Teen captains WA equestrian team at nationals
BARRAGUP’S Ashleigh Middendorp has been selected to the National Interschool Equestrian Championships.
It is the sixth year she has participated in the championships, but this year she is the captain of team WA.
Middendorp’s passion for riding started at a young age.
“When I was young I got excited about horses every time we drove passed them,” he said.
“So I went out to a riding club and really really enjoyed it, and it’s gone from there.”
Those basic lessons turned into pony club, which then snowballed into owning and caring for horses.
Her mum, Nerida Middendorp, works at Mandurah Baptist College (MBC) and was so inspired by her daughter’s dedication that she helped start the MBC Equestrian team in 2013.
She is still the manager today.
Middendorp was the youngest member of the inaugural team.
It takes hours of training a week to prepare for competition day, but Middendorp’s mum said owning a horse brings many more responsibilities.
“Having horses is a lot of work,” Nerida said.
“It’s not like football where you go to training then go home; it’s a 24/7 thing.
“She has to muck out stables, look after the horses, make sure their healthy and get their feeds done, so to have that I think it has really grounded her.”
Buddy, Middendorp’s horse, has been with her since he was three years old and has trained at her side.
“To do what she’s done, training her horse from freshly broken in, to the level he’s at now is a testament to her commitment,” Nerida said.
As a Year 12 student, Middendorp is also starting to mentor the up and coming riders.
“When I was younger I had those mentors in Year 11 and 12 that I was always looking up to and aspired to be like, and now I’m there, so it’s been a journey but its very rewarding,” she said.
Middendorp’s favourite event is dressage, and she is excited to be competing.
“I’ve been over for nationals a few times, and it’s been a great experience,” she said.
Once school finishes, Middendorp has ambitions to ride in Europe and is planning to do a certificate in coaching.
This year’s championships are being held in Sydney from September 27 to October 2.