An MBE rounds off what has been an amazing year for sponsored rider Sophie Wells. The paralympic rider sponsored by Asmar Equestrian has been honoured by the Queen in the New Year’s Honours list after Sophie contributed hugely to the success of Equestrian sport at London 2012.
The grade IV rider gained individual silver on Dr Jackie and Dr Neil Walker’s horse Pinocchio in both the freestyle and individual tests which are approximately equal to the complexity of a Prix St George level test. Sophie also won her team test contributing her high score to the overall Team Gold placing.
Nottinghamshire based Sophie Wells is not just your average rider, from a non horsey background Sophie has managed the rare condition; Amniotic Band Syndrome, alongside riding, which affects blood flow, development and movement to achieve success at National, European and now Olympic level.
Modest and humble as ever Sophie said “I’m so proud to say that I have been awarded an MBE!!! It’s so exciting and I can’t believe it! I definitely think this honour should be shared with my amazing horse Pinocchio and my fantastic coach, Angela Weiss.” about receiving the honour.
Supplying Sophie with the finest equestrian clothing Asmar is available online at http://www.asmarequestrian.com and from a selection of retailers. Asmar Equestrian designs a range of quality, stylish riding apparel suitable for day-to-day and the show ring. The entire range incorporates classic beauty, fashion and optimum functionality for riders who deserve the best.
Did you see UK trade title EBM’s company focus on Asmar Equestrian, in the Dec 2011 issue – out now? Here’s what the mag says of the company –
Service with a Smile
Apparel for All Weathers
Canadian brand Asmar Equestrian burst onto the equestrian scene in North America in January 2011; it spent the first three months of its infancy showcasing at international equestrian trade shows, before launching in the UK at the BETA International Trade Show, where Asmar Equestrian was awarded Best Stand In Show Under 32 metres. “Every mannequin and hanger looked the part, even though the stand was small,” CEO Noel Asmar recalls.
The company also took home a hotly-contested innovation award for Most Innovative Rider Apparel of the Year at BETA. The winning product was the range’s ‘hero’ product – the All Weather Rider™ Jacket, judged to be ‘an elegant, multi-functional garment, and well-tailored to allow plenty of movement and flexibility’.
Fashionable and functional
Like all truly innovative products, the jacket was born when Noel, a keen horsewoman, became frustrated that she couldn’t find a riding jacket to meet her needs. As a successful designer of technical clothing for some of the world’s most elite hotels and spas, Noel was used to creating items of clothing that, while they looked smart and fashionable, were first and foremost, functional. “Busy people need sophisticated, technical fabrics and tailoring that work with their lifestyles and jobs, rather than work against them,” observes Noel. “I knew from my spa uniform experience that comfort and technical performance should be the basis of all functional clothing.”
Noel quickly set about adding to the outerwear collection with a shorter riding jacket, the Hunter Jacket; and a gilet, The Rider’s Vest; the range was designed firmly with horse riders in mind. “Owning horses is a lifestyle choice, and we feel it is important to wear clothes that reflect your lifestyle, or even the lifestyle that you aspire to,” Noel says.
Style in and out of the ring
Asmar Equestrian recently launched a show apparel collection with coordinates, which while featuring playful twists, has its heart in traditional equestrian show wear. “There’s so much heritage in equestrian competition – the dress code has its roots in formal wear, especially for ladies, and I like to see classic garments that won’t be unfashionable in a few years’ time,” Noel says.
A rewarding experience
Noel has always been involved with horses, and says she was ‘your typical horse crazy little girl, growing up’. “My Mom bought me my first pony when I turned twelve – and I have been riding for pleasure since then,” she explains. Noel is a big fan of the Friesian breed, of which there are two types – the classical Baroque, and the Sport Friesian, which is finer boned. Noel has one of each. “Because of the Lipizzaner blood, this breed generally makes a very good riding and dressage horse – they are very trainable. Not to mention beautiful!” she says.
