Crack team aims to put Fassifern on world map

THIS Thursday the Fassifern vaulting senior squad will fly halfway across the world and head to France to compete in the FEI World Equestrian Games.

Although the sport is not as common in Australia as it is in Europe, the team has high hopes for the games and aims to get into the top 12 and compete in the second round of the competition.

Coach Darryn Fedrick said the team will firstly head to Paris and Disneyland for a well-earned break before getting back into training for the games on September 3. "As a coach I can be nothing but proud of these guys, they've worked so hard to get where they are and they've given up a lot of things to do what they're doing," he said.

"They are just amazing, the team come from this little country town and they've had people along the way saying they'll never get there and we've worked and worked and now we're finally here.

"We've had a lot of ups and downs as we've gone along, but we are happy with where we are now and we're ready to head over."

Vaulting is a competitive sport where both gymnastics and dance elements are combined and performed to music on a moving horse.

The Fassifern team consists largely of Boonah locals who have followed their passion for the unusual sport for the past four years. "Vaulting is a bit more of a thrill then normal horse riding, I love it," vaulter David Waller said.

"The training for Europe has been pretty busy ... we've been training six days a week so it's been pretty full on. I'm looking forward to the atmosphere of the World Equestrian Games and just showing them what we can do as Australians - it's going to be great."

Emily Kleier is the oldest member of the team at 24 and said she can't wait to head to France. "I'm feeling a little nervous but I just want to be there already so I have mixed emotions," she said.

"I'm hoping we do really well."

The team has been training intensely for months and will have three weeks to acclimatise and train in Europe before the competition. The Boonah community has helped to raise an impressive $10,000 for the trip in the past 12 months.

"The support from the local community in Boonah has been great," Mr Fedrick said. "We hope to represent our country well, perform well and hopefully get into the top 12 in the world."

For FEI World Equestrian Games details, visit normandy2014.com



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