Taking horse jumping to new heights

Like a lot of kids, little Emma Edwardson has big dreams when it comes to her sport of choice, and in this case, she really does continue to raise the bar.

Oceanside’s Emma Edwardson

Oceanside’s Emma Edwardson

Like a lot of kids, little Emma Edwardson has big dreams when it comes to her sport of choice, and in this case, she really does continue to raise the bar.

Emma, who has been riding since she was four, was a keen student with local trainer Sarah Champoux and her Willow Pond Satbles.

When Sarah closed her barn and moved to Vancouver, Emma, who turns 11 this week, started training out of Nanaimo where she has really taken off.

Last weekend Emma capped off the four-stop Saanich Shows in The Sun series (a four-show, high-performance series in Victoria that ran from April through to July with the finals last weekend) where she finished first overall in the Millshaw Medal Jumper. She was also a Pony Hunter Champion and reserve Champion Pony Hunters Overall for the series (missed Champion by only 0.5 of a point).

Asked about her busy season, “it was very fun … I love it,” an upbeat Emma answered over the phone on her way to art classes last week.

Emma boards her horses — Black Pearl (barn name Glassie), who she has been riding the last 18 months, and her new pony, Jack Be Nimble (Jack) — at Brannerbrooke Farm and training facility in Nanaimo where she works with Cheryl Keith, the head trainer at Queen Margaret’s private school in Cowichan, considered the top equestrian school in Canada.

The spirited little rider competed in numerous shows over the past 10 months that included a great showing in the Oceanside Hunter Jumper Association’s 2011 Winter Series, where she was Champion in the 2’6” Pre-Child Adult Hunters; Reserve Champion in the 2’6” Open Jumpers, and Overall High Point Hunter. Other highlights include great placings at the Thunderbird in Langley, as well as in Washington in August.

For Emma it seems the seeds were planted when her mom would take her out on trail rides, “but now that I’ve been getting so competitive we just haven’t had time.”

On her own request, Emma has chosen to go the home-school route this year “to focus more time on my riding.”

Mom Jennifer says the entire family is proud, and describes her daughter as a “very strong, passionate, hardworking rider. She has big goals for her future.”

As for the upcoming season, Emma made the point, “I’m moving up to new height new division with a new horse … I’m very excited about it.”

Through it all, mom Jennifer points to a strong, competitive riding community here in Oceanside, and encourages the public to “come to come out and watch local shows this winter at Arbutus Meadows Equestrian Center.”

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