It's been a great year for 12-year-old Matia Hopwood who managed to be named the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) Children's Champion at the 2023 Australian Youth Championships.
Starting her association with horses at just six-months-old when her mother would go riding with her, she began riding by herself at the age of three.
"I was probably about three when I started riding by myself and I've been doing it ever since, show jumping, dressage and working the cattle out on our farm," she said.
"I was probably about six months old when I started, sitting on my mom's lap on the horse."
Hopwood embraced her competitive side and began entering into a variety of horse riding competitions from dressage to show jumping.
Her strongest performing category is by far her dressage riding. Dressage riding is when a rider uses barely perceptible signals to direct a horse to do a precise series of manoeuvres.
However, her biggest achievement so far came at the Australian Youth Dressage Championships, which were held in July in Sydney, where she was awarded the FEI children's champion.
"It felt really good," She said.
"I can't believe I've made it this far in a year.
"Now I hope to continue it in the future with more ponies and horses."
Hopwood has three ponies that she rides at the moment, Mary and Ally for training and riding around the farm and her new pony Ari that she uses in competition riding.
Hopwood has been training with Ari since she got him in October of 2022. Training with him has opened a series of new doors for the young girl including show jumping.
"I've had Ari for about one year, he's really good at show jumping so we hope to get more into show jumping as well as dressage," she said.
"My last one wasn't as competitive as this one so he's really helped me. He's taught me lots of stuff. He's been a really safe and reliable pony."
One of the biggest highlights for Hopwood throughout her year of hard work has been taking the time to reflect on how far she has come since she first started riding.
Reflecting on the amount she's improved has also led her to see how proud her parents are that she is doing so well in a sport that they also love.
"They're very proud. They love to see that I'm doing what they love to do," Hopwood said.
"I think they're very proud of what I've done over this year because this has probably been my most successful year."
Now Hopwood is preparing for the Willinga Park Dressage by the Sea which is set to be held in February as well as the FEI's Children's and Elementary competitions.
Until then the youngster will continuing to train over the Christmas period, up to four times a week before her horse needs a break.
"We do a lot of training in our arena at home," she said.
"We just go through a movement a day to get better then put it together two weeks out from the competition."