Saddling up for Equitana

MIKAYLA, Harry and Chelsea Semmens will show their wares on the big stage, selected to perform at Equitana to be held in Melbourne later this year.

Together with their kelpie Willy, they will perform during nine-minute intervals in the main arena, while judges deliberate on The Way of The Horse Challenge contestants.

Roseridge Stockhorse Stud is supplying the young horses for the competition, with the children approved to perform after impressing an Equitana official while showing her around the Roseridge property prior to challenge auditions.

Vicki Semmens said Mikayla, Harry and Chelsea would perform a daily nine minute show, comprising tricks, during the three days.

“There’s a bit of a storyline to it, but we don’t want to give too much away,” she said.

Equitana, to be held at Melbourne Showgrounds in November, is regarded as Australia’s most successful equine exhibition.

Challenge competitors will be assessed on aspects such as saddle and bridle training, desensitizing methods, control both under saddle and on the ground, the connection achieved during the session, and the emotional and physical state of horse during and after session.

Competitors were given an hour to show judges their methods during the audition period.

Facing stiff competition, Seaton’s Tabatha Moroney was unable to make it to the finals.

The youngest of finalists at 28 years of age, the former dental nurse is a true jack of all trades, having competed from a young age in all sorts of disciplines.

Moroney enjoyed success as a rider in everything from mounted games, dressage, and jumping through to eventing, campdrafting, polocrosse, and showing.

At age 23, she was asked to take on a young horse for a friend. Moroney did this as a favour, and before she knew it she was so much in demand she went from full time dental nursing to full time trainer and clinician.

Moroney said she never would have thought at age 28, she would be doing the job she dreamed of as a little girl.

Challenge competitors will be judged by a panel of renowned experts including legendary horseman Ian Francis, clinician Sandi Simons, reining champion Rob Lawson, cutting judge Dominic Montesanti, and Equitana Australia event manager Marketa Mensikova.