Thursday, 23 September 2021

Dressage rider is our next Olympic hopeful

DESPITE being just 14, Rose Hugh-Smith already has her sights set on the 2020 Olympics.

DESPITE being just 14, Rose Hugh-Smith already has her sights set on the 2020 Olympics.

And the Queen Anne’s, Caversham pupil has certainly got off to a flying start after being selected to represent Great Britain under 21s in dressage.

At the beginning of the year Rose competed at her first international, in France, finishing third.

She recalled: “I was selected at school training then I was put in the international squad in October.

“I was really happy. I had done national training last year on another pony so it was really good to get to the internationals.

“You go to squad training and you go for tests. You also get marked when you are competing.

“If you get above a certain score twice, then you can go forward to get selected to go abroad and represent your country.

“Riding for Great Britain for the first time was really good as it felt like all the hard work and training had paid off.

“You can choose your kit but you have to wear a white and red polo which says GB on the back. At the front you can get your name written.”

Rose, of Rotherfield Peppard, will attend the final selection trials for the coming year in Wellington.

“At the moment I am in the top six which is really exciting,” she said. “Eventually I want to do the seniors and also do an Olympics, but for this year I am hoping to get to the Junior Europeans.

“It is selected as the top four in the country that go and it is being held in Italy in July.

“You also have to be a team player, you cannot think it is all about you, you have to have good qualities and be helpful.

“You have to get good scores and if they like you as a person you will get in. The Rio games would be a bit soon but maybe the one after that. I would just be screaming if I made the Olympics.”

Rose, whose mother Kate was a keen rider, has had her own pony since she was seven. Her current pony is Holstiens Derwisch, or Wisch.

Rose said: “I have had him for a year and I want to keep him forever because I love him so much, but we will probably be selling him in a couple of years to do the next step. By that time I will be ready for a horse. I have been riding since I was very young, it seems like forever.

“It is very relaxing and calming. When you are on a horse, you just forget about everything else and you just concentrate on what you are doing. There is quite a lot of travelling which can be a bit boring if you are just driving but luckily my horse is a really good traveller so it’s not too bad, and the competitions make it worthwhile.”

Rose is looking for sponsorship to help fund her international campaign. For more information email katehugh@btinternet.com

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