CHILDHOOD dreams have been surpassed for Maffra’s Rebekah Carrolan, who took out Best First Year Competitor at the prestigious Garryowen equestrian event at the Royal Melbourne Show last month.
Having wowed judges with her performance on London Court – an former racehorse hand-picked from Perth three years ago – Carrolan said she was still letting the accolade soak in.
“Regardless of how much preparation you put in, it all comes down to how things go on the day,” she said.
“I knew he had done a really good workout and that I did the best that I could do, and our gear was pretty good, so it didn’t really matter whether we got a ribbon or not, but to get my name read out and stand in front of the crowd like that was pretty special.”
Considered the ‘Melbourne Cup of showing events’, riding in the Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout had been a goal of Carrolan’s since her primary school days.
Competing in an overall field of 36 competitors, Rebekah and London Court (‘Lenny’) outscored seven other first-time competitors for her prized sash. “The competition in that eight was very strong,” Carrolan said.
“Just in that group there was at least two or three national winning riders and four or five national winning horses.
“People were making comments that it had been one of toughest first year line ups they’ve ever seen.
“But I wasn’t too nervous because I didn’t have too much expectation on myself … people in the stable beforehand were saying I looked fairly relaxed for what I was about to do.”
With her heart set on a career in show riding, Carrolan already has her eyes on topping her achievement next year.
“One of my lifetime goals was always to perform in the Garryowen, now that I’ve achieved that I’ll be aiming to get a better prize next year,” she said.
“I guess I’ll be aiming to get into the top six, and winning it would be the ultimate goal.
“But I’ll have to go back and qualify at all the local shows again, so it’s not going to be until about August next year that we know whether we are back in the Garryowen.”
Carrolan took the opportunity to thank her mother, family and friends, including past champion Kerryn Connors, for their support throughout her preparation.