This month we are excited to feature our first Dressage Rider. We were very thrilled to interview Cassey and spend some time with her and her two horses. 

Cassey is an incredibly driven young rider who works really hard to make sure she balances her time to not only compete but also build bonds with her horses.  For this reason, we knew we had to feature her as this month’s Rider of the Month.


1.For how many years have you been riding horses?

I sat on a horse for the first time when I was eight months old and haven’t stopped since, so I guess you could say eighteen years. 


2.What is your favourite show venue? 

I love the atmosphere at Shongweni, but I have to say Kyalami Equestrian Park because it feels like home. 


3.How do you manage to balance your school and competing full-time?

I take both my academics and my competitive lifestyle very seriously, so balancing the two is incredibly tough, especially this year as I am in matric. My school is also about an hour’s drive from home, so I can spend up to two hours traveling every day. It is just a case of being extremely organised and learning to prioritise, as well as sacrifice what is less important. For example, in June this year at the DSA challenge I was due to write an exam at the same time as my qualifier class. I got permission to write the exam earlier so I could compete. I have also become very accustomed to riding at odd hours like at 5:30 am before school, although it’s a little more challenging in winter.  Finally, our horses live with us on the property which is a huge help because I can ride at any time, and I don’t have to travel to ride. 


4.Could you share your weekly training routine with us?

While in matric my time is not my own, so my weekly training schedule is very flexible, but I do like to have some structure to it. I make sure to hack at least once a week and I have at least two dressage sessions a week. On the other days, I go with what I can manage and with what feels right, whether that will be some time popping over some jumps or a long reining session (I’m a big believer in groundwork). I also never ride more than three days in a row unless it is absolutely necessary. 


5.What strategies do you employ to remain composed while competing?

If I am nervous, I channel that emotion into excitement.  When I am in the ring I completely zone and forget about the rest of the world. Even if you scream my name, I will not hear you. 


6.As a dressage rider, what are some of the most significant obstacles you've had to overcome, and how did you manage to do so?

I never had a Pony Riders career and my Juniors career only really took off when I was in my final year (2022). Although I have been riding all my life, I only started being ultra-competitive last year, so I did not have as much experience as the others. However, the biggest challenge is this year, making the jump from Juniors to Adults. The riders I compete against are professionals and do this for a living. I did not think I would be competitive against the adults this year, but I put my head down and worked incredibly hard and it is paying off as I am managing to finish on the podium at the larger competitions. 


7.What is the most memorable moment or achievement you've experienced thus far in your dressage career?

Without a doubt it is winning all three SA titles at Youth Champs this year in the Young Rider Medium classes and then finishing in the top 5 at Gauteng Adult Champs a week later. 


8.What steps do you take to prepare yourself and your horse for a competition, both mentally and physically?

I have a very specific routine I follow before a big competition. The night before I will lie on my bedroom floor with my feet up against a wall and listen to classical music. I then close my eyes and visualise my test as if I was riding in the moment. I pay special attention to what I must remember to do during the test. The morning of the competition I write down everything that I’m worried about. For my horses, I do all my preparations myself and I like to use plaiting as an opportunity to get in tune with my horse.


9.What are your goals for your horses in the future?

I’d love to get Rhapsody to Prix St Georges and with Quivada I’m just focusing on getting her basics well-established. We bought Quivada as an all-rounder when I still wasn’t sure if a dressage career was the route I wanted to go, so I guess we will see if she turns out to be a good dressage horse. 


10.What made you want to start riding?

My mother. She is a very good horsewoman herself and she introduced me to riding so we could hack around the area together during the weekends. Little did she know it grow into something much bigger.


11. Who is the rider that has inspired you the most?

Ingrid Klimke! She is a phenomenal rider with excellent horsemanship. 


12. Lastly, what is your favourite product in our collection, and what makes it stand out to you?

Definitely the Kinetix Breeches. They are so comfortable and not too cold during winter or too hot during summer. They also dry quickly which is useful for away shows. You will seldom see me competing in anything else. 


A big thank you to Cassey for taking the time for this interview, to follow her journey with her horses follow her on- 

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