Faith rides high with the National Team for the Trans Tasman Challenge | Parkes Champion Post

Faith Green de Parkes has been named to the Australian Quarter Horse Youth Team for the Trans Tasman Challenge in September.

She also just won her first Blue Ribbon at the Australian Quarter Horse Association National Championship on a horse bred by her family – and trained herself.

That’s no small feat for a 16-year-old.

Faith and her horse Storm traveled to Tamworth ahead of Easter for national titles in her sport of western pleasure riding.

The local combination took out their hunter seat riding class in the young novice category, and Faith was named to the Australian team for their next big event: the Trans Tasman Challenge.

It’s an incredible achievement and a thrill for the family – Faith’s mother, Teresa, and father Bull – who bought their first quarter horse when Faith was around nine years old.

They went from the local pony club to western pleasure riding and never looked back, taking on the challenge of what is a very complex discipline.

Although designed to make horse and rider appear relaxed, Western fun actually involves years of training for both rider and horse, they explain.

“I’ve been riding Storm for two years now and he still has a long way to go,” Faith said.

The rider must communicate many different strides and actions to the horse with barely a touch on the reins – all through his legs and his voice.

Most of their classes involve following a set pattern of different strides and changing direction, pivoting, or sliding to a stop.

They can open and close doors, or step sideways on a series of posts.

The nature and breeding of the horse is at the heart of their success, which is why the Greens have carefully developed their lineage with an emphasis on calm horses.

After all, they may compete nationally one week, but they’re back on the Goonumbla family farm working the sheep the next week.

Faith began working with Storm at an early age, showing him in run classes as a yearling and two-year-old.

Once he was old enough, Faith brought him in to ride horses and since then the duo have been working together daily in the arena at home.

She also just purchased a seven-year-old Palomino Quarter Horse that was trained for western pleasure competition (well, what if you had to choose between a horse and a ute?)

At a typical show, they might have six gear changes – including everything from Storm’s bridle to Faith’s hat and shirt to compete in up to 10 different classes.

“Presentation is a big part of it – it’s all about the bling, I love that,” Faith says.

Other classes require simple western riding gear or traditional English dress.

Although there are only a handful of people in our area competing in this type of riding – Faith is the only NSW rider to be selected for the six person team – Faith and Teresa have connected with others to help them develop their skills.

The Greens work with Nikita Noakes – another local who secured a place in this youth squad for the Trans Tasman Challenge in 2013 – and Justine Jones, as well as a coach.

They found they also had the support of the community: every runner must raise funds to be part of the Trans Tasman and a fundraising auction of a sheep pen at Forbes last week did indeed honored Faith’s commitments.

Looking ahead to the Trans Tasman Challenge, she will also have the opportunity to attend a number of clinics.

The challenge is in Benalla, Victoria, and one of the other challenges for riders is that they cannot ride their own horse.

The Australian riders each provide two horses but they will not ride their own as this would give the host country an advantage over their international counterparts.

Horses will be pooled and scored by trainers, then assigned to riders.

We wish Faith and the Australian team all the best!

Clyde P. Johnson