Rider to represent NZ in Scotland

In action . . . Horse rider Sarah Dixon (16) competes in a sword race in Palmerston last year. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A horse rider is expecting “tough competition” when she represents New Zealand in Scotland later this year.

Sarah Dixon (16), of Otago Girls’ High School, was picked for a team which was selected based on a trialling competition in Foxton in December.

They competed in the mounted games equestrian in which a range of fast games are played and points are collected.

Sarah said there were four sessions and the top five riders with the most points at the end qualified for the New Zealand team.

She was “super happy” when she realised she had made it, as it was her first time in a national team.

She and her teammates from Christchurch and Hawke’s Bay a week-long competition in Edinburgh in August.

Since it was too expensive to take their own ponies over, they would ride “loan ponies”.

They will have a pool of ponies to choose from to see what one works best for them, before having a few training sessions.

“I’ve ridden quite a lot of horses in the past, so it’s quite easy to find out what one works best for me.”

She expected the competition to be tough.

“Scotland and Wales will have a massive advantage because they will have their own [ponies].”

Sarah said she was looking forward to riding overseas and to see how it varied from New Zealand.

She has been riding for about five years and competing for about three.

Her mother used to ride and her older sister rode for a local pony club, she said.

“I just used to sit and watch, and got bored so I got involved.”

The August competition is her last opportunity in the under-17 grade, so her next goal was to aim for the open world championship.

Riley Macdonald, of St Hilda’s Collegiate School, was also named in the team.