Ellie Braddock and her horse, Miss Matilda, clear a jump. Photo by Barrack
Ellie Braddock hopes her passion for horses will take her to
Australia next year. The Rangiora rider and Amberley's Bonnie
Farrant have been selected in the New Zealand young riders
under-21 squad to prepare for the transtasman three-day event
against Australia in June next year.
''I was pretty stoked. I have been fighting for it for a
while,'' Ellie (18), who has been riding for 10 years, said.
''I pour every spare hour I have got into it and I have great
support from my parents and a great coach.''
Ten riders and their horses have been named in the young
riders squad, which will be reduced to four to travel to
Australia for the event. Selection will be based on form over
the coming season.
The last New Zealand young riders team, which included Oxford
rider Katie Rankin, won the two-yearly event at the National
Equestrian Centre at McLeans Island, near Christchurch, last
Ellie has been named in the squad with 14-year-old Miss
Matilda, a two-star level horse. The combination's bid to
make the final young rider team selection begins at a
national one-day event at McLeans Island in November.
There will also be national events at Puhinui near Auckland
in December, at Kihikihi, Waikato, in April, Taupo, and the
Horse of the Year in Hastings in March in front of the
Ellie also has a second horse, 6-year-old Braxton Boy, whom
she hoped would take her further, as she dreams of one day
competing at famous England events, such as Badminton, and
ultimately the Olympic Games.
''I think we will get another couple of years out of Miss
Matilda, but because of her age we won't take her any higher
''Boy is showing plenty of promise. We are hoping he will go
all the way to three-star. He will probably be the horse we
will eventually sell to help buy an Olympic horse.''
For now, Boy is competing in the training class. However,
Ellie was hopeful he could move up to pre-novice by next
''Then she should move up pretty quickly after that. He's
just got to keep calm when all the other horses are jumping
Ellie said she divided her time between the 4ha block owned
by her parents, Marie and Carl Braddock, at Fernside, near
Rangiora, and Lincoln University, where she is a first-year
commerce student studying on a sports scholarship.
She has no family background in horses and became interested
after watching two school friends, including promising North
Canterbury showjumper Olivia Robertson, who was selected for
the South Island young riders showjumping team earlier this
''I am an only child and my parents never did it, but my best
friends both rode and I didn't want to be left out.''
Ellie said she started out competing in dressage on ponies.
However, cross-country was now her favourite discipline.
''Matilda is not so keen on dressage, but she tries really
hard. She is more of a cross-country horse. ''I have taken
Boy to a couple of competitions and he is coming along very
His temperament was better suited to dressage but his jumping
was also showing promise.
The first event of the new season is a one-day event at
McLeans Island on September 15. Ellie said she planned to
enter Miss Matilda in the one-star or novice class to ease
her in, before launching her bid in the two-star class.
- by David Hill