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Posted by Equestrian Australia on 04/10/2013.

Retired Olympic mount takes flight with young rider

Olivia Brennan with Ringwould Jaguar

It's not every day that a young equestrian gets the chance to ride an Olympic horse, let alone compete with one, but that's exactly what Olivia Brennan from Tasmania has been given the chance to do at this week's 2013 National Interschool Championships.

Brennan has been given the ride on Ringwould Jaguar, the now 22 year old stockhorse who accompanied Sonja Johnson to the 2008 Olympic Games where the pair won silver as part of Australia’s three day event team. He and Johnson also competed at the 2010 World Equestrian Games and together have won multiple titles here in Australia.

When Sonja found out Olivia and five other young Tasmanian riders were headed to WA for the Interschool Championships she offered to provide them with horses. Fortunately for Olivia, her older sister is Sonja's groom which put her first in line for Jag.

“Sonja's been over to Tasmania on a few occasions to coach me and my friends and when we told her we were coming to WA for the Nationals she said she had some horses that we could borrow and that one of us would get to ride Jag,” Olivia said.

"I was really nervous before I rode him for the first time. He's such an experienced horse and a big step-up from my off -the-track thoroughbred that I ride at home so I was a little but scared, but those feelings didn't last long and we've formed a great partnership.

“We (my family) came over to WA two weeks before the competition and went down to Albany to spend some time on the farm with him and Sonja, he's taught me a lot and my riding's definitely benefited," she said.

The partnership has proven an advantage with the duo winning the 1.10m showjumping class on the opening day of competition and placing second in the 1.0m class. And although Jag's technically in retirement Olivia says he still relishes competition.

“I don’t think they’ll ever be able to fully retire him, he loves the competition too much. The first time we went into the arena he knew what was hapenning and he loved it,” she said.

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