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Horse riders triumph at international levelMarch 11th, 2016
Dedicated horse riders at a school in Monmouth are making great leaps forward in equestrian sports.
Olivia, a pupil at Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls, has just qualified for The Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead in July.
Riding her beloved pony, Quiver, she jumped two clear rounds and, despite incurring four faults in the third round, managed to finish in the top five out of around 50 competitors.
The 13-year-old said: “The jumps went up to 1.30 metres. I was really nervous at first but so excited at the same time.
“There are only 30 places in my class at Hickstead – I was over the moon to qualify.”
Olivia wakes up at 5am every morning to muck out and feed 20-year-old Quiver, sometimes riding and brushing him before school too.
“We’ve bonded really well,” she said.
“He was Christmas present two years ago – he was in the stables on Christmas Day.
“I just cried, I was so overwhelmed.
“I always saw him at competitions and really wanted to ride him, but never imagined he’d be mine one day.
“He’s all I dreamed he would be – he just flies.”
Olivia, from Drybrook, has been riding ponies since she was three and hopes to represent her country in the Olympics in the future.
The dedicated youngster also hopes to become an equine physiotherapist, having already picked up some techniques from watching therapists work on her ponies.
Juggling schoolwork with such a demanding hobby has taught Olivia valuable time management and organisational skills.
Her schoolmate Georgina, 16, has been riding since she was seven and recently competed in her first international event at Weston Park.
During the youth festival, she entered several competitions including dressage, show jumping and cross-country and won the title of third best British combination with her horse, Spirit.
Georgina, who also has another horse named La Liga, said: “I had an absolutely phenomenal time.
“I love the thrill and the adrenaline you get from riding and the relationship you have with your horse – when things come together it’s amazing.
“I’m a bit of a daredevil. I’d love to get to the Badminton trials, and take the sport on to a high level.
“I spend about two hours a day riding and looking after the horses. I have to make sure that I’m really dedicated to what I do.
“I do a lot of my homework when we’re travelling to competitions – I even do some of it in the horse box.”
HMSG fully supports the girls’ passion for competing, and organises equestrian training sessions for pupils, often with high-level coaches.
“My mum’s always making sure I’m on top of my schoolwork. She tests me on things all the time,” Georgina added.
“If it wasn’t for her I don’t know how I would manage everything.”
Georgina, from Llanvair Kilgeddin, also hopes to become a physiotherapist, for humans and horses.