Patea horse lover Claudia Hurley has lots of time for her horses.
The 18 year old joined dozens of riders from across New Zealand to compete at the Royal Equestrian Event at the Stratford A&P Show last month. Claudia, who has represented New Zealand, showed her pinto horse Pinstripe — who she calls Telly — at the show, the horse's second time competing.
She says attending the show is about more than winning and a great opportunity to get Telly used to the sights and noises of such a large show.
"I really enjoy being here. It's more when you put the hard work in and get the rewards back, even if it's not wining a ribbon, but just making improvements.'
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Claudia showed Telly in the pinto as well as saddlehunters events. The events are don't involve show jumping — which is what Claudia usually does on her other horses as well as dressage and cross country.
Telly, who towers at over 16 hands high, is a promising star having won the champion novice saddle hunter events during his first show at Waverley last week.
"He's a bit cheeky and got to be doing something all of the time but he is lovely natured."
In 2014 and 2015, Claudia represented New Zealand in the World Dressage Challenge and she also went to Ireland with the New Zealand Pony Club to compete in 2016.
She had a love for horses from a young age and starting riding at about four, after "harassing" her parents for a horse and landing an old "bomb proof" pony.
She is dedicated to the sport, training and riding horses on her own and even taking them to her Marton boarding school, Nga Tawa.
Claudia completed her last exam last week and starts her first full-time job as reception at Moore Stephens Markhams in Waverley this week.
"It will be nice to be close to home so I can ride my horses."