Hi, I’m Naomi

I didn’t grow up in a horsey family and I have no idea where the obsession came from…. But I was there right from as far back as I can remember. I collected and saved every picture of horses I could find. Even if it was a tiny black and white pic from the racing section of the newspaper. 

Fortunately for me, my aunt and uncle managed a large station in the north east of South Australia and I got to spend every school holiday there riding the station horses. I dont think the horses weren’t particularly broke and I didn’t know anything about riding other than the old kick and pull method. But those horses sure taught us to stick like glue.

By the time I started high school I managed to wear my poor parents down enough that I got my own horse. He was a bay Arabian gelding called Raj. Thank goodness he was an Arab because I would be on his back every daylight hour that I wasn’t at school. We moved to acreage south of Adelaide near the beach…. what a dream come true. Dad even levelled me out an arena pad. It never got finished, but, in my mind I’m sure I thought I looked like a great dressage rider going around… in reality I still didn’t know much other than kick and pull!

I went away to university and then corporate life took over. I went from running corporate fitness centres to working for medical devices companies. I had a lot of fun constantly jet-setting around to different places in Australia and all around the world. I wore suits and heels every day, I lived in the inner city of Sydney and then Brisbane. Before I knew it 17 years went by that I hadn’t had my own horse.

The love never went away. I still collected books and photos of horses. Would always be drawn to anything with the image of a horse on it. 

Life changed again and I got married and moved to Far North Queensland. I changed careers, followed my heart and studied photography at university. This led me to do photos for a gorgeous lady who had an Arabian stud. I turned up and pretty much never left. Somehow in a short time from meeting her she taught me all about endurance riding and I travelled all over the place with her competing on her endurance horses.

Then I bought my first horse in 17 years… of course it was an off the track thoroughbred! He was the black beauty I’d always dreamed about as a little girl.. I’m just so grateful that he was a gentleman and he looked after me. He was the first of many and I immersed myself in showing and dressage. 

Then one day I travelled down to Sydney to attend Equitana. I watched the reining. I’d never seen anything like it. I couldn’t understand how those horses were stopping without the riders touching the reins. I was hooked! I also saw a lady doing a brideless demonstration and my mind was blown. Little did I know my life was to change forever because of that trip.

I pursued the path of learning about horsemanship, colt starting and particularly reining. I was lucky enough to be invited to compete at Equitana in Melbourne many years later. I was the only interstate person competing in this new challenge called Extreme Cowboy racing. I didn’t know what I was doing but I went on to win the event. It was one of the best days of my life. I felt on cloud 9. The American judge invited me to train with him and compete in the USA. This opened so many doors for me and I am so grateful to everyone that was a part of making that happen. 

These days I live week to week, the horses and dogs eat way better than I do. However, I am the happiest I have ever been. I ride a lot of horses all day every day. I get to help so many amazing people with their confidence. I have some really inspiring mentors and coaches that i get to ride with on a regular basis. 

We hold clinics here at my place Sundance Park most weekends, plus put on small shows to help those just like me that struggle with nerves when going out to compete. 

I met my amazing business partners Tracey and Amanda through a wonderful horseman from Idaho; Martin Black.. or Puppa Martin as we like to call him. We have been talking about putting together this event for over two years and I am very excited to bring you all together for the most creative and educational weekend with Cowgirls Gathering.

Naomi Lee

Our education director

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