Riding off with two top sports prizes at age 17
Young horse-riding star Sky Notter is Papakura’s supreme athlete of the year.
The 17-year-old, of the Sonshine Ranch Outdoor Adventure Centre in Clevedon, collected the Papakura Sports Awards’ most sought after accolade at the recent prize-giving at the NZ Bloodstock Centre, Karaka.
The champion rider, who also won the junior sportswoman title, held off challenges from sportswoman of the year Melissa Bray (taekwon-do), sportsman of the year James Kuegler (athletics), and team of the year Papakura City women’s football conference league side.
Notter 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.
Notter keeps herself in trim by running and working out in the gym. She also spends a good deal of time training her horses.
‘‘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.
‘‘During trainings I like to practise a few games, working on certain aspects like bottle put downs, often with my younger brother Salem.’’
Notter and her horses are now preparing for the under-17 world team champs, held at Equitana, ASB Showgrounds in Greenlane, on November 23-25.
National Mounted Games horse-riding champion Sky Notter of Clevedon shows her precision skills at high speed.