The team behind the brand
Asmar is continuing to develop relationships with new retailers, and is currently looking in particular to take on more in Britain – interested retailers can email firstname.lastname@example.org for information. “It is important to us to work with retailers who ‘get’ the brand and its association with an aspirational lifestyle – while we are being selective about the retailers we work with, any company that is internet-savvy, has a focus on customer service, and delivers its promises to its customer base, will be considered. A retailer stocking our clothes, whether online or in an actual store, is representing our brand, so we are keen to work with positive, ego-free people, no matter what the business’s size,” Noel adds.
The company is also leading the way by offering its retailers social media support. “Social media is a big part of business in the 21st century,” explains Asmar Equestrian’s Marketing Manager, Angela Yard. “We have two blogs and a Facebook and Twitter page, and like to engage with retailers, riders, customers and horse owners in this way. For us, it is about developing awareness of a brand, and engaging with horse riders in real time,” she says.
The coming months
With new retailers coming on board all the time, Noel Asmar is very positive about the coming year. “By 2012, we will have a full collection to offer our customers, including outerwear, show apparel, warm up wear and riding breeches. We are exhibiting internationally at trade shows, as we like to speak directly with retailer representatives, pick up and share new merchandising tips, and get the clothes into people’s hands at events,” she states.
“Essentially, we plan to continue working on establishing what is a very young company as an innovative apparel brand that offers excellent customer service,” she says. “With my name on the label, or emblazoned on the sleeve, I am determined to ensure the company and brand is the best it can be.”
Entry 4 from the diary of Asmar equestrian-sponsored rider, Sophie Wells, from the Frankfurt 2011 Young Riders World Cup Final
Asmar equestrian-sponsored rider, Sophie Wells, recently attended the Frankfurt 2011 Young Riders World Cup Final in Germany, which was held from 16 – 18 December 2011. We are serialising her diary entries over the next week:
It was the trot up day, so I rode in the morning, and it was absolute chaos. People jumping, tractors in the warm up, which was only about 30×30 with a pillar in the middle. At one point, everyone had to go around the same way until someone shouted to change the rein and everyone proceeded to go in the other direction, it was incredible, and like nothing I had ever seen before! However, it made me access my warm up as it was limited what I could do, and made us concentrate more on ourselves rather that the other 50 horses around us. Noki was a saint and trotted next to people leaping over jumps, and was not phased in the slightest. It was almost as if he got into his own zone too.
The trot up went well, and my trainer Ange did a great job with turning him out so smart, I had clipped him the day before we left which helped, but the pressure was on to get every single hair!
We then headed back to the hotel for an early night as my class was in the morning the next day, and I wanted to do the arena walk at 6.30 to get him into the arena again. The arena walk was also amazing as we were in at the same time as the senior dressage riders were training; so many famous faces, and horses to admire and get inspired by.
I was drawn straight after the break in my class, but just before the break was the European champion, German rider Sanneke Rothenburger, which was quite a tough draw. However we didn’t let anything phase us and Noki warmed up really well. We put the double bridle on half way through to let him get used to it, but he was opening his mouth quite a lot. I much prefer to ride in a snaffle, as I can hold the reins better; Noki feels more comfortable in a snaffle, but for international able bodied competition, it is compulsory.
Visit www.asmarequestrian.com for details of our clothing range.
Our show wear is classic, timeless and beautiful – FREE shipping on all items for North American orders in December
Asmar offers customers free shipping within North America for the month of December. There’s still time to get your show wear by the festive season.
Visit www.asmarequestrian.com to order within America/Canada, or check out stockist locations online, for international orders…
Man of the moment, GB’s Carl Hester, had a miracle ride with the 10 year old stallion Uthopia to claim a second silver medal in today’s grand prix freestyle. The result crowns a stellar week for Hester and the dressage team who have enjoyed their most successful championship after the team took the gold on Thursday for the first time in dressage history as well as silver and bronze in Saturday’s grand prix special.
Hester, who has burst onto the world stage with the rising dressage superstar that he co-owns with Sasha Stewart rode a wow test to a brand new music compilation for 84.179%. “The risk paid off, it was amazing” he declared. “It was the first time I’d ridden it and somehow we arrived in all the right places at all the right time. Six weeks ago he suddenly found a new gear and after Hickstead I knew we had to get serious and get new music. For such a young horse to do what he did here I couldn’t be happier with him, it’s so exciting.”
