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Success at Equestrian State Championships

Rory O'Neill (left) and Sophie Hicks (right) at the Equestrian Interschool State Championships

Equestrianism is a niche sport you only hear a little about in Australia.

This is why we were so excited to have two of our boarding students, Rory O’Neill (Year 12) and Sophie Hicks (Year 7), represent the College at The Equestrian WA (EWA) Interschool State Championships, held during the holidays in Brigadoon.

This event allows school-aged children to represent their schools in a sport not offered in the education system.

The Interschool Championships was held over four days and had an amazing festival atmosphere, with most competitors and their families camping on-site for the duration of the event.

2023 saw one of the largest attendances since the event’s inception, which made for a pretty exciting competition.

Both Rory and Sophie had a very successful four days. The girls placed extremely high in various events, from cross-country jumping, to show jumping, to hunter classes, dressage, and more.  

Here is what Sophie had to say about her experience competing:

It was such a fantastic event, and I had such an incredible time! Phoenix (my horse) and I competed in the 70 cm and 80 cm show jumping classes, and we were lucky enough to get 1st overall in the 70 cm and a few rosettes in the 80 cm. My favourite part of the competition was definitely the feeling of walking into the show jumping arena. I would feel a combination of excitement and fear, and my heart would almost beat out of my chest.

I love competing at these competitions because of the memories you make – not just with your horse but with the amazing new people you meet and get to know along the way. It is also an escape from reality. When I get homesick at boarding, riding completely refreshes my mind, and when I go out for weekend rides, it gives me the courage and motivation to power through the following week. This event was such an amazing experience, and I strongly encourage anyone to come and ask me questions if you are interested in participating next year.

Rory also added:

I love competing with my horses as it’s a great opportunity to show off our strengths as a pair, as well as any new skills we have been working on developing. I think it is often forgotten how much time, effort and hard work is put into this sport, so it’s great to have an opportunity to showcase your efforts. I also love that it allows me to meet others who share my passion, it’s a great opportunity to meet with old friends and make new ones!

My highlight for the week was scoring a new personal best in dressage with my newest mount Denny. I have only had Denny for a few months, and it’s taken me a while to get to know him properly, so it was great to see our improvements as a team reflected. Another highlight over the week was riding senior horse Comanche through his final state championship in the unofficial classes.

We’re incredibly proud of what Rory and Sophie accomplished at the competition, and we can’t wait to see how they go next year! A massive congratulations to them both. 

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