Deziree Roos' rise to a state equestrian championship
DEZIREE Roos' winning run at the Pony Club of Queensland Equitation and Showjumping State Championships is an important lesson in determination to everyone.
The 22-year-old won equitation gold, achieved the highest overall score over two days, and made the Queensland team.
It is the latest win of the young rider's career, and adds to a resume that includes a national Interschool championship and countless other achievements at various levels of competition.
It was not always that way.
Roos was blunt when asked of her formative years in the sport, when she learned her trade at the then-Dundowran School of Riding.
"The early days, terribly,” she said when asked of her earliest days on horseback.
"I fell off more than I actually completed. I think that's what made me a better rider. It makes you a bit tougher, and you have to be tough to be good at it.”
Roos' turning point came when she and a grey horse named Quan travelled to the Australian Interschool Championships in Victoria.
"When I was maybe 14, I had a grey horse named Quan, and we won,” she said. "That was the start of success for me.
"I was over the moon, it was unexpected. We went there for experience but to get a first place was unreal for me then.”
She has carved out a strong career in the time since. In addition to showjumping, she has ridden trackwork for horse trainers and currently retrains broken or problem horses and educates them to be safe for children to ride.
That's how she met the tough, strong-willed, Thomas, who she rode to victory at Maryborough.
"I happened to be given Thomas by some local people who were training him as a racehorse, "she said. "He was very naughty.
"I rode Thomas's trackwork at Torbanlea, and when he was retired they didn't know what to do with him and I said I'd have him.
"He turned out to be the best horse I've had.
"He's not your average, laid-back horse anyone can ride - he's a handful, a big handful. It's taken three years to be able to compete him, but now he knows his job he loves it. As soon as I step in that arena with him he's 100% helping me.”
Roos has always ridden for Hervey Bay Pony Club, but she now lives and works in Beaudesert.
That provided another challenge to both she and Thomas, but the former thoroughbred's best quality - his heart - shone through when it matters most.
"As much as a full-on horse as he is, he has a big heart and will do anything to get me safely around that course,” Roos said. "(Riders face) everything from pressure, stress, environment changes - coming into this we were flooded. I live in Beaudesert, so I was lucky enough to get here (at all).
"Money is a big factor, we don't have the same support other sports do, and that can restrict a lot of talented riders. You have to be driven, you have to be motivated, or you'll never make it.”