Back in 2010, like most ‘horse crazy’ 12 year olds, I had always dreamed of achieving great things with the horses in my life. I dreamed of being able to ride ‘one time changes’ and ‘canter pirouettes’; of being able to ‘dance’ with a beautiful horse to my favourite music. But when I first went to pick up a scrawny, palomino pony foal from a drought sale, I could certainly never have imagined that she would become my first FEI dressage horse! Because Blondie’s story is the ultimate ‘Under Dog’ story…
These days, people often ask us at state and national competitions, ‘what her blood lines are’ or if we ‘imported her’? The truth, I am always VERY proud to admit, is that I paid $ 150 (my total pocket money savings) for a yearling pony with a mix of breeds, that was so poor we didn’t think she would survive the trip home in the float, let alone live through the week. But it was love at first sight for Blondie and I, so we bought her home and gave her the best chance of recovery - hoping maybe one day she would make a good kids pony.
Against all the odds, my ugly duckling grew and blossomed into the beautiful pony she is today. And Blondie and I have become have become inseparable. Growing up together, I have done everything with Blondie; from taking her swimming to liberty training, from pony club and hacking to FEI level dressage, and even teaching young riders how to do flying changes. And these are the moments that I cherish the most. Blondie and I have learnt everything together over the years - doing our first Royal Show, our first EA NSW Horse of the Year and our first PSG dressage test.
But it has also been a hard journey for us, with many people saying that ‘a rescue pony’ would never be good enough to compete in high level dressage, against very large and flashy warmbloods. But we have. And we have proven to the world that we deserve to be there. We have taken it all on the chin along the way. Because for us, it’s not about always winning – or changing horses and jockeys halfway through the race - but about going out and giving it a go and rising to the life challenges placed before you.
Competing at State and National championship and FEI Young Rider, is something I never thought we would be able to achieve. Especially while studying at university full time and working part time. But I have had some amazing support from many professional Aussie riders along the way and of course, from my beautiful support crew - including Giddy Up girl Australia! Tammy and GiddyupGirl have believed in us from the beginning and I am SO proud to represent such an incredible Australian brand.
Every time I see a young girl jump on Blondie and experience doing a flying change or even just cantering or riding bareback for the first time, it fills me with such pride and joy. My hope is that Blondie and I have helped to inspire the next generation of GiddyUpGirls to dream big and always shoot for the stars. Because no matter what horse you have or what type of budget you are on - you can always bring out the best in your horse and always improve your equestrian skills through hard work, patience and a lifetime of learning. Because only YOU can be the best that YOU can be. And if you have a passion for riding and have a loving relationship with your horse, you are already winning! So to all you GiddyUpGirls out there – follow your dreams, believe in your horsey partner as well as in yourself and I promise you, that you will achieve wonderful things.