Extraordinary success: Ascham wins Showjumping Championship at Coonabarabran

For many years, Ascham has been competing at the annual North West Equestrian Expo at Coonabarabran, where some of the best young equestrians in the State compete. This year there were approximately 70 schools competing and over 500 riders.

With such strong competition, the School is proud to announce that the Ascham equestrian team won the overall National Australia Bank Team Showjumping Award for the highest-placed school team. The teammates in this event included Hannah Kelley from Currabubula, Alex McLaughlin from Warren, Phoebe Oates from Boomi and Annabel Bundock from Warialda. Phoebe, who is in Year 7 and new to boarding at Ascham said, ‘Everyone at Ascham has been so welcoming this year, and when you are riding for a team you are no longer riding for yourself any more—you want so much to do well for your team and your school.’ However, the accolades did not finish there. Each of these talented young riders took individual honours in their respective age groups for the Showjumping Championship event. Hannah took first place in the 17 years division, Annabel took second place in the 14 years division, Alex took first place in the 13 years division and Phoebe took first place in the 12 years division. It was heart-warming to hear of the special relationship that the girls have with their horses. Phoebe said, ‘My horse’s name is Storm and this is the fourth year that I have been riding him. I have such a close relationship with Storm, and he is the one who has encouraged me to jump higher and higher. It is such a special connection that I have with him.’ Alex said, ‘My horse Jimmy is very special to me. Our family bred Jimmy, so we are the only family he has known and he is nine years old now. I have been riding Jimmy for four years and we connect with each other so well. He always gets me out of trouble when I am jumping.’ The Head of School at Ascham, Mr Andrew Powell, said, ‘We are so proud of the girls and their equestrian achievements. All of the girls have certainly has made the most of the opportunities available through the Dalton Plan here at Ascham. The Plan has helped each girl to develop the self-discipline and independence to organise her studies and manage her time effectively, so that she can meet her academic and her co-curricular commitments.’ These achievements of the four Ascham students are all the more remarkable because the girls do not have the opportunity to ride their horses during term time. Mr Powell went on to say, ‘I believe that it shows real courage and bravery, as well as an enormous trust in their horses, for Hannah, Annabel, Alex and Phoebe to compete at this level in showjumping. These are qualities that we are proud to see in Ascham girls.’

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