This week I’m really excited to be chatting with Chinese international Grand Prix dressage rider Sarah Rao. Based in Knutsford, England at the Pinfold Stables which is run by Chinese international event rider Alex Hua Tian and his partner British international Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Sarah Higgins.
In addition to riding, Sarah is also a talented artist and finds time to produce beautiful drawings and paintings as well as creating short films and loves photography. Read on to find out more about this extremely talented young lady, her life to date, and hopes for the future, which include competing at the Asian Games 2022 in China and the Paris Olympics in 2024. Sarah is a rising star with a huge future and certainly one worth keeping an eye on.
Tell us a little about you and your horses
“Soulmate” is the connection between me and Ronnie (King Ron P). The other 7 members of the family are also wonderful. Alfie (Alfranco) is one of the happiest horses ever. Some would be described as overly confident… But I seem to click with the insecure ones.
How did your horses come into your life?
A good portion of them came when we weren’t searching for that type of horse. I guess the process of getting to know someone new is always thrilling / addicting.
How long have you been riding?
13 years, 5 years in dressage. Alex Hua Tian made me choose a discipline and dressage has become so much more than I expected.
When and where do you ride?
My brain also works best in the morning. So, I leave other stuff including personal training until the afternoon. My performance works like horses, keep things different to speed the brain up. That’s why I also jump my horses, canter in the field and occasional little xc jumps and a bit of race between friends.
How did you start riding?
By accident. It was only a tourist experience… but I remember myself taking 2 lessons every day the following week. I have been unstoppable ever since. A lot of pretending to be sick and begging parents happened in order for me to get where I am now.
What you and your horses currently working on?
First Full Grand Prix by September 2021 & Asian Game qualification by end of 2021
What do you love about riding?
The tacit understanding and feeling of safety and freedom when I am on the horse.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
2024 Paris is my medium-term goal. But I aim to take the dressage in China to a higher standard, both riding and understanding. I am also equipping myself with other skills to be able to achieve it better (Video Editing, social media, and communication degree).
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
The laid-back personality resulting in not dealing with a lot of daily stress. So, when it does come, I had some hard time adjusting, very often I come out of the arena crying. Even when Sarah Higgins says I have done well.
How do you deal with them?
“Nothing matter anymore, apart from me and my horse” I adjust to my best mental state by putting myself onto the imaginary Olympic stage.
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Can I say Pegasus?
Who is your equestrian hero?
Jessica Von Bredow Werndl. Her personality and elegance are what I love the most over other incredible riders.
If you could have five people to dinner, who would they be?
Jessica von Bredow Werndl,
Sharon from Mulberry Tree,
Favourite colour horse?
Favourite horse event?
Crisps, the classic walker ready salted
Favourite way to relax?
Riding my horse in the big hacking field while he eats and runs