Sophie (left) with Emily King
All around the country, children will be polishing their boots and grooming their ponies in preparation for a fun-fuelled week of Pony Club Camp (or their dedicated mothers will be!)
To celebrate the highlight of our summer holidays (yes, we too are Pony Club mummies), who better to inspire the next generation of equestrian stars than ex Pony Clubber and face of British Eventing, Sophie Beaty, who is making great strides on the Junior GB team.
What are your fondest memories of Pony Club? Which branch did you belong to?
I was a part of the Fitzwilliam Pony Club and without doubt my fondest memories were grid practice at camp one year going down with no stirrups, no reins and singing a nursery rhyme.
Sophie at Pony Club dressage rally
Sophie at Pony Club Camp
What was it about the Pony Club that inspired you to follow your dreams?
Everyone starts somewhere and Pony Club is, in my opinion, the best place to start with great training and making life long friends.
How did you juggle your studies with riding?
I have the best mum in the world who helps me and without her I wouldn’t be where I am now. I was at boarding school so mum would ride in the week and then I would ride and compete at weekends. We work as a great team doing the horses together.
Tell us about your horses?
I have four horses at the moment. Stanly who is the horse I have done Junior teams on and am hoping to go for the Young Rider teams in the next three years. Pink Gin is my very special pink pony who I have now got up to Advanced level and am hoping to do a CIC3* before the end of the season. Navigator is a horse I am very lucky to ride, owned by my Granny, William Fox Pitt and Lynne Earle. He has done many Four stars and I now have him to enjoy and gain experience on. Mister O is my final horse who is an 8 year old owned by a lady from Northumberland. He is a great little project and is aiming for his first three day event before the end of this season.
Can you share some of your recent competition results with us?
I have had a great season so far with highlights being 7th in the CIC2* at Belton, runner up in the U21 National Championships, 4th and 10th in the CIC2* at Barbury and 4th in the Advanced U25 at Aston le Walls.
What are you working towards at the moment?
I am working towards gaining as much experience as I can at 2* level and progressing up to 3*. Also trialling for the U21 GB team in which I have been longlisted for so have one more final trial before they pick the team to go to the Europeans in Portugal in September.
(c) Adam Fanthorpe Photography
Who do you train with?
I have been lucky enough to train with the legendary Ruth Mcmullen who has trained many great riders like Pippa Funnell. Then I also have a lot of help from Caroline Moore, and more recently Terry Boon has been helping me with the dressage and Robert Snaddon with the Showjumping
What or who inspires you within the equestrian world? Past or present.
I will always be inspired by William Fox-Pitt as he makes it all look so easy and his horses always look so happy and willing to do everything he asks.
Do you have a favourite equestrian possession?
I reckon my favourite equestrian possession would be my GB hat silk. I have always dreamed of getting one and I am lucky enough to have three now, of which two hang in my bedroom and one I ride in.
Is there an all time favourite yard/stables that you’ve been too? And why?
When out travelling in Australia for four months with my best friend, we visited a yard just outside of Sydney on the Fernhill Estate, which was stunning, yet so very different to all the yards I have seen in Europe. They have backpackers work on the yard/estate for boarding, so they have great facilities and everything to help keep the horses happy in the Aussie heat. It was the base of showjumper Tom McDermott.
Which country in your opinion does equestrian best? And why?
Britain are of course very good at the equestrian sports, but Germany seem to always be well up there too. The Germans have very precise strict training methods, so their horses seem to never put many feet wrong.
Do you have an equestrian hero?
My equestrian hero has always been William Fox-Pitt. I have always loved the way he rides and how easy and polished he makes everything look.
What is the quality that you most like in a horse?
I will always go for a horse with a good, easy going temperament. I will always prefer a lazy horse who I have to kick rather than a buzzy, strong horse who I have to hold.
If you weren’t eventing, what would you be doing?
I reckon I would have a go at doing Art and Photography. It has always been something I am very interested in, and at school both sports and arts were the only things I was really good at!
What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given? Who gave it to you?
‘What will be’ the title of William Fox-Pitt’s Autobiography. I believe everything happens for a reason and the bad times with horses are what make the good times all the more amazing!
What would be your message to the younger equestrian world?
Make your dreams your reality and never give up!
Do you have a secret superstition before an event?
I am very superstitious, to the point where it is almost ridiculous and I have my very strict regime before competing and I will also forever be touching wood!
What are your top 5 indispensable pieces of kit, for you or your horse?
2. Equilibrium Tri Zone Cross country boots
3. Charles Owen Ayr 8
4. I-Quip Gloves
5. For my horse Stanly, his Combination Nose band
You can keep up to date with Sophie’s news by following @Sophie_Beaty on Twitter.
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