Riley ready to learn from other riders

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In action . . . St Hilda's Collegiate School pupil Riley Macdonald (16) competing in the New Zealand silver team at the five nations championship in Canterbury last year. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A change in discipline has paid off for an equestrian rider.

St Hilda’s Collegiate School pupil Riley Macdonald (16) took up horse riding when she was 4 years old, starting in eventing before switching to mounted games.

Alongside Otago Girls’ High School pupil Sarah Dixon, she will represent New Zealand at an event in Scotland in August.

Riley was in the New Zealand silver team which competed in a five nations competition in Canterbury last year.

While the event in Scotland would be “much bigger” than that, she expected there to be same competitive atmosphere.

“It’s kind of cool just getting to meet new people and see how they play [the sport] different,” Riley said.

At last year’s competition, riders from other countries had different strategies and some used different equipment.

Playing on grass was new to some as well, in particular the American team which had never played on that surface before, she said.

The Scotland competition will be played on grass, the same as in New Zealand.

Mounted games are a branch of equestrian in which a range of fast games are played and points collected.

Riley and her teammates the rest of who are from Hawke’s Bay and Christchurch compete in a series of games requiring different skills.

She was not fussy about the type of pony she rode.

“I just like something fast.”

Riley was pleased to be selected in the team, especially since she thought it was a “long shot”.

It will be her first time going overseas, so she and her family were going to make a holiday of it.

Before then, she and Sarah would compete as a pair in the national event in Hawke’s Bay this week.