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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Australian riders go global in experience of a lifetime

ABOVE: The Australian riders got to expereince a truly international event.

THE dreams of four young Australian riders came true when they lined up to compete in the Global Amateur Tour held at Quintas Equestrian Centre near Puebla in Mexico.

This was the first time the event has been held since Covid stopped the show in 2019 and had over 500 entries.

It is a two-star FEI event that includes international riders on borrowed mounts and local riders on their own horses.

Each of the borrowed horses were drawn from a hat and the international riders were given three days of training prior to the event to form a partnership with their drawn horse.

Two of the Australian riders competed in the Global Amateur Championship, with a starting height of 1.20m. The competition was run over three days, with penalties from the first two days carrying into the final.

Tori Glass from Kyabram, Victoria, was the first Australian rider to compete and was the highest-placed international rider in the amateurs on day one.

ABOVE: Harley McNaugton.

Unfortunately, her horse was lame on the second day. In a selfless move, the stable that supplied the borrowed horse gave up their own ride in the competition to allow Tori to go around the finals non-competively.

The second senior Australian rider in amateurs, Gemma Alexander from Western Australia, had an amazing event and was named the highest placed international Amateur rider on a borrowed horse in the final.

Gemma described the trip as “literally what dreams are made of”.

“I had the most incredible time,” she said. “I am still coming back down to earth.”

The other two Australian riders competed in the Children’s Championship for riders 15 years and under. The starting height for children was 1.10m.

Harley McNaugton, from Pakenham, Victoria, was the youngest international competitor at 13 years old. He coped well with a big strong horse and had a great time.

“It was awesome and so much fun with everyone there,” he said. “I got to meet so many new people and the horses were great. Thank you to everyone that helped me along the way.”

Lyla Ferrari, from Table Top, NSW, had a rail in both the first and second rounds but recovered with a clear round in the final to be awarded the highest placed international children’s rider on a borrowed horse.

Each of the riders had a life-changing experience to compete at this level in an international competition thanks to the help of sponsors, supporters, friends and family.

Organisers of the Global Amateur Tour are now taking applications for next year’s competition, to again be held in Mexico. Other rounds of the tour are scheduled in Brazil and Argentina in 2024.

ABOVE: Coach Salvador Sesin with Lyla Ferrari and Harley McNaughton.

ABOVE: National pride was everywhere, in a colourful display.

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