Extreme bareback jumper on way to south-west

Sensation: ‘Free rider’ Alycia Burton, from New Zealand, will showcase her skills in the south-west next week. She has earned worldwide fame for riding without a saddle or bridle.After attractingmillions of hits on YouTube, Alycia Burton has turned her “party trick” into serious business.
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New Zealand-based Burton became a worldwide sensation, literally overnight, when she posted a clip of her and Palamino pintogelding Goldrush jumping huge fences.

What made the video so incredible was pocket rocket Goldrush, 15.2hh, was being ridden without a saddle or bridle.

“We decided to name it Free Ridingand it went from there,” Burton says.

International demand for the talented rider and professional trainer hasn’t stopped since and Burton says all the attention has given her the chance to spread her self-love and anti-bullying message to agrowing fanbase.

“It has now exploded and I’m travelling around the world.

“We started with two weeks’ worth of lessons here (in Australia) and a few months later I was still working here and I thought ‘I’ve got to go back and get my horse’, so we flew him over and we ended up performing in front of quite a number of really large shows.”

Burton will arrive in the south-west next week for a free event at the Orford Indoor Riding Complex on Wednesday.

She will showcase the bareback skills she honed growing up in ruralKaitaia, on the northern tip of New Zealand’s North Island.

“I think it was in my blood,” Burton says of her love of riding.

“I think some people are born with a passion and it really doesn’t take much to ignite it.

“My mother used to ride, not professionally, but she taught me to ride going to school back in the day in a very rural community.

“I started free riding when I was 11 years old because I was too naughty to follow the rules…and we were allowed to make our own mistakes. If we wanted to do something stupid we would and either have to work out how to do it without getting hurt or suffer the consequences.”

Barton later graduated to competing full-time in eventing and showjumping and breaking and re-training horses.

“I used to basically do every different type of horse riding that I could,” she says.

And while jumping on bareback was just a childhood pastime, things changed when she found “best friend” Goldrush.

“Growing up it was just a bit of a party trick and to have fun and I thought I left that behind when I left my childhood behind,” Burton says.

“Then I got Goldrush and was working with him and just decided on a whim to jump on with no gear. He took to it like a duck to water and horses just don’t do that.”

Burton describes free riding as her biggest adrenaline rush and the greatest test of her and Goldrush’s partnership.

“For me it’s exhilarating. I can’t think of anything that gives me more of an adrenaline kick than going over with no gear. You can’t force the horse to do it, and that’s where you’re training really, really comes into play.

“It’s one thing to jump Olympic-sized showjumps and Olympic-sized cross country jumps with a saddle and bridle on any horse, but it’s quite another to do it with no gear. There’s no room for error.

“Free riding is just really about me having to train my horse and myself…If you get a really good partnership and bond. It’s basically the hardest way of riding that I can think of and it’s really challenging for me.

“I just get a buzz from it. It makes me feel like a kidagain.”

But being a kid wasn’t always easy for Burton, and she’s hoping to use her profile to help let others know they’re not alone.

“I grew up in a low socio-economic area with a lot of suicide and a lot of family problems around the community,” she says.

“I left home and school at 14, it was very, very young, too young. Sometimes all we need is that one person to look up to and listen to.

“Horse riding, and the free riding itself, has just put me on a platform really where we can influence youth.

“They come because they love the horse and they love the Cinderalla story, and then we put a real, great message throughout it,” she says of her shows.

Despite earning fame for riding bareback, Burton actually spends most of her time in the saddle and takes traditional lessons, which are helping to fund the free event in Orford.

Burton is associated with City Impact Church, but says her message is a universal.

“Really it’s about taking off the expectations that our family, friends and society have with us and just being able to follow your own dreams,” she says.

“We have a lot of youth that are so attracted to what we do, whether they’re living with depression or maybe they’re just getting bullied.

“Anyone who wants to give free riding a go should also come and watch the show, they’ll learn a lot.

“It’s the perfect night out for the whole family, you don’t even have to ride horses.”

The event will be held on Wednesday, February 8 from 7pm at the Orford Indoor Riding Complex. The event is free but registration is required at梧桐夜网freeridingnz南京夜网//product/free-australia-tour-tickets-vic-orford-arena/

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