angle-left From Denmark to Oklahoma City for Ford Youth World

From Denmark to Oklahoma City for Ford Youth World

International exhibitor Emilie Bendix Christensen competes in her second Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show.
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By Larri Jo Starkey

If there were a prize for farthest distance traveled – Emilie Bendix Christensen would definitely be in the running.

The 18-year-old traveled 4,809 miles from her home in Denmark to compete at the 2019 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show.

The show also boasts exhibitors from Canada, Australia, Costa Rica, Poland and the United States.

It’s Emilie’s second year at the Ford Youth World, and last year’s experience made this year so much easier, she says.

“I know when to practice and how hard to push,” she says.

For the 2019 Ford Youth World, Emilie has leased Cool Krymsun Zip, aka “Splash,” a 2008 sorrel gelding owned by Tamra Ratner of Boerne, Texas.

“Thanks so much to Tamra,” Emilie says.

Emilie traveled to the United States in early July to start practicing with AQHA Professional Horseman Michael Hunsinger of San Antonio. She went to one show, the Boom Circuit in Amarillo, then traveled to Oklahoma City.

She had only one goal.

“Everyone wants to win, but not everyone can,” she says. “My goal was good rides.”

Emilie is eligible for Level 2 and Level 3, and will be competing in both in horsemanship, showmanship and hunt seat equitation.

Q: How long have you been riding?

A: I’ve pretty much been riding all my life. Ever since my mother could put me on a horse, I’ve been on a horse, and I’ve loved it ever since.

Q: What’s your favorite class?

A: I like the equitation disciplines, showmanship, horsemanship and the eq. I like the technical disciplines. They’re pretty awesome. I like perfection, and every time (you go), you can have something you find in your pattern that you can do better – not because I thought it was bad, but because I like to have it perfect.

Q: How many times have you been a part of Team Denmark for the American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup?

A: The first time I made the team was in 2014; we went to Texas for the World Cup. Then I just stayed with them and for 2016, I tried out again and made the team again (when the Youth World Cup was in Australia). I tried out again in 2018 and made the team again (when it was back in Bryan, Texas).

Q: What do you like about the event?

A: I really loved the connection you get between each other. When you meet so many different countries and come together about one little thing that you all love so much and you can enjoy that together. I really like that.

Instead of riding how you always ride at home, you go on this new horse and try to figure out their buttons, because you have to do that. You can’t change your horse in a week. You have to ride how they work. It’s become much easier throughout the years. You try to be confident in yourself and say “OK, I know how to ride a horse” and then just pick up what you’ve got.

Q: What’s fun about riding?

A: I love to do it. I love to have the connections between rider and horse. (In) a lot of sports, you’re by yourself on that field or whatever. When you ride a horse, you’ve got to have that connection between the horse and the rider to ever get somewhere. You’ve got to work together. I love that. Every single horse you get on, they’re different and have a different mindset, different personality and I love to work with their different personalities.

I’m hoping to do something with horses. Maybe do something so I have a backup plan.

Q: Your English is really excellent.

A: We learn it, like, in second grade. Then we’ve had some people stay at our place who spoke English. I got to practice it a lot, and we’ve been to the States a lot. That’s where I picked up some accent. Then I like to speak it and communicate with people. Just kept up.

Q: Who has been your trainer, and what is her best advice?

A: My mom has been my trainer. She likes to say, "Take a deep breath.” 

Q: Thank you and good luck from the Journal!