Posted by: rstor | January 31, 2012

Catch up with all the latest news from Susi Rogers Hartley from Local Rider magazine…

As usual, I have been busy! My horse Seamus and I recently attended the Arrow Farm Para-Dressage competition at Arrow Riding Centre in Dartford, Kent, where he was embarrassingly naughty. At first everyone thinks Seamus is wonderful, as he stands nicely next to my wheelchair for me to mount, and I can hear mummers about how ‘bright’ he is; but as soon as we are in the training circle, he seems to change, and Arrow Farm was no different. All the other horses gently trot around, while Seamus has steam bellowing from his nostrils, and bucks his way around the arena! We narrowly scraped through the warm-up test by scoring just 65%. He improved his temperament slightly on the second test, scoring 67%.

I was sure that Seamus’ recent naughty behaviour was due for a change and strongly believed that the Para-Dressage competition at Cobham Manor was going to be our time to shine. However, as Seamus was coming out of his box at the event, also in Kent, he ran into a goose, which then proceeded to ‘honk’ at him. This saw Seamus immediately climb back into his box, unwilling to re-appear. ‘Oh dear,’ I thought! But… Seamus had a magnificent day, despite the goose incident, and we achieved our personal best of 73% – I couldn’t believe it; we were delighted. It made the terribly long journey from Oxfordshire to Kent worth it!

I am still in talks with a few key influencers in Hong Kong, such as Nick Rodgers, who is a respected rider affiliated with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, for me to be able to represent them in the 2012 Paralympic Games. I have to apply for a dual citizenship passport, which I should be able to achieve because of my estranged father’s Chinese heritage. However, I’ve had very little contact with my father; we’ve not been in touch for many years, and he doesn’t even know my body is a bit broken; so it could be quite an emotional rollercoaster. I’ll be a little saddened I’m not competing for Britain, but I’ll be supporting my friends who are in Team GB, so it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. I will hopefully be riding in the Para-equestrian dressage discipline, which I haven’t been doing for very long; but I feel confident enough to make a real impact. My trainer Lee Pearson is amazingly supportive – in fact, with my latest score of 73%, we have joked that he’d better watch his back!

As you know, I recently filmed my first ever television advert for my sponsor, the RS-tor rider safety aid, at Simon Travis’ yard at Honnington Equestrian in Kent, while jumping with Seamus. Although I must say, Seamus was a little bit naughty. Maybe the promises of fame got to him! We are however both looking forward to seeing the advert when it is aired in early 2012 on Horse & Country TV. We are completely thrilled that Mike Tucker, the voice of show jumping, is doing the voice over for the ad, and dressage rider Sarah Millis is also going to be featured.

Well, winter is here to stay now, and Seamus and I do not like the cold weather – I have been a little ill, and Seamus has been a little down too. So after our up-coming jumping lesson with trainer Simon Travis, we are going to take a few weeks off to enjoy Christmas before we start again, all guns blazing, in January. It will also give me a chance to buy more layers of clothing, as I am sure it is set to be bitterly cold in 2012!

Read the full article in February 2012 Local Rider magazine.

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