NEWS > Eventing
Posted by Marketing on 21/05/2021.

Kristen Atkinson @ Sydney International 3DE 2021

In the space of a week I accepted a job, packed up my life, my horse (Jaldary Wolkensun) and I hopped on a truck to move to Sydney.

2021 did not start off how I wanted it, I had to retire my eventer from a paddock accident and a month later I lost my dad unexpectedly.

Losing dad was the hardest thing I have had to go through but I knew he would want me to live my life to the fullest.
He always used to say “We are Atkinsons, we are tough."

From a young age I have always wanted to compete and work on the east coast, and luckily for me an opportunity to work with Jade Findlay came up that I just couldn't turn down.

I was lucky enough to have our good friends - the Versteegens - leaving for Sydney the following Saturday. They made room for Sunny and I to travel across with them, which I will forever be thankful for.

I have learnt so much in WA from Brocklesby Eventing, Tegan Cook and Alan Campbell. They were both very supportive of my decision and I was sad to be leaving the team as they truly are awesome people and just the best to work for.

This was Sunny’s first big trip, we had many laughs on the journey  but it wasn't all smooth sailing; we were just about to arrive in Ceduna when I received a phone call saying Jade's place was under water due to extreme flooding. After Jade had mentioned the arena was 3 meters under water I thought I should of brought a kayak instead my horse, so it was with some quick thinking and planning that we headed to Melbourne to compete at both Boneo and Sale showjumping. Both of these shows were absolutely amazing. After a week or so I was able to continue my journey to Sydney and Jade's property.

Our first day at Jade's was not quite how I planned, I actually ended up in hospital (non horse related), requiring surgery and 3 weeks off - not ideal. Jade and her family were very supportive the whole time and looked after Sunny while I couldn't.

In the short time I have been working for Jade, I have learnt so much and my riding has improved immensely. I have recently started working for Jade's fiancé Hennirk, pretraining and breaking stables (Hannover Lodge), which is a whole different world. I am thoroughly enjoying working at both places and am so so thankful for all the opportunities both Jade and Hennirk have presented me with.

I have recently competed at the SYDNEY 3 -Day-Event.
After all our set backs I was very pleased to have finished on my dressage score - 6th place in the EVA 95. With eventing in Sydney, the classes are huge, the cross country courses are hilly and tough and the quality of horses and riders is outstanding. There is no room for error. I didn't really know what to expect, as the competion is so fierce in Sydney.

I really do believe WA has set me up perfectly to compete on the east coast as we have such strong competitive combinations and so many great events.

Having my Mum and close friends at Sydney made the whole event even better. Mums plane actually was struck by lighting shortly after take off so had to turn around and go back to Perth, what are the odds? She managed to get on the next flight she could and got to SIEC just in time for my dressage test! My mum has always been my number 1 supporter and without her I would not be who I am today.

There was so much support from the WA community during the event and It was so nice to see fellow WA riders Kenya and Sonja competing. They both did outstanding jobs and rode beautifully, producing very good results.

My goals for this year are to further my riding and Sunny’s education to hopefully compete in the star classes across the East Coast and do WA proud. I believe this horse has a bright future and I’m so excited to see how far we can go.

My advice to anyone who is thinking of moving east to work or ride, do it!

Do it while you have the chance and live every day to the fullest. If an opportunity comes up, take it, because it might not happen again. This was the best decision I have made and I'm very thankful for all the opportunities I have been given.

- Kristen Atkinson