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The Next Generation – Sophie Hinners: “I just love to see the horses develop”

Tuesday, 08 September 2020
The Next Generation

Photo © www.sportfotos-lafrentz.de/Stefan Lafrentz. "I always want to do better," Sophie Hinners, one of Germany’s rising stars, says. Here seen at CHIO Aachen with her top horse Vittorio. Photo © www.sportfotos-lafrentz.de/Stefan Lafrentz.

 

Text © World of Showjumping

 


 

22-year-old Sophie Hinners is making her mark as one Germany’s rising stars. Last year, Sophie finished with the silver medal at the German Championships for Ladies and since then she has been making a name for herself on the international circuit.

Sophie got smitten by the horse-bug through her aunt and cousin, and her passion brought her to Hergen Forkert in Bremen, Germany where she took a two-year equestrian education. By coincidence, Sophie ended up at Stal Hendrix in 2018.  “I rode a horse from Forkert at the international show in Verden. Emile was interested in the horse for one of his students, so they tried it there at the show. In the end the horse wasn’t the perfect match, however Emile said to call him if I ever would need a job. One year later, when I was done with my education, I did,” Sophie tells.  

After a one-day try-out, Sophie started to work for Emile’s son Timothy. “I have the luck to be able to train with Emile every day, and last year I was accepted into the Young Riders Academy’s educational program. It has been fantastic,” Sophie tells about her last two years at Stal Hendrix.

“I am super happy here. It is a dealing stable, so horses come and go but I like being able to ride many different types. Of course, it is sad when a horse is sold – especially since I tend to fall in love with all of them – but it is also nice to see that I have done something right and that I have managed to give them a good education. When they get sold to really good riders, I feel like I’m a part of their development and success. And when one horse is sold, a new one will come. Getting to know them is a part I really enjoy,” Sophie says.

Photo © www.sportfotos-lafrentz.de/Stefan Lafrentz. “I have the luck to be able to train with Emile every day, and last year I was accepted into the Young Riders Academy’s educational program. It has been fantastic,” Sophie tells about her last two years at Stal Hendrix. Photo © www.sportfotos-lafrentz.de/Stefan Lafrentz.

The 12-year-old Vittorio 8 (Valentino DDH x Ramiro’s Bube) – previously ridden by Ian Millar and Max Kühner – is Sophie’s best horse at the moment. “Vittorio arrived a week after I started at Stal Hendrix, and I have been riding him ever since. It is with him that I have had my biggest success so far,” Sophie says – referring to the silver medal at the German Championships in 2019 and international 1.45m victories in Arnhem, Opglabbeek, Peelbergen and Zwolle, as well as several top five placings all the way up to 1.55m classes. 

“Vittorio has a huge personality,” Sophie tells. “We are a really good team and by now we know each other inside-out. He is actually one of very few horses here that is not for sale. Friends of the Hendrix-family owns half of him, and I’m so thankful they let me ride him. When I go with the younger horses to international shows it is great to have Vittorio to do some bigger classes with.”

Recently Sophie also got the ride on the 10-year-old Fair Field (Zirocco Blue VDL x Chin Chin), that previously has been competed by Michel Hendrix. “I’m so happy Michel lets me ride Fair Field,” Sophie tells. “I got him during lockdown, which was good since I really had the chance to get to know him properly before we jumped our first show together.” 

Just as happy as Sophie is to ride the older horses in the bigger classes, she is to develop the younger ones. “I just love to see the horses develop, and it is as rewarding to go with the young ones to a show as it is to compete in the bigger classes,” she says.

Photo © www.sportfotos-lafrentz.de/Stefan Lafrentz. “Vittorio arrived a week after I started at Stal Hendrix, and I have been riding him ever since. It is with him that I have had my biggest success so far,” Sophie tells. Photo © www.sportfotos-lafrentz.de/Stefan Lafrentz.

With a group of 10-12 horses on her list, Sophie rides nine horses a day. And one of the most important things she has learned at Hendrix is to be 100% focused on what she is doing when she is doing it. “It is very important to have a plan and to follow it. For example, when I walk the course, I make a proper plan and am totally focused on that. Then, as we all know, Plan A is sometimes not possible to follow a 100% and when this happens Plan B is to follow my feeling. I don’t get nervous in those situations, because I know I have the feeling and that it should work out just fine.”

Sophie’s lack of nerves is something she considers as one of her real strengths as a rider. “As I don’t get nervous I can often calm horses down if they get tense,” she explains. 

When it comes to dreams and future goals, Sophie says: “It is a big goal to be able to ride the Grand Prix of Aachen and hopefully also be successful. Last year I got to ride the U25 classes in Aachen and it was a phenomenal feeling to jump in that huge arena. I would really like to do that again. Then, as any other rider, I dream about riding at the Olympic Games. I know it is a very long way to go, but it’s allowed to dream…” 

Sophie loves working at Stal Hendrix, and plans to do so for many more years, but one day she sees herself starting up a business with her boyfriend Richard Vogel. “Richard already has a business on his own, and one day I might join him but right now I’m really happy here! I’m still learning new things every day. So, I would really like to get even more experience at Stal Hendrix before I follow that future dream.”

As to tips for other young riders that want to make it in the sport, Sophie is clear. “You can learn something new every day. I’m very critical of myself and at every show I will make a proper analysis of each round I jump – no matter if it was good or a bad. I always want to do better. When I’m leaving the ring, I will straight away think of what I would like to improve from that round. Although I am critical of myself, I am always pleased with my horses – I’m a strong believer that faults that occur in the ring are always down to the rider.”

 

No reproduction without written permission, copyright © World of Showjumping



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