Partnered by heart horse Showtym Burrow, the future is looking bright for Delivering Dreams winner Kelly Bridgland, writes AMANDA MAC.
Kelly Bridgland’s response to the news she had won Delivering Dreams was fairly predictable – “Um … really? I’m absolutely … Oh, my goodness!” – particularly as I’d called to tell her early in the morning!
Kelly is a show jumper and EA Intro coach (now well on the way to gaining her Level 1 Accreditation) who competes with heart horse Showtym Burrow at 1.3m in Young Rider events. She loves the whole idea of the Delivering Dreams program and the principles that drive it: “The fact that I won is fantastic, I’m so happy. And I’d just like to thank the judges, the sponsors and Equestrian Hub for such a great opportunity.”
Kelly began her jumping career in 2015, spending more than five years training with Vicki Roycroft as a working student, followed by two stints at Showtym Sport Horses in New Zealand, which is where she first met Burrow. Bred in New Zealand, the Gypsy Cob had literally outgrown his career as a cart horse, and had arrived at the Wilson Sisters to be retrained. The eight-year-old took to his new life in the show ring and jumping arena in spectacular fashion. “I fell in love with him,” Kelly tells me, “but I thought he was unobtainable, completely out of my league.”
Kelly will never forget the day Burrow arrived from New Zealand (Image courtesy Kelly Bridgland).
It was after she had returned to Australia and was searching for another horse that Amanda Wilson called to tell her Burrow was for sale and that Kelly had first option. “I was on a plane the next day,” she laughs.
Now in his new home at Falcon Sport Horses on the NSW’s Central Coast, Kelly and Burrow have formed a strong partnership. “He’s my dream horse. He makes me work,” she admits, “but he’s the best horse I could image owning. He’s unconventional, but really special.”
Reaching Young Rider was a great moment for Kelly: “Since buying Burrow we have worked our way up to 1.30m. I’d have to say that the highlights include our first Young Rider win at Waratah Show Jumping, achieving the first clear round in the 2020 Summer Classic Young Rider final, and competing at the 2021 Sydney Royal Easter Show.”
Recognising that she hasn’t yet scratched the surface of her partnership with Burrow (and with some ambitious long-term goals in mind) Kelly has been taking the time to recalibrate, to pick everything apart and start over: “I want to feel more confident and be sure that I’m doing everything I can to get the very best out of myself and my horse.”
Congratulations on your win, Kelly – and we look forward to updates as your journey progresses.
Feature Image: At the 2021 Sydney Royal Young Rider Grand Prix with Showtym Burrow (photo by Australian Jumping).