5 March 2015
Thanks to its fantastic team spirit, the ACK equestrian team was the envy of all other schools at the Victorian Equestrian Interschools Series showjumping qualifier at Ayr Hill on February 20. Almost all competitors and their support crews camped at the Officer grounds the night before and gathered as a group to cheer on each other as they negotiated the challenging jumps courses.
There were some seasoned competitors among the team as well as some talented young guns, and all acquitted themselves well over the various courses. Some horse and rider combinations were relatively new and inexperienced or were coming back into fitness after a long summer off.
Siobhan Laffan and DE Risky Business came 4th in the Improvers grand prix and ended up 5th overall for the section. She then leapt onto Deejay Aramis and came 3rd in the two-phase event of the Encourage section. The pocket rocket Emily Newnham, a junior member who's only in year 6, took two horses and rode confidently all day, coming home 5th in the two phase of the Freshman's Primary section. The showjumpers are all sure to improve as they gain more experience.
For the dressage riders, the series kicked off the week before with the Geelong Grammar School event at Corio. A team of two headed down for ACK, Haylea Wright taking the ever-consistent Dotty (Diamond Dot) and new student Brooke Pearse (welcome, Brooke!) and her eye-catching horse Revelwood Aston.
The girls were in the Novice Senior section and both did exceptionally well in their dressage tests, with Brooke taking out 1st place overall and Haylea 7th for the day in a large field. The girls did so well they lifted ACK to 5th best performed school overall on the day. What a fantastic effort; well done, girls!
Equestrian is a popular sport at ACK but it requires a huge commitment from not only the boys and girls who ride and train but for their parents who do a lot of work behind the scenes and transport the riders and their mounts far and wide for these interschool competitions.
The school is continuing its valued sponsorship arrangement with Mustad Lowden's Saddleworld in Kilmore, which allows the team to take high-level coaching sessions each Wednesday in Lowden's indoor arena. The committee is investigating whether these coaching sessions can be extended to include showjumping training and other clinics.
The team is looking forward to the dressage event Assumption will be hosting at Lancefield Equestrian Reserve on Saturday.
Any student who has their own horse and means of transport and would like to join the equestrian team should contact the coordinator, Mrs Helen Perez firstname.lastname@example.org
Leanne Manton - ACK equestrian team