SINGLETON schoolboy Jake Hunter hoped to get a "nice horse" to work with and secure a medal in the showjumping at the Youth Olympics in China.
He got that and a lot more.
After claiming an against-the-odds bronze in Nanjing last month, the 18-year-old is preparing for a move to Ireland after gaining a job through a fellow competitor at the Youth Olympics.
Hunter will make the move in November and spend at least three months training horses and competing for the stables of Michael Duffy, who finished fifth at Nanjing.
It is a dream job for Hunter, who followed his mother Gail into the sport and has been working with horses and competing in showjumping for most of his life.
"It's pretty much everything I do now, only I'll be getting paid to do it in Europe where the sport is a lot bigger," Hunter said.
"It was a fantastic opportunity just to get there to Nanjing in the first place, then to get a medal over there was great, and now the opportunities that have come from it.
"The recognition on the world level and now getting the job in Europe from that, it's given me the chance to hopefully take it further."
Hunter was allocated one of the least experienced horses in the field - seven-year-old mare For The Star - in Nanjing.
He had only three training sessions with For The Star before making perfect runs in rounds A and B to qualify for the four-combination ride-off final.
"My horse was one of the youngest in the competition, which makes a difference when you are that level," Hunter said.
"But she was fantastic and she got better and better as the week went on and I was really happy with her.
"She was the only seven year old in the jump off for the individual, the others were 14.
"The first two both went clear so I had to go faster to beat them and I had an early rail down trying to go faster, and that was it.
"But I just wanted to get a nice horse and medal, and I was lucky enough to do that."
The result was a personal best for Hunter, who is hoping to leave for Ireland with a second Australian championship on his resume.
He will compete in the junior (under-18) and young rider (16-21 years) divisions in Werribee on September 20-21.
Hunter was the junior champion in 2012 and fourth last year in the juniors with Midnight Rock, which he will ride in the young rider category this campaign.
In the juniors, he will ride Lalaina, although he said preparations with both had been less than ideal.
"Hopefully I can get a good result in both but it's hard because I've been overseas and I haven't been able to do much with the horses and I haven't had a show in a while," he said.
As well as his trip to Nanjing, the NSW Country junior champion in 2010 and 2011 is mixing training and competing with his year 12 studies at at Singleton High School.