YOUNG Orange appaloosa champion Ben Field is preparing for one of the biggest challenges of his bright career when he competes in the Australian Appaloosa National Show at Tamworth.
For the first time in five years, Ben will have to ride his new horse Boston Max in the show after his trusty old companion Son of a Saint retired.
“Son of a Saint was nearly 30 so it was about time he retired,” Ben’s mum Annie Field told the Central Western Daily yesterday.
“So now he’ll be riding with a new, younger horse which is a lot harder to ride. Ben will have to learn how to push his buttons, so that’s going to be a challenge for him.”
Annie said Ben, 9, had been riding since he was five and had a long-term goal of testing his skills against some of the world’s best in America.
“Ben’s been really consistent with his performances since he started riding when he was five,” she said.
“As he grows up he continues to get better and better and his eventual goal is to compete in the youth championships in America.”
Annie said horse riding was so important for her dyslexic son because it gave him a good, fun and challenging outlet.
“We discovered Ben had learning deficiencies at school and riding really was great for him at the time because it gave him a chance to get away from the classroom,” Annie said.
“If he had a choice, he’d stop going to school and ride all the time.”
Other things Ben loves about appaloosa riding include meeting new friends, new challenges, new skills and the chance to win ribbons at events like the show at Tamworth.
The event at Tamworth will begin on March 19 and run over seven days.
Ben will compete in five categories - showmanship, hunter under saddle, western pleasure, trail and pattern.
And judging on his performances last year when he was crowned high point youth 13 years and under walk/jog champion, he’s going to be a big chance.
However, the main focus is to continue his rapid improvement and fight out a medal position - which will be good practice as he continues to dream of taking on the best in America.