Name: Sophie Hatch
Lives: Sydney, NSW
At what age did you start riding and who introduced you? I began riding when I was six years old. I got invited to a pony party in the middle of the city, and ever since, I couldn’t get enough.
Tell us about your first horse: My first pony Sammy was a young Arab/Australian riding pony. Despite fracturing my arm on him and having a few tricks up his sleeve, he turned out to be bomb proof, letting me do anything on him from bareback jumping to swimming in dams. I also had a five year old, Freddy a few years after Sammy. He really taught me how to ride. We both taught and grew up together, going from 60cm to 120cm in the long period of time we owned him.
How many horses do you currently have in work? Currently, I have my two main competition horses in work. As well as our two OTTB’s
Which horse is your current star and do you have any future stars? My current star would have to be Rosthwaite Belvedere (Ghost). We had a very successful year jumping up to our first Young Riders. He is pretty quirky but he continuously gives his all every time we compete and helps me out whenever I need it.
As for future stars it would defiantly have to be our chestnut mare, Bea, out of Ballet de Rouet
Sophie Hatch and Rosthwaite Belvedere at Australian Championships. Photo Credit: Australian Jumping
Who was the biggest influence to your riding? The biggest influence in my riding was definitely my “barn family”, Jess, Leith, Ned, Mia, Liv and all of our friends have been there for all my riding firsts and continued to believe and encourage me continuously ever since I was young. They have always been there for me in my life and riding.
My mum and sister have been immensely supportive with my riding my whole life. I owe them an incredible amount as they give me never-ending support and encouragement. They have been my biggest supporters from my first jump!
My coach Alison Rowland has also been a huge support in my riding and I never stop learning from her.
What do you look for in a horse? I like horses that give me the impression they love to jump. Horses that are willingly forward and want to take me to the fence. I also like horses to be (conformationally) and to travel uphill. I’m a fan of an open shoulder and strong hind end, and I guess it’s obvious; I love a good coloured horse too!
How do you prepare your horse for a big class and what is important for your warm up? Fitness is definitely important when preparing my horses for a big class. I like to stick to their weekly routine which compromises with my school commitments and trust that has gotten us to where we need to be. I try to keep everything from home to show as normal as possible. I walk them a lot throughout the day and do everything I can before and after the class to look after their legs. I love giving their legs a cold hose as well as icing, magnetic boots, back on track rug and when they need it, electrolyte paste.
What are your biggest competitive achievements to date? My biggest competitive achievements to date would have to be the NSW Junior Championship, Australian Junior runner-up Champion and winning the FEI Princess Cup in Bangkok back in November as the Australian individual. It was an unforgettable trip with very fun people!
Sophie Hatch and Glenara Mudslide at NSW State Titles. Photo Credit: Stephen Mowbray
What are your short and long term goals? My aim is to be consistent in junior and young riders this year and hopefully step up to some mini-prix at the end of the year.
Long term goals: I would love to compete overseas and ride over there. I love travelling and as I was fortunate to go to the Netherlands last year and get a taste, it was like a new world. I would also love to get into the racing scene in the future as something about it has always intrigued me.
Who are your role models (Australian and/or international)? I look up to a lot of people, but my Australian role models would have to be Alison Rowland, Tom McDermott and Gabby Kuna. I love watching all of them ride, especially against the clock. Internationally, Beezy Madden and Scott Brash would definitely be up there. I really like their tips for the ring and home. I try to have a similar weekly schedule to them too.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given? The best piece of advice I have been given is that you can never stop learning, which I think, is what I love so much about our sport. There is nobody that knows absolutely everything. Even the best learn something new every day. Whether it be learning something specific doesn’t work for one horse or it does. Continue to learn. And balance. Balancing your riding, social and educational life is very important. Being told that it’s never the end of the world and to not forget to be a kid while you can. To work hard at my riding, school and to have fun with friends.
Tell us a few things we don’t know about you. I have a big intuition on “horse show karma” and if I don’t work hard enough or prepare enough leading up to the show I won’t get the result I want. I have singing and guitar lessons and I’m really afraid of the dark!
Who are your sponsors? I am fortunate enough to have two amazing sponsors, Brighton Saddlery and Gai Waterhouse Racing.
Sophie Hatch and Glenara Mudslide at NSW Country Championships. Photo Credit: Australian Jumping
Sophie Hatch and Glenara Mudslide at Wallaby Hill. Photo Credit: Stephen Mowbray