Olympic star may fight Games shock
Sonja Johnson on her farm near Albany. She is on a contraption made by a neighbour to help her to start sitting on her saddle again after she broke her pelvis. Picture: Ian Munro/The West Australian

Great Southern farmer Sonja Johnson's London Olympics dream was shattered yesterday when the 2008 Beijing silver medallist was not included in the Australian eventing team.

The 44-year-old, who runs the Manypeaks family sheep farm, said she was considering an appeal, which she must present to Equestrian Australia by noon today. "I've never been known to stop fighting unless I'm completely beaten," a defiant Johnson said yesterday.

"There is an appeal process available to me and I'm studying that. I'm looking into it and whether it is realistic."

Perth-born Clayton Fredericks and his wife Lucinda were nominated for the team along with legendary Andrew Hoy, a six-time Olympian and triple gold medallist, Shane Rose and Chris Burton.

Three of the riders - the Fredericks and Rose - worked with Johnson in Hong Kong at the 2008 Olympics Games to win the silver medal.

If Johnson goes to the Equestrian Australian tribunal and remains disgruntled at the outcome, she can go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Yesterday's setback was especially dispiriting given Johnson's courage in returning to the sport after recovering from a busted pelvis a little more than a year ago to put herself in contention to compete at her second Games.

While training in a paddock at her picturesque farm near the Stirling Ranges, Johnson broke her pelvis when her six-year-old horse Edward stumbled at a jump.

The stricken rider was taken by ambulance and the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Perth where surgeon Dermot Collopy secured her pelvis with a metal plate and a series of screws. "I have no movement in my pelvis but I can tell if it's getting cold from the temperature of my pelvic girdle these days with all the steel in it," Johnson said in a recent interview with _The West Australian _.

"It's designed to eventually snap in half with metal fatigue, that's why it's made of stainless steel and not titanium. Dermot tells me I will never know. It's there for life.

"I can't wrestle a ram like I use to. And, I have trouble lifting really heavy things still."

Johnson said she was "absolutely useless" when she first got back in the saddle but by November she stunned the equestrian world by coming second in both a four-star and two-star event at the Australian International three-day event, the major competition in the southern hemisphere.

Two months earlier, she could not complete her cross-country routine on Parkiarrup Illicit Liaison, the horse she had hoped to take to London.

Nicknamed Ben Pony, the failed racehorse was saved from the dog food cannery when Johnson saw his eventing potential.

The West Australian

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