No one-trick pony

Ranelle performing a tail drag at last year’s Australian Trick Riding Championships where she placed third.
Ranelle performing a tail drag at last year’s Australian Trick Riding Championships where she placed third.

A TAIL drag is just one move in Australian Trick Riding Champion Ranelle Carter's bag of tricks.

Her skill set was what helped her win overall champion at Equitana, held in Sydney recently.

Ranelle summed up Equitana as "Australia's biggest horse show celebration of anything horsey" and said it was an amazing experience.

And while it wasn't a large field of competitors, Ranelle said it was a strong field of some very tough competitors from around Australia.

"In the compulsory section judges look at the showmanship, technique, how the horse runs and the presentation - the costumes, glitter and Lycra," she said.

In the freestyle section, competitors nominate which tricks they will perform and are judged on the degree of difficulty, the performance of the trick and horsemanship.

"I'm really happy with how I

went this year," Ranelle said.

"I was working hard to improve on my last two years' scores."

For the freestyle round Ranelle performed the trick Under the Neck - only the second female ever in Australia to perform it.

The horse is at a gallop while Ranelle starts on the left side of the horse and creeps around the horse's neck.

"For a moment in time my whole body is under the horse - it can be extremely dangerous if I slip or the horse stumbles," she said.

"I have been working on that trick on and off for a couple of years but perfected it a couple of months earlier.

"I was excited to mainly pull that trick off, it was really rewarding."

Every trick Ranelle learns is first done at a standstill, then at a walk and, as Ranelle and her horse gain confidence, she increases the pace.

"I think he has gotten used to me being in awkward spots," she said with a laugh.

The win at Equitana was made all the more special by Ranelle's sister Lily-Rose winning overall champion in the junior trick riding section.

"I am just very proud of her. Next year we will be in the same division and I know she will be one tough kid to beat," she said.

Ranelle will be holding a four-day trick riding camp early next year.

"It is about confidence building and something a bit fun and different," she said.

"It is nothing dangerous, all tricks are safe and easier (than those Ranelle performs)."

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