Rocky barrel racer to ride for Australia - twice
BARREL RACING: Zané van Hengel is set to saddle up for a sporting adventure of a lifetime, representing Australia twice this year.
The 14-year-old from Alton Downs will head to Panama City in a fortnight to compete at the Junior World Championships and then in July fly to Georgia in the US for the National Barrel Horse Association Youth World Finals.
Her selection follows a run of success in which she won the junior 2D and 3D, placed fourth overall in the 1D and third in the junior pole bending for NBHA District 3.
The victories were made even more special because the mare she rode she trained and her older brother Alex broke in.
"It takes a lot of time and concentration to prepare a horse for competition,” said Zané, who is in Year 10 at North Rocky High.
"It's always good to have a made horse you can win on, but it's a really special feeling when you win on a horse that you've trained yourself.”
The talented young rider is counting down the days until she gets to represent her country for the first time.
"It's a little bit scary but I'm excited. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity,” Zané said.
"I'd like to finish in the top 10 but I really just want to make Australia proud.”
Zané has had a passion for horses since she was three and started riding when she was nTine.
A regular at pony club, she followed her friends into rodeo and hasn't looked back.
"I instantly fell in love with it,” she said.
"It's so exciting and it gets your heart racing. I love the feel of the adrenaline that rushes through your body before your run.
"In the last year I've become very passionate about my barrel racing and am always striving to better myself.
"I train every day to ensure I am at the top of my game at each race.
"Last year I achieved a lot more than I could have ever imagined.”
Zané has been busily fundraising for her trips, holding sausage sizzles and car washes to help her realise her sporting dream.
Anyone interested in supporting her should visit her Facebook page, Zané van Hengel - 2017 NBHA Junior World Championship.