Hadspen’s Jackson Radley began riding at three years old and won his first horse of the year at four.
So the 11-year-old’s impressive performances at Sydney’s Hufglocken grand nationals should come as no surprise.
Competing against some of Australia’s and New Zealand’s best, Radley finished reserve champion in the under-12 rider division and runner-up in the C1 child’s ridden APSB shetland pony.
His success came just as much from a lengthy block of preparation as it did talent.
“I’d been training for about the last five months and then it was a three-day trip to Sydney,” Radley said.
“When we got there I just had to ride every day and practise in the warm-up arena.
“I was really happy… I just love the feeling of riding and the competition.”
The product of coaches Leonie Rowlings and Bernadette Gibson, Radley will now turn his focus to shows in Campbell Town, Launceston and Hobart before December’s Equestrian Australia nationals in Werribee.
Radley will enter three horses in the EA nationals and will take plenty of confidence from his showing in Sydney.
Mum Felicity Radley said she had been impressed by her son’s efforts on the big stage.
“There were only a handful of Tasmanians but all over Australia and New Zealand there would have been thousands... most classes have probably got 50-odd people in them.
“In his riding class he got reserve champion and there were three heats in that… to even get a top-10 up there is a huge effort.
“They had judges that came out and judged from the UK so it’s a very fair competition because the judges don’t know anyone.”
JUNIOR SPORT AWARDS
To make a nomination in The Examiner’s Junior Sport Awards, click here.