Two members from Avon Valley Showjumping and Pony Club have just returned from trips of a lifetime competing on the National and International Stages.
Vanessa Davis and Annie Herzer who have been members of the Northam based club earlier in the year completed their gruelling C Star exam which enabled them to be eligible for selection to compete at these high level competitions.
Annie and her horse, Mizzy, competed in Prince Philip Mounted Games at the Pony Club National Championships at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre in early October.
Annie and her team of fellow Western Australians competed in two days of competition against teams from Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.
Despite the ponies not feeling fresh from the five days of travel across the Nullabor and the heavy rain that faced them on the second day of competition, the Western Australian team came away as Reserve Champions.
At the completion of the Pony Club Nationals, Annie flew out to Christchurch in New Zealand to represent Australia in the International Mounted Games Nations Championship.
Only five riders get selected from the whole of Australia, so it was an honour to be able to wear the green and gold.
Team Australia was coached by Annie's mother, Angela Herzer, who was also selected.
Every team except New Zealand was given loan ponies to compete on.
As they were the host country, NZ were able to ride their own horses for the competition.
With roughly three hours training on unfamiliar ponies, the competition commenced at Trent's Estate in Christchurch.
Teams from New Zealand, America and South Africa raced for three days over 64 different fast and furious races which required speed, agility and good hand and eye co-ordination.
Team Australia placed third after the two New Zealand teams. Some of the weather conditions were also very wet and cold.
Upon returning home, Annie would like to thank a few people for helping her make this trip a reality.
She would like to thank Lucy's Tearooms for the continuous support, and for putting on a roast dinner night to help raise funds.
Also a big thank you to Avon Valley Mitsubishi for the sponsoring her.
Thank you to Pony Club Western Australia and Australian Mounted Games Association for the opportunity to compete in these high level competitions.
Finally thank you to Avon Valley Show Jumping and Pony Club and her family for the continuous support over the years.
Annie would not be able to compete in these competitions without their ongoing support.
On October 6 Vanessa flew out to Sydney to compete in the Tri Nations Cup, which is a showjumping competition held over three competitive rounds involving Australia, China and France.
It was held in conjunction with the Pony Club Nationals event at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre.
Vanessa was selected to ride on the Chinese team as they did not have enough riders to make up their team.
Since Vanessa had already competed in China only a year earlier, she decided to put her name forward to be a part of their team and was selected.
The four riders from each team were competing on horses which were loaned to them by New South Wales equestrians.
Team members were given a short time to try out their pool horses which was rather challenging as they only had 20 minutes to ride their horse before their first competition.
The competition was held as three separate events over three nights in the lovely indoor arena.
The highlight for Vanessa was obtaining an individual third place on the third night of competition.
At the end of the three nights all the riders' scores were added up and the Chinese team was crowned as the winners, with Australia in second place and France third.
Vanessa said it was an incredible experience and she loved every moment of it.