Amber O’Neill In February’s Issue Of Ridgeway Rider


Sponsored Driver Amber O’Neill wrote an ‘In the driving seat’ piece for Februarys Ridgeway Rider talking about her past driving experiences and plans for the future.

Read the full article below:

 

Amber O’Neill regularly competes in horse driving trials, representing England three times already, at the age of only 18. Her list of achievements include coming seventh in the BHDTA National Championships 2011, fifth at the Junior National Championships 2011 and competing as an individual in the Junior World Trophy 2008; winning a silver medal in the dressage phase. She also competed in the Cross Channel Cup and was placed fourth overall, winning silver medals in both individual and team sections.

“I have been carriage driving since I was eight years old and competing since I was 14,” Amber says, “My first pony, Snowflake was very naughty and my mum decided to break him to drive so he could be exercised by an adult. I helped my mum school him to harness and then started driving him myself. We then discovered the sport of Horse Driving Trials and the British Young Drivers and we were hooked.”

Amber has three ponies; Fortune Teller, a 16 year old mare who Amber has owned for four years, and the pair have had many successes including competing in the Junior World Trophy 2010 in Hungary, where the pair were placed fourth. Amber recalls: “Although we just missed out on a medal we were extremely pleased with our performance and it was a once in a lifetime experience. Fortune Teller coped with the heat, flies, heavy going and atmosphere and behaved perfectly, giving us her best ever dressage test and a clear in the derby, with some very fast times. It was a great honour to compete for my country and to do so well was an added bonus.”

It is clear that Amber has a strong bond with Fortune Teller; she states, “She is a the bravest, kindest, loyal pony I have ever had the privilege to drive.”

Fortune Teller is currently on loan to a Para driver; who hopes to take her to the Para Driving World Championships this year. Amber explains: “This leaves me time to concentrate on my youngster, Bluechip Jasper, who my mum very kindly lets me compete. We have owned Jasper since he was two and broke him to drive when he was six. He is now eight years old, and has done his first outdoor season  where he qualified for the BDHTA National Championships first time out. He also went to this first Junior National Championships and some British Young Driver training events this year. We also still have my first pony Snowflake too who is enjoying his retirement.”

Amber and Jasper are now focussing on 2012 with an eventful year planned: “My goals for the next year include qualifying for the 2012 National indoor Championships in April, qualifying for the BHDTA National Championships in September, and being selected for the FEI Junior Championship to be held in Austria in July.

“I am unfortunate to be sponsored by Bluechip Horse Feeds, Secondhand Tack Online and Mr and Mrs J Young, Barleycroft Farm, Shrewton,” comments Amber. In the future, Amber hopes to continue to compete; progressing up the Adult National rankings and competing internationally as an result.

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