Orkney’s Jorgi Craigie has a horse that can carry her all the way to Birmingham.
Of course, they might need some help from ferries, trains and automobiles along the way.
But when 10 year-old Jorgi makes her debut at the 72nd Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham in October, she’ll be seated proudly on the back of her trusty pony Mrs Brown – stage name: Rhencullen Rockette.
After becoming one of the first Orkney riders to qualify for the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead in July, she will be the first solo rider from her islands to make it to the Horse of the Year Show.
Jorgi inherited her love of riding from her mum, Caroline. Together they have logged countless miles for shows, and Jorgi credits her success to mum’s support and Mrs Brown’s faithfulness.
‘Some people try their whole lives’
Jorgi’s love of all things horses has taken her on adventures all around Scotland and England. The Glaitness School pupil and her mum make regular trips to the mainland, to compete in qualifiers for big shows.
In June, the pair travelled to Strathallan Castle to compete in the National Pony Society show. Jorgi’s performance earned her a ticket to the Royal International in July.
I wouldn’t be able to do it without mum, she loves it as much as me.”
– Jorgi Craigie, 10
And now she is off to Birmingham.
“We went away this season for miles on the clock and never expected to do so well. On the mainland you are amongst strong company with very nice ponies.
“Jorgi has worked her socks off in the winter months preparing for these qualifiers. Covid stole a season from Jorgi and Mrs Brown. So, we were very excited to be getting back out this season.
“Qualifying for the Royal International and HOYS is a huge, huge achievement. Some people try their whole lives. They are up there with the most sought after tickets in the horse world.”
A born-and-bred rider
Caroline said that equestrianism was her passion – and it wasn’t long before Jorgi picked up the torch.
I don’t get nervous – I just go in and try my best. My mum gets nervous for me.”
-Jorgi Craigie, 10
Jorgi belongs to the Orkney Riding Club, but she also travels to the mainland for training sessions, which her mum says are key to her success.
“We go across to Caithness for training with Russell Skelton and James Munro, which is a must when competing at this level. They help Jorgi greatly and prepare her for competing on the mainland.”
Up for anything
Caroline said Jorgi has been riding Mrs Brown for two years, and the pair have proven themselves to be up for anything during competitions.
“We’ve had Mrs Brown for two years and she is the best pony we could ever have found for Jorgi – she has the heart of a lion, always aims to please and is such a genuine kid’s pony. She loves Jorgi as much as Jorgi loves her. They are a team with a lovely bond.”
The biggest leap yet
All of that preparation should serve Jorgi well when she attempts to bring a Horse of the Year title back to Orkney. No matter what the outcome, Jorgi said that she is happy to be competing and feels lucky with such a willing partner.
“I don’t get nervous – I just go in and try my best. My mum gets nervous for me. I love horse riding – I always have. I like going to shows it’s nice to get all the gear on and have Mrs Brown washed and looking smart.
“My favourite part is definitely the jumping – I love how hard Mrs Brown always tries for me. We are a team. I can’t wait to be at all these big shows and to be able to ride at them is a big thing for me. Just proves dreams do come true when you work hard.
“My family and friends are proud of me. I wouldn’t be able to do it without mum, she loves it as much as me.”