Maddy Sears (left), 11, of Toowoomba, and Maddy Burnes, 13, of Logan, washing Harmy the horse during the Horseland NSW Hack Championships at the Lismore Showground.
Maddy Sears (left), 11, of Toowoomba, and Maddy Burnes, 13, of Logan, washing Harmy the horse during the Horseland NSW Hack Championships at the Lismore Showground. The Northern Star

Neigh, it's not horseplay

HARMY the horse has a life many humans would envy.

He is groomed, pampered and gets to travel all over the country competing in events that show off his talents, physical attributes and manners.

He also has the undivided love of his 11-year-old owner, Maddy Sears, of Toowoomba.

“I just love everything about him – he's just so cool,” Maddy enthused.

She and Harmy were among the 231 horses and riders in Lismore since Friday competing in the Horseland NSW Hack Championships at the showground.

The competition is one of only two annual events held in country NSW that qualify winners to compete at the 2009 Grand National Show, held at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre.

Horses competing in hack championships are judged on their confirmation, referring to their physical attributes, their paces, manners and appearance as they run through a variety of exercises such as walking, trotting and cantering.

Jessica Stalling, of The Oakes, Sydney, is one rider whose efforts aboard KT Montecito in Lismore earned her a chance to compete at the 2009 Grand National Show.

Competing in the Sydney show is a thrill Miss Stalling has become accustomed to. In 2007, she won the title of Grand Champion.

“I mostly enjoy producing the horses to be the best they can be. You definitely need to form a bond with the horses so they trust you,” she said.

Maddy, who has been riding horses since the age of two, said her parents were both jockeys before they married.

However, she has her heart set on another path.

“I want to be a showjumper when I grow up,” she said.



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