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New opportunity...Gore Pony Club Caitlyn Tweedie is part of a New Zealand showjumping team which will compete at the Cavan International CSI 1* event in Ireland next week. She has been competing on Hazel (right) and schooling Poppet but has plans to sell Poppet to pay back money raised for her trip.

Selling her pony Poppet is one of the sacrifices Caitlyn Tweedie is prepared to make to raise $11,000 for her trip to Ireland.

The 16-year-old Gore Pony Club member is part of a New Zealand showjumping team which will compete at the Cavan International CSI1* event early next week.

The team will train at Galway City for three days, take part in a clinic with Irish representative showjumper Olive Clarke and then compete at Cavan for five days.

Caitlyn said she had known for only three weeks that she had been selected which meant she did not have much time to raise money.

“I have to sell one of my ponies,” Caitlyn said.

Although it was “sad” to sell Poppet, the intention had been not to keep the pony long.

“We bought her as a project pony to sell later in the season .. to improve her and get more experience for her and then sell her on.”

Still, she had grown fond of the 7-year-old pony.

“She’s cool.”

New Zealand rider Jacob Thompson, who competes in showjumping overseas, has organised the trip and selected the riders who applied for the opportunity.

“I had to contact Jacob and tell him what my goals are in the sport, a description about myself and a video of me doing a show jumping course.”

The team would hire the horses they needed to ride on the two-week trip.

Caitlyn expected the knowledge she gained on the trip would be very helpful when she returned.

“You can take your experience from overseas and apply it to your own horses at home.”

It was also good preparation for the next steps Caitlyn wanted to take with her horse riding.

“After school, I would love a career in the equestrian world, which this trip will help me to do a lot, because it will give me experience with different horses and on the international stage.”

The St Peter’s College pupil would miss one of her NCEA examinations while she was away but as she had already passed the course with excellence, that should not matter, she said.

Caitlyn was very grateful for the support she had received to help raise the money from groups including the Leithen Valley Hunt and the Mataura Licensing Trust.