Featured / News / Social / 1st June 2023
All roads lead to Expo
Coonabarabran’s population will swell this week, as riders from over 100 schools across the state decend on the town for five days of horsemanship and show at the annual North West Equestrian Expo.
Horses in tow, students arriving for 2023 North West Equestrian Expo will camp out to participate in Australia’s oldest and largest event of its kind.
Now in its 31st year, Expo will become home to more than 500 students and over 700 horses, with official competition kicking off tomorrow on Friday, 2 June.
The 2023 event will incorporate disciplines such as Polocrosse, Team Penning, Dressage, Working Horse Challenge and more.
The program caters for riders of all abilities, with some top riders going on to represent Australia.
The overall focus of this Expo is one of sportsmanship, horsemanship and passion, while representing their school.
Three of the biggest schools participating include New England Girls School (NEGS), Scots All Saints College and Yanco Agricultural High School.
These schools return annually, as students prepare throughout the year by sticking to a training plan to perfect their workouts and tests. Students must ensure the horses are fit and healthy to compete in a five-day contest of disciplines.
A competition like no other, the Expo allows students to work and support each other as a team.
Lyn O’Neil, director of marketing and enrolments at NEGS, is proud of the teamwork the students display and recalled the excitement of the first win they had at A-Grade Polocrosse.
“Everyone was screaming on the sideline. It was a dark night, lit up only by the hired spotlights,” Mrs O’Neil said. “You could see the steam rising off the horses. The match was intense. It was fabulous.”
Long after the ribbons are set and trophies won, students take home great memories and celebrate their success with their teams.
Expo is not only about competition and streamlined organisation, it is a chance for students to progress socially and meet members new and old in the equestrian field. It allows for supportive interactions to take place between schools as students are able to make new friends and reconnect with old.
NEGS, Scots and Yanco all have a large equine emphasis and extensive training programs, leading to success across the board. NEGS has won many major trophies including the Poole Family Perpetual Shield for the school with the highest point score.
With the majority of their students attending for the first time, Yanco is looking forward to the Polocrosse after participating in new training sessions throughout the year.
Director of agriculture and equestrian, Libby Dawes, from Scots All Saints College, has guided students to win the highest achievements in the One Day Event Phase, and many more.
“Our equestrian program has a wonderful team environment and we have students of all abilities who participate in a variety of disciplines,” Mrs Dawes said. “We love how our students support each other in their equestrian pursuits.”
But long after the ribbons are set and trophies won, students take home great memories and celebrate their success with their teams.
The North West Equestrian Expo commences on Friday, 2 June and concludes with the grand parade on Tuesday, 6 June. Spectators are welcome.