IT may have taken her 14 years of determination and dedication, but Deziree Roos has gone where very few riders have gone before her, to the highest level of pony club possible.
The 27-year-old gained her A certificate earlier this year and became the first pony club member since 2015 to achieve the feat.
Joining the Hervey Bay Pony Club as an 11-year-old, Miss Roos, who goes by Dezi to her friends, became enthralled with all aspects of the ritual that is saddling up and riding with her pony clubmates.
The journey has lead her to take up work at thoroughbred studs such as Sun Stud, Wingberry Farms and Elysian Fields after graduating from Fraser Coast Anglican College.
From there, the allure of riding in Canada and the United States became too enticing to ignore and Dezi plied her trade in North American show jumping barns, an experience she said proved vital to her training.
"Personally, I think I learned the most from my time working in the thoroughbred industry," Miss Roos said.
"After that, I spent three years in showjumping barns and I don't think it's possible to achieve an A certificate by staying in your own backyard.
"My advice for anyone wanting to take the certificate process as far as they can is to broaden your horizons and always be open to learning new things."
The journey may have started in Hervey Bay, but now Miss Roos' passion for coaching has lead her across the state and most recently at a major pony club event in St George.
"I joined pony club when I was about 11 and didn't start competing until I was about 13," she said.
"I've loved pretty much everything about it, but I would have to say its the terrific people I've met along the way that are the best part about it.
"Pony club has certainly a big part of my life and I have no doubt those early days are what lead me to owning my own business as a coach and horse trainer."
The now Howard local may be too old to compete at pony club-level herself, but the desire to teach the next generation of riders is something Miss Roos said keeps her going.
"To me, it is really important to keep kids that are learning to ride motivated to learn," she said.
"That's where the certificates come in because I think the biggest things these certificates instill in kids is the horsemanship that is required in what ever it is they want to do, whether its jump higher or run faster or anything like that.
"You never stop learning, I still have coaches who teach me new things all the time and I know my coaches have coaches as well."
For anyone who is thinking of taking the reins and saddling up at their local pony club, Miss Roos' advice is simple.
"Just give it a go," she said.
"It was the best thing I ever did and I look forward to coaching the next generation of riders and their horses for many more years to come."
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