EIGHT years ago Katina Smith set a personal goal to achieve the pinnacle of dressage with a young foal.
So began Katina's relationship with 'Just Dance' and after countless training hours, the duo recently took another step towards their goal by taking out two championship titles at the NSW Dressage Championships in Sydney. They competed in medium and advanced levels and took home the champion title in both categories.
The championship wins also secure Katina a position on Equestrian Australia's National Futures Squad. The National Futures Squad is for promising horse and rider combinations that have been identified as having the potential to compete in future Olympic or World Equestrian Games.
"It is a huge honour to be named as part of this squad. I don't know that I will ever make it to an Olympics, but I am certainly going to give it my best effort and see what happens," Katina said.
Katina and 'Just Dance' herald from Coopernook, are members of the Manning Valley Dressage and Hacking Club and trained by Carolyn Begg.
"I bought my horse as a foal. Apart from when he was broken in, I have trained him myself," she explained.
"He is now eight-years-old and on track to reach, Grand Prix, the pinnacle of dressage, by the time he is 10. I would like to think that what my horse and I have achieved is an example to others that sometimes hard work and determination pay off."
Katina said the standard of dressage was increasing rapidly in Australia with many people buying expensive horses from overseas and then have them competed by professional riders who have trained overseas.
Katina is proud of 'Just Dance' who was bred by Newcastle breeder, Heath Ryan.
Katina's next major competition will be the National Championships at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre from October 23 to 27 .