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Kodah Young: Trending to the top

Kodah Young wants to rider in one of Australia’s most prestigious show ring events, and SUZY JARRATT has every confidence she’ll succeed.

She is yet to decide which career path to follow when reaching eighteen, but she definitely knows where she wants to be with a horse. “I’m determined to ride in the Garryowen,” says Kodah Young. “It’s a most prestigious event, and to actually win the title would be absolutely awesome.”

Fourteen-year-old Kodah lives on ten acres at Port Lincoln on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula and comes from a horse-oriented family. “My pop, Peter Montgomerie, was a racehorse trainer,” she says. “One gelding he had was On A Jeune who came second to the winner, Makybe Diva, in the 2005 Melbourne Cup. My mum, Simone, was a jockey who rode for Northern Territory top trainer Gary Clarke. She died in a fall during a race in Darwin ten years ago. It was very sad. Since then I’ve been brought up by my nan, Lee-Anne and pop Peter.”

At the 2022 ESA HOTY with coaches Chris and Vicki Lawrie (Image by Lee-Anne Montgomerie).

When her mother and Auntie Mardi were in their early teens they rode for show horse legends Vicky and Chris Lawrie. Chris was a successful competitor, now teacher, and Vicky has won countless hacking events, including taking out the Garryowen on six occasions with three different mounts. “I automatically went into showing,” adds Kodah, “and now I ride with the Lawries too. They coach me and I traveI with them. They’re based at Oakbank in the Adelaide Hills.”

Her association with these celebrated horse people has stood Kodah in good stead. She is consistently winning and placing in both riding and hacking classes at Royals, major agricultural shows and Horse of the Year events: “I recently qualified for the Nationals. The Lawrie’s made a major contribution to my riding when I was very young as they found me my first pony,” Kodah recalls, “and I’m also grateful to Alanna Richards, one of the Equestrian Hub mentors, she leased me a hunter pony called Star who taught me all the ropes. I see quite a lot of her at shows and she’s always encouraging me.”

The horse on which she is currently doing so well is Gordon Park Supanaova, a 14.2hh chestnut riding pony. “He’s sixteen and really good for his age; and we also have a little pony in the paddock.”

Each day after school she rides, cleans stables and makes feeds. Her nan keeps an eye on her “but she really has to do everything for herself,” says Lee-Anne. “And over the years she’s learnt to prepare for shows, to groom and to plait. Recently she had one of Vicky’s hacks to plait for Horse of the Year. I have to say Kodah’s very good at it”.

Scooping Reserve Champion Rider at the 2022 ESA HOTY (Image by Lisa Gordon Photography).

At present Kodah regularly travels 800 kilometres to the Lawries, but will be much closer when she begins boarding school in Adelaide in the new year. “I’ll keep my horse with them and go there to ride at weekends,” she says. Meanwhile, in Port Lincoln she will continue occasionally catching up with friends and relatives when there’s time.

Kodah predicts her next horse will be a large Galloway or a small hack. “I’m not getting my Garryowen ride until I’m taller and older; you must be eighteen to enter. I’m only doing show riding at the moment but actually, my favourite breed is the Warmblood and my present-day hero is Lottie Fry who I’ve been watching a lot recently. She’s a young British Olympic dressage champion and she’s incredible.” (Lottie lost her mother when she was sixteen.)

Whether Kodah ever takes up dressage remains to be seen, as does winning the Garryowen but, quite clearly, she is a determined young equestrian with grit and talent and whatever she does in the future she will do well.

Feature Image: Kodah and Gordon Park Supanova won the Champion Child’s Small Galloway at the 2021 EA Nationals (Image by Lisa Gordon Photography).