HOWLONG star Teegan Ashby has triumphed at a gruelling three-day event in Sydney.
Taking on some of the best eventers in Australia, Ashby, 19, won the CCI two-star class at the Sydney International Horse Trials.
And by winning outright Ashby was the leading young rider in the event which has dressage, cross country and showjumping categories.
“It was incredible, it was like a dream come true,” she said.
“I went knowing that’s what I wanted but it’s a big field with Olympians, and me on a horse I started out on at pony club at 13.
“It was just the best feeling, I can’t explain it.”
Ashby said the three-phase event was the triathlon of the horse world.
The win ensures she and her horse, Rockingham No Reason, better known as Boris, are stars in the making.
“I’ve been riding him since 2007 — he didn’t know much and I didn’t know much,” Ashby said.
“Coming through together makes this even more special.
“He’s so quiet, he’s not afraid of anything and he’s very willing so I’m lucky to have him.”
Far from being an individual event, Ashby said there had to be synergy between rider and horse.
“It’s two brains trying to work as one,” she said.
“Sometimes the rider thinks they know best and the horse has a different idea.
“The sun, moon and stars have to come together to have a day like I had.”
Ashby was placed fifth after the dressage on day one and moved up to second with the cross country. She had one of only two clear rounds in fast time before downing one rail pole in the showjumping.
“In the cross country, you tackle obstacles on the 4.4 kilometre course, up and down hills for eight minutes,” she said.
“It was very tough and I spent all night icing and treating Boris’ legs so he wasn’t sore in the morning.
“His rail down in the showjumping was his first down at that level — but I’m stoked, it was a huge effort.”
Ashby also took the best -presented award with Boris, and finished third with four-year-old Nukku Park Royal Desire, (Desmond) in the young event horse of the year.
“He’s a bit special and we’re excited for him,” Ashby said.
Ashby, who will now prepare for the Melbourne International in June, is after a spot on the Australian team, and move up to three-star competition where established horses are in line for Olympic teams.