Young riders saddle up for Grand National event

TALENTED young horse riders from central Victoria head to Sydney next week to compete in one of the nation's most prestigious equestrian events.

Montanna Maud, Indianna Shepheard and Amy Bachmann became eligible to attend the 2014 Gallery Equine Grand National Championships after finishing in the top two placings in their class at qualifying events.

Ten-year-old Montanna will compete in the under-12 rider class, having won the 8-10 years event at the Victorian Agricultural Shows meeting last year.

She will be joined by Harcourt's Amy Bachmann, 11, who won the open show hunter class at the Canberra Royal Show.

Indianna Shepheard, 14, has a busy schedule after qualifying at events in Perth and Victoria in the child's hack, child's Galloway and intermediate rider classes.

The trio leave on Tuesday ahead of the four-day competition, with their events starting on Thursday.

Bendigo Pony Club president Lisa Maud said the Grand Nationals featured the top riders of all ages from across Australia and New Zealand. 

"Everyone really wants a Grand National qualifier," she said. "It's what they all work for and go to the royal shows to try and win, as only the top two from those events get through." 

Izabella McIntyre, 12, will also travel to Sydney after being asked to ride a horse that qualified for Children's Day next Sunday.

The four girls also rode at the EV state titles at Werribee last weekend, with Izabella and Indianna earning selection in the Victorian team and Montanna named a reserve rider.

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