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Tuesday 4th May - Wednesday 5th May, 2021 #SSCup

Sophie Hall – Planning for the big day!

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Now here we are in February 2016 and the Mitsubishi Motors Cup at Badminton is increasingly sinking in as a reality – it’s time to start planning our training up to the big day! To complete all three phases would be amazing but the thought of a chance to win a Mitsubishi car would be incredible! I am taking driving lessons now and will hopefully have passed my test by May just in case (you never know)!

I am now back in Durham for my final year at University where I also ride in the BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) equestrian competitions. I am so excited about the Mitsubishi Motors Cup and since Christmas I have found out that I have been selected for the GB Student Riders Squad. Even more crazy I am to ride at the first Student Riders Nations Cup in Belgium this Easter alongside only two other British riders to compete against 15 countries from around the world. All I can think is that although I will be riding different horses and not Guss it will be an invaluable experience of riding at a high level competition. 2016 couldn’t be any more crazy!

Gorgeous Guss is being looked after by my dear Mum and Dad, Ray and Sue, at home whilst I am away. Dad is riding Guss up and down the Shropshire Hills where we live to keep him as fit as possible. I am going home at weekends wherever I can to get some schooling in too. In January we competed at an unaffiliated dressage competition gaining 74% and 72% – good old Guss he has not forgotten what to do!

Dad and Guss

My dressage trainer Anna Brown is working wonders and I can’t thank her enough for all her help. We have also competed in one of British Eventing’s Kent & Masters Arena Eventing competitions where had we not unfortunately rolled a pole we would have won! This month, Mum has booked for us to go to Aston-Le-Walls one weekend for some training and to compete in their Arena Eventing competition. The facilities at Aston are absolutely fantastic and Nigel Taylor is a great teacher who pushes me beyond my comfort zone which is exactly what we need before the big event in May, I will travel direct to Badminton on the train from Durham and Mum and Dad will very kindly bring Guss up for me. It is such a huge family commitment and it is definitely fair to say everyone is getting involved.

Exciting news we have also entered our first BE event of the season on the 6th March at Aston Le Walls and we are hoping to have another run before May. My Easter holidays will be key to preparation time and of course alongside competing in Belgium, the BUCS regionals and not forgetting dissertation work and exam revision aaaargh! Fair to say we are living life at 100mph but we love it.

Guss and George

I am still a keen member of my Pony Club, the South Shropshire Hunt Branch, where my love for competing really began. Kate Varley my DC has always been fantastically supportive. Hopefully, we can encourage her to come to Badminton to support! Meanwhile our friends and family are already booking their B&Bs. Whilst I will be focusing hard not to embarrass myself by falling off (especially not in the notorious water jump) I will love the support and Guss will love the attention. We can’t wait; here we go!

Sophie and Dad