Teen riders

Shared passions


Silja, Marina


& Clara


Teenagers’ love of horses is legendary. They will spend their very last penny on their favourite horse, rise before the sun to take part in a competition and hang out in the stables until odd hours, making sure that their best friend on this planet is safe and sound.


By Camilla Alfthan





Silja Normann Gade, 14


My first horse was : Gina, a Danish sports pony who was 19 when we bought her. She was the best pony one could wish for. I could ride bareback in the forest and I could bathe with her, she was a good jumper and o.k. in dressage, but unfortunately she had athrithis so we had to retire her and that was hard, because a pony with athrithis cannot stand in a box all day long.


I prefer : Dressage as I can be a cautious rider but I’m also fond of jumping. Now that I’m so lucky that I have a pony who can do both it makes sense to do dressage and show jumping.


My best memory : After a really bad holiday with my dad mum picked me up at the airport and said we were going to the pony club because her friend who was a monitor had a surprise for me.  I passed by Gina’s box and noticed it said Caesar – the name of a pony I’d tried earlier. I didn’t quite make the connection at first. Then I realized that he was my new pony – and then everything was o.k. again.


First time I won a show : I was nine and on a equestrian camp with mum.  I rode a horse named Beauty in the pony games – we won with the fastest time.
My greatest victory : Happened in Lundtofte pony club. I rode Mightly all the way from our club, Mattsons, and  a 100 meters before we arrived I fell off in the middle of the traffic lights and landed on my backbone and my pony happened to step on my shin. Mighty started to run home and I was down without being able to do anything. Mum drove after him, got out of the car and called his name and he turned around and ran back to her. She led him back to me and I tried to stand up again, but I couldn’t at first. Then after a while I was up and walked the last 100 meters to the club where I sat down again in agony. Each time I tried to mount Mighty I was in pain. I didn’t think I could ride but mum said the other riders had only had 62 in an LC and she was certain I’d win if I tried. So I tried to mount him once again. This time I managed to stand the pain, but without warming up I was called into the ring.

I could only sit down in the trot and I couldn’t move my seat.  Mum had spoken to the judges who accepted a few changes in the trot. I started my program with tears in my eyes and I tried to keep a stiff, false smile on my face.  When I’d finally finished and I was relaxing a little I was called up for the awards. I was in pain but I won first place with 71 per cent and I also won the following class with 68 percent. So eventhough I was hurting, the pain was worth it. That was my greatest victory.
I love horses because : They’re your best friend you can tell everything and then don’t tell a soul. Whenever I’ve had a bad day at school or at home I totally forget everything that happened and I concentrate on my horse. My pony gives me a certain motivation to not give up but to fight on.


“My pony motivates me to never give up but to fight on. “


I’m happy with myself and my horse. You could say that my horse is my drug. Riding also gives you responsibility. A hack alone in the forest is the best way to think or to get away from a stressful day and relax. I also love that there’s always something to improve and something new to work on. Mighty is one of the best things I know because we have a special bond. When I’ve been away a few days he seems sad and cross when I return.


I found Mighty in a add on the net and we bought him in Jutland. He’d just arrived from Germany the month before and we bought him straight away.


I fell for Mighty because he was unique. It was what you call love at first sight. I would have done anything to get him home with me.


My best rides: When it’s just him and I.  We rarely go alone and when we do its very special. I feel we listen to one another and we bond; as if he understands what I say and I understand what he’s saying.


I show jump : Because of the exitement and because I can see that he really loves it. I do dressage because it’s exiting and you can measure your improvements.


I feel that I’ve learned so much from the sport that I can use now, but also in the future in a job or in family life.  My patience was never great but I’ve learned that with patience and a lot of work you can reach your goals. I’ve also learned to be more independent. Before I was very cautious, I was sort of hiding, but know I got out of that bubble and I believe in myself and the things I want to do.


My goal this year : Winning the Copenhagen Championships in dressage, and further on, when I start high school I just hope to be able to keep it up because the sport gave me so much joy so it would be a shame if I couldn’t have something so meaningful in my life.




Marina Boss Hagedorn, 17


My first horse was : A big and sturdy white Connemara. His name was Charmeur Søndergaard. I had him when he was eight and I was eight, too. He was very sweet and calm as I was very nervous and careful.


I ride because  : I loved horses all my life. For everyday that passes I love them even more. I love the teamwork that you have with these large animals and I think they are amazing. When I ride I can let go of all my thoughts and just concentrate on the riding. I can’t live without horses – they’re not just a hobby, they’re a lifestyle as you spend so much time with them.


My best memory : I have so many. Swimming with my horse was funny and strange. Winning the fox tail for ponies from the Hubertus Hunt was another highlight. I will always treaure it and I hope one day to lead a field of hunters wearing it.


My first roset:  I won it on Charmeur when I was only eight. I’ve since won many rosettes over the years – I almost have a 100 now.


My greatest victory :  Winning the Hubertus Hunt for ponies in 2012 on Michelangelo. We trained intensively and I was very nervous before the event. Everyone in my club urged me to win it so I had some pressure, too.  It is the biggest prize in hunting in Denmark  My pony had so much extra power that he won the finish easily. That was the best moment, especially when he had his red blanket put on and I was shaking hands with Prince Henrik wearing the winner’s large, golden chain around my neck . It’s an experience which is difficult to describe. Even if you don’t win hunting is so much fun and so cool.


“You learn to be responsible, focused and organized.” 



I found Hamilton: By chance.  We had almost bought another horse but he didn’t pass the vet check. Hamilton is my DREAM HORSE! Anyway, mum just checked the net and there he was; Hamilton F. Damgaard, which is his full name. He’s a Danish Warmblood.


I fell for him : The first time I saw him. He was standing nobly in the stable waiting for us to try him. He is so unique and I’ve never seen anything like him. His half white and half black tail, his black-brownish dapples and his grey mane which was neatly braided when we arrived. I smiled when I saw him. I started riding calmly in the ring and after we had warmed up we started jumping a little. He was just perfect. So perfect, that I was waiting for something bad to come up but it never did. We took him home the same day and he passed the vet check.


I hunt and I show jump because : You make new friends and you ride in fantastic terrains that are sometimes quite demanding. I also jumped at so many shows. In 2012-2013 I jumped almost every weekend. I always competed and I met many lovely people at shows.


The best that I’ve learned from the sport:  To be responsible. You have to look after a large animal, and they’re just as fragile as they’re strong. I also improved my ability to concentrate.  You really must concentrate and be 100 percent focused in a competition. You also learn to be organized, especially if you’re going to a show and you need to remember all your things and the things for your horse, too.


Many people cannot understand : That I spend so much time with the horses. It can be hard at school but I’ve had great friends who accepted that the horses come first. Now that I started in high school I don’t want to feel like an outsider, which I sometimes did before, so my class mates are important, too. The horses may be my life but one of the most important things in life is also to have good friends.


My future goals:  I have many dreams and hopes. I’d like to become a professional rider and do the National Championships, the European Championships and the World Championships. But now we’re taking it easy as Hamilton is only five. My school education is also very important.



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