By Sam Watson
OLIVIA Curtain and her superstar pony Dalgangle Hugs and Kisses, also known as Popeye, have brought home silverware for Newhaven College in the Hygain Victorian Equestrian Interschool Series (VEIS).
The VEIS consists of schools from all over Victoria, with Curtain competing in the Freshman’s division, which is primary school level.
On Saturday, July 10, Curtain and her team travelled down the highway to the prestigious Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre for the last competition event of the series.
She was in second place coming into the last round,, trailing the series points leader by a narrow margin.
Olivia rode Popeye like a champion, winning both the A2 and Grand Prix events for the day, giving her maximum points to finish in first place.
The points for finishing first saw her move from second to first on the overall individual standings, making her the 2021 Freshman’s Show Jumping Champion.
Curtain and Popeye’s first overall finish helped move the Newhaven College Equestrian Team into eighth place on the final leaderboard, which included 77 other schools.
It’s an amazing achievement for Curtain, who was in her first year competing at Interschool Show Jumping.
Olivia will be representing Newhaven College in the next level up, the Encourage division, after the final Boneo series Interschool Show Jumping in September this year.
In the Encourage division, Curtain will be competing against all age groups up to year 12, with jumps up to 75cm high.
The six-legged duo are looking forward to their next big challenge representing Phillip Island Pony Club in State Team Games and Pairs Dressage next month.
In addition, Curtain is currently coming first in the West Gippsland Zone Show Jumping Series E Grade 75cm, which has four rounds to complete.
And she’s already said she wants to be competing in next year’s show jumping state championships.
Curtain, who is the granddaughter of Roz and Ray Fox from Korumburra, thanked everyone involved in her journey since she started riding on Phillip Island three years ago.
She also thanked her coaches: Emily from Hillview Equestrian and Amelia from Australian Institute of Ponies.
And, of course, she thanked her mum Sally and dad Matt for all their support.