MUSWELLBROOK SES members Kaliya and Ben Maxwell returned from the recent NSW Police Equestrian Games with a bagful of medals.
After the postponed event from March, the two volunteers joined Melanie Antram and Angela Chapman to represent the State Emergency Service team in Sydney on April 29 and 30.
Day one consisted of showjumping, dressage and combined training, which was followed by show riding and sporting on the Sunday.
While the quartet picked up two fourth places, two fifths and three sixths, Ben Maxwell collected a bronze in his respective rider class and a silver in the barrel race.
His wife took out her combined training event with a gold medal, which resulted after victories in dressage and showjumping.
For good measure, Kaliya also snared a silver in her respective rider class.
“We can’t wait for the next one [NSW Police Equestrian Games],” she said.
“For those who don’t understand the disciplines, it’s best to learn them this way.
“Dressage = precise movements at marked spots in an arena.
“Showjumping = jumping over poles at controlled high speeds.
“Sporting = fast controlled riding around obstacles.
“And, show riding = riders ability to ride, and horses ability to move.
“Many people think riding a horse is easy.
“However, most of them have never had to control a 600kg animal that has its own mind, with just your legs, seat and fingers.
“It’s not an easy task.
“You have to be able to understand and work with the horse, so we need to give half the credit to the horses.
“Without them, we would be riding around on stick horses.
“So, a lot of love and appreciation goes to our horses Billy and Chance.
“We’d also like to say a big thank you to our sponsors, the NRMA – we looked flash in our tack.”
Mrs Maxwell, a daytime teacher at St Joseph’s High School in Aberdeen, and her husband, an electrician for his own company Maxwell Spark Electrical and Refrigeration, said they were delighted to represent the Hunter Region.
“Competitors from all over NSW converged on the Hawkesbury Riding Club,” she explained.
“The more people you met, the more comfortable you felt.
“It was an amazing event, with 50 participants from the RFS, Police, Fire and Rescue, Ambulance and more.
“Anyone who works for an emergency service, or is related to someone who works in an emergency service, could enter.”