Young Aussies jumping at the Russian Friendship Games
Mikayla Hogg (14) from Berringa, Victoria, Isabelle Smith (16) from Perth, Western Australia and Sammi Lamont (17) also from Perth, are having the equestrian experience of a lifetime as they participate in the Russian Friendship Games.
The Russian Friendship Games are based on the same concept as the German Friendship Games which run every two years. These games have a firm place in the calendar of young riders and their parents from all over the world. “Friendships not championships” is the slogan that brings the world’s show-jumping youth together. International teamwork and communication, finding new friends and celebrating the communal love for horses. The riders compete on borrowed horses as teams. Each Australian rider is teamed up with a Russian partner.
The Russian Games are being held at Maxima Park, close to Moscow. This state-of-the-art equestrian center has hosted national and international competitions for some time. On 100 hectares (250 acres), Maxima Park offers an extensive infrastructure for professionals and amateur riders alike and the girls are getting to experience these wonderful facilities.
The girls started their adventure by flying out to Germany for a week of training with German showjumper Marco Kutscher at the Bexter Hof, the home of the German Friendship Games, before heading to Russia. The girls spent another week in training at Maxima Park where they were teamed up with a horse, before beginning official competition.