The Horse Rider's Journal

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A pony is a childhood dream for many young riders. Meet five Danish showjumpers and a dressage rider who are living that dream, competing on category III mounts – the smallest ponies measuring under 130 cm.

Photography CAMILLA STEPHAN Text MARIA GRAAE / The Horse Rider’s Journal No.3

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EMMA GROOT
SHOWJUMPER
AGE/HEIGHT 10 years/145 cm
BEST RESULT EVER seventh, Danish Championships 2011
PONY Eskehøjgaards Rumle, New Forest Pony, 24 years, 130 cm

How old where you when you started riding?
I was about a year old.
Which of your experiences with ponies have had the strongest impact?
When I became Zealand champion on my ninth birthday.
We’d brought along a birthday cake, and suddenly everybody thought the cake was to celebrate the victory. It was such an amazing day – we still talk about it.
What’s the best thing about your pony?
He loves jumping and will do anything to jump fences. And he’s nice to spend time with.
What’s your pony’s favourite food – and what’s yours?
Rumle’s favourite is sugar. I love pizza with pepperoni, beef, ham and bacon. I really like meat, just like a dinosaur, but recently I started to eat quite a lot of potatoes too.
If you could choose a ride on any horse or pony in the world, who would you choose?
The legendary Milton, ridden by John Whitaker, was such a fantastic horse – he was so impressive and jumped so high. With a horse like that, the sky’s the limit.
What do you need to know to become a good rider?
To ride a nice canter, control the pony, memorise the order of the jumps from the start to the finish flags, have a good riding posture, be fair to your pony and remember that practise makes perfect.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A professional rider and architect.

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IBEN OLKJÆR OLSEN
DRESSAGE RIDER
AGE/HEIGHT 12 years/132 cm
BEST RESULT EVER Nordic Champion 2011
PONY Magic Manipu, crossbred, 14 years, 129 cm

How come you chose dressage?
It’s so graceful, the way horse and rider become one – I simply love doing and watching dressage.
What was the name of your first pony?
Nadia. She was 25 years old and she’s now retired at our home.
Which of your experiences with ponies have had the strongest impact?
In 2010 I won the Danish dressage championship for category III ponies. I also won in 2011, but it wasn’t quite the same.
What’s the best thing about your pony?
The expression on her face: Just when she is about to get really grumpy, she looks so funny and cute at the same time.
If you could get a ride on any horse or pony in the world, who would you choose?
Totilas, he is my dream horse. Sometimes people call Manipu Mini Totilas.
What do you need to know to become a good rider?
To match horse and rider perfectly – you don’t have to have a super horse to be a good rider.
Is it true that you have to fall off a hundred times to be a good rider?
I don’t think that’s true. I think you’re a good rider when you only make little mistakes.
What’s your pony’s favourite food?
She loves French fries, but mostly I feed her carrots and apples.

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SIA FRECK KOLBY
SHOWJUMPER
AGE/HEIGHT 12 years/150 cm
BEST RESULT EVER third place, Danish Equestrian Federation’s Style Cup 2011
PONY Happy, Swedish Sports Pony, 13 years, 127.5 cm

How old where you when you started riding?
I’ve been riding since I can remember, but I started competing aged six.
How come you chose showjumping?
Dressage is a bit too boring for me. I like showjumping because it’s fun, fast and exciting.
What’s the best thing about your pony?
He’s just lovely and nice to spend time with. He’s so sweet, he really enjoys kissing and is always happy, just like his name.
What’s your pony’s favourite food – and what’s yours?
Horse treats, but he isn’t choosy. I have many favourites, but my mum’s pancakes with meat filling are really good.
If you could choose a ride on any horse or pony in the world, who would you choose?
Happy – he’s the best.
What do you need to know to become a good rider?
To believe in yourself.
Is it true you have to fall off a hundred times to be a good rider?
I don’t know. We used to keep score on the fridge door and I stopped counting when I hit 160. My record is four times in half an hour.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A vet, and to work with horses.

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MARIA SCHOU
SHOWJUMPER
AGE/HEIGHT nine years/136 cm
BEST RESULT EVER first, category III pony JBK Horse Shows 2011
PONY Angel, Crossbred, 16 years, 127 cm

Do you have other animals besides your pony?
Two dogs, a bird, two ponies and a cat that I share with my sister.
How old where you when you started riding?
Two or three years old.
Which of your experiences with ponies have had the strongest impact?
The day I started doing showjumping – that was fantastic.
What’s your pony’s favourite food – and what’s yours?
Sugar, and lasagne.
If you could choose a ride on any horse or pony in the world, who would you choose?
I’d like to try jumping on a big horse, a really good one.
What do you need to know to become a good rider?
You have to do a lot of dressage and train a lot with a good trainer. But you don’t have to have a good pony to be a good rider.
Is it true you have to fall off a hundred times to be a good rider?
No, there are lots of excellent riders that haven’t fallen of the horse that many times. But I’ve fallen off more than hundred times.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a rider and work as an instructor.

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ALEXANDER GODSK
SHOWJUMPER
AGE 11 years/151 cm
BEST RESULT EVER first, Fyens Team Championship 2011
PONY Colligan’s BJ, Irish Sports Pony, 17 years, 130 cm

Do you have other animals besides your pony?
I live on a farm: We’ve got lots of rabbits and guinea pigs, dogs, 13 ponies and 2,500 pigs.
How come you chose showjumping?
I wasn’t very successful doing dressage, since I’m a boy.
Which of your experiences with ponies have had the strongest impact?
It was definitely when I won all three disciplines at Fyens Agricultural Fair. I won dressage, showjumping and the costume jumping, dressed as a knight in red and silver – it was amazing.
What’s the best thing about your pony?
That he jumps so high.
What’s your pony’s favourite food – and what’s yours?
Horse treats, no particular flavour, and for me definitely pancakes.
Is it true you have to fall off a hundred times to be a good rider?
Not quite a hundred times, not literally. But for sure a good rider will have been thrown from a horse.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to work with horses, that’s it.

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ANDREA NØDSKOV AGUIRRE
SHOWJUMPER
AGE/ HEIGHT 12 years/137.5 cm
BEST RESULT EVER Second place, Zeeland Championship
PONY Nørremarks Red Snickers, crossbred, 11 years, 130 cm

How old where you when you started riding?
Five years old.
How come you chose showjumping?
I like the thrill of competing against the clock.
When did you get your first pony and what was its name?
I was six and her name was Melissa, but she wasn’t very nice. Afterwards I got Ringo, who was the sweetest thing but afraid to jump anything but white fences.
Which of your experiences with ponies have had the strongest impact?
Winning the district championship for the team – that was lots of fun. I was the fastest rider and afterwards I got thrown in a tub full of water.
What’s the best thing about your pony?
She jumps no matter what, she never stops and she really likes me.
What do you need to know to become a good rider?
You have to practise – that’s all.
What’s your pony’s favourite food, and what’s yours?
Snickers loves all food in general; my favourite is Sushi.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A photographer and professional rider. •



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