Tracey Knapp – “she’s the reason I get out of bed every morning”

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk 

Tracey Knapp makes no secret of her love for her standardbred.

And soon it will be there for all to see.

“I’ve got a tattoo of the family crest on one arm and I’m getting her brand on the other.”

The horse that Knapp says is “her angel” is nine-year-old mare Sioux Eyre. By Elsu from Wai Eyre Lady she had three unplaced runs in her career, as a four-year-old in 2015.

Knapp bought Sioux Eyre off a friend about two years ago - “I wasn’t planning to buy her but she was so sweet.”

She was then re-educated to saddle – “I have had amazing instructors, that have helped & supported us over the last few years, I couldn't have done it by myself.”

They are based in the Riwaka/Motueka area at the top of the South Island and whenever Knapp is not doing her day job, working at a petrol station, she’s hanging out with Sioux Eyre.

“She’s the reason I get out of bed every morning,” she says, “I don’t ride every day but sometimes I ride her twice a day, sometimes more.”

They have done countless hours of hacking, trail riding and trekking around forests and beaches, as well as competing in club and regional events - “she took heart rate of the day twice from more than 40 horses”

“We did the Murchison track over 3 days too which was amazing,”

Knapp is also a member of the Nelson Western Riding Association. Western riding originated from ranching, and evolved to meet the working needs of the cowboy in the American West.

“She is a fantastic western horse, she will turn on a dime just with my legs, we took most improved in our club and also for the South Island for last year.”

Longer-term Knapp’s goal “is to ride the horse with no gear – and that means no bridle and no saddle.”

“We have just started doing liberty work.”

"I did 15 kms with her once and did not pull the reins up once, I talked to her and used body movements and she did exactly what she was told.”

Knapp is also keen to change attitudes.

“People say standardbreds don’t bend, and they get a bad rap – I just don’t get it. They are just the loveliest animals.”

Knapp, it’s fair to say, is a big fan and soon she’ll have the ink to prove it.

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