Bond University law student Elisha Hodgson is galloping toward her dream of competing nationally in equestrian.
The 20 year old, part of the Bond Elite Sport Program, has had a successful year, taking out two state events and spearheading the Bond Equestrian Club with Bond University special projects director Michelle Black and law student Sally Moore.
The Bond Equestrian Club, which started with just three members in May last year, has grown to include 29 competitive riders – including Bond Elite athletes Gemma Blums, Georgia Taylor, Amylee Holborn and Alana Ogilvy – and more than 70 associate members.
It just held its biggest event yet, a three day clinic with one of the world's most respected equestrian competitors, former World Champion and high profile coach, Bernie Traurig.
Ms Hodgson said the clinic helped take her riding to the next level.
"It was a fantastic opportunity to have an international coach of the calibre of Bernie here on the Gold Coast and working with our club and has helped me to develop my riding even further," she said.
Ms Hodgson, who grew up on a property at Tallebudgera, said she'd started riding at four years of age and went on to state level competition at the age of 12.
"My main focus is dressage and show jumping, and this year has been one of the best for me," she said.
"I got a new horse, Judge, in January and have had such a great rapport with him. We won two state events this year and are on a roll at the moment, so hopefully next year is bigger and better.
"We've already qualified for both dressage and show jumping at next year's state titles. I'm also hoping to compete nationally and be selected as one of four riders from Australia to compete in Canada next year.
"I feel I'm at a point now where I'm at that level and I will be competitive."
Ms Hodgson is also on track to complete her law degree at Bond University next year and said the Bond Elite Sport Program had helped her juggle a busy schedule of study and equestrian commitments.
"It has been excellent having that support to balance study and sport," she said.
Ms Black said the Bond Equestrian Club had continued to experience rapid growth, supporting Bond students from around Australia and the world who wanted to continue to build their skills.
"A small group of dedicated equestrians started the club because we wanted to give students the opportunity to continue with their sport while studying," she said.
"We've built a strong network of, and partnerships with, collegiate clubs, which has also allowed Bond students to engage in the community while participating in their sport as a group."