Olympic equestrian rider and coach Heath Ryan is among nine athletes inducted into the Hunter Sporting Region Hall of Fame in Australia this week.
He was joined by surf lifesaver Lisa Wright, national aquathon title winner Nadine Watson, Socceroos goalkeeper David Bone, Australian rugby union representatives Rebecca Smyth and Herbert Jones, drag-racing driver Kevin Pinkstone, motorcycle sidecar rider Alan Rae and featherweight boxing champion Thomas Chapman.
A ceremony to honor the athletes took place at the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club in New South Wales on Thursday night. Each year the Hall of Fame recognises a selection of national champions and Australian representatives from the area.
Ryan, 59, is one of Australia’s most well know equestrians, having reached the highest levels in both dressage and eventing.
In 2008, Ryan was a member of the Australian dressage team for the Beijing Olympic Games. He was assistant coach for the Australian Olympic eventing team in 1996, 2000 and 2004. Ryan is also a three-time Australian Three-Day Event champion and two-time Australian Grand Prix Dressage winner. In 1990, he rode for Australia in the eventing team at the World Equestrian Games in Stockholm.
Last year he coached Hazel Shannon to win the four-star Australian three-day-event in Adelaide.
He rated his multiple national titles as the highlights of his career, including Grand Prix titles on board both prized stallion Regardez Moi and his son, Utopian Cardinal.
“Performances at home amongst my own people, for me, are always the most memorable,” Ryan told The Herald newspaper.
Ryan joins fellow equestrians Kevin Bacon, John Fahey, Bridget MacIntyre, John Mackay Snr, John Mackay Jnr, and Laurie Morgan in the Hall of Fame’s 300-plus strong honour roll.