Rider wins provincial championship

Maple Ridge rider and trainer Kaitlyn Harbour has repeated as a provincial champion, at the annual BC Hunter Jumper Association ...

Maple Ridge equestrian athlete and trainer Kaitlyn Harbour moved up to a tougher class this year

Maple Ridge equestrian athlete and trainer Kaitlyn Harbour moved up to a tougher class this year

Maple Ridge rider and trainer Kaitlyn Harbour has repeated as a provincial champion, at the annual BC Hunter Jumper Association awards banquet over the weekend.

Based on a points system where riders score for their performance in multiple events, Harbour and her horse Athena topped the tough 1.2m Open Jumper division.

While she also won last year, this year Harbour was competing at a much higher level, where all the jumps are four feet or higher, and the competitors are skilled – even professional. That made for a more satisfying win.

She asserts that success in her sport is about a 50-50 arrangement between horse and rider, and she shares the championship with her warmblood Athena, which she has ridden for the past four years.

She said jumpers are thrill seekers, and there’s no feeling like soaring over a gate on the back of a horse.

“It’s an awesome experience. The adrenaline is completely crazy, as I’m entering the ring to do my thing with my horse,” said Harbour.

“It’s an extreme sport, in my opinion.”

Harbour, 23, is an equestrian athlete and instructor by profession. She was raised in Maple Ridge and teaches English riding with a hunter/jumper focus at Empire Equestrian on 132nd Avenue.

Her goal is to compete at higher levels, train horses, and she also has students who are also competing.

“I’ve got 20 to 25 regulars, and they’re very competitive, just like me.”