Riders saddle up for interschool competition

St Helen's Ashley Shaw competing in last year's Fraser Coast Interschool Equestrian Competition.
St Helen's Ashley Shaw competing in last year's Fraser Coast Interschool Equestrian Competition. Valerie Horton

STUDENTS will be putting aside their calculators and text books to saddle up in the 2014 Fraser Coast Interschool Equestrian Competition.

Now in its ninth year, the two-day event is designed to give school students the chance to compete in a variety of events and the opportunity to try new disciplines.

"You get the ones who are keen and are in there to win it, but we try to pose it more as an event to come along and have fun," event coordinator Tina Kennedy said.

"There are a lot of interschool programs run by Interschool Queensland with serious competitors, but we wanted something a little bit more laid back where every rider was able to come.

"We were after kids who might not go anywhere besides maybe their local pony club once a year but can bring along their horse and represent their school."

Riverside Christian College hosts the prestigious competition, which starts at Maryborough Showgrounds and Equestrian Park tomorrow - and this year more than 50 schools across Queensland have registered with about 240 riders and horses in five events: hacking, showjumping, sporting, dressage and the Stockman's Challenge.

Fraser Coast schools St Mary's College, Fraser Coast Anglican College and Riverside will be well represented in the stables, while students from Aldridge State High School, Maryborough SHS, Urangan SHS and Xavier Catholic College will also take the reins.

"Every year I think it can't get any bigger, but it has got bigger again," Kennedy said.

"It's good to know people are having fun and coming back.

"We get lots of good feedback saying how much they love the event and love coming here and that's our aim is to make it a fun event for kids."

Riverside edged out Gympie's Victory College and Kingaroy's St Mary's College to retain the highest points trophy last year.

Led by Spencer Hose and Hayley Berg, Riverside remains a major force in the competition, but Kennedy, an equestrian teacher at Riverside, expects this year's race for the title to be even closer.

"We've got a lot of new kids, but I think we're going to have a bit of a challenge for the trophy this year," she said.

"I thought we were going to lose it last year, but we scraped through by the skin of our teeth.

"I think some healthy competition from a couple of other schools this year might knock us off, but it's good to have some competition between schools."

2014 Fraser Coast Interschool Equestrian Competition

WHEN: Tomorrow and Friday

WHERE: Maryborough Showgrounds and Equestrian Park

WHAT: About 240 riders from more than 50 schools across Queensland will compete in five events

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