Ridley takes on national championship

Riders from Margaret River Senior High School travelled to Perth during the April holidays to participate in the Saddles Plus Interschool Equestrian Festival.

Year 9 student Samara Jackman and year 10 student Jessica Ridley competed in the event, which enables the state's top youth riders compete for State Age Titles in Dressage, Jumping, Show Horse and Combined Training.

The top riders from this event then have the opportunity to be selected for the WA National team.

It was a long wait for results with a Gala Presentation evening and National Team announcement held during the July school holidays.

Jessica and CP Balmain, who is an off the track thoroughbred and raced under the name of Air Dream King, won the Highest Points award for OTT horses at the State Championships.

Jessica and her horse CP Balmain, better known to his friends as Tigger, were selected to represent WA at the 2019 Marcus Oldham Australian Interschool Equestrian Championships in the discipline of Secondary Show Hunter, Preliminary and Novice Dressage and as a reserve for the Secondary Combined Training 60cm team.

This year, the Australian Championships will take place at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre, a purpose-built facility to host the equestrian events for the Sydney Olympics.

The championships will take place from Friday, September 27, with the opening ceremony and competition from Saturday, September 28, to Wednesday, October 2.

Jessica has said she is looking forward to riding in this amazing venue.

The primary objective of Equestrian Australia is the development of horse sports from the participation level to the high performance level.

Interschool comprises a competition and educational pathway for young athletes to participate in equestrian sport during their primary and secondary school years.

It is the largest equestrian grassroots program delivered nationally in Australia, and has expanded this year to include a team of eight New Zealand riders.

Disciplines that riders compete in are the Olympic sports of Dressage, Show Jumping and Eventing along with the national disciplines of Show Horse, Show Hunter and Combined Training.

Due to the distance to Sydney, Jessica won't be taking her horse over but will be utilising a pool horse for the event.

The pool horses are supplied by Equestrian NSW and while the best fit of horse to rider is made, it is still not the same as riding your own horse at a competition.

We wish Jessica all the very best for this year's competition as she leaves for Sydney on the weekend to get to know her horse for the event.