Mortlake Dispatch
Parker earns national interschool berth

HAYDEN Parker is set for big things later this year.

The 14 year-old from Mortlake has qualified to represent Victoria at the Equestrian Australia Interschool Championships in Sydney this September.

Parker earned his way into the event after winning his category at the Victoria Interschool Series held in Werribee during early April.

The Mercy Regional College student then followed up his qualification with strong performances for his state riding Slim, Nitro and Pippi at the Aquis Champions Tour in Queensland.

“I was one of three in Victoria to be picked to go up to Queensland to ride,” Parker said.

“We didn’t place but I won a few things up there. I won champion overall with my horse Slim and I had few more firsts with Slim and Nitro and I also came sixth out of the juniors with Pippi.

“A couple of weeks earlier I went to Interschools and I got champion on Nitro and reserve on Slim and that qualified me to go to Sydney in September.

“Six people out of Victoria go for that height and we verse people from all around Australia like Queensland and that.”

Parker’s trip to Sydney will be the third time he has represented his state at the national interschool championships and his first since 2017, having missed last year’s staging due to injury.

“Last year I broke my ankle so I couldn’t do it, but there are two years before that I qualified,” he said.

“In Toowoomba in 2017 my team got second overall and 2015 was Sydney and I got fifth and a few places there.

“This year I’m going to try and place as high as I can, if I can get in the top four that would be good.”

It is obvious that Parker is proud to have been able to represent his state on multiple occasions, although he said he finds it hard to put into words just exactly what it means to him.

“It feels good but I can’t really explain it,” he said.

“I’m just happy and I feel like I’m fairly good at the sport because I’ve done this so many times.”

Parker is currently in the midst of a short hiatus from competing ahead of the national championships, which is a change to his routine.

He said normally he would be busy competing most weekends, but is instead spending his downtime playing football with Terang Mortlake and touch rugby in Warrnambool.

The teenager is also keeping busy with squad lessons in Werribee and Boneo ahead of the event, while he may potentially compete before September if something suitable arises.

“It’s every weekend (I’m competing) if the horses aren’t on a break, but they’re both on a break at the moment, although I’m about to bring another back into work, it’s usually flat out,” Parker said.

“But I really love it and it’s just fun because you get to see all your friends all the time and you get to meet new people.”