Show rider is Ekka-bound

Warwick rider Alexia Fraser demonstrates her poise astride Willowcroft Coco Chanel.
Warwick rider Alexia Fraser demonstrates her poise astride Willowcroft Coco Chanel. Lorelle Mercer

ALEXIA Fraser heads to the Brisbane Exhibition on Sunday with four horses as she follows a passion for show riding.

"You've got to have a passion; I enjoy breeding and riding my own horses and competing on client horses," Fraser said.

On the show and grand national circuit, she has enjoyed outstanding success.

She has nominated four horses for the Brisbane Exhibition, including Willowcroft Coco Chanel, a six-year-old mare she rode to a win in the small galloway section at the Grand National at Horsley Park this year.

"I bought Coco when she was five months of age," Fraser said.

"I will eventually retire her from competition to breed from her."

In a career which started at the age of three and has spanned two decades so far, Fraser rates Coco and Grand National winner Last Tango as the best horses she has ridden.

Riders qualify for the Grand National with wins in royal shows or Horse of the Year Shows. She has enjoyed plenty of success at major events, including winning the champion galloway at the Canberra Royal Show this year.

"Canberra is the biggest royal show for horses," she said.

Fraser has won grand nationals at Horsley Park in the large galloway, small galloway and large hack classes. Each horse and rider combination is required to do a workout, similar to a dressage competition at the Olympics.

"The horses are judged on manners, paces, conformation, soundness and presentation," she said.

"My ambition is to breed and show horses to the best of my ability and compete on horses to win at the highest level."

After the exhibition, she will return home to Warwick for more training with the horses at Lyndhurst Riding Ponies and then compete in the Melbourne Royal Show and Queensland State Titles at Caboolture in September.

To reach the highest level means a lot of hard work.

Fraser said before a major event, she would work a horse 45 minutes to one hour a day, six times a week.

"We have Sundays off," she said.

Away from competition, she instructs riders and works at all the major yearling sales.

She has worked for Stewart Ramsay, of Turangga Farm, Scone (NSW), Eliza Park (Victoria) and Warwick-based Lyndhurst stud.

Fraser's busiest time at a yearling sale is the seven days of inspections before each sale.

"Trainers like Gai Waterhouse and Peter Moody will inspect a whole draft," she said.

For Fraser, that means she will parade 60 to 80 horses in front of some of the biggest names in racing.

"It is just experience that you know how to lead a horse, I have led a yearling at a sale which made $350,000 at an auction," she said.



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