I was just a little girl when I first saw someone trick riding, and somehow knew that that was what I was born to be. To me trick riding is fast, beautiful, hard, graceful, dangerous, bold, and different, and I wanted to do it more than I can say
I’m sure a parent’s worst nightmare is hearing their little girl telling them that she wants to hang upside down from an out of control, galloping horse! Although now that I’m a trick rider myself, I know there’s much more to it than just that, and fortunately for me my parents managed to swallow their fear and be supportive of my ambition.
Trick riding is not a common horse sport, so trying to find someone nearby who taught trick riding seemed almost impossible. Every chance I got I searched for a teacher and watched YouTube trick riding videos, dreaming that one day the person doing the tricks would be me.
A few years later, my sister went searching for a coach for me and finally located Hollie Shiels from HLS Trick Riding & Equestrian Services on the Gold Coast. I didn’t know my family had actually found someone until Christmas of 2015. Yep, it was on t Christmas morning when I was handed an envelope with a letter saying that I would be having my very first trick riding lesson with Hollie in just a few weeks!
Now, four years later, I have my own trick riding saddle and I’ve trained Brady, one of my horses, for trick riding, which has allowed me to practice at home. Because Hollie lives five hours away from me, my biggest barrier was being able to afford lessons with her more than a couple of times a year.
The HorseVibes Delivering Dreams Scholarship gave me the opportunity to have extra lessons with Hollie, which in turn has gone a long way to helping me reach my goals. Hollie taught me new tricks, as well as how to improve my techniques on the tricks I’d been developing and practicing at home.
From the lessons that were part of scholarship, I’ve learned three new tricks – the one-foot stand, side back bend, and Cupid’s arrow. I’ve also been working on perfecting ten other tricks – the quarter and half shoulder stand, suicide drag, reverse and forward fender, horizontal, scissors, vaults, flank drag and half-stroud.
Working with Hollie also taught me some important trick riding basics. For example: if at first you don’t succeed, rather than trying to muscle into the right spot while on a moving horse, get out of the trick and better position yourself before taking another shot at it. I learned that the hard way when, after diving into a trick incorrectly, I tried to pull myself to the right spot. Twice I tried and twice I fell awkwardly to the ground. Lesson learned!
My plans for the future are definitely to start my own business performing and teaching trick riding but before taking that step, I want to learn as much as I can in the industry. Travelling to America to meet and learn from some of the best in the business has been a dream of mine for a very long time. However, travelling half-way around the world (to follow what I used to think of as an impossible dream) sounds pretty crazy, but when you find something you are passionate about and you’re ready to work towards your goals, amazing things can happen.
For me, determination and some very supportive and wonderful people have helped me turn my dreams into reality. I am now planning a trip to America, and will very soon be leaving so that I can learn from some of the amazing trick riders there.
The HorseVibes Delivering Dreams Scholarship could not have come at a better time for me, as working with Hollie has helped me to improve my skills before going overseas to learn even more.