A young girl who has been passionate about riding horses since she was two years old has been selected to saddle up and compete in the Youth World Cup this summer in Germany.
Haley Stradling, 15, was handpicked by the Canadian Quarter Horse Association, along with four other riders, to represent Canada at this prestigious event. Kreuth, Germany, will host the 2012 event from July 21 to 29, and there will be teams from 16 countries vying for the top honours
In addition to the five riders, two alternates, three team leaders and a coach and manager will represent Canada at the biennial event. Families, including Haley’s parents, will also be accommodated at the site.
Horses will be provided to all riders in order to keep costs of shipping and quarantines down for the competitors.
“It’s a big facility and they will be supplying 130-140 horses for us,” said Haley.
It’s Haley’s first trip abroad and she’s thrilled that two close friends from Kamloops, sisters Amanda and Megan Daley, were also selected. The rest of the team is from eastern and central Canada.
“I will be competing in the cutting and English riding events,” says Haley, who has been riding both English and western styles all her life, and currently enjoys showing cutters and hunter-jumpers.
She has won many awards in both the hunter-jumper events and in the cutting ring, most recently the BCQHA 2011 Junior Youth Champion.
Born in Chilliwack, Haley and her parents Mike and Diane, and their three older boys, came to their farm in Aldergrove 11 years ago. Their riding facilities, including an indoor arena, often host shows for the B.C. Ranch Cutting Horse Association.
Haley started getting serious about the sport when she was seven, training in hunter-jumpers with renowned champion Laura Balisky. Haley hopes to make a career as a rider, and also intends to study veterinary medicine when she graduates from D.W. Poppy Secondary.
Haley has other interests — she enjoys dance, volleyball and basketball at school — and she volunteers on a regular basis in a variety of capacities.
It’s all part of a well-rounded approach to life, says her mother, Diane: “Haley is the one that is always there to lend a helping hand, to go the extra mile to help others out.”