Round One of the York Corporation Young  Rider Challenge gets underway at the Harcourts Four Seasons South Island Dressage Festival 25-27 January at the McLeans Island NEC. Read about the NI team of Becki Williamson, Willa Aitken and Emma Harding here in the January issue of the DressageNZ Bulletin
The South Island team announced today by Chair of Selectors Helen Hughes-Keen is: 

Emma Copplestone & Dinky Di-Doff  (Canterbury) Level 4

Fifteen 15 Year old Emma has been competing in dressage for three years. Working closely with her trainer Sophie Griffiths, she has trained her current pony Dinky Di-Doff to Level 4 and is planning to contest the Pony of the Year title  at the 2019 Land Rover Horse of the Year. Emma is a member of the South Island Talent ID Squad for the 2018/2019 season and is very excited to be representing the South Island in the Inter Island Team Challenge. With the opportunities that Dressage NZ has provided, Emma is able to measure and improve her riding as well as meet other inspirational riders along the way. She is thankful for having a supportive family and network which enables her to continue her equine passion. In her spare time Emma enjoys taking on horses to train as she feels you can always learn something new from a different mount. At the 2018 NZPCA Dressage Championships Emma was a part of the winning Canterbury Dressage Team and she was also awarded the highest scoring junior newcomer nationally award. 

Rilee  McMeekin & Solitar Storm  (Nelson) Level 2
Rilee first met Solly (Solitar Storm  nearly six years ago when she moved to Nelson. All she can remember is that really wanted to ride him one day. Fast forward to 2016 and Solly’s owner Anna Terrell let Rilee ride the “gorgeous giant”  and they haven’t looked back since that day. “I still surprise myself when I think back on my first year with him – especially when it was only really with him that I got addicted to dressage after coming off mainly eventing/jumping ponies. Although I’ve been bitten by the dressage bug, Solly and I still love to jump. We overcame a big accident together and I still strongly believe that I had the ability to do this so quickly due to the immense amount of trust I have in the big boy and we have come out the other side like nothing ever occurred”  

The pair currently hold two 2017/18 national awards, the AMS Young Rider Performance Award Level 1 and the HorseSports Top Ten League Level 1 for horses. Rilee was nominated for the 2018 Tasman Young Sportswoman of the year and is a member of the 18/19 South Island Talent ID Squad. “All I can say is that when I started riding at the age of 4, I could not envisage that I could reach these levels – especially when I still see horse riding for enjoyment>I can never thank Anna enough for letting and teaching me how to ride Solly,  and about dressage in general.

Giselle Conway & Saltador (Otago)
Level 3

Giselle is a 14 year old from Queenstown who has been riding for two and a half years. Her trainer, Coralie Williams from Auckland, has been instrumental in developing her skills having started out at the training levels.  She currently has Saltador, a 2*  eventer that she still events, and has also taken to ESNZ Dressage Level 3 . The pair have been very competitive at the Otago & Southland Championships and Giselle is looking forward to competing in the South Island Championships.  Giselle has been a member of the South Island Talent ID Squad for two years in 17/18 and again this year. She has met some wonderful friends through this opportunity! She is incredibly thankful to Dressage NZ who have helped her achieve her goals so far through providing the platform for her growth. Giselle loves training horses every day, and hopes to represent NZ in dressage in the future, and is “over the moon” to be selected for the Inter Island Team Challenge representing the South Island!


Reserve Riders Selected: 
Level 2 Reserve: Maia Gerard – Xtravagance
Level 3 Reserve: Charlotte Thomas – Te Puke
Level 4 Reserve: Lucy Cochrane – Haven Witchazel