“I’ve been riding Katie van Egmond’s Viggo KVE for a while and she’s super supportive,” explains Maddi. “The Youth Championships was his first competition and to come out and do so well (Viggo was both the Participation Preliminary and Novice Champion), I think Katie was absolutely blown away as well.
“Chris Weymouth and Deborah Lampard’s pony mare, Nova Dancer, is a gorgeous young pony. I started working with her last winter and she’s just come on in leaps and bounds. I don’t think she’s even turned five yet, and she’s just such a quick learner. They’re fantastic owners and so supportive and often out at competitions. Chris is always there to lend a hand, not just with his horse, but with all of my team. It’s incredible to have such amazing owners like that.”
Nova Dancer was Reserve Pony Novice Champion, third in the Elementary Pony Championship and also won the Novice Freestyle at the Youth Championships. “That was a funny story actually. I said to Mum, ‘I don’t think I should do a Freestyle with Que, he’s just a bit tired.’ And she said, ‘No worries, we’ll swap it with Nova.’ So I had to fish back in my archives and find the Novice Freestyle that I rode five years ago on Flynn! I listened to it and thought I could make it work.”
Riding through a freestyle for the first time in five years on a pony rather than a horse is no mean feat, but Maddi explains there were little things in the music she could pick up on and work out where she needed to be in the arena at each point. “I made it work and it was Nova’s first freestyle… she absolutely took it in her stride in such a big arena and atmosphere.”
Cheval Chilli Deluxe, owned by Michelle and Geoff Carthew, is another pony that Maddi rides. “They’re absolutely gorgeous owners as well. ‘Jimmy’ hasn’t been in work for that long, he’s only just turned four and has a lot of filling out to do and a lot of growing… but he’s a super quick learner and I’m really excited for his future.” Maddi says the pocket rocket showed pleasing work across the Pony Preliminary and Novice tests at the Youth Championships.
“It’s just so good to have such a fantastic team of owners. They’re just super supportive and in it for the atmosphere and the experience. I have high hopes for all of their horses and ponies. I absolutely love it and they love watching the journey that we are going on.”
While Maddi says she never originally saw herself riding ponies, the quality available here in Australia is improving all the time and the two she’s ended up riding are very exciting. “I also had a super one at the start of last year who I took out and did some five-year-old classes on, a Welsh D little stallion, and he was absolutely fantastic. I sold him up to Queensland.” Maddi says she’s enjoyed working with the ponies so much she’s now bred her own, with a very cute little foal born in January.
Between riding at Bloomfield, working her own horses and riding for her owners – as well as undertaking all the other work that inevitably comes with owning horses – each day is a busy one at Growcott Equestrian. “I’m definitely very busy and just training really hard, I try to get to my coach as much as I can. It’s just training all the time and I absolutely love it. You’ve got to work hard to get where you want, but when you love it, that helps.”