HORSEMANSHIP: Calliope has a national champion.
Kayla Kington went to Tamworth to compete at the National Reining Champion ships Non Pro Futurity on a horse she trained herself.
And she conquered the best to win all three divisions of Non Pro Futurity: Limited, Intermediate and Open.
There were a couple of things that made 18-year-old Kayla's feat the more remarkable.
Firstly, she bought her horse unbroken a year ago before she and coach Ed Smith broke him in.
Secondly, Kayla rode to perfection to beat 23 of the best Non Pro riders in Australia including Cameron Halliwell, Australia's highest money earning Non Pro with lifetime earnings over $100k and other previous Futurity winners David Nixon and Hayley Backhouse.
"I was crying and I was obviously really happy,” Kayla said of the emotions she felt immediately.
"I have owned the horse for just over a year only.”
The Tamworth event attracted a large crowd and included US Reining Hall of Fame inductee and reining trainer Ken Eppers, who was in Calliope for a clinic prior to the championships.
"I just blocked everyone out and there were a lot of spectators,” Kayla answered when asked how she coped with nerves.
So how did she get involved in the sport of reining?
"My mum organised a clinic with Ed Smith after we moved to Calliope from near Theodore four years ago,” Kayla said.
"He's awesome and he's really cool and I also got support from Kenny and Nancy, who came over from Texas in the US.”
Kayle, who works as a strapper for Ed Smith in Calliope, heads off at the end of November to watch the NRHA Futurity in Oklahoma before going to Texas with Ken and Nancy Eppers.