Published: 10 July, 2009
A ROSS-SHIRE teenager has been selected to represent her country at a prestigious horse riding event to be held in England next week.
Emma Matheson (13), from Balblair, has been chosen for the Scottish Endurance Riding Team who are taking part in the 2009 Home International and Celtic Challenge in Ludlow, Shropshire on July 18-19.
Emma’s mother, Jenni Carmichael, told the Journal, "The cost involved in travelling to the event is quite high.
"To get Emma and her horse down there will cost in the region of 500 pounds, so we are appealing to local companies to help assist her.
"In return for sponsorship, the company’s logo will be displayed on the side of the horse lorry."
Emma also ran a fundraiser at Avoch Community Centre earlier this week, where she held a bouncy castle fun day.
It was Emma's grandmother, Brenda Burnett, who first encouraged her to take up riding.
Mrs Burnett explained, "Emma would have been about four when she went for her first riding lesson. We never needed to push her, she just wanted to keep going back. So we decided to get her a pony and it has worked out great.
"We are very proud of her, she has done really well to get selected for the national team. There are only two junior places in the team - it is mainly adults."
Emma Matheson and Prince are heading across the border to represent Scotland Andrew Smith
Although Emma, a second year pupil at Fortrose Academy, has been named as a reserve, she will still get the chance to go riding on the Saturday on her horse, Weatheroak Manor White Knight, which Emma simply calls Prince.
Mrs Burnett explained the principles of endurance riding, "You are given a set distance, which can range from about 15 miles to 100 miles a day on the same horse.
"It all has to be done at a set speed.
"If you don’t go at that speed you will get penalised. You also need to refer to a map to see what the terrain is like and take the weather into account."
Mrs Burnett revealed the longest distance Emma has done is 50km, but she will be covering 40km at the weekend. She added, "Emma is very excited about going down to Ludlow, she is counting the hours. It will be a fantastic learning experience for her."
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