School holidays mean more than just horsing around for these kids

Shannon Dockerty
Shannon Dockerty, from St Joseph’s High school, Aberdeen taking out 1st place in the 80cm One Day Event at AELEC

Now in its fifth year, the Interschools Horse Extravaganza (ISHE) was conducted over four days from the 12th of October at the Australian Equine and Livestock Event Centre (AELEC) in Tamworth, NSW, attracting more than 500 competitors from across NSW and Queensland’s south-east corner.

It was a long weekend for organisers as approximately 520 students converged, with more than 600 horses and the children’s families to compete over the four days, concluding on Monday the 15th.

Competitors pitted themselves against one another in nine different equine disciples including Dressage, Showjumping, Eventing and Campdrafting.


This year, ISHE saw the inclusion of three new events: Show Horse, Show Hunter and Working Hunter classes. Event Secretary Tania Haling said, “we like to freshen the event each year”. These events were well supported with over 120 entries across the three classes.

Drawing competitors from all over NSW and as far away as Clancy’s once flooded plains in Queensland to the slopes of Kosciusko made infamous by that other poem from the Banjo Patterson stable. The competition was open to all comers and included Private, Public and Independent School students.

Riders as young as five years were catered for with competitors covering the full spectrum of students from Kindergarten to year twelve.

Currently, in its fifth year, ISHE is privately organised by a small committee of ten volunteers, drawn from parents in the Tamworth region and its surrounds.

Claudia Williams
Claudia Williams of Narrabri, NSW showjumping at AELEC

With so many students and parents converging on the venue, it was inevitable that the whole family would become engaged in the competition. The crowd-pleasing Woof and Hoof competition was conducted on Saturday evening. Competitors complete a short showjumping round with their equine partners before dismounting and completing an agility course with the family dog. The winner is judged by the audience reaction. You can see some of the action on YouTube.

AELEC, Tamworth’s premier equine facility

This year AELEC is celebrating its tenth year of providing world-class event facilities to the equine community. Owned and operated by the Tamworth Regional Council and originally built at a cost of $30 million the facility continues to grow and improve with earthworks currently underway to expand the facilities capabilities.

AELEC is constructed on a 22-hectare site and comprises a main indoor arena capable of seating over 3000 with a separate sales arena and various outdoor riding areas and cross-country course. The cattle handling facility can handle up to 400 head and includes a campdrafting arena.

It’s not just for the horses either. AELEC has held various events including dog agility competitions, rural field days and PBR Rodeos. This year saw the first year that Tamworth’s Annual Show moved from the traditional Paceway grounds to the AELEC.

For those who are interested in next year’s competition details will be available on the ISHE website ( or you can follow all the action on their Facebook page (

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