A fun day of horsemanship

IF YOU love horses, March 22 - 23 is a weekend to mark on your calendar. Grab the family and take a trip out to Jindabyne Equestrian Resort to watch what promises to be a fun day of horsemanship brought to you by the Snowy Mountains Western Riders Association.

The Association was formed in 2006 by a small group of local Quarter Horse enthusiasts from the High Country who saw the need for a local official western riding club which would bring more people into the sport.

The SMWRA became an official affiliate of the Australian Quarter Horse Association in 2006 and has been growing ever since and now has members from all over NSW and VIC.

Featuring horses and ponies of all shapes, sizes and breeds, there are 158 events in which to participate. There will be classes for Western, English and Pony breeds as well as "Have A Go" classes for beginners and first timers.

There are led classes for the tiniest of tots to enjoy and "Over 50yo" classes for the young-at-heart. Riding For The Disabled classes are also available.

All place getters at least up to fourth place will receive ribbons. The major sponsor is R.M. Williams and $50 gift cards and RM Gold buckle belts will be awarded to winners of select classes as well as trophies, sashes rosettes and horse gear from local sponsors including South East Rural Supplies, Cooma.

Day one will feature "Reining" which is a fast sport where the rider guides the horse through a series of maneuvers at speed, seemingly without effort, culminating in fast spins and a "sliding stop" where the horse gallops, slams on the brakes, drops his bum and slides across the sand on his hind legs.

After the reining is the "Trail" event where competitors guide their horse over and through a series of obstacles such as a gate, bridge and poles at different gaits and even opens a mailbox.

And don't miss the barrel racing and pole bending for all levels.

On Sunday, the events begin with "Halter" and "Showmanship" classes, which is where highly groomed and polished horses are divided by breed and gender are led around the arena and judged on their conformation and presentation.

For fun, they have added a Fancy Dress class where you can dress yourself and your pony up however you want and compete for a prize. This class is only limited by your imagination.

Western Pleasure and English discipline classes such as Hunter Under Saddle and Hacking are also on Saturday and showcase each rider's technical abilities to being their horses to gait.

There will be professional photographers present on both days to take pictures of you and your horse and a slideshow on Saturday evening.

There is something for everyone and the SMWRA looks forward to seeing you there.

For more details, please visit the SMWRA website www.smwra.com .au. Or call Gail Burgess on 0488 363 323.

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