Have you ever dreamt about going to a boarding school where you get to take your horse with you? For two Year 7 girls, they get to live this dream every day. Sienna Robinson and Darcie Loosemore attend NEGS, a boarding school in Armidale, NSW. They are friends, share a bedroom and are both horses crazy.
When they aren’t in the Equestrian Centre with their horses Sienna and Darcie say life as a boarder is really fun. “During summer we will all go outside and play hide and seek” said Darcie. “Right now it’s cold so we all get together in the boarding house and watch movies.” “All the other Boarders are so nice” said Sienna. Both girls have covered the walls of their shared bedroom with photos of their friends, dogs and, most importantly, horses!
Neither of the girls come from a rural family, and neither have parents who ride horses. Sienna is a city girl from Sydney. She chose to go to NEGS because of all the equestrian opportunities and the chance to have her horse with her at school. “It’s so much easier here” she said. “It’s easier to get transported to competitions and you have your horse nearby.” She absolutely loves getting to compete at the interschool equestrian events which she was never able to do at her old school.
Darcie is from the coastal city of Ballina and her two older sisters also attend NEGS. “Ever since I was little I have wanted to go to NEGS” she said. “It was always a dream of mine. When I tell people I go to NEGS they think it’s really different to have riding lessons during school hours, but for us it’s normal.”
The boarding houses are about a 5 minute walk to the Equestrian Centre and stables. Sienna got her horse Huey around 6 months ago and loves that she gets to care for him and be close to him all the time. “The great thing about having your horse at school is that you get to “feed him, ride him, rug him and love him” Sienna said. “I get up at 6am every day, an hour earlier than the other kids. Then after school you go straight to the EC and ride. I do it every day.”
Darcie currently shares her sister Maeve’s horse Raz. “Kids who share a horse take it in turns doing everything” she said. “My sister will warm him up and work him a little bit and then I’ll work him and cool him down”. Whilst Darcie is hoping to get her own horse very soon she also really enjoys helping all the other girls with their horses. “I want to get well known by the older girls,” she said “so that if they need their horse to be ridden when they are busy doing things like HSC exams they think “we’ll get Darcie to do it”. Because Darcie doesn’t have her own horse she doesn’t get to compete as much as she would like. But she still has many opportunities to do something new and exciting. Two highlights in her first two terms have been performing in the Stockmans Challenge and also in the NEGS Night of Music, where she and three other girls had their horses dancing to music outside the school Assembly Hall before the music and dance concert began.
Being in Year 7 means that there are many interesting opportunities on the horizon for these girls. NEGS is a school with a world class Equestrian Centre with elite coaches, programs and training facilities. Sienna said “Being at NEGS will allow me to compete at higher levels and get my horse educated. I want to become a better rider and better horsewoman.” Darcie would like to expand on her knowledge of horses, and most importantly get her own horse.