Friday, July 02, 2010
Anne-Louise Brown | 3rd July 2010

photo by Geoff Potterna - HORSEMAN: David Anderson, 12, from Belli, and his horse Ashwind were first across the line in the 160km Tom Quilty Gold Cup.
WHEN David Anderson was a little boy he struggled to fit in because he was tongue-tied and mildly deaf.

But his parents had a plan. To give their little boy a confidence boost they put him on a horse.

David, now 12, has never looked back.

Last week the Cooroy State School student and his mare, Ashwind, were first across the line in Australia’s most prestigious equestrian marathon, the 160km Tom Quilty Gold Cup, held this year at Manilla in New South Wales. They completed the course in just over eight hours.

“When Ashwind and I ride together we know what the other is thinking. She’s an amazing horse,” David said.

“It was so exciting to get across the line first because I’ve been wanting to do the Tom Quilty for years, but you have to be 12 to compete.”

David said he had been inspired to get serious about riding after watching his big sister, Terri, compete.

“When I watched her I used to get so excited and soon I was totally addicted to horse riding,” he said.

“My aim is to be a vet that specialises in horses or a farrier. I want to live in Dubai where endurance horse racing started and work for a sheik.”

David’s mum, Sharon Cogbill, said her son was determined and focused on attaining his goals.

She said many people did not realise he was only 12.

“The only thing that gives it away is his size, because when David speaks about riding he’s so grown up,” Ms Cogbill said.

“He took to riding really naturally and was riding by himself at the age of five.

“David competed in his first endurance event when he was eight and by the age of nine was winning 320km races.”

Ironically, David almost missed out on competing in the Tom Quilty.

His father suffers heart problems and had to stop work and, to get David there, the family had to sell one of its 14 horses.

“There was no way we could let David miss out on it. Doing the Tom Quilty has been his dream for so long,” Ms Cogbill said.

“David’s career as a horseman is just starting, but I have no doubt he’s going to be a success.”

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