TAKING ON NATIONALS: Gympie boys Riley Cook, 8, Taylor Ritter, 7, and Cooper Ritter, 5, hope their success continues.
TAKING ON NATIONALS: Gympie boys Riley Cook, 8, Taylor Ritter, 7, and Cooper Ritter, 5, hope their success continues.

Are these little fellas Gympie's cutest athletes?

Horse riding: Three Gympie boys took a step towards a career in riding when they competed at the Miniature Horse National Championship Show in Sydney recently.

Riley Cook, 8, Taylor Ritter, 7, and Cooper Ritter, 5, in the age groups under-6s, under-7s and under-9s each received a national champion place in their age group.

The boys competed in a wide range of events including best presented, showmanship, trail (obstacle course) and hunter (small jumps).

Riley's mother Bec Cook said she was very proud of all the boys and what they had achieved.

"This was the first-time competition for all of them and they did really well,” she said.

"It was the best Riley has ever done at nationals.

"We are very proud of him. He has worked really hard to get to where he is and to do what he does.”

Despite being a female dominated sport, these boys enjoy competing and hold their own in their age groups.

"This is sport, there is mainly girls but they go and do their thing,” Cook said.

"It does not affect them that they are the only boys. All three of them love it and love their horses.”

After a successful stint at nationals, Riley's focus is on Queensland state shows.

"He is working towards the shows in Queensland and hopefully returning to nationals again this year,” Cook said.

Unlike Taylor and Cooper, who started riding when they were 18 months, Riley took up the sport when he was five.

"He had seen the other two boys competing and said he would like to give it a go and he hasn't looked back really,” she said.

"I got into showing when I was younger.”

Having competed for about three years, Riley's favourite part is the socialising.

"He loves the social aspects of showing and enjoys catching up with his friends,” she said.

Gympie Times


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