RGS jockeys impress in Queensland equestrian team
EQUESTRIAN: Rockhampton Grammar School students will continue a long-standing association with the Queensland schools equestrian team at next month's nationals in Sydney.
RGS students have featured in the Queensland Interschool Equestrian team since 2008 and this year Tayla Wallace, Holly Tomkins and Sienna Bettridge have their opportunity to compete against the best riders in the country.
The trio qualified after strong performances at the Queensland State Prydes Easifeed Interschool Equestrian Championships in Maryborough last school holidays.
Tayla was awarded Champion in Secondary Preliminary Senior Dressage and 2nd in 4 Phase Showman. Holly was Champion and Reserve Champion in the Secondary Qualifier 100cm AM5 jump with her two horses while Sienna placed 5th in Intermediate Show Hunter and Sienna placed fifth in Intermediate Show Hunter.
RGS team captain Madelyn Sparrow, who also competed at the State Championships placing 4th in Senior Show Hunter and 4th in 3 phase Showman, an event that does not have a national competition, said it was fantastic to see the success of the RGS Equestrian team.
"Being involved in equestrian takes a lot of dedication and commitment, so to have four girls represent RGS at the QLD State Championships was very inspiring,'' Madelyn said.
"I'm proud to be captain of such an awesome group of talented riders and wish them all the best at Nationals. I'll be cheering from my Year 12 study books.”
Madelyn said horses and equestrian events taught you responsibility, patience and self-discipline, and it's also a great way to keep fit.
"While competing is fun, it's also a lot of work and it's expensive to pack up for an event, travel and prepare both the horse and rider,” Madelyn said.
Based in Brisbane for three weeks, Holly had little rest since the state titles, training with Olympic coaches and riders and competing at the Australian World Cup Shows at Caboolture and Gatton.
Following the schools nationals Holly will then attend the 2019 Australian Showjumping Championships with three horses in Melbourne in November.
Tayla said the opportunity to represent your state doesn't come up very often so it's important to take advantage of the opportunity when you can.
"There's not too much difference from a local competition to big events like nationals. I still dedicate numerous hours to caring for and training my horses while saving a little extra money for the trip,'' Tayla said.
Tayla said transporting horses from Rockhampton to Sydney is a tiring journey and they have to ensure they have the best possible recovery.
"I also need to be focused and control my nerves. If I don't my horse's performance can be significantly impacted,'' Tayla said.
Siennawas eager to meet the other riders and have the opportunity to compete at an "amazing” competition.
"Leading into the event I'll ride my horse three times a week and work on many different aspects of horse riding to get him, and me, in the best possible shape for nationals,'' Sienna said.
"I'll also be doing work out of the saddle to work on my fitness levels so I can reach my full potential in the show ring.”