Sport

Freiberg steals the show

By Georgia Smith

Life is one big show for Benalla’s Matt Freiberg — an equestrian show that is.

The talented 18-year-old threw his hat in the ring for the 2018 American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup — an international equestrian event held every two years to showcase youth from across 19 countries.

Freiberg was given the opportunity to represent Australia in College Station Texas, stealing the show to take out numerous medals.

The Benalla local came away with two gold medals in the Trail and Reigning, a silver in the Trail and numerous top 10 placings.

However, he said his biggest accolade was being named the high point Trail and Reining rider of the World Cup.

‘‘Being called out overall High Point Trail and Reigning Rider was a dream come true,’’ Freiberg said.

‘‘It is such a competitive competition and I can honestly say that I could not have done it without the support and encouragement of my fellow teammates.’’

To qualify for the event, Freiberg sent off written applications and attended a selection camp in Tamworth in July last year.

From there, four riders, a reserve rider and five leadership members were selected to make the journey to Texas to represent Australia — Freiberg right in the mix.

His first show was back in 2012 at his local club the Big Valley Quarter Horse Association and since then he said he has never looked back, continuing to show at state, national and international level.

Freiberg’s first international competition was the 2017 Trans Tasman Teams Challenge, where he was selected as one of five riders to represent Australia against New Zealand.

‘‘It was a great stepping stone heading off to my first Youth World Cup,’’ he said.

With a strong passion for all round AQHA events, Freiberg specialises in Trail and Western Pleasure disciplines.

As his final year of youth competition comes to an end, Freiberg said he was already looking to his future.

‘‘I look forward to becoming an Australian Quarter Horse Association accredited professional trainer and clinician and sitting my judging ticket,’’ he said.

‘‘They say choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’’