Young equestrians crack REL code, qualify for nationals

The Regional Equestrian League (REL) culminated at the Amateur Riders Club in Mumbai as young equestrians cemented their place for the Junior National Equestrian Championship.

There were two events at the REL – Show jumping and Dressage. The winning criteria was to score 57% or higher in the Dressage event and complete the jumps and hurdles with minimal penalties to qualify for the Junior National Equestrian Championship.

Some of the qualified equestrians spoke to Sportskeeda on the REL and the upcoming Nationals.

Read: Moksh Kothari: An equestrian to look for in the future

Competing in the junior category, Zrey Dodhy said the entire journey of qualifying for the Nationals was interesting. He said:

“It was nerve wracking. I qualified for dressage in the first two RELs. But surprisingly, in show jumping I only qualified on one horse. This was my final opportunity to qualify for the Nationals. My hard work and perseverance paid off and I got two clear rounds.”

Dodhy said the sport has taught him to build his grit, determination, confidence and fighting spirit.

“This is the amazing thing about equestrian. Both the rider and the horse have to be synergized, in top form and in the right frame of mind. And once a round is over, good or bad, one has to learn from it, put it behind them and go for the next jump with complete focus,” he added.

Sophia Andhyarujina said she was shocked and humbled to get the opportunity to compete at the national level. Participating in the Children II category at the REL, Sophia came out all guns blazing to seal her spot in the Nationals.

Also read: Equestrian veteran Silva Storai: The horse is supreme athlete in a sport where men and women compete at same level

Concurring with Dodhy on how the sport teaches a lot to young and aspiring riders, Sophia said:

“Through some falls, many lessons and many early mornings at the race course I have learnt some important lessons I would not have learnt without this incredible sport. After two RELs, I have grown both as a rider and as a person, and I can’t wait for the Nationals.”

With no one in Sophia’s family following the sport, it was the Amateurs Racing Club that taught her the nuances of equestrian.

“My instructor, Monique van Haarst, suggested participating in the REL qualifiers. I started riding more often, almost everyday and worked hard at home, committing the dressage test to my memory,” she revealed.

“ARC is the reason I started horse riding. I have always loved animals and was fascinated with horses. I started learning how to ride with my older sister and my father. The only reason I have come so far is because of the ARC, it’s incredible community and of course, the amazing horses,” added the ace.

Fifteen-year-old Samya Gupta qualified for the Junior National Equestrian Championship in both show jumping and dressage.

“This is my first year in the junior category and the height difference from jumping 90cms to jumping 105cms was quite a change. It required more training and practice and I am elated to qualify for show jumping in my first REL in March. I had qualified for one dressage back then and qualified for the second now. I am happy and looking forward to participating in the Nationals,” said Samya.

Also read: 4 Indian equestrian riders qualify for Asian Games

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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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