KUMBIA Pony Club rider Kirby Rubesaame, 15, would never have thought riding in China would be on the cards.
But he has been told to pack his bags after he was picked as one of four Queensland pony club riders to represent their sport at the Mongolian Naadaam festival in Baotou in July.
The young rider was surprised to hear he was picked for the trip, planning to set off on the day of his 16th birthday.
"I haven't been outside of Queensland," Kirby said.
"I'm not nervous yet.
"I'm not sure what to expect."
But with a string of gymkhana titles and placings across the state, Kirby has proven to be up for a challenge.
"When I was 13, I was Queensland champion for gymkhana," he said.
With the multitude of disciplines covered by gymkhanas, he has taken a preference to the jumping events, which demand his greatest levels of concentration and bravery.
"I like the challenge of jumping and jumping high," he said.
"The highest I've jumped is 1.20 metres. I usually do good in jumping."
Uncertain of exactly what he will be doing at the Naadaam festival, he hopes to showcase his gymkhana skills on overseas soil, but also looks forward to picking up tips along the way.
Riding on a horse provided to him, Kirby will have to quickly adjust to the mannerisms and temperament of his given horse to show off in front the audiences.
But Kirby's life has revolved around horses ever since he was born, competing in pony club at the age of two, so the ability to read a horse has become an ingrained skill of his passed down from his family. "Before I could walk I could ride a horse, with dad and mum leading me," he said.
With years of practice, and under the pressure of his older siblings, Kirby has always sought to excel in his riding discipline to get one up over his sister and brother.
"When I started, I always looked up to my brother and sister," he said.
"Now I practice a lot, just at home and at rallies."
Kirby would typically ride between five and seven days a week, dependant on coming competitions.
With all this practice and competing, he has been lucky in the way of riding-related injuries.
"My worst injury was when I was at home, when I was eight, my horse got a fright," he said.
"As it went to run away, it cut my leg open, which needed 30 stitches."
But this did not hamper his passion for horses or the sport, getting back on his horse as soon he had recovered.
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