A Gisborne woman has triumphed in a nationally renowned equestrian event at the Royal Melbourne Show.
Catherine Neill won the prestigious 83rd Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout on her horse SLM Mercedes last week.
Neill said winning the title was an “absolutely amazing” feeling.
“I was in so much shock – it was just so unexpected,” she said. “It was a great honour.”
In the competition, run by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, 23 riders competed before six judges in the event for females aged 18 years and above.
RASV chief executive officer Mark O’Sullivan said the event was the most prestigious female riding contest in the country and a highlight of the Royal Melbourne Show.
“The Garryowen has a long and prestigious history of recognising the country’s best female riders and we are delighted to add Catherine to our list of winners,” he said.
It’s been a good year for Neill and SLM Mercedes – in April, they were named the reserve champions in class 18 at the 25th Anniversary Grand Nationals in Sydney.
The Gisborne rider has been horse riding for 30 years – since she was three years old.
She entered her first Royal Melbourne Show when she was 10 years old.
“I’ve done a lot of them,” she said with a laugh.
And she said there would be plenty more.
“We’ll be going again, for sure,” she said. “We’ll see how we go next year.”