 2023 Adelaide Equestrian Festival, and we invite everyone to come and be part of it.”

“Dressage is a beautiful and technically demanding discipline that requires a deep understanding and partnership between horse and rider, and we would love as many people as possible to come and see what it’s all about.”

“We’ve got a great view from pretty much anywhere in the parklands, so you just need to buy a ticket online and bring a rug or a deck chair as well as your favourite people to enjoy a great day of action, food, wine and shopping at this year’s festival” said Rolton.

Naming rights sponsor of this popular opening day of the Festival, Racing SA, will have their sub brands Thorough Care SA and Racing Careers SA on show at a marquee in the event’s marketplace throughout the four days of this year’s festival.

Racing SA’s General Manager of Operations Nick Bawden commented “We are so looking forward to witnessing the skills of the many retired racehorses competing at the 2023 festival.

“Additionally, our collaboration with this event provides us with the opportunity for us to showcase all the great aspects of the racing industry. If we can attract more people into a career in racing as well as more thoroughbreds into eventing at a grassroots level that is a positive result for all” said Bawden.

Luke Jones, competing on Spirit In the  3 Star competition, says “there’s a lot of magic to the event’’.

While Spirit Is new to 3 Star level, Jones is not new to equestrian competition in Adelaide’s East Parklands.

“It’s the highest quality event in Australia and it’s competing in the middle of the city,’’ he says.

“As a rider, it’s actually riding my horse on the cross country into that Rymill Park precinct that I find amazing. It gives me goosebumps. I’ve never been to Adelaide and thought ‘it’s a bit flat this year’ – it’s always marvellous’’ said Jones.

For the uninitiated, the word Dressage is French for training. It is considered the classical foundation for all Equestrian training. Dressage tests the ability of horse and rider to display both athletic prowess and supreme elegance. It is often compared to ballet. Dressage requires precision, technical excellence and harmony between horse and rider.

In modern eventing Dressage competitions, the horse and rider perform a set series of movements known as a Dressage “test”. The tests are performed in a 60m x 20m arena before a panel of seven judges, who award marks out of 10 for individual movements and for the overall routine.

Each horse and rider perform a dressage test in front of a panel of internationally renowned judges. The judges’ scores are converted into penalty points, which are carried forward to the next stage of the competition, the cross-country.

The Racing SA CCI3*L Dressage competition is a must-see for dressage enthusiasts and sports fans alike. The event will take place on Thursday, April 20th, in the Gillian Rolton Arena at Victoria Park, and tickets are available now via the AEF website.

Source AEF press release



Gates open – free to public Victoria Park, Main Entrance, Fullarton Rd


Adelaide International CCI5* TRM 1st Horse Inspection in front of City of Adelaide Grandstand, Victoria Park


Test Ride 3*

9.30am – 4pm

Racing SA CCI3* Dressage, Gillian Rolton Main Arena, Victoria Park

Approx 4:00 – 5:30pm

Arena Familiarisation for CCI5* and CCI4* dressage horses

Gillian Rolton Main Arena, Victoria Park