Annick Niemuller is a 15 year-old event rider who will be representing Canada as a member of Team Ontario at this week’s FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships in Lexington, Kentucky. She shares her experience with HJU.

Kegan in Kentucky with me on the right and my Groom Avery on the left.

Kegan in Kentucky (with me on the right and my groom Avery on the left).

On June 24 all around Ontario the young riders waited for the call that would send them sky high with joy and excitement. In my case the phone call started out as a near fatal experience! I was in the middle of putting my riding pants on, got stuck, and nearly toppled onto the floor! All while Curtis Barbour was on the other line waiting to tell me the news.

Needless to say I was absolutely overjoyed to hear the words that told me that months of training had paid off. My little man Kegan (Kegan’s Irish Clover) and I qualified for young riders at Red Hills International Horse Trials in Tallahassee, Florida (which was my first 1* ever!) and at Will O Wind CIC 1* back on home soil in Mono, Ontario.

First CCI1* ever!!!

First CCI1* ever!!! Kegan and I at Red Hills – photo by Shannon Brinkman

Before I continue I have to write a little blurb about my pony. Kegan and I have been a team for almost six years now. I can honestly say that we climbed up the Eventing ladder together. However, I didn’t think he would make it past Training. Boy, am I glad he proved us all wrong. At this point he owes me nothing but I owe him everything!

Back to the action! Our last prep show was at Wits End Horse Trials in Mansfield, Ontario. It was a scorching hot day but that didn’t stop Kegan from giving his all. We delivered our best dressage test yet! Kegan isn’t a huge fan of dressage or the heat which made me even more proud of his performance in the ring! Our stadium round wasn’t our best unfortunately but the errors I made where mine not his. He was jumping beautifully and I mean it when I say that I was still proud of him.

Oh, cross country! Definitely our favourite of the three! He was foot perfect and bold throughout the entire course. I didn’t push him for time because as I mentioned before it was extremely hot out and it wasn’t worth it to push him for it.

Going to NAJYRC has always been a dream for me and I can’t express exactly how much excitement I feel to be given this amazing opportunity to represent Ontario.

Annick Niemuller