Sometimes all that glitters is gold.
New Zealand dressage rider Melissa Galloway and Windermere J’Obei W contested 13 FEI classes in the 2023 season. And won every single one.
She’s the 2023 Australian National Dressage Champion and the 2023 Marlborough Sportsperson of the Year. Her mount, “Joey,” is 2023 Equestrian Sports New Zealand International Horse of the Year.
Galloway’s year in dressage, quite literally, couldn’t have gone better.
Their stellar season comes on the heels of a year abroad, training with Danish rider Anne van Olst and reigning World Champion Lottie Fry (GBR). Galloway and the 13-year-old New Zealand Warmblood, her partner of 11 and half years, competed exclusively in Europe in 2022. They made their championship debut at the World Championships in Herning and earned a fourth place in the CDI4* Grand Prix at Opglabbeek, BEL with a score of 72.341.
This year, she and the chestnut gelding put their European education to work on home soil, winning every CDI3* and CDIW event they contested in Taupo (NZL), Sydney (AUS), Boneo (AUS) and Cambridge-Takapoto (NZL) in 2023.
Watch their winning CDI3* Freestyle in Sydney in April:
This weekend, they capped that incredible season with a personal best at Oro Dressage by the Lake of 74.128% in the FEI Dressage Pacific League Final World Cup qualifying Grand Prix test on Friday and logged their 13th consecutive victory on Saturday with a 79.24% 4CTYE Freestyle Grand Prix.
For Galloway, there’s more on the line than personal glory. The 30-year old is vying for one of two individual Olympic qualification spots for the Paris Games via Group G. Group G includes countries Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
Galloway currently leads the standings on 984 points ahead of Singapore’s Caroline Chew on 883 points and Korea’s Young Shik Hwang on 828. Now it’s a waiting game until 31 December when the FEI Group G rankings are announced.
In the meantime, she’s got the 2023 Marlborough Sportsperson of the Year title to keep her spirits up.
“What an absolute privilege and honour to win this award for the second year,” wrote Galloway on Instagram. “I am so blessed with an incredible team around me who have helped create moments like this in my life. Thank you to my one in a million Joey – He is a true blessing and I would be nothing without him.”