No Medals: Still a Winner

Olivia Lochhead returns to Scotland from the 2016 American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup with encouragement and enthusiasm in her pocket.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Olivia Lochhead of Scotland represents Team United Kingdom at the 2016 American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup in Tamworth, Australia.

Olivia Lochhead of Scotland represents Team United Kingdom at the 2016 American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup in Tamworth, Australia. (Journal photo)

With western-style riding still an extremely small sport over in the UK and even less popular in Scotland where I am from, I do not have much showing experience in western, certainly the least on our UK team, despite having ridden this way for eight years.

Including myself, there are only two youths in Scotland, we have only one show per year, and we live about five hours away from each other. At the Youth World Cup, I have had an incredible opportunity to make lots of new friends my age who share my passion for western riding and the American Quarter Horse.

Having enjoyed watching the Youth World Cup all week, my younger sister, who recently turned 14, has told me she would like me to teach her the ride the western way, and our team coach Charlene Carter has given me the challenge to train her up for the World Cup in four years’ time. I am looking forward to doing this in between travelling all over the world following my career working with horses as we really do need to encourage more young riders to take on this amazing sport!

Going back to my lack of show experience I mentioned earlier, I am so proud to be here in Australia competing for my country at the American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup against the world’s top riders, and I didn’t even feel nervous walking into that ring in showmanship June 30, only feelings of joy and pride that I have come this far.

At dinner July 1 when sitting with our coach, I was able to count on my fingers the number of shows I have competed in… the Youth World Cup is my TENTH ever western show. I am so proud of myself for, despite this, managing to step up with confidence and put up a fight and score myself an 86 in showmanship after only taking it up at Christmas, and using a horse who had about as much experience in the discipline as me. We have both taught each other this week, and BGW Docs Impression – “Ziggy” – is a truly awesome horse.

My Youth World Cup experience has been one I certainly will never forget. I have made some amazing friends, learned more than I could have imagined I would, and I have had an amazing kick-start to my career working with these incredible animals. I may not have brought home a medal but I have taken from this something that will forever mean a thousand times more to me. I have received the kindest words and praise from some of the world’s top judges and coaches including Charlene Carter, Brent Maxwell, our liaison officer Natasha Humphries and many others around the stadium who have complimented my riding to me, my parents and coaching team throughout this week. Thank you to you all, you have given me the confidence to pursue what I want in life and have promised me that I certainly have a bright future ahead of me.

I hope that although I don’t have any medals in my suitcase, that I have a wealth of knowledge and that I have proven to those who have ever doubted me that this little girl from Scotland does have what it takes to stand out and get noticed doing what she loves, and I hope that I have managed to make those closest to me proud of how far I have brought myself.  I am so thankful to everyone who has helped me get here, my trainers John Fyfe and Bob Mayhew, Charlene Carter, my sponsor AllSports CM, and David and Sarah Deptford of Sovereign Quarter Horses. As Bob always says, “Onwards and upwards.”