The connection between a human and an animal working together as a team inspired a love of equestrian from a young age for Year 12 student Emma Ritchie. Growing up in Wanganui, Emma started riding at six years old.
With a passion for showjumping, Emma has enjoyed consistent performance on the circuit this season and has been selected to represent Hawke’s Bay in the Nations Cup at Horse of the Year (HOY) 2018.
“I’m stoked, happy and excited to be part of HOY,” says Emma as she prepares for the upcoming team challenge at this prestigious event on Friday 16 March.
Competing at several events around the North Island during the past six months saw many highlights including fourth place out of over 100 competitors at the Taupo Christmas Classic. Following her success, Emma was encouraged to apply for the Nations Cup by Woodford Equestrian coach Amy Roydhouse.
Despite her success, it has not been plain sailing. Emma faced a setback earlier this year when her 9-year-old dark brown mare, Brunette, was injured in the paddock shortly after the Gisborne Showjumping Championships.
Nursing Brunette back to health involved following a consistent training schedule, including a lot of flat-schooling to help build muscle and condition.
Brunette or ‘B’ as she is affectionately known, started life in Dannevirke as the progeny of stallion, Midnight Hour. This is B’s first real season competing as Emma has only been riding her for nine months.
“She’s quite different to my other horses”, says Emma. “She’s sensitive, strong and sassy and we have both worked pretty hard to form a partnership”.
As well as looking after B, Emma has also worked hard on her own fitness. One of her favourite subjects is Level 2 Physical Education which motivates her to focus on core training along with her peers and teacher, Mrs Annette Watson.
Now that all the hard work is done, and B is back to her best, we wish Emma every success at HOY.
Andrea Jackson, Communications and Marketing Coordinator