With a little bit of passion, dedication and enthusiasm, a Collie teen has proven you can reach your goals as she qualifies for the 2020 Tom Quilty Gold Cup.
Abbey Rose Irvine, 12, will go into the national event as the only junior in Western Australia to qualify to compete - a feat many adults struggle to do.
The enthusiastic endurance rider said she was ecstatic to have qualified at such a young age.
"It's a really good feeling to have qualified so early, endurance riding is such a mental sport as well as physical so to have broken through the mental block in the last qualification ride was a pretty good moment," she said.
"Last year I really started to get into endurance at this level but I have been riding for about four years now.
"It's great because you get to go out bush for several hours and unlike other riding where you have to be so polished in every aspect you get to just ride your horse and have fun."
The Tom Quilty Gold Cup is the premier endurance riding competition where riders must finish 160km in 24 hours and the first middleweight or heavyweight entrant to complete the race receives the coveted gold cup.
To qualify for the ride, Abbey Rose had to complete two intermediate rides, three 80km rides and a 160km ride.
Abbey said horse riding was a way for her to do a sport with her dad and be a part of a community.
"Endurance is one big family and that's the best part," she said.
"In places like the Pony Club I couldn't do it with my dad which is what led us to the WA Endurance Riders Association.
"You also don't have to be prim and proper or have the best horse and equipment in the world, whereas in things like dressage the way you look and act is a major part of the event which didn't appeal to me."
Since training hard, Abbey was one of two juniors to ride endurance at a state and national level and it has since grown to eight junior riders.
She said she hoped more juniors would join the sport which she called the best sport in the world.
The 2020 Tom Quilty Gold Cup will be held in Collie between September 18 and 20 and is expected to bring riders and tourists from across the country.
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