Tamworth equestrienne Ruby Scott-Smith is preparing to embark on the trip of a lifetime.
The Year 11 student is part of a 20-strong New England Girls School contingent travelling to the United States on an educational study tour.
The trip will incorporate master class sessions with equestrian specialists, presentations from Olympic greats and an exclusive meeting with the CEO of one of America’s largest restaurant chains, and Scott-Smith can’t wait.
“This is the first time the trip has been taken and I was lucky enough to get picked,” Scott-Smith said.
“It’s going to be a really good opportunity and I’ve never been overseas before.”
She couldn’t really put her finger on one aspect of the trip she was looking forward to more than any other.
“Everything I guess,” she said.
The itinerary has been coordinated by head of NEGS equestrian, Imtiaz Anees, and will include a visit to the Kentucky Horse Park, which is regarded as one of the world’s best equine competition facilities, and see the girls experience the Winter Equestrian Festival in Palm Beach and the Million Dollar Grand Prix at HITS OCALA, which offers the richest purse in showjumping and attracts world champions and Olympic gold medallists.
For Anees, the tour is part of an ambitious long-term plan to put NEGS Equestrian on the international map plus expose students to potential future career options.
“The girls will meet the team coach for the US Equestrian team, visit champion stables and witness cutting-edge technical skills from experts in everything from horse nutrition, to horse sports to equine science,” he said.
“We are also lucky enough to secure a meeting with the CEO of America’s best known restaurant chain, Dan Cathy to give the girls insight into what it takes to run a world-class corporation.”
It’s going to be a really good opportunity
A boarder at the school, Scott-Smith said the school’s equestrian program was a major drawcard, having been riding since she was a baby.
“I was born into a family of equestrians,” she said.
She said she has done “just about everything” as far as disciplines.
“My current horse I’ve had for about six months.
“He’s a campdrafter so I’m getting into that,” she said.
She is part of the NEGS campdrafting team, and will mid-year represent the school at the annual North West Equestrian Expo at Coonabarabran, where she will be compete in a range of different events including campdrafting and the stock horse challenge.
The touring party also includes Jaime McElroy, whose promising riding career was almost cut short due to a debilitating show jumping accident in 2015.
Whilst astounding doctors with her rapid recovery and subsequent selection to represent NSW at Nationals in 2016, McElroy is keenly aware of the need to evolve beyond just riding and is excited to learn about alternative careers.
“I view this as an incredible opportunity to gain some insight into the industry and hopefully help map out my future plans working in a job market that I love,” she said.