From Combienbar, a tiny town in Victoria’s high country, Gavin Chester is one of Australia’s most respected coaches, trainers, and course designers and was previously Chair of Equestrian Australia Jumping.
Gavin stands out amongst our most prolific and successful international showjumping competitors. Twenty years after being selected as a member of the 1980 Moscow Olympics Equestrian Team (Games boycotted), Gavin represented Australia at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Before the 1980 Olympics, Gavin had been singularly focused on showjumping. As a teenager, he would train in the dark each morning before boarding a 6.45am bus to travel the long, dirt road down the mountain to high school in Cann River. When the school bus dropped him back home at 5.15pm, he’d be straight in the saddle again.
Gavin was 20 years old when had made the team for Moscow. The Games were less than two months away and he had been sent his uniform. When the day the news arrived, his Olympic dream came to an abrupt end. Or so he thought. In an extraordinary postscript 20 years later, Gavin did indeed jump for Australia at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Above: Gavin Chester and Another Flood at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Photo Credit: Alamy.
Above: Ron Easey, Jamie Coman and Gavin Chester at the 2000 Sydney Olympics
The boycott was a life-changing experience for Chester in an unexpected way. When he was told he wasn’t going to Moscow, he realised his horse, Hydrant, was the most valuable thing his family owned and that thought started what was to become an international business in breeding and training Olympic-standard showjumping horses.
Over the years, Gavin has produced many top horses including Blue King, Big Flood, Dire Straights, Frank, Rossmore, (taken over from Greg Smith) Sterling Liberty, Sockit-Tumi, and Rockfella who was a very consistent horse with special expertise in Puissance classes.
Gavin is a very experienced campaigner with trips to the USA as a young rider as well as competing in Europe and New Zealand. He has competed in well over 100 World Cup Qualifiers qualifiers and has multiple wins to his credit.
Above: Gavin Chester and Sockit Tumi Brisbane Royal World Cup Qualifier 14 August 1996. Photo Credit: Julie Wilson.
Above: Gavin Chester congratulated by Ted Dwyer after winning the 100th World Cup Qualifier – 7 December 1997
Gavin has won four Australian Championships (1986 with Rossmore in Perth, 1987 with Rossmore in Adelaide, 1999 with Another Flood in Sydney and 2001 with Another Flood in Warrnambool) and competed in the Nations Cup.
Gavin bought Another Flood from Jenny Parlevliet and Derek Beer. Jenny had produced him and brought him through the grades, competing on him at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Gavin and the horse immediately clicked and they had victories in many competitions prior to selection for the Sydney Games.
Above: Gavin Chester and Another Flood. Photo Credit: Julie Wilson.
Above: Gavin Chester and Another Flood. 2001 Australian Championships. Photo Credit: Julie Wilson.
Gavin has represented Australia at three FEI World Cup Finals. in Vienna in 1983 (29th place with Hengist), Las Vegas in 2000 (35th place with Another Flood) and Las Vegas in 2007 (32nd place with Warlord II).
Above: Gavin Chester and Warlord II at SIEC in 2006. Photo Credit: Jenny Sheppard
Although his competitive years are over, Gavin continues to proactively develop the sport as much valued course designer/event organiser and coach.
Thank you Gavin for everything you have done and continue to do for our sport.
Above: Gavin Chester showing he still has the jump in him – 2015 Boneo Cup. Photo Credit: Gone Riding Media.