Rid­ing off with two big awards for sports at 17

Eastern Courier - - OUT & ABOUT - ALAN APTED

Young horse-rid­ing star Sky Not­ter is Pa­pakura’s supreme ath­lete of the year.

The 17-year-old, of Son­shine Ranch Out­door Ad­ven­ture Cen­tre in Cleve­don, col­lected the Pa­pakura Sports Awards’ most sought af­ter ac­co­lade re­cently.

The cham­pion rider, who also won the ju­nior sportswoman ti­tle, is a ris­ing star in a mi­nor­ity sport with only about 200 riders in New Zealand.

She com­peted in the world pairs cham­pi­onship in Den­mark and the world in­di­vid­ual champs in Wales. She’s also the NZ open­class cham­pion in the in­di­vid­ual, pairs and teams events.

‘‘I was sur­prised and over­whelmed when my name was called out,’’ Not­ter says.

‘‘I’m also su­per proud to give Mounted Games the recog­ni­tion it de­serves as not a lot of peo­ple know what Mounted Games is.

‘‘It’s like re­lay rac­ing on horse­back. We do 26 dif­fer­ent games which re­quire you to vault on and off, lean off the side of your pony, pick up and put down pieces of equip­ment, and han­dover the equip­ment to your part­ner all at very high speed.

‘‘It’s a fast-paced, ac­tion­packed dis­ci­pline. Riders must be ath­letic and strong with good horse-han­dling skills and great hand-to-eye co­or­di­na­tion.

‘‘I love the re­la­tion­ship you need to have with your horse. Most of all I love the speed and the feel­ing of be­ing kind of in­vin­ci­ble dur­ing a game.’’

Not­ter so en­joyed her sport that she en­rolled in cor­re­spon­dence school so she could spent more time per­fect­ing her rid­ing and skills and train­ing her horses.

‘‘I pre­vi­ously went to Elim Chris­tian Col­lege, but I left halfway through Year 10 to pur­sue my pas­sion in Mounted Games,’’ she says.

‘‘I fin­ished school through cor- re­spon­dence so I would have more time to train.

‘‘I have a lot of ponies at home and most of them are novices. Twice a week I do Games train­ing with them plus other rid­ing, train­ing, and fit­ness drills.

‘‘These ponies do Games once or twice a week, fit­ness three times a week, and hack­ing out - gen­tle trail rid­ing - on other days,’’ she says.

Not­ter and her horses are wind­ing down train­ing in prepa­ra­tion for the un­der-17 world team champs, held at Equi­tana, ASB Show­grounds in Green­lane from Novem­ber 23-25.

‘‘I'm proud to give Mounted Games the recog­ni­tion it de­serves.’’

STUFF

Na­tional Mounted Games horse-rid­ing champ Sky Not­ter of Cleve­don shows her pre­ci­sion skills at high speed.

SUP­PLIED

Sky Not­ter with Pa­pakura Lo­cal Board chair­man Brent Catch­pole.

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