CAMBEWARRA’S Jamie Priestley continues to show way she is destined for greatness, having just returned from France where she claimed third place at the Haras De Jardy show.
On the back of recent strong results earlier in the year, the 19-year-old was invited to train and compete in France, including at the famous Haras De Jardy equestrian centre – an opportunity she grabbed with both hands.
“Despite not feeling I had time to fit it in with my horses here, I knew how much I learn when I go overseas, which is why I decided to go,” Priestley said.
“I had one week of training before we headed into Paris to the famous Haras De Jardy equestrian centre, where the week before Andrew Hoy and Michael Jung rode at the masters (eventing).
“On the first day of the three day competition, we had a warm-up competition – getting to know my horse, which I had only jumped three times over the past week, which was a good round with a rail down.
“The next day was bigger and I had to work on a few things to prepare myself for the main grand prix of the show on the Sunday.
“On Sunday, they made the main grand prix at noon, to have the most spectators and atmosphere for the event.
“When the course was being built, I was wishing I had my own horses - it was technical and very tricky.
“I was one of only six clear rounds out of 44 riders, while being the youngest in the class and the only one on a borrowed horse – an achievement in itself.
“The jump off was shortened and raised and it was fast and furious – my horse jumped great and we finished in an amazing third place.”
Despite already having a number of international successes to her name, the former Nowra Anglican College student is very proud of how she competed in France.
“Obviously when you are riding a borrowed horse you have to adapt to how they go and you do not know them very well, which is hard,” she said.
“Competing against adults on their top horses in the main grand prix of the show for good prize money and finishing top three was a great achievement.
“It was a special moment to be awarded my trophies against some great French riders and horses.”
Priestley, who stayed with her mother Karenna, father Kel and grandfather Robert in France, loves travelling the world doing the sport she loves.
“It was exciting at this venue as each time we left the showground to head back to the motel, we got to stare at the Eiffel Tower, being so close to everything in the heart of Paris,” she said.
“Also being at a venue where eventing Olympic champions had been competing just days before was also special.
“But at the end of the day, when I am in the arena jumping, it doesn't matter where I am, it's focus and get the job done.”
Priestley’s schedule doesn’t get any quieter in the coming months, with three shows in Sydney in the next three weeks to prepare for the the Australian Championships in Werribee, Victoria in the middle of September.
She also has her eyes set on competing on one of the 14 the upcoming World Cups in the near future.