Standards high in stock horse event
The temperature for the Midwest Australian Stock Horse inaugural challenge at the Moonyoonooka Polocrosse Grounds was only topped by the number of riders who turned up on beautifully presented and well trained horses.
Despite the very warm weather, more than 40 riders competed in a range of challenge events, displaying a high level of horsemanship ranging from junior to adult riders.
The event began with the stock horse hack class and Bonfield bounce being run simultaneously on adjacent fields.
The stock horse hack class provides an opportunity for the riders to show off their horses as they complete a figure eight pattern at certain paces.
The horse must be well presented and well trained to achieve this.
This event was won by Anna Kennedy on her horse Springbrook Kneedeep, while the junior division was won by Hannah Reay on Hylux Naarla.
The Bonfield bounce requires horse and rider to complete a zigzag pattern while jumping a line of hay bales or drums as they move back and forth between the pegs.
This is a timed trial so speed is of the essence, as well as fast turning and jumping ability.
This event was won by Amie Smith on Chamies Ever After, while Alix Kennedy won the junior division on Springbrook Rhythm.
As the famous Geraldton sea breeze blew in providing welcome relief from the heat, the bending race and barrel race were run, with horses churning up the dust at high speed in both events. The bending race involves competitors racing a course of pegs spaced 6m apart.
The winner of this event was Hayley Smythe on Bimbimbee Brigadier, while the winning junior rider was Alix Kennedy on Springbrook Rhythm.
The barrel race is a timed event in which riders complete a pattern around 44-gallon drums placed in a triangle.
The event was won by Lauren Cant on Josie Acres, while the fastest junior was Alix Kennedy on Springbrook Rhythm.
The next event was the working stock horse, which requires riders to complete a circular pattern at both a trot and canter, while demonstrating simple and flying changes and haunch turns.
The winner of this event was Anna Kennedy on Springbrook Kneedeep and Hannah Reay on Hylux Naarla won the junior event.
The final event - the time trial - involves competitors navigating a set course in the fastest time possible.
Obstacles include opening and closing a gate, going over a jump, twisting between two closely spaced drums and turning quickly over poles laid on the ground, while dodging witches' hats.
The winner of the open time trial was Anna Kennedy on Springbrook Vivace and the junior winner was Hannah Reay on Hylux Naarla.
The open high point horse winner for the day was Hayley Smythe riding Bimbimbee Brigadier. In the juniors, the first runner-up was Kate Burton on Lilly and second runner-up was Abbi Burton on Bugs.
President of The Mid West Australian Stock Horse branch Phil Cant said: "The day was very enjoyable and it was great to see a wide range of competitors out having a go at events they don't usually compete in.
"It was very encouraging to see the numbers of riders we did, especially the junior riders.
"A special thanks to all our volunteers who helped out on the day, our judge Karen Mori who travelled up from the south to judge for us, and our very generous sponsors who donated both cash and excellent prizes."
After the horses were washed and fed, drinks and a sausage sizzle were enjoyed by competitors and spectators.
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