RIGHT: Ballarat rider Simon Tainsh is chasing a dream of representing Australia. Picture: Lachlan BenceSIMON TAINSH would love nothing more than to represent Australia in an Olympic Games or World Equestrian Games campaign.But he knows that some hard decisions will need to be made before that dream can become a reality.The 24-year-old eventer has been chasing his goal for as long as he can remember, and admits he may have to leave the job he loves to take his passion to the next level.Tainsh, a merchandise manager at Landmark in Ballarat, is semi-professional, having his own team of horses as well as training and riding competitively for others.”The next 12 months (will determine) what I do … whether I take it on full-board and make it a professional career for myself or stick to only having one or two horses and have a stable job working here,” Tainsh, a dual pony club national event competitor and a 2005 EFA Young Rider of the Year eventing finalist, said.”Now I am almost at the point where I have got to make a decision to do it seriously or just do it serious, but not on a large scale.”Tainsh said his job let him afford his passion, but also hindered his development.”I love this job, this is what I went to uni for,” he said.”I studied agricultural business management and this is what I came to work for. At the end of the day, I’ve got to work so I can ride horses.”I want to ride for this country. I want to go to the Olympics and I want to be a professional rider.”Some of the top riders will have 10 or 12 competition horses, but to work full-time, I don’t have the time. I struggle to do three.”The sport of eventing incorporates three disciplines of horsemanship, held over three days, including dressage, cross-country and show-jumping.Tainsh, who was born in Geelong and has lived in Smythes Creek for the past three years, said he had grown to love the sport for the adrenaline rush of cross-country riding, where horse and rider are faced with a number of steep fences that have to be conquered under a set time. He also loves the training that is required to teach a horse the skills to compete in dressage and show-jumping successfully.”Three-day eventing is like a triathlon,” Tainsh said.”There are three parts to it and, at the end of the day, the person that does the three parts with their combined score the best, is the overall winner.”We have won gold medals at three Olympics in a row. It is somewhere that Australia is on top of the world.”Basically, you have the obedience of the horse on the first day, then you have to be able to go out and gallop and jump big fences on the second day, but also be fit enough to come back and jump fences on the third day.”The jumping side of things is a big part of eventing _ it is two out of the three phases.”But I suppose that everyone who goes eventing does it for the cross-country because if you didn’t like (it), there is the option of either going showjumping or dressage.”A horse by the name of Mighty William is the one that Tainsh hopes can carry him to greater heights. The nine-year-old thoroughbred was originally an unraced galloper that was not quick enough for a career on the race track.Tainsh has his sights set on a berth in the 2016 Olympic Games, believing the 2012 event in London is a little too adventurous, considering the stage his horse is at.”The next Olympics aren’t really in sight for the fact that he (Mighty William) won’t have been at the top level for long enough,” he said.Mighty William, who Tainsh has had for two-and-a-half years, turned in one of his best performances of the season at an event in Camperdown, which followed a 12th placing at the Australian International Three Day Event in Adelaide.This event is the biggest in the southern hemisphere and attracts Olympic-standard horses and riders.”He is really starting to kick a few goals,” Tainsh said.
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