A DAY before the official start of the 150th Royal Bathurst Show, the main arena was a hive activity as 55 equestrian competitors were put to the test.
Bathurst Pony Club members were among those competing for top honors on Thursday in a range of activities including dressage, show jumping, sporting and ring events.
Club president Clare Jonker said the competition, which is part of the show’s official line up of events, had attracted a range of riders from across the region.
“There’s 55 competing this year in a one-day event leading up to the show,” she said.
“A lot of these riders will compete during the show as well.”
Bathurst Pony Club’s members range in age from three to 24 years old, and among them was Makaylah Shirvill, 13.
“I’m doing the ring events and some sporting events,” she said.
“The hardest thing is trying to get your horse to go at a good speed and at a good rhythm.”
Prior to their show jumping event, Courtney Roberts, 13, and Hannah Jonker, 11, were keen to walk the arena and check out the jumps.
“We were walking the ring to find out where all the jumps are,” Hannah said.
“You need to walk it otherwise if you don’t walk the course and then you go into the arena on your horse to jump it then you don’t even know where to jump and you’ll probably get eliminated.”
Courtney said competitors will walk the jumps in the same direction and order in which they would ride it.
With years of riding experience under their belts, the girls agreed that nerves can play a big part in how they perform during competitions.
“If you’re nervous, your horse is nervous,” Hannah said.
While Courtney said: “If you’re happy you sit in a different position [on the horse] than if you’re nervous”.
Makaylah had a busy afternoon of events on Thursday and was keen for more speed.
“Getting fast when you’re going back to the finish line, you need to get as fast as you can so you get the quickest time. That’s the hardest bit,” she said.
Riders are allocated points to each rider during events.