Category Archives: Competition

The International Mountain Trail Challenge Association

There are so many sports within the equestrian world, it seems! There was a recent reference to the IMTCA and an arena set up for horse riding on Facebook.  It had me inquiring about the acronym. This apparently stands for the International Mountain Trail Challenge Association.

There are so many equine associations, it’s a joy to learn about a new one! In my mind, where there’s an association for a particular horse sport, vocation or study, it means there’s a body of supporters of this. And so rules and regulations, standards and also contacts are accumulated.  This is to help inform others.

A search online wielded the International Mountain Trail Challenge Association website. It states:

“Mountain Trail Challenge is an international equestrian “extreme sport” which is fun and exciting to watch and participate in. This discipline is open to horses and riders of all skill levels. You will see riders in English and Western saddles smiling and having a great time as they participate at each challenge.”

International Mountain Trail Challenge Association | Equus Education
International Mountain Trail Challenge Association | Equus Education

The association was set up under the laws of the State of Washington in the United States. However, the IMTCA has gained exposure in Australia and other countries as well. The mission statement involves promoting and encouraging the development of this sport, as well as public interest in it. It is also dedicated to professionalism and excellence in trail riding. This is on top of establishing – and maintaining – standards of performance and judging that are suitable, professional and fun-filled for families.

The International Mountain Trail Challenge Association

Recognised as a sport, skills within this type of trail riding focus on excellent horsemanship as well as trail riding. There are challenges that are held to test horses and their riders. A challenge – or show – focuses on testing horse and rider and their ability to navigate natural as well as man-made obstacles.  This is to be done in a safe manner. Technical skills that demonstrate excellent horsemanship will also be required. Three different levels of shows are on offer to riders at various challenges.

Love trail riding but want to take your horsemanship skills to the next level? Why not see if there is an IMTCA setup in your local area? If there isn’t, perhaps you’re in the position to establish one!

Eventing Scholarship

Do you know about the Mark Todd Bridging the Gap Scholarship?  I’m sure if you’re a mad keen eventer who dreams of taking on the world at a high equestrian level, you do!  But if not, why not look into it?

For anyone who dreams of making use of a scholarship to further their equine career, knowing terms and conditions is vital. Take a look at the terms for this year’s scholarship that has already been awarded – it may benefit you for future chances to enter.

“Three-day eventing… gruelling test of elegance, skill, and endurance that makes both horse and rider appreciate the fourth day!” – Author unknown

Profile On: Stacey Sikorski, Professional Show Groom

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
A good 50% is related to horses probably more.

What is it exactly that you do?
At my “real job” I do chart review, marketing and other duties at a major veterinary hospital. This includes horses as well as small animals (cats/dogs).

Some of Stacey’s Handiwork

My other jobs include:

  • Working one day a week conditioning and clipping show horses for an Arabian trainer.
  • Running a boarding facility for 9 horses at my home.
  • Running a clipping service for horses – I body clip and show clip.
  • On my “vacations” I work as a professional show groom.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes but it is not easy.  Most people do not want to work 80+ hours a week or be away from home as often as this type of work requires.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
In my case I just started letting people know I was available again. I got my start by working for people who had known me when I was a full time professional groom. They knew I was hard working, knew I could clip, braid, longe etc. They knew I could handle mares, stallions and young stock and drive a truck and trailer or tractor.

When I first started out I was lucky enough to find someone willing to give me a chance. People for some reason did not think I would stick to it. My first big show as a groom was the Scottsdale Arabian Show. I lived in a portable stall while there. It rained non-stop the entire show. My stall was flooded but it didn’t deter me at all. At the end of the show one of the trainers asked “What do you think?” I replied “This is what I want to do”. I worked there until the farm was downsized in a divorce.

Most importantly you need to be willing to work hard and LEARN. If my work was unacceptable I was told to do it again until I got it right and instead of being offended I got better and better. Learning to braid I practiced on all of our breeding stallions. You have to want to be the best and keep at it until you are.

