The future of Equestrian sport certainly seems brighter when we reflect on the many talented riders coming up through the ranks. Some would definitely say that young riders today have the greatest access to professional coaching with International riders, and a wider range of competitive events than ever before. We spent 5 minutes with 21 year-old Hannah who somehow manages to balance competitive riding, university, teaching riders, lessons of her own, a job, family, friends and fitness. Ahhh, to be young.
How much sleep did you get last night?
Not much, mid semester and what feels like 10,000 university essays to right… its suppose to be fun isn’t it? I know where I would rather be!
How many horses do you currently ride? Who are they?
Currently, I have one competition horse, his name is Nawarrah Park Ulysses, or as his known around home, Lewis. Lewis is an extremely cheeky, but super dooperly cute Welsh Cob, Section D. At the age of 5, Lewis was heavily involved in showing, competing and winning at a national level in the hunter rings, he was then sold into a dressage home, where he did some basic adult riders work. I then threw the curve ball at the dashing young man and started taking him eventing. His scope and presence is out of sight, however, big scary brushes, ditches, water, umbrellas and all these things you see on cross country seem to be a little too scary. We have conquered Dressage and Showjumping, rarely coming home without the Best Dressage sash.
Do you get nervous before competitions and how do you deal with that?
I don't necessarily get nervous before a competition, however it hits me in the warm up. To conquer nerves, I like to ensure I am wayyyyyy ahead of time with my arrival, preparation and routine. When I hop on, I like to go for a long stretchy walk to let Lewis know that there is no reason to be uptight, and then I commence my warm up, just as I would at home. I find that music helps, so while I am tacking up we play the Hottest 100! At much bigger events, I use my iPod in the warm up to keep me in my zone, not worrying about everyone else.
How do you like to stay fit?
As I am currently studying a Bachelor of Sports Management specialising in Exercise Science, fitness is one of my biggest passions and priorities. Riding keeps me fit, but to add that extra advantage I make sure I train my own body 3-5 times a week. This varies with other commitments like work and uni, but I try my best! My favourite was to stay fit is to swim and attend group fitness sessions. I also love to ride my bike.
When did you last fall off?
My last fall was in 2015 (touch wood!!!!!) where I was walking down the quiet country roads and a loud bang went off. Lewis spooked and all I remember is waking up on the road with a very sore elbow! Doctors thought I had broken my elbow, but thankfully I had just bruised it badly and punctured my elbow, resulting in getting it stitched up. I am so scared of needles!
What is your proudest moment and why?
Receiving the Pony Club Award of Merit would have to be one of my proudest moments, this award is the highest award of service in Pony Club. It was an honour, as pony club is where my love of riding and competing came from. I also feel that getting Lewis around cross country every single time, coming through those finish flags, is a very proud moment because he has trusted me and my training has paid off.
What’s your favourite thing to do aside from riding?
Nothing really comes close to riding, besides Water Sports. I love spending summer up on the Murray River with my family and friends, wake boarding the hot sunny Australian days away.
Who is your riding hero and why?
My riding hero, like many others, is Charlotte Durjadin, I watched Charlotte in a Masterclass at Equitana, and boy o boy, her patience, training and systematic approach to training blows my mind. I also look up to Megan Jones, I lived with Megan and worked in her Adelaide stables with my best friend, we learnt so much about Megan, her training and how she battles with speech difficulties and still succeeds to the highest level. It is really inspiring!
What is your favourite saddle blanket colour?
Hmmmm, this is the hardest question. I love every colour saddle pad. It is a slight obsession, however I do love the Ippico Burgundy set.
Where do you want to be in ten years time in your riding life?
In 10 years, my goal is to be continuing to enjoy my riding no matter what goes on in my life. I would hope to have saved up and purchased my first international quality performance horse and pursuing my riding career in Dressage, competing at State, National and potentially world class events. I hope that I would have trained this horse through the levels with the help of my coaches but mainly my own training and hard work. I hope to also be coaching and helping others achieve their riding goals.
What’s the best riding/horse advice you’ve been given?
“It's the journey that counts”
An old friend of mine, Maggie, once told me, the above quote and since that day I have lived by it. If you break it down, it shows that there is no fun in being at the top if you haven’t put in your own hard work, had challenges and had set backs. Maggie showed me that your journey is what counts, and you need to enjoy it every step of the way, no matter how hard it will get at times, your journey is what your memories are made of, the things you have conquered and how far you have come.
Image: Equine Focus Photography