Hailing from the NSW Hunter Valley, meet July’s Young Rider, 15-year-old Oliver Barrett. Son of international event riders Craig and Prue Barrett, Oliver has been riding since he was able to walk.
“Growing up with parents who are into eventing has rubbed off on me,” he admits with a smile.
Oliver, who is packing quite a punch on the eventing scene, competes on two beautiful horses and has shared considerable success with them both.
“My first horse, Sandhills Special is a 13-year-old grey mare bred by my parents. Special stands at 16.1 hand high and is a Thoroughbred cross warmblood. Then there’s Ballyhoo, a 14-year-old off the track bay gelding Thoroughbred standing at 16hh,” he says.
“I recently took both horses to Melbourne’s Concours Complet International (CCI) to compete in the two-star Junior class. We had some success, with Sandhills Special coming first and Ballyhoo securing eighth place.”
Given that 25 riders competed in that class, this is not a result to be sneezed at! But Oliver is an unassuming young man, and is touchingly modest when he reveals that he has already qualified for the renowned Wallaby Hill Horse Trials to be held in the Southern Highlands of NSW at the end of the year.
“We are really excited to be going to Wallaby Hill. I’ll be riding two-star in the event, but my goal is to move up to three-star next year. In the longer term, I’d love to represent my country either at a world championship event or at the Olympic Games,” he says.
In order to realise his goals, Oliver will be training hard to reach his full potential – and with consistent effort, determination and a great support network, there’s no doubt that he will succeed.
“To achieve results it’s very important that you ride regularly. I ride every day after school and put in a lot of time training both horses. You have to work for every placing you get,” explains Oliver.
Oliver also watches many of the major international events on television. He believes that there’s much to be learned from carefully studying other riders to better understand the way in which they handle the event.
But it’s not all about horses! When he’s not in the saddle, Oliver enjoys playing golf: “I try to play on the weekends. I have a couple of friends who also play so we go out to have a round or two together. I find it quite enjoyable.”
To his great credit, Oliver is more than aware that his success is the result of a team effort: “If it weren’t for Mum and Dad I definitely wouldn’t be where I am.
“They’re great coaches and I’m so lucky to have parents who are very experienced and can guide me through this sport. They spend a lot of time with me and I’m thankful to be able to draw upon their knowledge and have their help,” he says.
HorseVibes wishes Oliver all the best with his horses and looks forward to watching him reach and surpass his three-star goals.