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Posted by Kirsty Pasto on 12/02/2020.
Laura Munt and Wellington Grandorie at Deeridge
Photographer: Kirsty Pasto

Laura Munt Making Her Mark in America

Young Rider Laura Munt is certainly making her mark in America. The twenty-year-old from Dungowan, near Tamworth NSW, is jumping to new heights after recently moving to Ocala to work for High Performance Green Squad rider Rowan Willis.

This week Munt will be competing at the Palm Beach Masters Series at Deeridge Farms in the CSI2* competition. Munt is already off to a flying start after she jumped in the North Star Tour Welcome two-phase competition this morning placing an impressive 7th from a field of 45 starters.  Munt competed against riders from America, Canada, Brazil, UK, Denmark, Chile, Ireland, Israel, Argentina and Mexico holding her own against an impressive field - which included riders such as Rodrigo Pessoa and Jessica Springsteen. 

Munt rode Wellington Grandorie in the class, owned by Rowan Willis, and produced a clear round with a time of 32.49, seeing her finish less than 6 seconds behind the winner. 

Munt started riding at a young age and can’t remember a time when horses weren’t her passion.  Munt’s father, Barry Munt, was a World Cup Jumper who also competed in Tampa during his career, making these particular shows in the United States extra special.  

“It is pretty amazing”, says Munt of her experience competing at Palm Beach “I didn’t really think I would ever do this, there just isn’t words”.

However it hasn’t always been the call of the colourful fences that lured Munt into the arena, she started out eventing and even worked for High Performance Next Squad rider Jessica Rae where she groomed at the 2019 Oceania Championships in New Zealand. 

When her employer relocated last year Munt saw it as an opportunity to take the leap and chase her jumping dreams, learning the ropes in America.

“I almost expected it to be this entire other world, which in some ways it is, but when you are working hard every day and doing all the behind the scenes things it is just the same, just a lot more people” laughs Munt when asked about her daily work.

Since starting with Rowan Willis Munt has travelled across the globe and groomed at shows in Canada, Switzerland and the UK, 

“Geneva was amazing, that whole trip, we did Geneva and then we went to Liverpool. It was good fun, I really liked that. I have been very lucky to see so many of the top riders and top shows over here (USA) and then to go over there (Europe) and see their top riders and top shows, it doesn’t really get any better” explains Munt. 

The entire journey so far has been an exhilarating learning experience for Munt, one that she clearly enjoys and thrives on; “I feel like the main thing I have taken away is ring experience. When I came here the biggest thing I noticed was the time, when I first did my first show I had like eight time faults. Rowan has really got me riding forward and I can see a better distance because I have had much more experience in the ring.  I also ride all the horses at home which I love, and that has been a big thing, knowing how to ride the course, and get it done in the time.”

When asked if she would recommend grooming for an international rider to others who may be considering it she answered without hesitation,  “definitely do it! It has been amazing. You just don’t get this at home, which is sad, it is just that everything here is upper level and as good as it gets. I think also just the life skills too; you are completely a fish out of water living in a different country. It just makes you grow up,” she says beaming.

“It was scary in a way but I just kept telling myself this is what you want to do, so why not do it, and if I hate it there is always another plane I can jump on. It is definitely the best thing I could have done for my riding”.

With her lovely style in the arena, and her impressive work ethic and dedication to learning, it is clear the future for Munt is a bright one. 

She hopes one day she will be in a position to ride professionally, “yes, I would like to. At the moment this is great. I ride Rowan’s horses and help get them going and that is really satisfying when they go in the ring and do a good job, I feel like I have sort of done my job. I would like to one day have a small string. I almost feel like, dad did this, and now I am doing this and it is just a nice thing to carry on”.

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