WHEN 13-year-old Sophia Redenback mounts her horse Arakoola Charm to make her debut in a high profile dressage event, many of her nerves will disappear.
“She just made me feel so safe from the first time I got on her,” said Sophia.
Sophia is just one of several novices who will have the opportunity to take part in Dressage with Altitude to be held at Bradgate Park indoor arena in Orange from today until February 16.
As a novice she will be on hand to take pointers from some of the country’s best proponents of the art of dressage who are travelling from all parts of Australia with their horses to take part in the international level event.
Sophia has been working with her horse who she has nicknamed Charmie for the last eight months, and when she gets home from school she can’t wait to go to the stables and say hello.
“She just likes you to turn around and she rubs her nose up and down my back - she just does it forever - it’s what she loves,” she said.
Despite only just entering her teenage years, Sophia, who is a student at Kinross Wolaroi School, has a long history with horses.
“I got on to my first horse when I was about two,” she said.
Sophia and Arakoola Charm were first introduced at last year’s Royal Easter Show when Sophia’s mount was unwell.
“Mum helped me look for another horse and it was Charmie,” she said.
Prior to the competition Sophia and her mother Trina will be up early putting in almost two hours of preparation on Charmie which includes meticulously plaiting her mane and tail, before it’s time for Sophie to put on her riding boots, jodhpurs and jacket and neatly secure her hair under her helmet.
“This is the first time I’ve competed at this event - it’s very exciting,” she said.