The hard work behind Hack Championships showhorse glamour
RIDERS of all ages and their beloved equines converged at the 2015 Northern NSW Showhorse Hack Championships over the weekend at Lismore Showground.
Competing for glory were 127 riders with 297 horses from all over New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, president of the Northern NSW Showhorse Association, Cherie Jennings said.
The Championships, which are one of the largest Showhorse Championships in Australia, was a qualifier for the Grand National, so those riders who ended up in the top slots at the end of the weekend would be off to the national competition in Sydney next March.
This year's Championships was a year of firsts as well, Ms Jennings said.
For the first year, the competition was being live streamed via Local Horse Magazine's website, and, in another first, the Association held a successful children's entertainment night on the Friday.
As many of the riders travel to Lismore and stay at the Showground during the competition, it was nice to be able to put on a night for the families, with a disco, face painting and giveaways.
But it's not all horsing around; a lot of work goes into competing.
While a lot of people are attracted to the sport because of the glamour - the fashion of both rider and horse, the grooming and the elegant strides - owning a showhorse is more work than it looks.
"It's a big commitment - you can't get a showhorse and then see it once a week," Ms Jennings said.
It takes daily work and months of preparation to get horse and rider ready to compete.
One young rider, Billie Johnstone, from Teven, saw years of hard work result in a good outcome when she was awarded the Champion in the Bordin Bros Steel Fabrication Open Large Show Hunter Pony class on Saturday.
The 15-year-old has been riding for five years and competing for four with the Northern NSW Showhorse Association.
Riding with Daniel Retschlag's horse, Binnowie Rave Review, Billie said she was "overwhelmed, happy and excited" to have received such an award, showing that a lot of hard work really does pay off.