Equestrian Sports: Theres soo many more than just Dressage and Jumping to pick from..

When it comes to horse riding as a serious sport, most people think of Dressage, Show Jumping or Eventing as the only options. But they're not the only horse sports that lead to national and international level competition!  To help you find some riding goals outside the traditional Olympic sports, over the next few months we will inspire you with a variety of extraordinary professionals across a range of disciplines to help you decide which ones you would like to try! (most will be able to be tried at The Saddle Camp and some like cow sports can be arranged as special events with enough interest!) 

This month it's all about Endurance!
Most people think of Endurance and think of car or motorbike racing, or they've heard its just a really long trail ride! Whilst Endurance is a test of riding through bush and other varying terrain like a trail ride, when your aim is to be the first to return through the start gate after 20, 40, 80, 160 or even 400km, to complete the distance and still pass a vet check is a win in itself!

We asked April Newman (2015 Australian points, distance, one horse/ one rider lightweight champion and on the way to becoming the 2018 middleweight NSW distance champion)  why choose endurance? 

"I believe you can learn more about your horse than in any other discipline in Endurance. You'll get to ride through some of the most amazing countryside on horseback at sunrise, make life-long mates that you'll get to camp out with at every ride and the best part; you don't need the most expensive or educated horse to do it - or do well at it for that matter! There is no need for the most expensive gear nor do you need to be the best educated in riding - as long as you are balanced with your horse, are kind and willing to listen to your horses needs you can make it to being a professional Endurance rider!" 

April was home-schooled as a child and had to work her way into horse ownership. She started with an apprenticeship as a Chef to save money for her first horse (an aged Grey Stock Horse mare named Bikkie). She rode regularly just practicing in her paddock and surrounding rural roads until she saved enough money for a few lessons. Working her way up, April then purchased her float (that she still tows today!) followed by her tow car - Rhonda the Rodeo. After completing her Chef's apprenticeship she realised that the restaurant life was not for her and headed to the NSW South Coast to work on an Endurance Farm - already in love with the sport she was offered a position only due to her passion and willingness to learn all she could about Endurance! April's highest acheivements are on her own faithful mare "Tarnie AKA The Pit Pony" - the $500 pony that went on to be ranked #1 point horse and distance horse in 2014 under Aprils guidance. From this she was offered the proud position of Head Trainer at her stud and still competes Tarnie even though she regularly competes on her farms horses as well. It just goes to show; when you have a dream and a passion for something, all it takes is a little hard work to make it happen!