St Mary’s pupil to represent SA in Argentina

SEEING her mother get her South African colours through show-jumping inspired Hannah Garton to make a promise that one day she’ll follow in her footsteps.

The St Mary’s pupil did just that as, after 12 years of practice, she was selected to represent South Africa in the individual competition for Show-Jumping at the Youth Olympic Games, being held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from October 6 to October 18.

Of her selection, Hannah was extremely thrilled, saying: “It’s been one of my dreams to represent my country”.

The 17-year-old said she started show-jumping at the age of five, saying that the sport entails a lot of dedication and requires a strong bond between the rider and the horse.

“It takes at least two years to build that kind of relationship with the horse. You can’t just get on an unfamiliar horse and expect to go and win a major title,” she said.

“You need to develop a partnership — it’s like meeting a new friend — and you must build a connection, get an understanding of one another, and by that you are getting more connected and they will be able to try harder for you. Then the relationship will just flourish, ” she explained.

She stressed that if you don’t build a relationship with the horse, it becomes a bit of a problem for you to achieve great results when you are going to compete.

Hannah said her message to the youth is that they should never give up on their goals. “With dedication and passion you can achieve podium positions.

“In sports, especially if you put your mind into it, you can do it — do not let anyone or anything discourage you.”

“I’m thankful to everyone who’s supported me through this journey, especially my family, who never gave up, and my inspiration — my mom — who made me want to do this and it’s amazing that day has finally come,” she concluded.

Mrs van Rooyen, the teacher in Charge of Equestrian studies at St Mary’s, said: “Hannah has been an integral part of the St Mary’s Equestrian Team since 2015, and this year she played an important role as the Vice-Captain of this team.

“She is a dedicated and determined young lady who sets a wonderful example for the riders in our team.

“Her selection for the Youth Olympic Games comes as a result of all her hard work and we are very proud of her commitment to the sport that she loves and all that she has achieved.”