Young riding scholarship winners set sights on future

Hannah Thickett (from left) and Sophie Sauer, with horses Luna Eclipse and Griffindor Robinson...
Hannah Thickett (from left) and Sophie Sauer, with horses Luna Eclipse and Griffindor Robinson respectively, have their sights set on competing in future Horse of the Year competitions. PHOTO: TONI WILLIAMS
Horse of the Year features in the long-term goals of Methven Pony Club members Sophie Sauer and Hannah Thickett.

The two riders were recently named Star Spotters Scholarship recipients, Sophie of the NZPH and ESNZ sponsored membership and registration package and Hannah a newly created Ashburton Area ESNZ Jumping and Showhunter Group first year’s rider membership and mentorship.

Ashburton Area ESNZ delegate Zoe Shore said the star spotters scholarships received "some exceptional applications that made it very difficult to choose just one rider".

It resulted in the Ashburton area group taking on the secondary scholarship which was awarded to Hannah.

Hannah (14) has been riding for 10 years but only competing for the past four and mostly in showing. However it is only in the past two years that she has become more serious with showjumping competing mostly in local pony club shows with the odd trip to Christchurch.

She likes the "energy rush" showjumping offers as well as having fun with her pony club peers, and other riders at competitions. Her horse is 9-year-old Luna Eclipse, who she has had for the past year. Hannah wants to work with Luna and take showjumping to a higher level by getting out to more events.

For Sophie (13) it’s been a life-long enjoyment. She was riding at age 2 and since she was 4 years old done lead rein right through to open showing.

Sophie enjoys all pony club events, as well as trekking, and regularly rides on a high country cattle muster. While she has competed up to 80cm at local shows and events Sophie, along with 8-year-old horse Griffindor Robinson, who she only got after lockdown this year, is looking to extend her jumping experience and become competitive in the showhunter classes.

She enjoys the connection with her horse during competition and is aiming to get some consistency with her ring classes.


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