PROUD AS PUNCH: Chantal Simpson, of Lockyer Waters, with her horse Sandford Luminate, and the 2019 Ekka.
PROUD AS PUNCH: Chantal Simpson, of Lockyer Waters, with her horse Sandford Luminate, and the 2019 Ekka. LMG Photography

Special needs rider claims prestigious Ekka champion win

IN HER first year competing at the Ekka, Chantal Simpson and her horse have claimed honours in an elite class for riders with disabilities.

The Ekka was the culmination of a string of five equestrian events, providing riders with disabilities a chance to compete at agricultural shows just like any other horse rider.

"I was over the moon, I was crying," Miss Simpson said.

She was named champion unassisted rider in the canter class.

It was an early birthday present for the Lockyer Waters 24-year-old, who will celebrate her birthday next week.

Miss Simpson, along with her warmblood mare Sandford Luminate, competed in the canter class, which is designed for riders with lower-needs disabilities.

The competition was a three-phase event, involving a led, smartest on parade and hack class.

Classes were also available for higher-needs riders.

"I was really nervous on the day," Miss Simpson said.

Marburg Show Society was the first of four local agricultural shows to host the classes for riders with disabilities.

At each show, competitors gained points based on their final placings, with the final points awarded at the Ekka.

Miss Simpson's father Darryl Simpson said it was a good opportunity for disabled riders to compete with the best at the highest-rated horse show in Queensland.

"It just goes to show riders with disabilities are treated equally in the equestrian world, and they can put on just as good show as the able-bodied riders," he said.

"We do have a large number of people with disabilities in our region, and horse riding is one way they can interact with everyone else."

Mr Simpson said the last time he could recall disabled classes at a show was at Lowood when his daughter was in primary school.


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