RIDING FOR QUEENSLAND
The National Interschool Championships is the pinnacle interschool event, with teams from all states competing in dressage, jumping, eventing, combined training and show horse over four days.
For the past ten months the Rigney family has supported 11 year old Bronte in her attempt to qualify for the Queensland Team, covering an estimated 20,000 kilometres to attend competitions and training.
Like most bush kids, Bronte’s riding journey began by attending Pony Club Camps at St George, Dirranbandi and Yarrill Creek.
After taking lessons with St George Riding Coach, Julie Rogan, Bronte began competing at local shows before finding the Interschool Competition was what she really enjoyed.
The grade six student from St Patrick’s Primary School in St George was all set to ride at Nationals in Primary Preliminary Dressage on her horse Licorice and Novice Dressage on Titan, a horse borrowed from the Mitchell family from ‘Gradna’, Talwood.
Then her plans were thrown into disarray when her big brother Angus Rigney was in a horrific car crash in July and her parents had to re-locate to Brisbane to assist in Angus’ recovery.
Bronte’s mother, Sally Rigney, said it was unwavering support of family and friends that saved the day and ensured Bronte’s life could continue as normally as possible.
Kirsten and Mark Riordan, welcomed Bronte and her two horses with open arms to their property at Southbrook, so she could train with her cousin Phoebe Riordan who was also on the Queensland Interschool Equestrian Team.
“We can’t thank the Riordans, Dressage Coach Helena Shanal and the whole team at ‘Morning View’ enough for keeping Bronte’s hopes alive.”
Mrs Rigney said Fairholme College also stepped in accepting Bronte as a day student on just one phone call and welcoming her as the youngest member on their Equestrian Team.
“Fairholme Equestrian Team Captains Mia Doering and Bree Robertson along with all the girls acted like big sisters to Bronte from day one,” Sally said.
“Her Fairholme teachers even gave up their holiday time to come to the National Championships to watch Bronte, Phoebe and the girls ride.”
The cousins did an outstanding job with Bronte gaining a fourth in the Preliminary Dressage, a ninth in the Novice and being part of the Queensland Primary Dressage Team that came third nationally.
Phoebe was third in Australia for Secondary Combined Training 80 cm and part of the Championship Queensland Combined Training Team and fifth overall in the Secondary Novice Dressage.
A big highlight for the girls was Angus Rigney being given leave from the PA Hospital Rehabilitation Program to come and watch them ride.
For Bronte, Nationals in Toowoomba is just the beginning.
“I love the camaraderie of being part of the team and have made so many friends along the way, so I am hoping to do it all again next year and qualify for Nationals in Werribee, Victoria.”
She just has to convince her parents first to take on that long road trip.