Local student riding high after state equestrian win

Pearl won the title with the help of her horse Charlton Veeza. picture: supplied.

By Eleanor Wilson

A Berwick schoolgirl is riding high after she was chosen to represent Victoria at the National Interschool Equestrian Championships in Sydney later this year.

Pearl Hodson, who is a Year 7 student at Haileybury in Berwick, qualified for the state team after placing first in the 95 cm Combined Training event at the 2022 PETstock Equestrian Victoria Interschool State Championships.

Pearl and her horse, Charlton Veeza aced both the showjumping and dressage rounds to earn their place.

“I began riding on a grumpy miniature Shetland called Kitty when I was only three,” Pearl said.

“My parents both ride and horses have always been an important part of our family.”

Pearl rides her two horses most days and works with a coach once a week. Riding and caring for her horses — and keeping up with homework — mean she is one busy student!

“My horses take up most of my free time. I ride for about an hour a day and on top of that I spend at least another hour each day feeding, rugging, grooming and mucking out yards,” she said.

“I love training and improving my skills and my horse’s skills too, and I also enjoy jumping on bareback and galloping through the paddocks on our farm.“

“The partnership and bond with my horses is special and it’s all about respect and teamwork.“

Pearl’s success at the 2022 PETstock Equestrian Victoria Interschool State Championships comes despite her only having ridden Charlton Veeza for a few months.

“He is patient, talented and has such a gentle nature. Through spending time with him every day we’ve formed a strong bond and a mutual trust quite quickly,” Pearl said.

“He definitely got lots of treats and cuddles after the win.“

“I’m very proud and very grateful to all the people who helped make my win possible. I’m still training and working with my coach to prepare for a few more local competitions, then Veeza will have a short break to make sure he is fresh and well-rested for his big competition.”

Pearl said she hopes to pursue a career with horses in the future.

“I can definitely see myself doing something with horses in the future, whether it’s competing or just working with horses,“ she said.

Year 9 Haileybury student, Nadia Serato, also took part in several days of competition on her horse, Highfield Summer Willow.

Nadia rode in the Intermediate Preliminary Dressage event, placing fourth in the state in a field of 70 riders.