The highly talented Jade Hooke has enough accolades and awards under her name to make anyone feel just a teeny bit jealous. And, she's even got plans to go the Olympics soon! We had to find out more about this inspiring young woman.
1.How did you get into competitive horseback riding?
I started riding in St Francis bay when I was 6 years old and when my family moved to Port Elizabeth I joined a stable yard where there were lots of competitive kids. After a while I also got very competitive.
2.Tell me more about what this sport is all about?
It’s challenging. Every day you are working with something that is alive, has a heartbeat, mood swings, good and bad days! And it’s very difficult when you’re both having a bad day. But it’s also so rewarding when everything comes together and you form a great bond with a horse. I have a great bond with A New Era, my top show jumping horse. And most days I know what he’s feeling and how he is.
As with any professional sport, it’s really hard work. I do think show jumpers in South Africa don’t get as much credit as we should, whereas in Europe the sport is so high up in the support and sponsors.
3.You’re also a triathlete and take part in the Half Iron Man Marathon?
I mainly do half Iron Man and Olympic distance triathlon. I do the East London one which is every year in January which gives me nice training time over December. The half Iron Man consists of a 1.9km swim a 90km bike and a 21km run. It works on endurance and you need to be well trained and strong for this event. Olympic distance is much shorter consisting of a 1.5km swim then a 40km bike then a 10km run, it’s very fast and your heart rate is maxed the whole time.
4.Describe your average day
My average day usually consists of a cycle, swim and riding my horses. I also do a bit of work and hopefully have an hour power nap at lunch time. When living in Johannesburg it is very stressful to fit everything in and my triathlon training does not get much attention, but when I am living in Port Elizabeth its very laid back and very nice to train, ride, sleep and work.
5.What’s the best thing about what you do?
I’m always meeting new people and learning new things, not only in show jumping but running, cycling and swimming, so it’s such a great variety. And I always get to travel which is nice at my age. I also get to have a break from triathlon when horse riding is hectic and vice versa.
6.And the biggest challenges?
It’s difficult to try find money for everything. It’s also difficult to work a full day because if I did that I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. So it’s a tough situation. I do work half day but unfortunately that also doesn’t bring in enough income to pay for everything. I am currently working on sponsors too so hopefully something comes up.
7.What/Who inspires and motivates you?
My mom inspires me. She passed away last year in a horse riding accident and was always my number one fan! So I need to keep making her as proud as I can.
8.What does no one know about what you do?
It’s very self motivating. I have no one to report to so if I don’t go riding or training it’s on me. And sometimes that’s difficult when you’re feeling lazy. It’s also difficult having two things that are so physical, as it really tires you out.
9.Your proudest moment?
Winning the 2009 Avis South African derby. Wow, there is no other moment like that in my life.
10.What do you do for fun?
Take my puppy to the beach or go and see my friends and family.
11.Plans for the future?
I would love to ride in the Hick Stead Derby and also to jump in the World Equestrian Games and the Olympics. But once again this boils down to my financial situation. I’d like to do all of this in the next four years. I want to find out more about competing in pentathlons and hopefully get to the Olympics for that too in 2016.