STRATHFIELDSAYE'S Susanne Pedersen says she was overcome with emotion after achieving her dream win at Australia's most prestigious horse riding event for females.
Pedersen and her gelding, WS Coast, outperformed their rivals to win the Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout at the Royal Melbourne Show.
"I actually spent the first two hours of that win crying," Pedersen said.
"It's been my lifetime goal, really."
The Garryowen is a memorial event for champion horsewoman Violet Murrell.
Murrell died while trying to save her beloved horse Garryowen from a stable fire in 1934.
Pedersen said her connection with WS Coast led to her first Garryowen triumph from 15 attempts.
"I didn't ever think that I would quite get there, but this year was my year," Pedersen said.
"You've got to have the right horse and connect to him.
"You've got to have a good quality horse because there's 50 points that go on his confirmation.
"So for a start you've got to have a really well put together horse.
"But you've also got to have a horse that has the temperament, the manners and paces.
"It takes a long time to get that combination perfect, unless you're very lucky."
WS Coast is a former race horse in Hong Kong who was sent back to Australia after his career ended.
"I've had him for three years. I knew straight away when I rode him," Pedersen said.
"He'd only been six months off the track when I got him. I've just been so lucky with him.
"He worked foot-perfect this year."
Pedersen paid tribute to her family, who are her "inspiration", and her horses' farrier for the past 20 years, Merv Tresize.
"He's always been there 24/7 and he's been fantastic," she said.
Having achieved her lifelong goal, Pedersen will turn her attention to another prestigious event.
"I've always said that if ever won it that once would be enough," she said.
"I'll think of a new goal now.
"I'd really like to take Coast to Sydney Royal next year."