We were looking for community spirit, and we found it in spades in our top three applicants, but the judges, our editor Candida Baker; columnist, coach and eventer Charlie Brister, and coach Charlotte Inglis were all unanimous in their opinion that 18-year-old trick rider Billie Morgan stood out from the crowd.
We were thrilled with the quality of the applicants, and we would like to thank everybody who applied. We hope you enjoy reading about our top three as much as we did.
Watch this space, as they say, while we bring you news of what the scholarship will mean to Billie Morgan, who was thrilled to hear that she’d won.
Billie, from Bundaberg, Queensland, grew up in a horse-loving family and began riding lessons when she was just six years old. It was while she was still very young that she saw a video of a trick rider in action, and from that moment, Billie knew exactly what she wanted to become.
Now 18-years-old, Billie‘s long-held trick riding dream began three years ago when she started to learn the ropes. She has since trained her own horse and has purchased a trick riding saddle.
But Billie isn’t just about pursuing her own goals, she likes to help others along the way. A regular assistant coach volunteer at the Bundaberg Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Centre, she last year won two national RDA awards in recognition of her efforts.
Billie hopes to inspire others to pursue their dreams by achieving her own, one of which is to become a professional trick rider and travel around Australia performing and teaching, and ultimately to perform in America.
Melinda Rechichi: Originally from the USA, Melinda Rechichi arrived in Australia with her family at the age of four. Her obsession with horses began as a pint-sized child, when a 17hh Thoroughbred came to stay in the family’s backyard. It was the horse’s owner that taught Melinda to ride, and eventually she got a pony of her own. Pony Club followed, then eventing, and, through the years, a series of off-the-track horses which she re-schooled as jumpers or eventers – some with great success.
Right now, Melinda is the proud owner of Sylvestro, the warmblood she bought as a 10–month–old foal that was placed third at last year’s Tamworth World Cup Rising Stars event and won this year’s Amateur at the Caboolture World Cup.
Melinda’s love affair with horses remains central, and she happily confesses to being in awe of all the wonderful events and people in her life – all there because of horses.
Lily Dessart: Thirteen-year-old Lily Dessart is a young rider with a big future ahead. Hailing from the Eyre Peninsula, she’s competed in local agricultural shows, gymkhanas, hunting events, team penning, and ranch sorting. Following last year’s successes – which marked her first year of competition – she has been exploring liberty training with Theory, her standardbred mare, while getting to know her new cow pony, Maple, with whom she hopes to compete in the 2020 Lower Lakes Stockman’s Challenge.
Having experienced a variety of disciplines, Lily has settled on cattle work and obstacle challenges as her preferred areas, but she is also keen to learn more about liberty work and to explore the benefits this offers in strengthening the relationship between horse and human, something which she has found to be of great value in overcoming personal obstacles.