The result comes at a championship where the sport itself has reached new highs; each of the podium winners rode personal bests to take their titles in emphatic style. Yesterday’s champion Adelinde Cornelissen was the convincing winner for the home nation (NED) and rode a faultless test for 88.768% with Jerich Parzival. Swedish rider Patrick Kittel clinched the bronze with Watermill Scandic H.B.C on 83.429%, just 0.383 ahead of Britiain’s Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris in fourth.
“Alf [Mistral Hojris] grew in ambition as the test went on” commented Laura. “I’m so proud of him that he was so cool and focused. It felt like one of the best music tests he’s done; maybe the marks didn’t quite reflect what I felt but it’s still been an amazing show for British dressage. For Carl to get another podium finish is fantastic.”
Amidst a week of top sport British riders have stamped their authority all over the 2011 FEI European Championships in Rotterdam. Newcomer to top level dressage,Charlotte Dujardin, has been the talk of the show and finished ninth on the nine year old Valegro riding in their first ever grand prix freestyle competition together for 79.357%
President of the ground jury Ghislain Fourage commented: “We have never seen so much quality at a competition as we have seen here in Rotterdam and Britain especially has surprised a lot of people. Carl and Charlotte, I would like to compliment them on their wonderful way of riding.”
The European Championships are the last senior dressage championship in Europe before next year’s Olympic Games in 2012. The hard won results here put Britain firmly on the map to be in the medal shakeup next year.
Sophie Wells (Grade IV) riding her own, Valerius
Sophie speaks about being a part of the 2011 European Championships
“I was quite surprised but really pleased that Valerius is now respected enough to be selected for the squad. He’s younger and has always been in the shadow of Pinocchio who will go to the Young Rider Europeans again this year – it’ll be the perfect opportunity for Valerius to stand up and hold his own. We’ve been back and forward to my coach Angela Weiss for more intensive training since Hickstead which has really paid off, we’ve worked really hard to get the best out of him and his way of going is so much more established.”
Anne Dunham (Grade Ia) riding Mrs Sally Ann Brown’s, Teddy
Anne speaks about being a part of the 2011 European Championships
“I’m excited, very pleased and looking forward to it. There were so many in line for selection I wasn’t sure it would happen so I’m delighted. My team mate Sophie Christiansen will be some of the strongest competition; it’s great for the country and spurs you on to better things.”
Deborah Criddle (Grade III) riding The Lady Joseph Trust’s, LJT Akilles
Deborah speaks about being a part of the 2011 European Championships
“I’m really excited, 2008 was the last time I was part of a GB championship squad so I’m really, really pleased to get the call up again. It seems to have been quite a frantic year, The Lady Joseph Trust bought Akilles for me in mid-February and since then we’ve both been on a big learning curve to get to grips with each other. I can’t believe we’ve go this far in so short a time and it still feels like he has a lot of gears left.”
Sophie Christiansen (Grade Ia) riding The Berkeley Group’s, Rivaldo of Berkeley
Sophie speaks about being a part of the 2011 European Championships
“I’ve had a tough few months with my horse ‘Robin’ (Rivaldo of Berkeley) so this is a surprise and great honour. I’m so proud of him to put all our troubles behind him and perform so well at Hartpury and earn our selection. I owe a massive thank you to my support team in particular Clive Milkins as without them, selection would have been impossible. I’m really looking forward to competing for my country and trying to keep up our run of success.”
Natasha Baker (Grade II) riding Mr & Mrs P Baker’s and Mr C Landolt’s Cabral
Natasha speaks about being part of the 2011 European Championships
Natasha Baker: “Amazing, I’m not normally speechless but mum and I were in floods of tears when David [Hunter] broke the news. We’ve had a fantastic season, my coaches Sacha Hamilton and Emile Faurie have worked so hard and been really supportive and I couldn’t have done any more. It’s a wonderful opportunity; the European nations and especially the Germans and the Dutch are some of the strongest competition in my grade so it will be good to get a feel for where we are in the world too.”