WALES News Online had the pleasure of meeting up with local Llanelli girl and Ysgol Y Strade, Year 11 student, Melissa Davies. Melissa, 15, is a rising talent within the showjumping circuit both locally and nationally.
Melissa’s showjumping journey started when she was 7-years-old. Every weekend, she attended riding lessons with local riding instructor Louise Buckley, in Pinged. Louise is who Melissa credits for giving her valuable training and experience.
Then, at the age of 12, Melissa’s journey advanced. She moved to the yard of Helen Rees in Llanelli, where champion showjumper Helen gave Melissa lots of advice, direction, and support. It was at this time Melissa also got her own pony.
Melissa said: “My first pony was a challenging little grey called Sky who taught me more than I could ever have imagined. I will be forever grateful to him”.
After having a steep learning curve with Sky, Melissa got a horse, Fifi, to continue her showjumping journey.
She said: “When I first got Fifi she was 6-year-old and only knew the basics”.
“But now, together, as a team, we are jumping a height of 1.10m in the ‘Pony Foxhunter’ in British showjumping”.
Melissa’s much skill and determination have advanced the horse she describes as her ‘best friend’.
Together, the ‘best friends’ are being placed at showjumping competitions wherever they go.
Watching Melissa and Fifi’s training together shows a horse and rider who share a very special relationship.
Cari-Anne, Melissa’s mum, said: “They have an incredible partnership and an unbreakable bond which is seeing them going from strength to strength.”
Melissa and Fifi have competed in many events this year, including the Irish Home Pony and Welsh Home Pony Competitions. They have had many positive results.
At the end of October Melissa and Fifi aspire to represent Wales at the English Home Pony competition. Melissa is very excited about the forthcoming competition and hopes to qualify to represent Wales in the ‘qualifying day’. She is excited at all the opportunities which lie ahead for her and Fifi and is really focusing her efforts on their training.
Her diary for next year is already filling up fast and she plans to attend all the pony premiers around the country.
The dedication to follow her dream of becoming a full time, professional showjumper is well underway. If passion, drive, and dedication are the magical recipe for showjumping success there is no shortage when it comes to this special, ‘best friend’ duo.
The bond between the duo is clear
“Not all hard work!” Fifi absolutely loves the beach!
Melissa and Fifi during some of their many competition circuits.
Images courtesy of Broomes Showground Photography www.showgroundphotography.com
and Simon Rees, Equine Photographer, Ammanford.