TAKING out a champion boy rider prize at the Royal Canberra Show was a great achievement for O'Connell's Harrison Galloway-Smith, but what made it more impressive was that he did it against experienced opponents.
Galloway-Smith, 8, showed experience beyond his years by winning his class and then going on to perform for the champion prize against the under 11s and under 13s class victors.
He then outdid his two competitors in the contest for champion honours - an impressive effort against older opponents.
His mother, Vanessa, said he was ecstatic to finish with the top prize.
"He just goes out there and tries his best and he's quite an accomplished rider for how young he his. He's used to competing against adults anyway," she said.
"He's been so proud over the last couple of days for what he's been able to achieve. His little brother, Oliver, is six and he's coming along well too. He was third out of 25 in his leading rein and he'll go into the boy rider classes next year.
"They've both been competing since they've been about five years old and they're going along so well."
Show riding bears resemblance to dressage, in that horses are still required to perform across a variety of paces and movements, but it's also a test of riders' memory skills and their ability to learn quickly.
"In show riding they give you the routine then and there, so in some aspects it's harder than dressage because you can prepare your routine. For an eight-year-old to perform a complex routine is quite an achievement," his mother said.
"Not only does he have to get his horse to do the right thing but he has to remember the routine he's given two minutes beforehand."
Galloway-Smith has also been named for the New South Wales team to compete at the Equestrian Australia Show Rider Championships at the Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre from March 10 to 13.
That selection came from finishing top three in his category at the Equestrian NSW Horse of the Year event.
The Sydney Royal Easter Show (April 8-19) is also on the agenda.
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