A Horse Braided by Stacey

Favourite horse memory?
There are many but galloping *Enrilo in the 100 acre field ranks way up there. I was fortunate enough to work with some very famous horses and groomed more National Winners than I can count. Watching my friend and head trainer ride horses I had prepped to National Championships is another big one.

Future goals?
To make enough to be able to quit my day job and work for myself – I’m closing in on that goal. And to be known again as one of the best show grooms in the country. I’m competitive – being good is not enough. It feels great to hear one of my veterinarians say “I can tell a horse you have body clipped by sight”. Huge compliment!

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The feel of family. Even after my 10 year “retirement” when I came back to the industry they all still knew me. I knew them and honestly I felt like I had gone home. No one questioned me, no one yelled at me and best of all I didn’t have to worry I might do something wrong. They were all happy I was there to see to it that everything was how it was supposed to be.

“Don’t count your ribbons before the show starts.” – Author unknown

FEI Photography Contest

Do You Express Your Love of Horses via Photography?

Ok you (budding) photographers, here’s a contest I think is really worth paying attention to!  The International Equestrian Federation is launching an equestrian photography contest, ‘World Photo Grand Prix‘.

As it states on their website:

EI Solidarity and Reuters are on a quest to uncover new photographic talent – both amateur and professional – with the World Photo Grand Prix competition. Submit your entry to win a masterclass from an Action Images photographer at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ later this year in Normandy…

There are 9 categories:

  1. Professional Photographers
  2. Amateurs & Enthusiasts
  3. Abstract
  4. Photography Students
  5. Under 16
  6. Horse Portrait
  7. Athletes
  8. Equestrian Venue
  9. Instagram

It looks like there’s a category for every photographer!  Check out the website for other prizes and to find out about the 9 judges.  If your desire is to be known for equine photography, this competition could really get your name out there.

” A large and liquid eye. . . the swirl of dust around pounding hooves. . .these, then, are the images that move us.” – Author unknown

First Australian Brumby Challenge

It seems to me to be fairly commonplace in America to take on Mustangs over a length of time and to train them so that they go from wild to domesticated horses.  The Victorian Brumby Association is starting up such an initiative here in Australia.  The first ever Australian Brumby Challenge is to be run over a 100 day period this year.

The event starts in October (next month!) and the horses are then presented 100 days later in Feburary of 2014.  The closing dates for trainer applications was yesterday, September 2nd, but perhaps this event is worth bookmarking in your calendar so you can check in on the progress of the trainers who participate!

“A well trained horse isn’t less exciting than a wild one.” – Author unknown

Inglis Equine Art Prize 2013

Attention art enthusiasts!  It’s that time of year when the Inglis Equine Art Prize is on.  According to an email received today:

“Created by Inglis’ Deputy Chairman Arthur Inglis in association with Australian Art Sales Director Mike Coward to encourage and promote thoroughbred art, the Inglis Equine Art Prize is the only one of its kind in Australia, with the winner receiving A$15,000 in prizemoney.”

The 2013 theme is All Things Thoroughbred.  I thought it was interesting to read about the judges:

 Frank Giacco, BArch – Australian artist and winner of the 1994 Archibald Prize. This highly regarded figure and still life painter is also a much sought after art tutor and is a long time teacher at the Julian Ashton Art School, Sydney. Frank’s experience and knowledge will bring great deal of depth and dimension to the judging panel.

Alister Simpson, AAEA – has been recognized as the leading equine artist in Australia for over three decades. From the age of two, Alister had a passion for drawing horses. He studied art in Auckland, New Zealand and London, and also studied veterinary anatomy over a period of four years. Alister’s skills have earned him significant international acclaim and he is an invited participating full member of the prestigious American Academy of Equine Art. This enables him to exhibit at the Academy, to jury for exhibitions and to teach workshops.

Arthur Inglis – Deputy Chairman and Strategic Development director of Inglis, Arthur Inglis has been involved in the family’s thoroughbred auctioneering business all his life. Arthur is the fifth generation to be linked to the family trade, which dates back to 1867. Arthur will represent Inglis on the judging panel bringing with him a strong wealth of knowledge into the equine industry.

