This month, we're featuring our very own Brand Ambassador and team member, Alice Stokes, as our Rider of the Month. Alice is an incredible rider, and her journey with her horse, Iman, is truly inspiring.

In this month's article we learn a little more about Alice and Iman and how they started the journey and worked their way up to the open grades. 

1.What made you want to start riding?
My brother used to ride as a young boy while I played in the sand on the side of the ring. After a while, he no longer wanted to ride and I decided it was my turn to forfeit my talent for making sand castles and start riding horses.
2.What made you choose show jumping over other disciplines?
Funny enough, I was so scared of jumping. I used to ask my trainer back then to lower the jumps to a height just above the floor because of how nervous I used to be. Back then I used to love being a little dressage rider. I had a horse named Roly Red Lily who also loved prancing around the arena, but she liked jumping much more. She gave me so much confidence, shifting my love for dressage to jumping. Now, I couldn’t see myself out of the jumping ring.


3.What tips do you have for other riders trying to juggle studying and riding full time?                                                                                                         Undoubtedly, it is difficult, but I make it work. Thankfully University calendars are released at the beginning of the year with more important dates uploaded which helps me work around important dates as well as manage to keep a steady routine with riding. Other than working around important university dates, I love riding so much, so if it means I need to ride at 6 am, then I will do so. Thankfully, my trainer and the very hard-working grooms at the yard also help assist me during the week if I can’t ride on specific days.


4.What is your Favorite characteristic about Iman?
Iman knows how to kiss me. Although it’s nothing major, It’s the most rewarding thing I have taught her.

5.When you moved up into the open grades what was the biggest challenge?
The mental challenge is beyond explanation. Staying calm and believing in myself was something that I struggled with the most.


6.What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced as a rider, and how have you overcome them?                                                                                   When we identified my horse’s injury last year, it meant I had to stay out of the ring for quite some time.

7.What is your most memorable moment or accomplishment in your show-jumping career so far?
• Most definitely Iman winning the Young Horse Potential Showjumper Series in 2021. This was Iman’s first big win and the first ever big trophy that I got to hold.
• Another accomplishment was taking Iman through her first open class after 15 months of rehab, which was an On Cloud 9 moment.


8.How do you prepare yourself and your horse for a competition, both physically and mentally?                                                                                         My trainer puts us to the test during the week with substantial tracks for us to be prepared for whatever may be thrown at us throughout the show. It is always the goal to go to a show with little to no doubt in one another. Mentally, Iman occasionally hacks just so we can remind her that she has downtime and can also just be a horse before the show starts.


9.What are your goals for the future for both you and your horse?                       I would really like to move abroad and pursue my career further there. I like to trust the process but plan just so I have a vision of what I would like to achieve one day. It has always been a big goal of mine to compete at CHIO Aachen, Spruce Meadows, and CHI Genève, also known as the Rolex Grand Slam. For Iman, at this moment I would like to keep her consistent in the 1.30m classes and slowly start exposing her to the 1.35m classes in the upcoming months. After these milestones, it’s a vision to go higher in the grades because I firmly believe she can, but this sport is not as predictable as one would like, so I would like to take each show as a feather in both mine and Iman’s cap and go from there!

10.Who is the rider you most admire?
Most definitely my coach, Zdenek Muchna. He always keeps me in check while simultaneously assuring me of what Iman and I are capable of.
Two other riders that I aspire to would be Marcus Ehning and my all-time favourite Cian O Connor. Cian was the first “big” international rider who really inspired me from the get-go.
11.Lastly what’s your favourite product for our range and why?
Most definitely the new Kinetix Breeches. The product offers a lightweight and flexible fabric, comfort, and style all in one.

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