Young career, ‘passion’ recognised

en9pony.jpg Riding high . . . Philippa Stratford is celebrating recognition for her work in the equestrian world. PHOTO Supplied

Northern Southland farmer Philippa Stratford has been recognised for her equestrian efforts.

The 19-year-old has been awarded New Zealand Pony Club’s young achiever award in category A.

Stratford said she was delighted to receive the honour.

‘‘[It’s] great to have written recognition of what I have achieved.

‘‘It recognises everything I have done in my career, from personal placings at national pony club meetings to travelling overseas and being treasurer of Southland pony club.’’

The annual award was given to three people from Southland and Otago this year.

Stratford has been riding for seven years.

She got her first pony, Holly, at 12, after nagging her parents who said ‘‘no’’ until she was old enough to take responsibility to look after the horse by herself.

‘‘It’s a big responsibility. My parents wanted to know I could [look after the pony] by myself,’’ she said. Since her first pony, support from her family had allowed her to achieve. ‘‘[I] could not have done it without the support of people along the way. ‘‘My mum has been my biggest supporter,’’ she said. A riding career highlight was competing in the Sao Paulo CSI World Indoor Championships, in Brazil, in August last year. ‘‘Nothing compared to the quality of New Zealand. ‘‘It was a cut above. ‘‘There were 50 people in my grade; I came ninth in the 1.10m to a 1.15m,’’ she said. Stratford is part of the two-year Growing Future Farmers programme at Glenary Station near Waikaia. She owns three horses. ‘‘It’s a passion and a hobby. ‘‘It’s your responsibility and what you achieve comes back to your work,’’ she said. She had advice for children wanting to start. ‘‘Don’t stop nagging, keep going because it’s worth it.’’