The first blog installment from Mitsubishi Motors Cup qualified Sophie Hall comes from her Mum, Sue, who shares the bumpy road that Sophie has had on her journey to qualification.
Sophie is currently in her final (4th) year at Durham University. I will always remember the end of August 2012 just before Sophie was due to head off to Durham. She was devastated at the thought of leaving her beloved Mumbo Jumbo II a beautiful small eventer we had purchased three years before from Sam Griffiths’ yard courtesy of Horse & Hound.
Good old dad (and mum of course) had assured Sophie that we would continue to look after him whilst she was away. However on the fateful day of 29 August 2012, just as Sophie was preparing to taking ‘Jumbles’ to her Pony Club B Test examination, he showed colic symptoms. The vet was called immediately but unfortunately misdiagnosis resulted in many hours of agony for the poor little thing whereupon my husband took charge and carefully transported him immediately to the local Veterinary Hospital where they operated but unfortunately he was not strong enough to pull through.
As you can imagine Sophie was inconsolable. The poor girl had to pick herself up and head off up to Durham. My husband and I thought Sophie would get to Uni and then move onto new interests but oh how wrong we were!! The first thing Sophie did was trial for the Durham University Equestrian team. She achieved her dream and qualified for the A team! (In fact she became Captain of the Equestrian Team in 2013 and is back on the A team this year). She was then constantly looking for a new horse as she still missed ‘Jumbles’ so much. In April 2013 ‘Guss’ arrived at home, an 11 year old 16.1hh warmblood gelding.
‘Guss’ or Gusthoff has turned out to be the most perfect horse! He is not only the perfect companion for my husband’s horse ‘George’ but really is the nicest person! Sophie and Guss have built up a strong partnership and Sophie had a good BE season in 2014 qualifying for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup (then known as the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championship) BE90 Mitsubishi Motors Regional Finals taking place in 2015.
This has not been without complications though! Sophie had her third year abroad in France at the end of 2014 and returned to England in June 2015. She was in Paris during the awful Charlie Hebdo shootings and missed home and Guss terribly but did enjoy the experience of living and working as a classroom assistant in France.
In 2015 Sophie had not only qualified for the Regional Finals again but also for the Blenheim Amateur Dressage competition. Totally unbelievable given the amount of time in the saddle!
Sophie had also applied for a Summer Internship with American Express for the summer of 2015 which would mean her living in London for 10 weeks from the end of June through to the End of August which meant no time to ride and we had Blenheim and a Regional Final to prepare for, aaaargh! Sophie was lucky enough to be offered a job with Amex which will start following her final year at Durham in September 2016 which is absolutely amazing.
My husband Ray (65 years young) has kept Guss fit. Constantly walking him out up and down the Shropshire Hills where we live. What a good dad!! We chose the Regional Final at Brooksby Melton College at the end of September as that gave Sophie a few weeks to prepare; Guss and Sophie had not been cross country since Llanymynech in May.
On Friday 18th September, 2015 two weeks after getting back from London, we set off for Blenheim which was absolutely fantastic. What a lovely competition for the Amateur rider. Unbelievably Sophie came fourth with 23.8penalties out of a class of 40 and narrowly missed the Championship ride-off by 0.3penalties. She was absolutely thrilled.
Two weeks later and we were off to Brooksby. Unfortunately, Sophie forgot one movement in the dressage test and was convinced that was that, although she still managed to achieve a score of 30.5 penalties. Lo and behold with a lovely double clear they finished 5th and qualified for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup in 2016, absolutely unbelievable!
This little horse is one in a million. You can literally pick him up on a sixpence and then he will wander back into his field with his beloved George and go back to sleep until the next occasion.
MITSUBISHI MOTORS CUP, BADMINTON HERE WE COME!!
Since writing this, Sophie has now received confirmation that she has been selected for the GB Student Riders Squad 2016. There seriously is hardly any time for the poor girl to work on her degree. What a lucky girl she is and true testament to working hard to achieve dreams that can come true.