Congratulations to Riley Bate ’25 who recently had an excellent showing at the Thunderbird Show Park April Season Opener in Langley from April 19 to 23. Riley and her horse Danton had a great opener that saw them place at the top of several categories including: third in Open Jumper .90m; second in Junior Amateur Jumper .90m and Low Childrens/Adult AM Jumper 1.0m; and first in the $1,000 Open Jumper Classic 1.0m.
“It went really well. I’d only had my horse for two weeks at that point,” she said. “It was really exciting. There were quite a lot of good competitors.”
The April Season Opener was the first competition Riley has participated in within Canada and she found things worked differently than at the competitions in South Africa, where she has competed before.
Riley has been riding for most of her life and reminisces about pictures she has of her dad holding her hand on a horse at three months old. She then started lessons when she was around six years old and has loved the sport ever since.
“It’s so different from so many sports, just the dynamic,” she said. “You have to be connected to your partner, and find a way to communicate with them without talking. It’s a very spiritual connection. You have to get to know each other. You can’t just ride a horse. What separates a good rider from a great rider is the relationship with the horse.”
Up next, from May 18 to 21, Riley will be competing at SSITS (Saanich Shows In the Sun) Sun Bowl.
“It will be my first time competing on the grass with my horse,” she added. “The last time he competed on grass was when he was jumping the 1.5m Grand Prix, so he used to be a big jumper.”
Way to go Riley, and good luck in your next competition!