A huge coup for ACK equestrians

19 March 2015

equestrian team1 

The noise of the F18s at the Avalon Airshow failed to dent the determination of ACK's dedicated showjumping team, which pulled off a huge coup on March 1 by taking home the school's crown at Geelong Grammar's showjumping qualifing event.

More than 160 riders took the long journey on GGS's impressive indoor/outdoor arenas for the Victorian Equestrian Interschools Series event but ACK took home the major award, beating Toorak College into second place by a point.

Paul Williams, President of Show Jumping for Equestrian Victoria and resident VEIS course designer, built courses that were challenging and rewarding for the talented field of up-and-coming riders. There was a 50 per cent increase in the number of entries from last year, which highlighted the rapidly expanding interest in the VEIS and in interschool equestrian sport. 

In the Encourage section, Cassidy Neubauer registered a convincing win for Assumption on Running Waters Lleu Llaw with Siobhan Laffan not far away in third on Deejay Aramis.

Assumption’s pocket rocket primary rider Emily Newnham - fittingly, considering the airshow was on, riding Red Baron - put on an air show of her own to take home the Reserve Champion rosette. She also had good rounds on her second mount Nattai Silverado, coming fifth overall and contributing more valuable points to the team score.

The focus then returned to dressage, with ACK hosting its first of two VEIS events of the season on Saturday March 7.

The sun shone brightly at Lancefield Equestrian Reserve for the almost 100 riders at the dressage day, which was also a qualifier for the Northern District Interschools Series. The grounds looked magnificent and the team spirit shown by the ACK equestrians, mounted and unmounted and their families, was a joy to behold.

The P&F worked hard behind the scenes to ensure the canteen did a constant trade and the coffee trailer was, as always, one of the most popular spots on the grounds.

Our dressage aficionados were in their element, but many other team members plaited up, learned their tests and went out to have a go and many recorded promising results. It seems the training on Wednesday nights at Mustad Saddleworld is really paying off.

All in all, ACK came second to Braemar College on the schools leaderboard by just two points after all the tests were completed, which was a terrific effort and one of ACK's best team scores in recent years. Well done, everyone.

Team newcomer Brooke Pearse put on an eye-catching show in the Medium with Revelwood Aston, winning both her tests by good margins and taking home the section championship.

In the Novice section, showjumping aficionado Cailin Mundie showed she can turn her hand to dressage with just as much success, piloting Carlos to the section championship. Haylea Wright was fourth on the ever-consistent Diamond Dot.

Abby Schmitt and Helden Park Stylish were an impressive pairing and took home the Reserve Champion award in the Prelim Secondary B section, with Chloe Ellis and Siobhan Laffan also in the top six. Haylea Wright, Anna Gurnett and Isabella Robertson-Dixon were among the ribbons in the Prelim Secondary A section. Primary school riders and siblings Sophie and Jackson Clifford came 4th and 5th respectively in the prelim primary section.

Equestrian is popular at ACK. But it requires huge commitment from those who ride and train their horses, and parents who do a lot of work behind the scenes and transport the riders and their mounts far and wide for these interschool competitions.

This year, the school continues its valued sponsorship arrangement with Mustad Saddleworld in Kilmore, which ensures team members can have high-level coaching sessions each Wednesday during term in Mustad's indoor arena.

Any student who has their own horse and means of transport and who would like to join the equestrian team should contact the co-ordinator, Mrs Helen Perez.

Leanne Manton - ACK equestrian team committee