Alishia Thomas has stamped her mark on the world of horse barrel racing, producing a scintillating display to become the 2019 Australian Barrel Horse Association (ABHA) National Finals Junior 1D Champion.
Alishia and her horse Shameless Little King (AKA Rugar) traveled with her parents and sister to Tamworth to compete in the ABHA National Finals from September 16 to 23.
Barrel racing involves jockeys sprinting around three barrels in a cloverleaf (left-right-right) pattern aiming to clock the fastest time possible.
Going into the Finals Alishia said she was nervous after a slip up in the competition last year.
"I ran a good time in my first run but I was disqualified because I over whipped. When you're coming home you can whip your horse four times but I whipped mine five times," she said.
"I was still able to run again and in my second run I recorded a faster time."
As it turned out Alishia had no reason to be worried this year, recording three 17-second runs and one 18-second run that led her to the title over 181 other juniors.
Alishia's win is not only momentous for her personal career but also in a historical context, as it's the first time a junior from South Australia has won the National Finals.
"It felt pretty amazing to find out I'd won," she said.
Alishia also competed in the Open Division where she placed fourth - another remarkable achievement for an up and coming jockey.
According to Alishia, barrel racing is a sport where you have to balance speed with finesse in order to record a quick time without distressing your horse.
"Sometimes people go out there and run as fast they can but their horse loses focus...the main goal is to get as close to the barrel as you can in a nice and tidy run," she said.