BRANDON, Manitoba — There’s no denying that Hadley Booth and Susie Ness have put the time and effort into equestrian since both took up the sport at early ages.
They were rewarded for that hard work with the most prestigious titles of their riding careers as both recently brought home national titles at the Canadian National Horse Show.
Booth, a 14-year-old from Kingsley, and Ness, a 16-year-old from Traverse City, won their crowns at an event that featured over 800 horses and riders from across the United States and Canada.
“I was really surprised. I did not expect that at all,” said Ness, who has been competing in the sport since age 7. “I was really proud of my horse because he’s kind of an underdog and he doesn’t really do that class very much, so we had to teach him how to do all that. I was really more proud of him than anything.”
Riding 10-year-old Docs Echo, Ness won her national championship in Western Horsemanship — her favorite class in which to compete — as well as a reserve championship in her Western Pleasure class and received top 10 honors in the Hunt Seat Equitation championship for riders in ages 14-18. Western Horsemanship is an equitation class that is judged on the rider’s form and technique.
Booth won her title in the Hunt Seat Equitation championship for riders 13 and under on her horse, 11-year-old Belle Song, who Booth had been riding for the past two years. She also finished with top 10 honors in two Hunter Pleasure classes. Hunt Seat Equitation judges evaluate riders’ hands, legs and seat, and look for riders who display a classic workmanlike appearance while executing pattern work.
“It was pretty tough. (The competition) had really nice horses that were higher end and more expensive than the horses we brought,” said Booth, who started riding when she was 4 years old. “I was very nervous. I just knew that my horse and I could do it and we just went in and did our pattern like we were supposed to and it worked.”