At the stable, he seemed docile and quiet, and she wondered how he would be on the turf. However, at the Junior National Equestrian Championships held in Delhi in December, she was proven wrong, and bagged a gold in the Dressage category.
Dressage, an Olympic-level sport, requires a deep bond between rider and horse. For Tanusha, who met Soulmate only six months ago, this was initially a point of concern.
“He is very calm because of his age. That makes it easier to perform with him Younger horses get very excited on the turf. He’s calm and strong while practicing. But when he’s in the stable, he acts as if he’s starving. He’s funny like that,” said Tanusha.
Over the last six months, she spent every day deepening her bond with the horse and preparing for the Junior National Equestrian Championships. Every day for an hour, she trained with Soulmate and her trainer from the Chennai Equitation Center, and on the days she could not train, she spent time with the horse in his stable, slipping him homemade horse treats and vegetables. Finally, the tournament came around, and Tanusha’s nine years of horse riding wasn’t enough to quell the nerves. But, Soulmate was here to save the day.
“He’s an experienced horse who has performed earlier, so he was so used to the crowd and the performance,” said Tanusha.
Now with the competition behind her, Tanusha hopes to continue training with Soulmate, and aim for international-level competitions, once safety of travel and participation is ensured. Until then, Tanusha says she has a lot to learn so that she can perform well on the international stage.