Regional | Hākinakina

Ngāi Tahu rider making leaps and bounds in Equestrian Sports

Lily Tootill is gearing up for big competition at this year's Horse of the Year event.

Lily Tootill - Ngāi Tahu says, “Horse of the Year has always been the pinnacle of the NZ season for me and for many other riders. It's very special to come here and even more special to be able to finally jump in the bigger classes that you watch as a kid.”

This year Lily will be competing for the first time in the top riding classes for Lady Rider of the Year, Young Rider of the Year and the Olympic Cup.

Tootill says, “I'd like to win everything but that's probably not very realistic especially in this sport. But I'll give it all I've got and we'll see how we go.”

Riding since she was five years old, Lily's equestrian journey has been a successful one winning multiple show hunter titles and a Junior Rider Show jumping title. Her most recent success, winning the final round of the Dannevirke World Cup.

Tootill says, “This has been my first season competing at the top, it's been Ronald's first season as well. He's got better and better with every start and I'm really excited for the future.”

For Lily, that excitement is to compete in the Australian Tour later this month as part of the Senior Jumping NZ team, after gaining selection for her outstanding performance over the season.

Tootill says, “We will fly out on the 23rd of March to Sydney for a few weeks where we will jump at Equifest for the first Trans-Tasman test. We then head to Brisbane and there's another Trans-Tasman test at the Olishian fields show.”