DESPITE some very challenging weather conditions which included ice cold winds and unexpectedly low temperatures and rain, the Snowy Mountains Interschools' Equestrian Competition was 'full steam ahead' last weekend, running this year for four days, from Thursday, May 1 to Sunday, May 4.
This competition, which is one of the major Interschools' Equestrian Competitions in NSW is run by Snowy Mountains Grammar School, and attracts some 160 riders from as far away as Sydney and the South Coast.
This year we had riders from 45 schools ranging in age from Kindergarten to Year 12, and for the first time, we welcomed our first disabled rider, Sophie Wintel, from Narooma High School.
Sophie competed in the Assisted division and it was wonderful to see the sheer pleasure on her face as she rode her beautiful pony around.
The event is staged at The Station, and after recent rains, the venue looked magnificent, and the accommodation and facilities were a welcome addition for families and their horses.
This year, the program was further expanded to include a One Day Event, and this proved very popular for riders. Over the four days they competed in Cross Country, Dressage, Showjumping, an Interschools Challenge, a Stockman's Challenge, Sporting and Gymkhana events.
Features this year, included the Final of the Barrel Race, won by Daniel Byrnes from SMGS, and the Fancy Dress Teams Event which was contested by a huge number of students, in teams of varying sizes and all in colourful and well thought out costumes.
The judges had a particularly hard time determining a winner as all the entries were outstanding.
The final winners were 101 Dalmatians from SMGS, closely followed by the Circus Troupe from St Pats in Cooma.
Other awards included the Overall Individual High Point Score which was won by young Caitlin Reid from Bermagui Primary School.
Other divisional winners of the pointscore were Frankie Dennis from JCS, Cassie Nicholls from SMGS, Emily Quodling from St Patricks Cooma, Natasha Doherty from Karrabar High School, Sarah Davies from St Clares College in Canberra and Sabrina Mower from SMGS.
The Overall Award for the Stockman's Challenge was won by Breanna Arnold from Jindabyne Central School.
The Novice Dressage Tests were won by Alyssa Hughes from Trinity College in Canberra, and the most successful showjumpers were Lane Clarke from Bega High School and Caitlin Reid.
The winners in the One Day Event were Victoria Doak from Radford College and Choeli Cooper from SMGS
The most successful School's Award went to Snowy Mountains Grammar School who also took out the Smartest School on Parade.
The Snowy Mountains Grammar P&F provided wonderful food and drink for families throughout the four days and the Year 12 students from SMGS had their drinks stand in operation for the duration.
An event like this does not happen without helpers and volunteers to assist and run each of the events and to erect all the equipment for each discipline and then to pack it all away only to replace it with different gear for the following day.
A special thanks must be sent out to all those students from Snowy Mountains Grammar who assisted each day and to the parents and siblings who did their bit is making things happen willingly and without delay.
In summary, a well-run competition enjoyed by all and a display of wonderful horsemanship and sportsmanship by the young riders of the future.
Mrs Sue West
Director of Senior School