Love at first ride

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - SPORT - Brighton Zhawi

SHE put her hand on El Roblecito Malaika and stood there qui­etly for a mo­ment of con­nec­tion and chem­istry.

They clicked and Zim­babwe’s Bri­anagh Clark went on to win a bronze medal with Team Africa at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires last week. It was Zim­babwe’s only medal at the third edi­tion of the YOG and 17-year-old Clark is proud of her feat.

“I am over­whelmed with a lot of hap­pi­ness for hav­ing com­peted for my coun­try at the Youth Olympics. Win­ning a Youth Olympic medal has been a dream come true and all the hard work over the years has paid off,” she said.

“Stay­ing pos­i­tive and mov­ing for­ward helped every step of the way.”

El Roblecito Malaika is an Ar­gen­tinian horse she rode for the com­pe­ti­tion af­ter their two-day-old re­la­tion­ship. by Liz Gregg

“It didn’t take very long for us to be on sim­i­lar lev­els with each other, I spent a lot of quite time with her. I just had my hand on her and we just stood qui­etly and would spend a lot of time walk­ing or even just sit­ting out­side her sta­ble. When your horse has been drawn to your name, you have to trust the horse to help build the chem­istry be­tween you as a rider and your horse.

“You have two days to learn the horse’s quirks and to re­ally trust each other, so com­mu­ni­ca­tion with your horse and form­ing a bond is very key.”

Clark, who fin­ished 18th in the In­di­vid­u­als cat­e­gory, says her YOG ex­pe­ri­ence has opened doors for her. She said hav­ing the Min­is­ter of Youth, Sports, Arts and Cul­ture Hon­ourable Kirsty Coven­try as Team Zim­babwe’s Chef de mis­sion for the Games was a priv­i­lege.

“It (the YOG ex­pe­ri­ence) has left me with so many open doors and showed me what it means to be a rider and to ex­pe­ri­ence other peo­ple’s cul­tures.

“I made new friends from dif­fer­ent places in the world. It has been a great priv­i­lege and honor to have her (Hon Coven­try), she has been very sup­port­ive not only to me but to every other ath­lete at YOG, man­ag­ing to watch and sup­port my rides and all the other ath­letes’ games,” said Clark.

So what’s next for the Chisip­ite Se­nior School lower sixth stu­dent?

“I had to put my Event­ing on hold while train­ing for YOG so I’ll be try­ing to get back into that, and as to what the next step is, I have not thought that far yet,” she said.

Pic­ture

CON­NEC­TION . . . Zim­babwe’s show jumper Bri­anagh Clark puts her hands on her Youth Olympic Games horse El Roblecito Malaika to build chem­istry be­tween the two of them-

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