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Haileybury's equestrian team is riding high

One team member will be one of the youngest competitors at this year’s Melbourne International Horse Trials

NEWS 2 May 2023

Avril Charman (Year 10) is only 16 but she’s already a seasoned horsewoman.

Recently, with her 14-year-old horse, Bella, she became the youngest person to qualify for the Melbourne International 3 Day Event that will take place at Werribee Park in June. Avril will compete in the Junior 2 star level.

Avril, who is a member of the Equestrian team at Haileybury’s Berwick campus, began riding when she was three-years-old and by the time she was in Prep, she was already competing.

“Achieving this qualification has been a massive moment for Bella and I – it has been a long-term goal,” says Avril.

“I’ve always been around horses because my parents are both vets and mum also grew up with horses. She helped my older brother and sister and me to learn how to ride.”

Avril first competed at 2 star level when she was only 15 – a rare feat with most people competing at that level from the age of about 18.

“All three disciplines in eventing – dressage, show jumping and cross country – must be perfected and that takes time and a lot of effort, which is why most people I compete against tend to be older than me,” says Avril.

She rides each of her two horses, Bella and Hamish, four to six times a week. On top of this Avril has to groom them, take riding lessons, prepare for weekend competitions and manage her studies and homework.

“Juggling school and horse riding can be difficult but I fit everything in with help from my family and teachers,” says Avril.

“Having two horses in competitive work is also made easier by Mum who rides with me when I have a lot of schoolwork to do. I also make sure I’m efficient when I’m in class and that helps me manage my workload.”

Avril enjoys being part of the eventing community and she has been supported and encouraged by people she has met through Pony Club, interschool competition and the Haileybury Equestrian Team.

At the recent Tintern Horse Trials, Haileybury’s two Equestrian Teams placed 2nd and 4th.

While her career path isn’t yet planned out, after graduating from Haileybury in a few years’ time, Avril hopes to keep riding and competing while completing a university degree.

“My dream for Equestrian would be to compete overseas and produce horses to a high level,” she says.

“Most of all though I just enjoy being with the horses.”

Haileybury’s young equestrian team continues to go from strength to strength with our talented riders regularly competing at events across the state.

Haileybury’s Equestrian team is: Conar Sipthorpe-Foster (Year 7), Madeleine Leonard (Year 8), Pearl Hodson (Year 8), Avril Charman (Year 10), Sienna McPherson (Year 7), Florence Hodson (Year 6) and Charli Angus (Year 7).

We wish them success as they continue to showcase their skills in the saddle this year.