The world of dressage is a happy place for 15-year-old Lewiston horserider Kayla Healey.
In Year 10 at Trinity College, Kayla has been selected to represent the state at this month’s Pony Club Australia National Championships to be held from October 7-14 at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre.
This championship event has representatives from all states compete in a variety of equestrian disciplines including dressage, show jumping, eventing, games and tetrathlon.
Kayla has been selected as part of the dressage team and has been riding for the past six years.
She has however, been immersed in the horse world from a young age, with mum Bev a former eventer and fellow Two Wells Equestrian and Pony Club (TWEPC) member.
“I used to ride my mum’s horse, then I started having riding lessons and eventually I got my own horse,” Kayla explained.
“I love working with and being around horses, making new friends through the equine community and the rewarding feeling of achieving a goal with your horse as a team.”
While for some the dressage ring can be a daunting place, Kayla enjoys the challenge of this often difficult and highly skilled riding discipline.
“Dressage as well as show jumping are my favourite disciplines,” she said.
“Dressage is one of my favourite as I like learning more advanced movements and then putting it together in a test, and show jumping because it’s enjoyable.”
A member of TWEPC for almost four years, Kayla regularly competes at local eventing competitions, dressage days and shows.
The state selection process was a comprehensive one, with Kayla taking part in events at novice level (for junior riders), where a certain percentage score, combined with competing at State Championships and clinics, helped cement her place in the state team.
The national championships are a big deal and Kayla and her 14-year-old Australian Stock horse, Wicky, have been training for months.
The pair attends clinics with dressage coach Heather Lundquist, have regular lessons with Anne Smith and have joined the South Australian Dressage Association where they compete at Novice and Elementary levels.
“My mum has helped me a lot with my dressage work at home also,” Kayla said.
“I am feeling extremely excited and prepared, however somewhat nervous as this is my first national championship.”
Kayla hopes this experience will be one of many in the dressage arena for herself and Wicky, and aspires to also compete in the show jumping ring down the track.
Best of luck Kayla.