Riding to victory at equestrian final ‘dream’ for two-sport star

Megan Champoux rode to top spot at the 2016 Running Fox Canadian Equestrian Team Medal national final at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto.

Langley’s Megan Champoux and Brighton shone in Toronto.

While Bo Jackson rose to prominence as an all-star in both football and baseball in late 1980s and early 1990s, an Aldergrove teen is also emerging as a two-sport star, although it is quite the unique combination of sports.

This past August, Megan Champoux won gold in the youth girls 400m hurdles event at the Royal Canadian Legion track and field championships, setting a new meet record in the process.

Champoux has also previously represented Canada at international competitions.

And now, the 17-year-old can add another trophy to the mantle.

Earlier this month (Nov. 10), Champoux rode to top spot at the 2016 Running Fox Canadian Equestrian Team Medal national final at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto. It was held at Ricoh Coliseum.

The event featured 16 invited athletes from four regions across Canada.

Champoux rode Brighton, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Denise Kinvig.

Out of the 16 riders — who all had to qualify to compete at the event — the top four riders moved on to the final portion.

The final four received verbal instructions and then were required to perform a short course of six fences, with additional challenges, including roll-back turns, a trot jump and a jump from the counter-canter.

The judging criteria covers the rider’s performance and control of the horse.

While Champoux took top spot, another local rider, Langley’s Taylor McManus aboard Thiago (owned by Georgia McManus) was the reserve champion.

The equitation competition sees riders judged on their position and riding styles.

This was the fourth consecutive year Champoux has participated at the finals, but the first in which she has come out on top.

“It was huge; I have wanted to win this forever now,” she said.

“It has been a dream of mine.

“The title is a very prestigious thing to win. I know many people that have gone on in the sport to be very successful.”

This was the second high profile event Champoux attended this past month as she began November by competing in the renowned ASPCA Maclay Medal Finals at the CP National Horse Show, held in Lexington, Kentucky.

She was also one of five recipients from that event to be chosen for the Leo Conroy Grant.

Now that she is back after a busy fall season, Champoux will take the month of December off before getting back to training in January.

The home-schooled Grade 12 student who is coached by her mother, Sarah Champoux, has not decided if equestrian or track and field will be her future.

“I just float between the two right now,” Megan Champoux said, adding she has begun looking into universities but would also love to compete for Canada one day in equestrian and at the Grand Prix level.

“(It takes) a lot of work, a lot of dedication. It is not always easy — I don’t always want to go to practice — but you have to go and it has paid off,” she explained.

“It has been my entire life, it is all I know and I love it, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I guess that helps, when you love it so much.”

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