Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

101 New Tricks; AICM Student and Daredevil Mikayla Barber Happily Sings on Horseback, Writes CARLY MORRISSEY

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

101 New Tricks; AICM Student and Daredevil Mikayla Barber Happily Sings on Horseback, Writes CARLY MORRISSEY

Article excerpt

MIKAYLA Barber is no ordinary 14-year-old.

Like most young girls growing up, she dreamt of riding a horse.

The catch is she always imagined doing it backwards, or standing up or even laying down.

It all started when she was about six, her dad Paul Barber said.

aWe took her to the RNA in Brisbane about nine years ago. Heath Harris had brought up his Girls, Girls, Girls team of trick riders, she was six years old and said a[approximately]I'm gonna be one of those girls one day',a Mr Barber said.

Like most parents he thought nothing of the comment at first.

aInitially I didn't believe she would do it,a he said.

But Mikayla's family started to realise she was serious and ever since getting her first horse, Mikayla has been experimenting with trick riding. Now she is incorporating singing into her routines.

In between completing her Certificate 4 in music at Gympie's Australian Institute of Country Music, being home schooled and living in Brisbane three days a week, Mikayla practices riding her horse Phoenix in unusual ways.

She lives with her family most of the week at the picturesque Kenilworth Homestead.

aI'm working on a trick where I stand on a horse holding a flag with pyrotechnics or fireworks coming out of the end,a Mikayla said enthusiastically.

The daredevil said she had lessons with Heath Harris, the trick rider who trained the girls who inspired her to take up the performance sport.

Her first clinic with Harris was a surprise Christmas gift when she was 10 years old.

He has trained horses in movies like Racing Stripes, The Legend of Zorro and The Black Stallion.

Since that first clinic Mikayla has been to six, four-day workshops at Mr Harris' home north of Sydney.

She was devastated when he announced he would stop teaching, but found another way to learn new tricks.

aThere's a book called 101 ways to break your neck on a horse,a she said smiling.

Mikayla admits there were some tricks she wasn't game to try a like being strapped under the horse while it was galloping a but she had tried nearly 45 of the 101 tricks. …

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