A Golden Gallop – The New Indian Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Even as the equestrian center was filled with anticipatory cheers and sharp observations and comments from the judges, Samanna Everaa could only hear one sound, the rhythm of the hooves of her horse, Soul Mate. This trained mind, which comes from years of practice, helped Samanna achieve a record score of 73.225 points, making her India’s highest at the World Dressage Challenge in the youth category (14 up to 16 years) held recently in Bengaluru at the ASC Centre. . Samanna shares, “I go all in when I travel. I can only hear myself and my horse. Thus, distractions are not a big deal. When I compete, I don’t think about beating others; I’m thinking of doing better than last time. So I think I’ve gained a very healthy mindset from the competitions.” The teenage equestrian talks about the sport, her training and her future aspirations.

Discovering passion
12 years ago, on a holiday in Kodaikanal, Samanna discovered the joy of horse riding. “I was only three years old and I remember very well the first time I rode a horse around the lake. As soon as I returned to Chennai, I begged my mother to enroll me in horse riding lessons. Initially, they were hesitant thinking I was too young and also not into sports. After constant requests from me, they took me to classes and I started riding,” she says.

Samanna ventured into professional training three years ago and started appearing in competitions a year and a half ago. At Chennai Equitation Center OMR, he found a coach, mentor and friend in Isabelle Hassleder, from Austria, who has been training students for the past 20 years. Under Isabella’s guidance, she practices dressage, which is considered the pinnacle of equestrian sports and requires the rider and horse to memorize a set of planned movements. “Samanna is an exemplary student and has always been very involved in horses and riding. He also has good poise and knowledge. At first, the training was difficult because he had to learn to handle strong, energetic and different horses. Step by step, she became more confident, acquired more technical skills and was able to adapt to more difficult horses,” says Isabelle.

Creating a link
All riders have a companion, and last year Samanna found a friend in her Soul Mate. “Soulmate is from Germany and 13 years old. He has a very interesting and charismatic character. I feel that he is always there for me; I share a strong bond with him. I would say he’s like my best friend,” she enthuses. Stressing that the partnership between horse and rider is the most important thing in equestrian sports, Isabelle compares the competition to ballroom dancing. “Competition is something you can imagine as ballroom dancing with a partner. If you change partners suddenly, even though both people might be good dancers, they may not dance well together because they won’t know each other very well. Therefore, there must be a good relationship between horse and rider. The horse has to be of a certain quality and the rider has to have good technical skills,” she explains. For competitions, Isabelle trains Samanna and Soulmate to focus on even complexities like listening to body language and breathing.

Hopes for the future
From practicing every day from 6 am, adapting to the nature of the horse, overcoming challenges to setting a record, Samanna found peace and comfort in the sport. With the support of her parents and teachers, she learned to balance both academics and sports. “Balancing everything is hard work because sport is time-consuming and time-consuming. So I try to finish my school work beforehand,” says Samanna, who is a class 10 student at KC High Navalur and also a Bharatanatyam dancer.

Even though in India, competitions like dressage are not very popular as they are in Europe, Samanna aspires to make her mark in the world through this sport. “The sport gained popularity in India after Fouaad Mirza last qualified for the Olympics after 20 years. My future aspiration is definitely to compete at the highest level of dressage. I want to travel to the biggest dressage arena in the world. I want to represent India internationally on the dressage podium one day. I hope I can help make that happen,” she concludes.

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