Young rider dreams of Olympics

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Ryan Martin (15) and his trusty steed Kadush show their mettle during the recent Sanesa qualifiers held in Bloemfontein.Photo: Captured Moments Photography

An accomplished young equestrian from Welkom will compete in the South African National Equestrian Schools Association’s (Sanesa) upcoming competition.

Ryan Martin (15), together with his trusty steeds Callaho Larina, Kadush and Volmoed Astrant, competed in 11 events during Sanesa’s recent qualifiers for the Free State and Northern Cape.

His performance on all three horses was good enough to be included in the Free State A team.

During the qualifier, Ryan obtained seven first, two second and two third places.

Ryan says the majestic Kadush is his pride and joy.

Ryan and his trainer, Belinda Basson, taught Kadush to jump after this thoroughbred’s successful career on the racetrack ended.

Callaho Larina, a warmblood broodmare, joined the gang in 2020, and Belinda and Ryan started training her in September last year.

With Callaho Larina’s inclusion into the Free State A team less than a year into training, the formidable duo proved why the warmblood breed is so special.

Last, but definitely not least in this phenomenal trilogy, is Volmoed Astrant. This South African Boerperd has proven her ability in the higher jumping classes and the musical kur dressage events.

The excitement of the equestrian sport all started for Ryan in August 2016, when he went on an outride just for fun. This, however, almost immediately resulted into weekly horse-riding lessons.

In January 2017, Belinda saw Ryan’s talent and started him on an intensive training programme.

“She decided that she wanted him to compete on the Sanesa Free State circuit,” says Thelma Martin, Ryan’s mother.

That same year, Ryan made the Free State A team to compete at Sanesa’s national event for schools.

Ever since then, Ryan has represented the Free State A team at the Sanesa nationals every year.

Ryan’s biggest dream is to one day represent South Africa at the Olympic Games. He says that although a person may have a talent for equestrian sporting disciplines, you can never achieve success on your own.

“In horse-riding your team member weighs 600 kg, but no one can be successful without the help and support of others,” he says.

“I want to thank and praise the Lord who gave me talent and blessed me with opportunities. All the glory to the Lord, who makes all things possible.”

Ryan is especially grateful for his family’s support.

“They work very hard behind the scenes to ensure that preparation for each event is done according to each discipline’s rules. My father is my mentor, and he works very hard so that I can achieve my dreams,” says Ryan.

Ryan says he is grateful for the lessons he has learned through the equestrian sport.

“The most important lesson is that you do not always win. When you fall, you stand up and try harder. Eventually you shall succeed.”

His motto is “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”.

The words of Philippians 4:13, being capable of all things through Christ who strengthens him, lead him through life.

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