This week, I’m chatting with Finnish international Grand Prix dressage rider Mikaela Soratie. This very talented young lady is based in the Netherlands and has recently represented the senior Finland team at the European Championships. Multi-talented, she has also designed a beautiful range of equestrian jewellery Read on to discover more about Mikaela, her life to date and her hopes for the future as well as her top riding tips.
Tell us about you
I am a Finnish dressage rider based in the Netherlands. I have been part of the Finnish team as a pony, junior and young rider and have several Finnish championship medals from those age groups. I produce and train horses of all ages from youngsters starting their dressage careers through to establishing horses competing at Grand Prix level. I have had the privilege of representing Finland as a senior rider twice at the 2019 and 2021 European championships with Dacor (my own horse) and Hot Casanova (owned by Katja Kuistila)
How did horses come into your life?
My grandmother and my mother have both been riding their whole lives so it was natural for me to follow in their footsteps.
How long have you been riding?
Since I was 5 years old. My first memories of riding are on Kyra Kyrklund’s Shetland pony called Hoffi at Ruskeasuo in Finland
When and where do you ride?
I run my own yard in the South of Netherlands. We have around fifteen horses in training so life is busy and I ride many different horses every day. Most of my time is spent training in the arena but I like to get all the horses out for a hack around the meadows whenever possible.
How did you start riding?
I always followed my mother to the stables so riding was as natural was walking but at the age of 6 I started training at the local riding school. My first riding instructor was a Finnish Grand Prix rider Kikka Suomio who is now based in the UK. I was fourteen when I got my first pony called Bentho W. With him I earned a place on the Finnish team for the first time
What you and your horses currently working on?
This year has been quite challenging. We moved from the UK to the Netherlands and at the same time I was preparing to compete at the European championships so it was a very busy time! Now we have finally settled in at our new home and I am looking forward to competing my lovely string of horses through the winter and into next year.
What do you love about riding?
I really enjoy the everyday work and building a partnership with the horses as individuals. I especially love training young horses. My favourite part of my job is teaching a young horse something new – the process of how a horse learns is fascinating and amazing to be a part of. I love seeing them develop strength and understanding and it’s just so incredibly rewarding knowing that I am playing a part in their progression and education.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I, as probably many riders do, have an Olympic dream and hope that I can keep on competing at Grand Prix level. My day-to-day goal is always to improve my riding and become the best version of me as a rider that I can.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Just like everyone, I can sometimes suffer with nerves, especially before a big competition, but I try not to let them take over and focus on doing the job I love.
How do you deal with them?
Once I am on the horse I forget about the nerves. But I definitely still need to work on being a bit kinder to myself, I am my own biggest critic and sometimes need to remind myself that I worked hard to get here and deserve this. I can take disappointments quite badly but always try to look to the future and I have a great support network which is really important.
Your Top Tip
I like this one from Robert F. Kennedy “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
I think I would choose Gareth Hughes Classic Briolinca or Karina Cassoe Krüth Helas Danciera. Both just stunning mares
Who is your equestrian hero?
There are so many amazing riders out there it is hard to choose but some of my favourites are Ingrid Klimke, Gareth Hughes, Isabell Werth and Carl Hester
If you could have five people to dinner who would they be?
My grandmother, Barack Obama, Warren Buffet, Tiger Woods, Carl Hester
Favourite colour horse?
Most of my horses are dark bay but I recently bought a palomino and I find him so stunning
Favourite horse event
There are so many. I love shows in France (Le Mans, Compiegne), I was born in Paris and lived in France for 2 years when I was younger and I love going back there. But of course, the most memorable shows that I have competed at are the Europeans in Rotterdam 2019 an Hagen this year. And definitely a very special one was London Olympia
I loooove seafood. So, any seafood would be my favourite food.
Favourite way to relax
Spending time with friends and family.
If you enjoyed meeting Miaela you might like to see more chatting with interviews here You can keep up with Mikaela’s progress and check out her instagram page here