A year-long goal was accomplished by two local equestrian riders earlier this month.
Moose Jaw's Amber Hrynkiw and Rebecca Bishop set a goal last year to compete at an event at the prestigious Spruce Meadows facility in Calgary.
They accomplished that goal a couple of weeks ago, taking part in the first week of the annual Oktoberfest tournament and exceeding all expectations by bringing back a pair of first place finishes.
“It was a real aspiration and dream for these girls to compete at this facility,” said coach Katelyn Jeffrey. “They both did very well, they and their horses performed much greater than we could have ever expected.
“Both girls came home Spruce Meadows champions, which was way over their expectations.”
Bishop, 23, beat out 41 other riders to pick up a first place finish in the Friends of the Meadows Barrage 0.80-metres, while Hrynkiw, 17, placed third in that event.
“In the victory gallop and our two girls were the only two Saskatchewan residents in the whole tournament and there they were, so that was a really great moment for the team,” said Jeffrey.
Hrynkiw's big week continued as she won the Mini Grand Priz 0.80m in which she topped 34 other competitors to take top spot. After advancing through to the jump off portion of the event, which is timed, Hrynkiw finished with a time of 32.40 seconds, beating the second place finisher by 2.39 seconds.
“Nobody even came close to catching her and that was a great moment for her and her family that was there watching,” said Jeffrey.
Hrynkiw, along with her horse Sky, also claimed a fourth place finish in another speed event to cap off the big week.
Both girls have been riding for almost a decade and have been working with Jeffrey for the past three show seasons. She said that she's seen an amazing amount of progress out of the two riders during that time.
“It's been a huge amount of progress in both them and their horses and it's really great to see that progress, that's for sure,” said Jeffrey.
Both riders plan on heading back to Spruce Meadows next year to build off their successful debut.