Big barrel of fun for Riley
SHE might be a little nervous but 13-year-old Riley Spring is planning to hit the ground running when she saddles up for Australia in the National Barrel Horse Association World Championships.
The Victory College student qualified for a place in the under-18 Australian team to compete at the USA championships after clocking in the fastest time in the NBHA national championships.
The victory was an impressive one, considering the rider has only four years experience in the saddle and little more than a year in barrel racing.
Initially Spring began training for other races at her pony club but barrel racing was her first gaming-style event with which she had previously had no training.
She began barrel racing after watching an event with her family, who decided they would try it out for a year together, but no one could have anticipated Spring's success.
When Spring heads overseas, she will saddle up as part of the U18 division. The ages range from 11-18 years and Riley, at 13, has topped the first division with the fastest time over the year.
To make the team, Spring competed in several competitions across the state, and managed to claim the championship belts in both her district and the state, setting the pace for others to follow.
Although the young rider has spent her entire barrel racing career on her trusty jumping horse, Corroyong, she will have only a week once in the USA to get to know her new steeds' personalities.
"I'm a little nervous but very excited about competing in America," she said.
For a young girl who had an "I'll have a go" attitude in the beginning, Spring has certainly made an impressive achievement in the sport which gives hope to a successful run overseas.
Riley will be in the USA from July 1-25 for the world championships.