From Friday 1 June to Tuesday 5 June, our equestrian team competed at the North-West Equestrian Expo in Coonabarabran. Known for its breadth of events on offer, this is one of the highlights of the year for members of our equestrian program.

The eight team members who made the trip to Coonabarabran were:

Mackenzie Harding

Daniel Ternes-Dixon

Emily Quodling

Charlotte Wilson

Zani Fairfield-Smith

Lara Fairfield Smith

Sarah Jansen

Jessica Dickson

At the halfway mark:

Halfway through the event, we received the following update from one of the team’s co-managers, Ms Danielle Ternes. Of the first half of the event, she said:

“It’s been a fabulous three days of competition at the North-West Equestrian Expo and we still have three to go! Our small team once again has made their presence felt with great team support, goodwill to other competitors and strong results! Our team of eight riders are giving it their all, from Lara Fairfield-Smith who is juggling HSC assessment tasks while competing, and also providing awesome support to younger members in her role as team captain, through to Daniel Ternes-Dixon who had a most impressive fall in the showjumping section of the Pentathlon event this morning but came back strongly with his cross-country bike ride and javelin-throwing.”

New Event a hit with competitors:

The Pentathlon is a fabulous new event with five components. Competitors run the 2.4km One Day Event cross-country course, jumping all obstacles. They then jump a ‘Top Score’ Showjump round, where they plot their own course and receive points for each jump according to its height and difficulty. They then also complete a mountain bike section, a javelin throw and a timed flag race event!

The two SMGS athletes who competed in this new event were Daniel Ternes-Dixon and Mackenzie Harding. Both student-athletes finished 4th in their respective categories in the run component. Mackenzie had a great round in her showjumping and they both had solid scores in the mountain bike and javelin sections.

Reflecting on the team members’ efforts over the first half of the event, Ms Ternes said, “The commitment and tenacity of our team members as they look for the best in themselves and their horses is always inspiring.”

In their own words:

Mackenzie Harding, annotated by Daniel Ternes Dixon

“Pentathlon makes you really dig deep and challenge yourself!”


Emily Quodling – How do you feel about your amazing turn-around in the last twelve months?

“Really happy. Greg (my horse) was good!”


Charlotte Wilson – Did you ever imagine you might have back-to-back wins in the ODE?

“Not in my wildest dreams. My horse Harry is a legend!”


So, Zani, you walked the cross-country course six times … what were your thoughts as you rode out of the starting box?

“Just get through the next five minutes and then I am done. I was nervous at first but then I got into it!”


Daniel Ternes-Dixon on the cross-country obstacles:

“I’m going to eat it in the Warrumbungle Way.”


Sarah Jansen, you were worried about the water jump but you rode it so well. How did you feel?

“Glad to get through it quite well and a bit amazed I stayed on for some of Ted’s antics!”


Lara, how did you feel about completing the cross-country course today?

“Just glad to have survived.”


Jess had a great jump round after a solid dressage test in Combined Training, but today we saw her hidden talent in a camp whip cracking display that left us breathless! Warrumbungle Way next year Jess!

So, Jess after uncovering your whip cracking talents, is it show jumping or Warrumbungle?

“Yes, Bob and I just might take it on next year, I think we would be excited to give it a go!”


The team manager’s words of wisdom:

“Feed, water and walk your horses!!!”



One Day Events:

Alexandra (Zani) Fairfield-Smith Eva60 div 2 4th

Charlotte Wilson Eva60 div 4 1st

Sarah Jansen Eva60 div 6 6th

Emily Quodling Eva80 div 2 2nd

Mackenzie Harding Eva80 div 1 3rd

Jess Dickson combined training 10th


Emily Quodling 105cm 2nd

Lara Fairfield-Smith 95cm 5th 6th

Mackenzie Harding 95cm 2nd 3rd and reserve champion

6 Bar:

Mackenzie Harding equal first


Charlotte Wilson 2 x 1st champion prelim dressage

Sarah Jansen 4th


13-year-old girl rider Emily Quodling 4th

Alexandra Fairfield-Smith 6th

Charlotte Wilson 7th

Charlotte Wilson pony hack 1st

Alexandra Fairfield-Smith hunter Galloway 5th

Jess Dickson 4th

Lara Fairfield-Smith 4th

Mackenzie Harding 4th

Combined Training 

Jessica Dickson 10th 60cm


Mackenzie Harding 2nd


Daniel Ternes-Dixon 1st Time Trial, 3rd Barrels, 4th Keyhold and 2nd 14-year-old

Jessica Dixon 5th Keyhole

Working Horse

Daniel Ternes-Dixon 7th 14-year-old

Warrumbungle Way

Daniel Ternes-Dixon 2nd 14-year-old

Overall Schools Awards

Best presented small school (out of 380 competitors)

The Best Presented Small School award entails a high amount of effort from riders. It is presented to the school team that best showcases their pride and respect for their school and what their school stands for.


‘The whole is more than the sum of its parts’ – Aristotle

Of the amount of effort and commitment from students, staff and parents required for our team to travel to an event like the NW Equestrian Expo from Jindabyne, co-manager Ms Danielle Ternes thanked those who were pivotal in the team’s success over the five-day event, saying, “Thank you to each and every one of you for a fabulous and incredibly smoothly running week away competing! It is such a mammoth endeavour to get our SMGS Equestrian Team to Coonabarabran, and to have you perform so strongly and with such good ethos for the week is a credit to all. A special thank you to our incomparable team manager Gidge Fairfield-Smith, who beautifully orchestrated a remarkably stress-free week, thanks to your planning and input! I cannot begin to say how lucky we are to have you! Our new equestrian uniforms looked superb and winning the small schools presentation award is a further testament to the strength of our program, and is a direct result of your vision and lots of hours organising! Once again, thanks to all of you, students, parents and horses, for making it such a rewarding week!”

After such a successful campaign in Coonabarabran, as well as the long list of successes from other events that were on the equestrian calendar this year, the equestrian team will without a doubt be excited to celebrate together at the Equestrian Program’s presentation evening this coming Friday, 22 June in the Snowy Shed.