SCUGOG: Thirty two year old Blackstock resident, Danielle Berry took first prize in her division, at the Welsh Pleasure Under Saddle event, at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, on Friday November 11th.
The competition had participants from all over North America, and parts of Europe. Filled with many types of horse breeds, as well as several events, the Winter Fair included The Royal Six Horse Hitch Championship, and the The Canadian Hunter Derby National Championship, to name a couple.
Riding for over 20 years, Danielle told The Standard that there is a lot of prep work that goes on behind the scenes in order to make it all happen. “Without my helpers it would be impossible” chimes Berry as she is quick to credit her sister Faith, and good friend Meghan for helping with everything that needed to be done. From cleaning the saddle and bridle and getting Jake's socks whitened, to any additional support needed to make it all a success.
Danielle stated, advice she would give to someone following in her footsteps, it is important to keep learning. We all "learn different ways," she said; there were many coaches she worked with, all with different styles, but it's important “to learn what you can from each of them.”
Ms. Berry also explained some of the ways she was able to succeed in this event.
Riding since she was eight years old, Danielle expressed tremendous satisfaction in the process of "breaking in" a horse, and what this involves. Starting with a two year old gelding, meaning a castrated horse; and moving on to a four year old champion, her winning horse Jake; she was able to take first prize, after two years of intense, yet patient work with the animal.
It helped that Danielle had a lot of support from her friends and family, they encouraged her by being present during Friday's event. Danielle was later described by her proud father as someone who is both "friendly and outgoing."
No doubt the "fans in the stands", combined with Danielle and Jake's ability, is what made this duo winners.