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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Interschools a phenomenon that continues to grow

ABOVE: Evangeline Parsons and Kooralyn Marley from Ringwood North Primary School won the primary working hunter class. Picture: DEREK O’LEARY

HOW big a business has Interschools Equestrian events become?

The Easter school holidays in most states seem to find youngsters from Prep to Year 12 donning their school jumpers and heading off to represent their schools at five days of competition for state titles.

More than 430 riders and 600 horses and ponies jammed the Werribee Park Equestrian centre for the Victorian event over five full days, with sports ranging through dressage, jumping, show horse, working hunter, combined training and sporting classes.

As the sports run individually and as a team event, there was a lot of barracking to be done over the course of the event.

The primary school individual championship was so hard fought it wound up with three tied for first place. Sharing the honours were Abbey Restall riding Hawkesbury Park Poetry from Toorak College, Amelia Maree with Tanlee Raphael from Pleasant Street Primary School and Charli Leach on Sunshine, Lolipops and Rainbows from St Johns Euroa.

ABOVE: Amelia Baines of Tintern Grammar and Beauparc Versace. Picture: DEREK O’LEARY

There was just one winner in the senior section. Amelia Tsilfidis from Melbourne Girls Grammar School riding Pride or Gold took the section by two points from Jazi French and Urodel Du Texier from Peninsula Grammar. Theodora Newman and Belle Amie from Toorak College and Anastasia Pakusch on Sienna Fairytale from Cathedral College Wangaratta tied a further two points behind.

The champion team was Toorak Collage, from Tintern Grammar and Gippsland Grammar.

Nambrok/Dennison Primary School, a rural school near Sale, was the highest placed government school, finishing in 27th place of the 164 teams that competed.

When asked how it was possible to manage and event that had 1800 individual scores to be compiled, the coordinator Jamie Harding said “lots of work but a great team made it easy”.

In a first for the event, a special equestrian Olympics for young riders was conducted on the last day.

Eliza Harvey, who coordinated the events said the aim was to give riders with an intellectual disability the opportunity to play sports on their terms.

“To set their goals and dreams and reach them, exceed them and share these moments with the ones they love,” she said.

The Riding for Disabled Association joined in allowing disabled youngsters to compete in English Equitation, Texas Barrel Race, Mug Shuffle, Weaving and Keyhole.

It was a great idea and very well received and supported, and hopefully will happen at other state events.

ABOVE: Jazi French and Urodel Du Texier from Peninsula Grammar. Picture: DEREK O’LEARY
ABOVE: Competitors in the special section Lauren Winbanks, Joanne Cuddy, Lola Paterson, Matilda Zegir and Suellen Berry with the judge Tanya Burnett.

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