01 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’04.251 02 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’04.293 03 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’04.424 04 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’04.779 05 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’04.896 06 Max Verstappen Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’04.983 07 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’05.480 08 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’05.605 09 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1’05.674 10 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Renault 1’05.726
When I was seven years old I bought my first Breyer horse. The horse was a scratched up, well loved Big Ben model from the 25 cent bin at a neighbour’s garage sale. As a child, my dreams became reality through that four legged, plastic steed. Though weekly lessons were all my family could afford, every evening after school my green carpeted bedroom floor became a grand prix ring for the internationally renown Big Ben and the man who rode him to the top - Ian Miller.
Last week - a whole twelve years later - I was sitting on my horse at Angelstone International Showjumping Tournaments while waiting to enter the ring for a jump school. As I felt the August rays tickling my skin with warmth, I looked up to see the face of the man I’d spent my childhood starstruck by riding down the rail beside me. Ian looked up at me, nodded, and smiled that familiar smile I had seen on the horse posters taped to my bedroom walls many years ago. It was a casual, friendly exchange between two equestrians - but one that really struck me in a way I cannot describe.
If you had told seven year old me that my nineteen year old self would be competing at the same shows and riding in the same warm up ring as Ian Miller I would have said you were dreaming. We become so accustomed to everything at this level of sport, that we almost forget what a privilege and honour it really is to compete. It wasn’t until I came home from The National CSI** last Saturday and picked up that Big Ben model sitting on my shelf that I took a step back and thought about seven year old me.
I am so proud of how far I have come as a rider. I have gone from weekly lessons on school ponies to leasing an incredibly proven horse and showing on the A Circuit. This was something I could only ever dream of happening. I am so thankful for the opportunities I have both been given and earned - for I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for them.