Dates of interest:
Grand VIP Opening Event
Inglis Newmarket, Sydney NSW
Tuesday August 13

Public Viewing
Inglis Oaklands, Melbourne VIC
Thursday August 15 – Friday August 16
285 Oaklands Road Oaklands Junction VIC

Members Reserve Viewing
Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne VIC
Saturday August 18

VIP Viewing
Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Dinner, Scone NSW
Saturday August 24

“A horse’s magnificence is in his strength of heart. With flowing tail and flying mane, wide nostrils, never stretched by pain, mouths bloodless to the bit or rein, and feet that iron never shod, a thousand horses – the wild – the free like waves that follow o’er the sea, came thickly thundering on.” – Author unknown

Equine Events Calendar

It’s in your control to know equine events of significance in your industry. Consider your equine field and the major events that are coming up or that are run on a regular basis. Some examples:

I’m preparing a list of potential horse business contacts that I’ve studied or worked with over the years since finishing high school and it’s exciting and astounding to see how many my age are now running their own horse business! Mine is a bit of research for plans of releasing my book (link) for sale this year.

Are you Focused on Networking in Your Industry?

But it’s gotten me thinking about people building up their equine network.  The great thing is that what you know can help you to develop who you know.

If you’re unsure of what is available – do your research! Surely there are clubs or organisations that publicise events of interest. So what is your field? Is it horse riding related, racing, breeding, carriage driving, instructing, or something else?

Once you have an area (or areas!) start to do some research that can put you out in the industry meeting key people and building up contacts:

  • What events are on during the year that are local, interstate or international?
  • Where, when and does it cost to go?
  • What clubs can be joined to meet with other enthusiasts and learn from and with them?
  • Where, how often do they meet and does it cost?
  • Are there online groups that can be joined?

Starting with these questions will hopefully give you some key events throughout the year that you can look out for and plan to attend. Definitely being a regular at such events will help you to build up a contact base in the industry you’re interested in.

“One reason why birds and horses are happy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.” – Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends and Influence People

Inglis Equine Art Prize 2011

The well known Australian Thoroughbred bloodstock agents (amongst other things) are holding their annual art prize competition once again.  The theme for this year is ‘Life at the Stud‘.

Entries have been accepted from New Zealand, Europe and the US as well as from within Australia.

Entries close July 4th, 2011 so get a hurry on!  Prize money totalling $18,000 Australian dollar and an awesome opportunity to have your work showcased around New South Wales and Victoria should have the avid equine drawer or painter keen to enter this comp!

” Ascot is so exclusive that it is the only racecourse in the world where the horses own the people.” – Art Buchwald

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Win a Horse Riding Holiday for Two

So I’m reading some Hoofbeats magazines for work as they have some relevant articles for the breeding subjects I teach.  When I stumbled across this one, I thought it definitely worth sharing!

Hoofbeats have listed a number of different riding holidays, their monetary worth and what is on offer in different states of Australia.  All you need to do is tell them if you won, which of these holidays you would choose and why!  Pretty straight forward 🙂

Other conditions:

  • Only one winner will be selected and that winner will select only one of the Horse Riding Holiday packages (for two people) offered
  • Individual ride operator conditions and restrictions are to be read on their website prior to entry
  • The prize must be taken before the 30th December 2011
  • The winner agrees to submit a report and photographs or be interviewed for a short article after completion of their ride, which will be published in Hoofbeats magazine
  • The question (reason for selecting a particular ride) must be answered to be eligible to enter the competition
  • Persons under the age of 16 need parental or guardian signature to enter- check individual ride operators conditions regarding their position on including riders under 16 years
  • Entries close 4th January 2011 and results will be published in the Feb March 2011 Hoofbeats magazine
  • The prize is not redeemable for cash and no correspondence will be entered into
  • Reader’s competition entry details will not be available to Horse Riding Holiday operator

So!  Is one of your New Year resolutions to relax more, travel with regard to horses, spend more hours in the saddle?  If so, consider entering this highly appealing competition!  Remember, entries close January 4.

Details at

“How to ride a horse:
Step One – Mount the horse.
Step Two – Stay mounted …”

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