Making right moves in dressage world

June 27 2018
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DRESSAGE rider Shelly Smit would love to compete for the British team one day if she continues her rise up the rankings.

She has been riding for more than 30 years, since she was two, and rides now six days a week.

She was a horseback safari guide for 12 years in South Africa, where she met her husband and discovered her horse, Sharp Sharp – which in South Africa is another way of saying “everything is OK”. Shelly was drawn to Sharp Sharp’s movement and his quirkiness. “He had the bloodlines I was looking for and I thought he would make a very good dressage horse. He’s also one of the most difficult horses I’ve had to train.”

Nevertheless the pair have achieved a chemistry together that has seen them go from the unaffiliated walk-trot, the lowest level of dressage, to qualifying for the elementary and medium levels for this year’s Area Festival.

“My goals would be to represent England or Team GB at some point in my career,” said Shelly, marketing and new business manager for Great Elm Bookkeepers, which has an office in Wells where she often works.

“It would be a dream of mine to ride at the Olympics or World Equestrian Games.”

The financial costs are high, and in Britain, unlike in South Africa, Shelly is finding it hard to attract backers. But for now she will continue to compete with Sharp Sharp and see where the journey takes them.