MORE than 300 horses converged on Nambour Showgrounds for the first of several local major shows: the Sunshine Coast Show Jumping Club's annual May Show.
Queensland's top professional riders use this show as an introduction to a string of big shows that lead up to August's EKKA, after which they will travel interstate to compete in the Pacific League World Cup series.
Wet weather prior to the weekend made the big arena too boggy to use, so the two major events were moved to the indoor arena, where the huge horses entered had to negotiate very high, tight courses.
A second ring was run for younger riders, or people with green horses to improve their skills.
The weekend weather cleared beautifully, bringing a large crowd to cheer on the riders.
On Saturday the junior championship, for riders from 18 to 21 years, saw a high standard of jumping for the two-round competition, with heights up to 1.20m in the jump-off.
Toby McIntosh on He's My Man won the jump-off, scorching home five seconds ahead of his nearest rival, in a time of 34.63 seconds.
Page Dumble was second on Gold Warrior, with 39.62 seconds.
Kate Hinchin took out third place in 40.15 seconds, followed closely by Billy Healy almost four seconds behind her time.
Brooke Langbecker was fifth and Billy Healy on his second horse was sixth.
All riders posted double clear rounds.
Sunday's 1.45m grand prix event proved a much more trying event, with two of the top contenders, Billy Raymont and Brett Warren, taking spills from their horses.
The first prize of $1000 with a $350 bridle and rug, donated by Sandale Saddlery, going to the beautifully balanced team of Bec Jenkins (nee Allen) and her big warmblood mare RSB Jacana, posting a double clear with a time of 41.24 seconds in the jump-off.
Clem Smith was very close behind on the stunning black mare Florina in 41.57 seconds.
Matt Afford on Kalina Struck was third, followed by Olympian Tim Amitrano on his bay Electra D, then came Paula Hamood on her imported Grey Airtime Z.
Both Tim and Paula had one rail down in the first round.
Billy Raymont recovered from having two rails down in the first round to come seventh on Stardom, followed by Kerry Langbecker on his recently purchased grey Cumo Z.
Paula Hamood also gained ninth place on her daughter's horse Nero GHP, while 10th place went to Hayden James on Dutch Edition.
These last three placegetters all had a total of three rails down.
With so many volunteers, classes, jumps, horses, stables and yards to organise, this successful show was due in large part to the tireless efforts of husband and wife team Paul and Sue Raymont, whose work has been a major factor in making this club currently the most successful show jumping club in the nation.