Testing equestrian skills

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YVONNE O’HARA

yvonne.ohara@alliedpress.co.nz

 

Brooke Johnston (17), of Dumbarton, is to compete in the International Mounted Games Association’s Nations Teams Championships, which will be held at the York Stables and Equestrian Centre LaGrange, Kentucky, from July 9 to 15.

Mother Anne Johnston is the team’s manager and both she and Brooke’s father Paul will travel to Kentucky.

Brooke said she was the only team member from Otago. Other competitors were from Christchurch and the North Island.

She and the other team members will be borrowing ponies while in the United States.

In addition to New Zealand, there will be teams from Australia, the US, South Africa and Canada.

She has been competing in mounted games events for four or five years as a member of the Clyde Pony Club, and has ridden horses for more than seven years.

“The mounted games is a whole different discipline,” she said.

“I practise for the games two or three times a week.

“Mounted games is more about skills and requires lots of practice.”

She is also interested in showjumping, dressage and hunting, although at the moment training for the mounted games takes up most of her time.

The Roxburgh Area School year 13 pupil is away from home competing in events throughout the country most weekends during the season and most recently was in the Whanganui games in March, where she finished third in the individual under-17 competition.

Mr Johnston won the New Zealand veteran individual title at the same competition.

Brooke also did well in the Horse of the Year competition in Hastings last month, placing third in the teams events and in the doubles section.

She was the travelling reserve for New Zealand last year when Auckland hosted the international Equitana competition in November.

‘My teachers are really helpful and give me work to do up there [North Island].”

Her horse Nikita stays with friends in the North Island and when Brooke has competitions there, she uses her.

On other occasions, she borrows ponies.

Before it flies out for the competition, the team needs to raise $28,000.

Once the games have finished the family intends to spend another week exploring other attractions, including the Grand Canyon.