With a stellar year behind her, showjumper Amelia Douglass has no intention of slowing the pace. She spoke to AMANDA MAC about the story so far and her plans for the future.
In 2019, Amelia Douglass had a big year! She won the NSW State Titles Championship (where she was also runner-up) and the NSW Indoor Championship. She was awarded Equestrian Australia’s Young Rider of the Year, was both Champion and runner up in the Stal Tops Australian Young Rider Series, and placed third overall at the Australian Championships. She also rode in her first three World Cups, placing tenth in one of them, plus, in a victory that’s probably one of her biggest to date, came third to Tom McDermott’s first place and Chris Chugg in second at the Aquis Silver Final. “That was pretty exciting,” she says.
And that’s quite an understatement given that 19-year-old Amelia was once terrified of jumping. “I started riding at riding school and school riding camps when I was about six and got my first pony a year later. I thought jumping was the scariest thing because I was put on ponies that didn’t like to jump. I kept persevering though, because I wanted to keep up with the other kids in Pony Club. By the time I was 12, I had a pony that actually wanted to jump and I loved it! I loved the thrill of it and didn’t want to do anything else,” she laughs.
When she was 17, Amelia, who comes from a family in which she’s the only rider – “my younger brother used to ride but gave it up” – moved from her family home in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales to Chattham Park in the Hawkesbury to become a working student for jumping great George Sanna. “I brought my four horses with me and worked with the Chattham Park clients,” she says.
Since then, Chattham Park has become a private business with three riders lucky enough to have George as their coach, and a team of horses.
Amelia’s current horses are all Warmbloods. There’s 13-year-old Sirius du Granit and eight-year-old Upper Class Z, both from Edwina Tops-Alexander’s stables in Europe, and two others: “Barrichello is also from Europe and he’s my World Cup horse, and then there’s Cassis Z Ten Halven, who’s Kathy Ward’s horse,” she explains.
No stranger to hard work, last year Amelia rode five horses, this year it’s been four. In summer, she rides from 5:30am to around 10:00, when it becomes too hot to ride. In winter it’s generally from 7:30 to 11:30am spent in the saddle, plus Pilates once a week and currently a lot of home workouts including cardio and resistance training. “I spend quite a bit of time working on my core strength and legs,” she says.
For the future, Amelia has her sights set firmly on Europe: “One of my biggest goals is to compete on the Longines Global Champions Tour on one of the teams.”
And just as it’s been teamwork that has supported her success so far, it’ll be teamwork that will help her to achieve her dreams. “I’d really like to thank Mum and Dad,” says Amelia, “they’ve been massive supporters, as well as George, of course, and Amber Fuller, Kate Hinchsen, Tess Anderson our head groom, and the rest of the team at home.”
Once COVID-19 restrictions ease and competition begins, we have no doubt that Amelia Douglass’ name will be front and centre. Congratulations Amelia, on all you’ve achieved so far and our very best wishes for the future.
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