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Jumping hurdles in career

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Emily Stirling in action. Photo - submitted

By Meg Kennedy

A young rider’s next venture is set to appear on television screens.
The 2019 ‘Jumping Young Rider of the Year’ award recipient and business-owner Emily Stirling will soon be part of the Channel Seven television show ‘Jump Off’.
The program, which first aired in 2018, follows five teams on their journey to retrain retired racehorses into superstar showjumpers, culminating in a jump-off competition for $50,000.
As for her involvement in the show, Ms Stirling said that “they wanted a young rider [on the show] to demonstrate that you don’t have to be a senior rider to be able to produce a horse off-the-track.”
“The show is really about promoting that after horses are finished racing – for whether they’re too slow, have an injury, or they’ve just had enough – that there is life after racing, and that we can make other uses for them, in particular show jumping,” she said.
The 20-year old sites local horse identity, Bob Closter – recent recipient of the Pony Club Australia ‘Living Legends’ Award (MN 16 July edition) – as the reason for getting into riding.
“I grew up with my grandfather Geoff Closter, and we’re related to Bob. I didn’t have any horse knowledge; I just started doing my lessons and with Bob being close to the family, he found us our first pony, so he started that [journey],” Ms Stirling said.
Ms Stirling was selected to travel to Europe to represent Australia in 2017, and recently won the ‘Jumping Young Rider of The Year’ award at the Equestrian Victoria Awards on Saturday 20 July.
Her overseas achievements inspired Ms Stirling to create her own business back home, co-owning ‘Cloroy Park’ with her grandfather, Geoff Closter.
“When I was overseas it became quite prominent to me that a lot of people just ride. They don’t care for the horses, they just have someone else to do that for them,” she said.
“That inspired me to come home and create a business where I could teach kids to learn more about the management, care and the love for the horse rather than just riding.”
After starting out small, the business has grown via word-of-mouth, becoming a growing hotspot for riding lessons and arena hire.
Ms Stirling is currently studying Equine Physiotherapy and a Diploma of Business but still has high ambitions for her sporting career, reaching as high as the Olympics.
“My goal is to jump in a World Cup within the next two-years, so hopefully to step up to that level; from there obviously the big dream is to go overseas and ride competitively because it’s a big calibre of riding over there – so much bigger than Australia.”
“I just do it because I love it, not for any other reason. It’s good to get the kids involved with horses, because they’re amazing animals.”
‘Jump Off’ is set to air on Channel Seven later in the year.
For more information on Cloroy Park, visit www.cloroypark.com.

Young Rider of the Year – Emily Stirling
Photo – Equestrian Australia