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John Cottle Show Jumping Scholarship Winner supported by Prestige Trailers

DATE : September 10, 2014

Local rider wins showjumping scholarship
Local showjumper Laura Inkster has received the opportunity of a lifetime, winning an inaugural scholarship to train with Olympian John Cottle.
The 16-year-old Clevedon rider attends Saint Kentigern College and has already clocked up some impressive results, winning the Junior Rider title at this year’s Horse of the Year show in just her first season showjumping.
Now, thanks to the scholarship, she will have access to coaching with John, who is based at Ardmore and wanted to offer an opportunity to a talented young Aucklander showjumper striving to reach new heights.
The aim is to develop Laura’s skill base and add further value to her achievements.
“Our biggest problem in New Zealand is the lack of skills of good flatwork in our jumpers…we’ve got a lot of talented riders but they don’t train and produce their horses well,” John says.
John has previously been involved with the Equestrian Sports New Zealand jumping board and helped set up Talent ID squads, giving riders access to recognised coaches in their area.
Although he is no longer involved with the board he wanted to continue offering coaching to a talented young rider. “I’m passionate about the sport, we’ve got some great young riders and if we can help in some way to give them a leg up, that’s great.”
John himself has a glittering track record, having been selected for four Olympic Games, representing New Zealand at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul Olympics. As well as this, he has won the Horse of the Year title six times, been Grand Prix Rider of the Year 13 times and produced six Olympic horses.
The selection panel included John and Olympic medalists Sir John Walker and Victoria Latta.
Laura, who has been riding since she was 10, impressed the judges with her work ethic and personality.
“We had some really good applicants and it wasn’t an easy decision,” John says.
“Laura has come through pony club, she’s a really hard worker and has made her own horses. I think she captured everyone’s imagination, she’s a lovely person. I’m really happy that she’s go the scholarship and hopefully we can help her on the way.
“At the end of the day with any sport it’s not just having talent, you have to work hard, you have to have a good work ethic – she’s got that.”
Laura was thrilled to win the scholarship. “I was really excited. It’s a great opportunity and a good feeling (to win).”
Her main horse is Gisborne-bred Quantro, an 8-year-old 15.1hh Welsh cob cross. Both horse and rider were new to showjumping last season.
“He’s quite consistent and enjoys what he does, even though he’s small. He hadn’t done any showjumping before last season, we did it together. He was learning and so was I, we both had to give each other confidence. He’s cool, definitely a keeper,” Laura says of her top horse.
“Even though he’s small, he thinks he’s big – we choose not to show him a mirror!”
Her goals for this season, which has just got underway, are to move up to Young Rider classes, as well as defending her Junior Rider title. She is aiming for the FEI challenge in October, which could mean a chance to represent New Zealand overseas if they perform well.
“My goal is definitely to get overseas and represent New Zealand. Long term I want to get to Grand Prix and ride overseas, have a base over there.”
Laura is dedicated to her sport, spending every day after school at the local pony club, where she grazes her horses. “It’s fulltime. I spend most of my time and weekends down there, but it’s worth it, it brings in the results.”
She will have her first lesson with John next week and is currently working towards an upcoming show in Taupo.
As well as the coaching package, Laura receives prizes from sponsors Stirrups Equestrian, Equifit, Bomber Equestrian, Veterinary Associates, Show Circuit magazine, PEMF Horse Blanket, Alltech, Prestige Horse Floats & Trailers, and Mitavite.
“It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m really excited about the season ahead with John. I want to thank the sponsors too because that’s going to help me hugely through the season,” Laura says.
“John’s been international and knows what it’s like, he’s done that level and has the experience, I think working together will help me achieve my goals.”
For more information please visit:
John Cottle and Laura Inkster are available for interview. Please contact John on 021 2200275.