Sport

Meet Chennai’s teenage horse-riding champion

Samartha Satyajit was four years old when he rode a horse for the first time. “It is all clear in my head,” recalls the 15-year-old horse rider in Chennai, “With some help, I was placed on Ferazi.” Samartha calls Ferazi the “grandmother of all horses”, since she was patient with children like him.

Thus began Samartha’s tryst with horses. He has since won several competitions in the Dressage category. A recent among them was the FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) 2020 held in November, in which he won the all-India silver and stood fifth in world ranking. He trained with a club in Chennai and when he decided to pursue the sport seriously, moved to the Chennai Equitation Centre at the age of 12. “It was then that I started showing improvement, riding more horses and travelling to cities such as Bengaluru to participate in competitions,” he says.

Samartha enjoys competing, but more than anything else, he enjoys spending time with horses, which he says is crucial to his success. He recalls the horses he met along the way, some of whom changed his life, like a pony called Moonlight. “He was stubborn and could not canter,” says Samartha. “But I practised and practised on him with my coach and he reached the highest levels in competitions,” he adds.

In 2017 and 2018, Samartha emerged the Grand Champion in the Indian Dressage Development League, and won an individual as well as team gold for showjumping at the Junior Nationals in 2019. That year was unforgettable for Samartha in another way as well.

“For my birthday that year, my father dressed up Blue Casper in a bow and walked him to me, saying he was mine,” he says. “He saw something between us.” From then on, Samartha started training on Blue Casper and today “there is no difference between him and a high-level horse,” he boasts.

Samartha travels to Puducherry to train every weekend with his father, and took part in online classes with his coaches over lockdown. His ultimate aim? “To participate in the Olympics when I’m 18 years old,” he says.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 3:23:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/meet-chennais-teenage-horse-riding-champion/article33932853.ece

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