Words by Charlotte Phillips
Photography unless stated Rachel Phillips
Well, what a fabulous time our family had at the inaugural Australian Youth Championships in October! It was easily the most fun we had had at an Arabian show, and we’re counting down the days until next year’s competition.
It was always going to be a bit of a competition, not because there were competitors from most states of Australia – but simply as both my sister and I were in the same age group for the first time ever. And, for the first time, we were both riding derivative Arabians. I competed on my Arabian Warmblood Aloha Gladiator (Aloha Majestic King x Aloha Embrace), also known as ‘Russell’, and my sister, Madeleine, competed on her Arabian Pony, Sarahn Superstar (Woranora Tempest x Sarahn Destiny), known as ‘Kenny’. Russell is only five years of age and although he has done quite a bit of lower lever dressage in his training, this was his first hacking show. Kenny, on the other hand, had done lots of hacking with his previous rider. However, this was his first competition with a child rider, 13-year old Madeleine. The challenge was on!
|Madeleine on Sarahn Superstar. Credit Glenys Lilley|
|Madeleine and Kenny|
The first day consisted of handler classes, rider classes, and breed and hacking classes. I was extremely lucky to win Champion Led Hack in my first event, and Madeleine placed third. So the day started extremely well, although Russell had quite a few ‘young horse’ moments, trying to come to terms with 10+ horses on the ring at each time. However, he held his own and did well enough to obtain a ribbon in every class he entered. Not only was I proud of myself and the training I have done so far with him, I was just so proud of my young horse and how he handled most of the pressure. Madeleine also did well – she also won a ribbon in every single class. Some were broad ribbons, some were not – but regardless, it was a fabulous first show for this team as well.
|Madeleine and Kenny in the led class.|
The best thing about the first day was simply that it didn’t really FEEL like a competition. It’s hard to explain, but most of the time when we are out at shows, things feel very competitive and sometimes it isn’t as much fun as we would like. This time, it was so much fun going around all of the events with all of the other kids on their Arabians, that you sort of forgot it was a competition, and it turned into just a fun day out on horses – who just happened to all look amazing, and we looked smart in our show clothing!
|Charlotte Phillips and Kody Dertell ready for the Hobby Horse Championships!|
The night time entertainment was also great. We all dressed up to compete in the Hobby Horse Championships on Saturday night and had an absolute blast with our little stick ponies, going over jumps, doing pretend workouts, and basically just having a laugh with the parents all laughing at us! Our little group of four – myself and Madeleine with Jessica and Kody Dertell – dressed up as Mounted Police officers; of course, we won first prize for our outfits.
The second day of competition was a sporting and Hunter jumping day and although it was a really hot day, every horse at the event competed in every class. It was so funny to watch the show horses do things such as bending, barrels and small jumps. Russell looked amazing doing his just-learnt flying changes around the bending poles and around the barrels. It was just so much fun, and Madeleine and I laughed our entire way around the courses, which made for some entertaining viewing when I watched the videos back!
|Charlotte with Russell|
I would like to say a huge thank you to the entire Arabian Horse Society of Australia (AHSA) Committee who organised the event – it was completely geared towards children, and children of every level. I know that all of the parents also had a great time, as they were not stressed. The venue was great, and the owners couldn’t do enough for us. At night, there was a bar and all the adults got together and had a couple of wines or beers together. Mum really enjoyed it, and promised me that we will be one of the first shows we enter next year – I cannot wait!
|Charlotte on Aloha Gladiator. Credit Glenys Lilley|
|Madeleine and Sarahn Superstar. Credit Glenys Lilley|
|Charlotte with the AHSA photoboard.||Madeleine & Charlotte with the AHSA photoboard.|