James Nash Equestrian team  Wide Bay champion winnersHayley Cross, Keegan Channels, Emily Larsen
James Nash Equestrian team Wide Bay champion winnersHayley Cross, Keegan Channels, Emily Larsen Troy Jegers

James Nash trio selected for Equestrian state championships

EQUESTRIAN: Three James Nash State High School riders have booked their place at the State Equestrian Championships later this year after excelling at the Equestrian Australia Wide Bay Interschool Championships on the weekend.

James Nash Equestrian team captain Keegan Channels, 17, Emily Larsen, 15, and Hayley Cross, 15, all gained state title selection for their outstanding individual performances at the regionals, bucking the odds as members of the only state school team to attend.

Channels, who won the Overall Secondary Wide Bay Regional Championship, said he was pleased with his performance.

"I entered four of the five competitions which was showman, show horse, dressage and combined training. I won Wide Bay champion in two of them which put me for Wide Bay champion overall. I placed second and third for the other two, I was really happy with those results,” he said.

"I got champion for dressage, fourth in showman, fifth in combined training and third in showhorse.”

Larsen said she was impressed with her personal results and those of her team mates in competition with a heavy contingent of private school opponents.

"I got Wide Bay Champion for Showman, second for show horse and third and fourth in the other two I think,” Larsen said. "We competed against about 60 schools, a lot of private schools. I think we were the only state school, so it was good to be able to qualify from that position.”

The trio have each been competing in inter-school, district and state competitions for between four and eight years respectively. None of them have experienced inter-school competiton at a state level yet.

Channels and Larsen elaborated on the hard work it took them to develop a competition-ready bond with their horses.

"It's quite a lot of training, it's just about every day you have to go out and train in the morning and the afternoons, it takes a long time to build that connection between horse and rider,” Channels said.

"(The horse's nerves) depend on how you are. If you're nervous the horse is going to be nervous, if you're feeling calm and chill the horse will generally respond to that,” Larsen said. "They feed off your energy a lot.”

James Nash team manager Julie Sandy said she was immensely proud at her students' achievements.

"These kids have been riding together for about four years through interschool and around the place, they've been trying extremely hard,” Sandy said.

"I think it's good to mention Keegan. He really helped drive these guys and his success has helped them see that they can also be successful.

"There's another 12 riders in our team. Last year these kids competed around the district and won at other events through the pony club and all around interschool events.

"We don't have big arenas, we don't have anything fancy. They do all their training at home and their parents support them, they train really hard.

"The driving force of Keegan and some of these others have been the driving force for what really was a mammoth achievement on the weekend.

"When I rang the photography company and asked for the photos they said 'Those kids were amazing, are you a state school?'.

"It's just awesome.”