When it comes to achieving success as part of a duo, it helps to have the right partner.
The equestrian sport of dressage is no exception, with rider and pony needing to have a good working relationship.
A skilled event in which predetermined movements known as figures are performed, dressage involves competitors carrying out a dance-like routine.
Part of local riding star Lauren Rowe’s success in the arena comes down to the well-earned connection she has with her ponies – Charisma Royal Emblem (Earl) and Cheval De’Lore (Cadillac).
Both the Welsh pony and German riding pony have carried the 16-year-old to victory, with recent wins in the Interschool Equestrian Festival and WA State Dressage Championships.
Now, Rowe is preparing to saddle up on her ponies for the WA All Welsh Show and Sharyne Alberts Memorial Dressage Competition, both of which are taking place in November.
Rowe says she spends time every day with Earl and Cadillac to develop the bond with them.
“It’s not necessarily riding them every day,” Rowe said.
“It’s leading them to the paddock.
“It’s brushing them.
“It’s getting to know them, getting to know their personality – because they all have such different personalities.”
The Capel resident, who attends the School of Isolated and Distance Education, hopes to pursue her sport to the highest representative levels.
“I would love to go as far as I can. Obviously, the Olympics would be an amazing opportunity,” Rowe said.
“But as far as short-term goals, I’d love to – in the next couple of years – head over to Sydney and compete at the Australian Youth Dressage Championships.”
Helping the teenager on her sporting journey is the South West Academy of Sport, which provides development opportunities to young sports men and women through its Individual Athlete Support Program and partner sport programs.
“SWAS has been amazing. There is no other program like SWAS,” Rowe said.
“I’ve gotten so much out of SWAS. It’s helped me get stronger and fitter so that I can train my horses and be a better rider for my horses.”