Focus on the next generation: "Beezie Madden is someone I've looked up to for a really long time"

Focus on the next generation: "Beezie Madden is someone I've looked up to for a really long time"

Rolex Grand Slam of Spruce Meadows likes to take a moment to focus on the next generation and therefore interviewed Hannah Rajotte. 

What are you hoping to achieve between now and the end of the year?

I just graduated high school and I’m taking a few years off to pursue riding, as in the future I want to make a career out of this. I’m not sure how that plan looks in the short-term, but finding someone I could work and ride a little bit for, and bring on one or two horses – that’s the plan at this point.

What are your plans, dreams and ambitions for 2022?

I just recently did my first 1m45 with one of my horses. A pretty huge goal, depending on how things go and what horses I have, would be to do my first 1m50, or be a little more competitive at that bigger height, which I haven’t done as much. On a more personal side, being a little more confident, to be able to talk to some more people around the shows, and to make some more connections.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far?

That’s hard, but one great moment was when I was awarded the 2019 Xerox Junior Rider of the Year award here. Obviously, the award felt pretty great, but the horse that I rode into the International Ring with for the presentation is my horse, Theo. He’s a bit of a weird guy and sensitive, and the moment that he went in there, he was so good and solid, so it was a pretty good feeling. Above that was my first time in the International Ring last Friday with Theo again – it just feels like it’s opened another step to the whole journey.

Tell us a little bit about your stable of horses…

Right now I have two geldings. Theo is my long-term guy, who I’ve had for three years now, and we’ve moved up together. When I got him, he’d only competed up to 1.20 level in show jumping. He was an eventer and I’d only competed up to 1m30. We did our first 1m30 together, our first 1m40, our U25 classes, we had a few U25 wins, so I have a really good relationship with him. He’s definitely where I got my confidence from. My second horse is actually a lease from Spruce Meadows, and his name is Charlie [S 15]. He’s a little bit more normal than Theo, so we got him so I could practice a little bit to be more consistent at the 1m40 height. He is a great guy, who steps out every day and loves his job, and he’s really level-headed and loves to jump clean. They both love their job.

Who has inspired you the most throughout your career?

I could probably name any top rider. Beezie Madden is someone I’ve looked up to for a really long time, and also Tiffany Foster. My mum has helped me and supported me through my entire journey so far, almost completely by herself, and she’s tried to give me every opportunity possible. I look up to her in a lot of ways, and she works really hard to be able to give me these sorts of opportunities.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

My mum, my coach and all of my support team have always told me to just keep focused on my own path and not to get too worked up on what everyone else is doing, as everyone has such different paths in this sport.

What makes Spruce Meadows so special?

I love Spruce Meadows – it’s my favourite show, and I consider myself really lucky that I’ve been able to grow up competing here. Nowhere else has the type of atmosphere that Spruce Meadows has – you step into its grounds and it feels as though you’re transported into its own type of world. The crowds are incredible and the fact that it attracts top Olympic riders from all over the world makes it pretty special.

Source: Rolex Grand Slam