Gore Pony Club rider Caitlyn Tweedie has come within a horse hair of winning an international showjumping event, but is very happy with her second place, she says.
The 16-year-old Gore Pony Club member was part of a New Zealand showjumping team which competed at the Cavan International CSI 1* event in Ireland recently.
The team trained at Galway City for three days, took part in a clinic with Irish representative showjumper Olive Clarke and then competed at Cavan for five days.
Caitlyn said she rode a warmblood horse called Cranny West (Ben) who was used to jumping 1.3m.
“I usually do 90cm or 1m at home and I did a metre and a 1.10m on him.
“I had never done a 1.10m in New Zealand so it was really cool to do my first 1.10m in Ireland,” Caitlyn said.
On the first day of competition she jumped 1m.
“We went double clear for second out of 200 people.”
She was pipped for first place by a rider who completed the course 0.2sec faster than her.
“They must have just taken one corner tighter than me.”
Considering she had only just met the horse, it was a great result.
“I’d only ridden him a few times and only jumped him twice.
“I wasn’t even sure if I was going to go clear.”
The second day she also came second with a double clear in the 1m event, but was two seconds behind the winner.
When she competed in the 1.10m event she also jumped a double clear round to finish fourth.
“It was so good because there were 200 people in them.”
On the last day of competition in the final of the 1.10m she hit a rail.
“I didn’t even think I would get to the final.”
The team also took part in a test against Ireland, which Ireland won.
Ben was a great horse to ride.
“You could focus on the jumpoff corners and winning on rather than getting him over the jumps.
“He was my favourite there.”
The horse took big strides and was good at changing direction.
“He could take tight corners .. so that you could cut off time and go faster.”
Ben was owned by former Irish jockey Paul Carberry.
The experience had been so worthwhile she would like to go again next year.
“The people over there were so nice.
“It’s just up a whole other level, it’s way more competitive.”