by Julia Baker
SHE may be a novice but when Shannyn Barlow saddled up for her first competitive race at the Quilpie Cup it was the culmination of years of hard work and a dream come true.
The 24-year-old Chinchilla local is now a bonafide jockey after completing an apprenticeship with local trainer Mark Goodwin.
Originally from Geelong, Barlow has been riding since she was young but it wasn't until she moved to Chinchilla her jockey dream began to become a reality.
During her training Barlow made a comeback after a serious accident which forced her off the horse for nine weeks.
"Accidents are just part of being a jockey but it put me behind a bit.
"It was my first ever race and I was really excited and there wasn't many nerves... I've always wanted to be a jockey so finally the dream came true. I was just like: it's happening, so let's go.”
"I've always ridden horses and then I met Mark and (his daughter) Jemima and it went from there.
Barlow raced three horses for Goodwin at the Quilpie Cup and one for trainer, Trevor Mead, and said a country race meet was the best place to get out of the gates for the first time.
"It's a good place to start because it's a quieter and there are less fields so it's better to learn there first.
"It had a couple of placings so it was a really good day.
"I came back from my first ride and went 'Oh it's over'. It went really quick and it was a bit of a blur.”
Barlow is set to race again at Charleville on May 20 and can't wait to get back in the saddle.
"It is what I want to do, so wherever it takes me and how far it takes me I'll be happy with.”