At just 15 years of age, Alissa Woods has already demonstrated her equestrian prowess.

Alissa has won several titles and competed in several prestigious competitions. Most recently, she had the opportunity to represent Australia at the Australian Federation Equestrian Internationale (FEI) Championships in Imbil. Alissa rode in the 120 kilometre endurance ride against the New Zealand team. “I think I did my first 160 kilometre ride when I was just 11 years old. You get used to riding long distances, but it still hurts. Every time!”

Alissa is quick to attribute some of her success to her equine partner, Hurstglen Herby. “He’s very special and extremely competitive, so he’s hard to judge at an endurance level. There’s a lot of tactic involved in riding at this level. You have to know your horse, and recognise when it’s time to ease up.”

Alissa’s love for equestrian pursuits comes only second to her studies, in which she continuously excels.

This year, she was awarded the Academic Award at Fairholme College for semester two. “I just work as hard as I can at school, and it is hard to balance it all out, because Endurance Riding takes a lot of training. I’m hoping to study Law when I finish so I understand the importance of putting school first.”

The ambitious teenager has goals for riding, too. “I want to go to the World Equestrian Games one day — that’s my goal.”