Bushfield's Georgia Hodgetts is reaping the rewards of her dedication to show jumping.
It's a commitment level that sees her up at 5am each morning to take her beautifully groomed Corinda out of the stable at her family's property.
Hodgetts works the veteran mare and puts her out in the paddock before she heads off to her job at trainer Pat Ryan's stables.
The 21-year-old puts about three hours each day into looking after Corinda, whether it be feeding, washing, cleaning, grooming, walking or rugging her.
This week Hodgetts was thrilled to become a top three finalist for Equestrian Victoria's (EV) 2021 Jumping Young Ambassador of the Year.
She is also a top-three finalist for EV's Jumping Young Rider of the Year which is for those from 16 to 21 years old. She is expecting winners to be announced in December.
"It's actually my first year of stepping out into the Young Riders (category) and I was nominated for that based on my performances this season," she said.
"Obviously we didn't really have many shows so it was a shock to see that the places I did get to, I was able to get into the top three."
Hodgetts achieved her best result to date when she came sixth in the second round at the Victorian titles in March. It was a strong field of about 30 males and females from around the nation.
"It was unreal, even just the first round, because we normally have two rounds, you've got to get clear and then you come back for a speed class to get a place," she said.
"I got clear and just going through the flags, I was like 'oh my God, I just went clear in my first ever young riders'.
"I came off my last jump and just patted Corinda like there was no tomorrow."
It was a massive milestone considering the youngster had worked hard to progress from jumping about 110 centimetres two years ago to jumping the 130cms required in Young Riders.
Hodgetts explained it took plenty of lessons and stern words from her friend and fellow show jumper, Sam Conway, to help her reach that goal.
She said one of Conway's sayings "ride proper, not dumb" had stuck with her and helped her on the course.
The young ambassador application process was different this year because of coroanvirus pandemic restrictions.
And Hodgetts got it in at the last minute after her friend Darcy Wade encouraged her to give it a crack.
"We were meant to go to Werribee for a weekend away and we were all booked in and then told we had to cancel," she said.
"So it was over about three weeks and we did it online."
Contestants were tasked with preparing a speech in response to a question from the judges. They had to make the speech in a video call and Hodgetts' was about how her discipline was evolving in the equestrian industry.
They then had to film themselves completing a riding exercise as well as answer questions related to that performance. Now she's in the top three, Hodgetts has one more interview with the selectors.
The show jumper will be too old for Young Riders next year so her aim is to compete in the mini prix and grand prix categories.
The 21-year-old, who is also passionate about teaching children about show jumping, said the people were what made the sport great.
"I've made lifelong friends in my discipline," she said.
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