This week I’m chatting with very talented young South African dressage rider Natasha Rothman. Natasha is not only a very talented young dressage rider but is also a hard working creative entrepreneur who along with her mum has recently started an equestrian rider and horse wear company. Read on to learn more about Natasha and her horses.
Tell us a little about you and your horses
I started riding when I was 8 years, I jumped straight into the competitive showing world. At 8 years old I was riding open showing – I really did dive straight into the deep end. Fast forward a couple years, I found my love for dressage! I am now currently 23 years old! In 2016, my current top dressage horse came into my life; San Rouge, better known by all as Santa (this came from him being born on Christmas Day), he is by the gorgeous European dressage Stallion, Sandreo! His mum: Clover Rouge, owned by Natalie Mandy was based in the heart of the Freestate on a farm and also where Santa was born. I could not and still cannot believe how blessed and lucky I was! I got him when he was schooled only Novice, and I hadn’t really ridden too much higher than that either, so both of us have been learning the ropes together and I can proudly say we have made it to PSG, and we plan on going all the way to the top!
My other horse is my retired 17-year-old dressage welsh/Arab pony mare. Her name is Dreamers Gem, better known as Gemma! I got her when she was SUPER green! She gave me many years of happiness and is now happily living her best life on an open plan equestrian property in Summerveld.
How did your horses come into your life?
Santa came into my life in the most amazing way possible. When my final days were coming to an end on my pony Gemma- I was offered many horses to ride, but none seemed to fully grab my heart – it was then at my last and final show on my pony Gemma that my mom and I both decided that it was going to be my last show for good and that I wasn’t going to carry on riding. At that moment I had made peace with the decision. The very next day, I bumped into Carrie Mandy where she out of the blue started telling me about Santa, it was the most bizarre thing. She had not even shown me a picture, but I knew in that moment that he was my dream horse! A couple weeks later he was brought to me by Carrie and her mum and Santa, and I have never looked back. I will forever be grateful for him; he really is a true blessing from God.
I was 9 years old when I got Gemma – she was a true bush pony. Long coat, long main and full of cuts. She is however the most uniquely beautiful pony – she will be with me for the rest if her life! I could never sell her.
How long have you been riding?
15 years this year.
When and where do you ride?
Santa and Gemma are based in Kwa Zulu natal, Summerveld. I come and ride/see them nearly every day.
How did you start riding?
My mom absolutely adored horses, I used to sit on her horse for fun every now and then – only ever lead rein as I was so tiny. I was spotted by a good friend of my mom who offered me a ride on her top-class pony Nyazwitza Shiraz owned by Dominique Tardin. This is where my riding days began. Dominique taught me so much as a young child. I will always be grateful for the lessons she taught me and memories she gave me as a young child.
What you and your horses are currently working on?
Santa and I are currently working on canter pirouettes and two-time changes. They really are a lot harder than they look.
What do you love about riding?
I have such a strong bond with Santa – he is one big boy(17hh), but he makes me feel so safe. Nothing beats the feeling he gives me; he is why I love riding so much.
What would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
My mom and I have recently started an equestrian rider and horse wear company- Rothman Equestrian Brands. My goal is to grow it so that I can sell worldwide. With the money I make from that, I want to buy my own dream horse property. That is my biggest goal.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding and how do you deal with them?
I have never been a very anxious person; I like to consider myself to be quite confident in the saddle. I do suffer though with butterfly tummy before a show – but my mom told me a phrase that I play on repeat in my head during warmup and before the test and it really has helped me so much – “Horse, rider, test”, it sounds silly but it’s my way of centring myself and allowing my horse to be the best he can be in that moment.
Your top tip
Don’t ever get worked up and then take it out on your horse, ride as kindly as possible while maintaining your firmness. Your bond with your horse is the most important thing, don’t ever ruin it.
The final furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
I know this sounds cheesy, but Santa really is my dream horse
Who is your equestrian hero?
I have two – Cathrine Dufour and Jessica Von Bredow
If you could have 5 people to dinner who would they be?
Grethe Rothman, Natalie Mandy, Carrie Mandy, Beryl Jhonston and Jonathan Wisdom – all the people who have made my horsey dreams come true
Favourite colour horse
Bay with a black mane
Favourite horse event
SA Champs for sure!
I am a sucker for chicken, chicken wings, chicken strips, chicken curry, chicken burger – I could live on chicken
Favourite way to relax
6am outrides into the cane with my horsey mum – Beryl Jhonston
How to train your dragon 1,2 and 3
If you enjoyed meeting Natasha you might like to view more chatting with interviews here You can keep up with Natasha’s progress on her instagram page @natasharothman_equestrian