TALENTED far north Queensland horsewoman Emma O’Shea took out her third Man From Snowy River Ladies Challenge title at the weekend.
Aboard her 10-year-old stallion Hilite Dad’s Acres, Emma finished with 580.4 points – more than 40 points ahead of her nearest rival.
Emma was was ranked fourth in the open section leading into the finals – one of only two women in the top 15 finalists - after solid performances in the stockhandling, whipcrack, pack horse, cross country and bareback and a first place in the horseshoeing.
“I went really good in the individual events,” Emma said.
“The bareback was one of the best of all the challenges and I got the second highest score in bareback. I pretty well rely on my horse now. He’s pretty trustworthy.”
Emma’s partner of three years, Morgan Webb, was on top of the competition ladder until an uneventful bronc ride in the final rued his chances of taking out the prestigious challenge title. Morgan finished fourth in the final.
The pair were named the highest scoring open rider and lady rider on an Australian Stockhorse respectively.
The challenge is the showcase event of the Man from Snowy River Festival which endeavours to find the modern day Man from Snowy River, testing all round horsemanship of rider and horse combination.
A large contingent of far north and north west Queensland supporters including Emma’s father Frank O’Shea travelled to Victoria to support Emma.
Emma and Morgan also had a hand in the up and coming junior competitors. Emma has been mentoring junior challenge winner Kelsie Lupson, Albury, Victoria, while Morgan has taken strippling winner Tom Denson under his wing.
Emma, 28, makes the high country home for half the year where she competes in challenges and break horses in with Morgan, 26. She returns for the far north Queensland winter where she bases herself at the family property at Almaden, west of Mareeba, and works and competes on the challenge and campdrafting circuit.