Ella Hazlett topped the Junior Australian World’s Greatest Horsewoman not once but twice.

In the land down under, reined cow horse has taken the equine world by storm. Australia is home to cutting, reining and reined cow horse events similar to those of the United States, including The Australian Cowgirl, an event that crowns both Australia’s Greatest Horsewoman and the Junior Australia’s Greatest Horsewoman. Ella Hazlett claims both the inaugural and most recent Junior Australia’s Greatest Horsewoman titles.

Photo by Flash Pony Photography (Sam Cavallo)

The youth from Tyntynder South in Victoria earned the title in 2022 and again in 2023, both aboard Mia Hell Cat by Ima Smooth Blue Cat and out of Givem Hell by One Hell Of A Spin. The stallion was trained by Ella’s father, Brook Hazlett. With a talented partner, Ella rode to the 2022 title at 15 years old after only riding Mia Hell Cat since September 2021.

“My dad trained him and took him through the open cutting futurity in 2017. Since then, my dad has competed in many cutting events on him,” Ella says. “Over the past few years, we’ve started to campdraft him and show in reined cow horse events. He is an awesome horse, a very reliable and talented partner.”

The event, which also features the Australian Greatest Horsewoman event, a colt starting demonstration, a Rein In Pink open reining and an open cutting event, runs April 17-21, 2024, at Tatura Park in Whiteheads Creek, Victoria, Australia. For more information, visit theaustraliancowgirl.com.au. Ella will be competing for the third and final time as a junior rider, looking to make it a three-peat. Western Horseman visited with her about the event.

Western Horseman: How did you get started riding horses, and what made you decide to compete in reined cow horse?

Ella Hazlett: I have been riding horses for as long as I can remember. My dad, Brook Hazlett, is my horse trainer and has taught me everything I know about horses. Reined cow horse is starting to grow in Australia, and it is a very exciting sport that gets the adrenaline going. I especially like reined cow horse because to be competitive in the sport, both the horse and rider have to be very well-rounded in the three areas. It takes a very good horse to be able to do a nice reining pattern and back it up with a good cutting run, and [also] go down the fence. That makes the sport so appealing because there will always be areas to improve on and try and build our skills.

Ella Hazlett topped the Junior Australian World’s Greatest Horsewoman not once but twice, claiming both the inaugural and most recent titles.
Photo by Flash Pony Photography (Sam Cavallo)

WH: What are the challenges of juggling horses in school and competing in cow horse?

Ella: Juggling both horses and competing with school can be challenging, but my school is very understanding and lets me reschedule tests if I am going to be away. I am going into year 12 this year, so it will be more challenging than in previous years to get to as many shows.

WH: What interest did you have in competing for the title?

Ella: I was interested in competing in Australia’s Greatest Junior Horsewoman because it looked like a good event that I would like to support and help get running. There were four different categories, including cutting, reining, an obstacle course and a down the fence run. I thought that’d be a good test of diversity being that we had never competed in an obstacle course before. My favorite section of the event is definitely the down the fence component. It is a great adrenaline rush, and the cutting is also great.
The biggest challenge going into the competition was the obstacle course section. We had never competed in anything like that before, so, at home, we built some obstacles and practiced dragging things such as tarps and going over bridges and all sorts of things to try and get prepared for that part of the competition.

WH: Was competing in the second Australia’s Greatest Horsewoman just as exciting?

Ella: Competing in the second Junior Australia’s Greatest Horsewoman event was definitely just as exciting. I had a better understanding of what the event was going to require, and I understood that the standard was really high and that the other competitors were very competitive and had great strengths.

WH: What are your future goals for competition?

Ella Hazlett topped the Junior Australian World’s Greatest Horsewoman not once but twice, claiming both the inaugural and most recent titles.
Photo by The Canon Cowgirl 

Ella: In the future, I would like to stay competitive and keep improving within myself and my
horse’s skills. I am again entered for the 2024 Junior Australia Greatest Horsewoman event and hope to do well. It will be my last time as a junior!

WH: Do you want to thank anyone?

Ella: I would like to thank my dad, who has taught me everything I know about horses, and for
always making sure I have the opportunities to compete and ride quality horses and to travel to places all over the eastern side of Australia to show. I look up to my dad very much and
want to one day get to the stage where I can train a horse and do as good of a job as he
does. I hope to one day have his amazing timing and feel for a horse.

Someone who has influenced my riding other than my dad is Jaton Lord. I did a clinic with him last year and gained a lot of knowledge, particularly with sliding stops. A few weeks ago, I attended a Sandy Collier judging seminar when she visited Australia to get a better understanding of what judges are looking for in reined cow horse events. I also had two lessons from Sandy, which I learned a lot from and improved a lot on my spins.

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