Ecole H.J. Cody High School student Annika Angelstad van Elmpt placed second with her C Team in the Canadian Pony Club National Quiz competition.
Individually she placed 27th overall, moving up 30 spots from last year in Kelowna.
The national competition took place in Ottawa Oct. 5-9.
The 14-year-old was the only representative from the Alberta Central region and she ended up joining a team of three from Manitoba.
“It was really, really fun,” said Annika, who added the Manitoba team was very welcoming.
Although Annika had a fun Thanksgiving weekend competing and doing a scavenger hunt in downtown Ottawa, it was a lot of work to get there.
She did a lot of fundraising to be able to get out to Ontario to compete.
“One of my dad’s best friends owns a greenhouse in Alix and one weekend we went out there and I planted pansies. Lots and lots of pansies,” explained Annika.
Her and her family spent a Sunday planting 30 trays of pansies for her to sell to raise money.
She sold them at the local Mother’s Day pancake breakfast and at her school.
“I sold them at [Ecole] Fox Run School as I was in Grade 8 at the time and the staff there was one of my major supporters,” added Annika.
The honour roll student first started at Red Deer Pony Club when she was about eight-years-old.
“I have been western riding since I was two years, 10 months old so I’ve basically lived on a horse and then when I was eight my dad decided that I should try a different discipline, so then I joined Pony Club,” explained Annika. “Through Pony Club I just got into quiz and quiz is really fun and I’ve always been interested in more the theoretical part of it.”
Quiz consists of three different phases; written, visual and games.
Written and visuals is done individually, but games is done as a team.
Quiz information covers everything. For example, national rules and regulations, famous horses, foot and shoeing, and different diseases horses can get.
Competition and levelling up through the Pony Club rankings involves a lot of studying, but it’s one of the future elementary school teacher’s favourite things to do.
“I’ve either got my head shoved in a book either for Pony Club or school or I’m on a horse,” laughed Annika.
You have to be at the C level to compete in Pony Club competitions, but there’s only a couple more years before she’s competing at the A/B level.
In order to advance in Pony Club rankings she needs to pass a written test, a riding test and a stable management test, but keeping up isn’t an issue because her favourite things are learning and her horses.
“They’re my babies,” said Annika of her horses Sheila and Crimson Rocket Chick.
“Sheila we’ve had since she was six months old and I was one when we got her so we’ve pretty much grown up together,” explained Annika. “I’ve ridden Sheila most my life.”
Sheila is her English riding horse and is “more of a priss” while Chick is her western horse and is more of a “let me at her” type of personality.
“I bought Chick three years ago,” continued Annika. “I bought her with my own money. She’s under my name.”
Annika is hoping to find herself at the Pony Club National Quiz competition again next year in Saskatoon.
The Grade 9 has a break from Pony Club until January, then she will start studying for regionals in March or April.
Next year Annika is also hoping to qualify for tetrathlon nationals in Edmonton.
Tetrathlon features four events; running, shooting, swimming and horse jumping.
“It’s nice to represent my region in something because I’m also the only Alberta Central tetrathlon,” added Annika, who got first in shooting, third in swimming, 10th in running and disqualified in jumping during this year’s regionals.
She was one spot short of making the national team, but this year nationals is at her home training ground.
“Pony Club is a great place to make friends and just share your love of horses,” said Annika.
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