Lauren’s riding high!

Westlake Girls has an outstanding Equestrian Team, as you will have read about recently in previous editions of Te Reo of Te Roto.

One of our talented riders who is part of the team, and represented Westlake when she was in Years 9 and 10, is 17-year-0ld Lauren Mitchell. Lauren has recently won three Series Titles, which is an extraordinary achievement.

Lauren (pictured above with Mahatchi Gold Rosado KF) started riding when she was 3-years-old. “I got into riding as mum and dad got me a horse,” she says “Mum used to ride when she was young, so it’s in the family.

Winning three series titles was something of a journey for Lauren. “A series runs from August to April, and at each show you can gain points by winning or placing in ‘series classes’,” says Lauren. “These are basically sponsored classes that are run nationally throughout the session. What determined me as a winner is that out of each series round I participated in, my top 12 rounds added up to 72 points – which is the maximum amount of points that someone can achieve in each series.”

Lauren says she gained points throughout the season from August 2021 – April 2022. “At the last show of the season – Series Final in Masterton during April – I completed my last rounds which added to my total score. Doing this I managed to win the Aniwell Category C High Points Series and place second in the ESNZ Pony Rider Equitation on my pony Mahatchi Gold Rosado KF.

“Then I won the Sport Horse Junior High Points Series on Sonny Bill and lastly won the ESNZ Junior Equitation Series on Criaghaven Black Heart. Alongside this, I have another horse Marokopa CJ who also placed in each series he was entered in.”

Lauren (pictured left with Marokopa CJ) says she was shocked when she realised she’d won three series. “The most important thing to me is that my horses stay happy and the wins were just the icing on the cake,” she says. “I have worked so hard in winning my first ever series (I came .5% away from winning a series last season), so it only made me more determined and passionate this year. Winning more than one series was always a dream, but winning them on three different horses is insane because each of my horses is very different. I am so proud of what I have accomplished this season.”

While she’s now too old to compete on her Pony, Mahatchi Gold Rosado KF, Lauren feels a strong bond with each of her horses.  “I definitely bond with each one. I am very unique with how I ride each horse and it comes through within my rounds. Each horse is so different and therefore needs a different riding style.

“I love the bond you create with your horse. It isn’t easy to create that bond as they don’t speak and are over 500kg heavier than we are, so I love the time spent with them, the bad moments and the good moments. I love seeing myself and my horses improve both inside of the ring and outside of the ring,” she says.

“With Show Hunter, I love the precision and the aim is to go and make it look as pretty as possible. I strive for perfection each round. I love the fact that I have such an amazing support network behind me that are so supportive throughout each round and show.”

Lauren says one of her goals is to ride overseas. “This is a big dream for me as I would get to see how they ride and how their routines differ from mine. This means that I would be able to travel the world and be coached and overseen by some of the biggest names in the world. I see a career in my riding, however I am fully aware that it comes with a big price tag. As much as I would love to ride full-time I would also love to get a degree while continuing to ride at a top-level. It takes a lot of time effort and supports to get to this level and it would be a shame to throw it away.”

Well done from all of us here at Westlake on a brilliant season Lauren.