Local teen eyes cowgirl crown

Michelle Slater

A Churchill teen and her talented steed are off to mix it with the country’s best in the inaugural Australia’s Greatest Cowgirl Challenge to be held in Tatura in October.

Amy Karrer and her 15-year-old quarter horse gelding Huck have been picked to compete against Australia’s top 10 cowgirls in a series of challenges and obstacles.

The pair must prove themselves in the western disciplines of reining, cutting and an obstacle challenge, after which the top three will go head-to-head in the cowgirl finale.

“I’m very excited, I have a lot to do to get Huck going, it will be a big challenge. This will test me and test my training abilities. But it will also be great exposure for me,” Amy said.

“Huck is not great in the obstacles, but we will have six months of training ahead of us. This will be a big challenge.”

The 17-year-old began riding as a tot at pony club but fell in love western riding after she tried out reining at a club in Toongabbie.

She went on to win a series of reining challenges in the local scene before catching the eye of top Koo Wee Rup trainer Michael Costello, under whom she is undertaking a year-long internship.

The aspiring professional trainer in the meantime is juggling online schooling with training her own horses, while completing her internship a few days a week.

“I really love the big stops and how soft the horse is in western riding, I love the horsemanship and training side of it,” she said.

“I practise a bit of everything, keeping the horse fit, manoeuvres and training off a mechanical cow, this horse seems to reallyenjoy it. I’m learning all aspects of becoming a trainer.”

Amy said one of her big highlights was taking part in a live horsemanship demonstration at Australia’s top horse industry event Equitana with freestyle trainer Stacy Westfall.

She is also eyeing off heading to the United States to learn from the world’s top cowboys, before returning to Equitana later this year.

Proud mum Shannon said she was excited to see how far her daughter was going.

“She is getting all these opportunities now. She has worked so hard to get there and I’m so proud and excited to see how much she has accomplished,” she said.

“The cowgirl challenge will be a huge event and to see that level of riders will be great to watch.”