I had the opportunity to get to know Aline during The National Sunshine Series @ The Desert International Horse Park November 2019. She is such a beautiful rider and person that I wanted to share her story and her experience from growing up in Europe to now living and riding in the US.
Where are you from and when did you start riding?
I was born in Klagenfurt, a city in the South of Austria but grew up just North of Vienna. I probably started riding at the age of 4. My parents both rode, my father used to be a professional show jumper, so being around horses and riding was a big part of growing up for my siblings and myself.
What is the biggest challenge for you in this sport?
I missed out on some essential years of development and practice during my time at university. I didn’t ride for almost 5 years, which I can now feel immensely. Before and whilst studying I never thought I would end up in the sport or equestrian industry, however once having finished my degree, the corporate world felt too foreign to proceed with it and I somehow got pulled back into horses.
Having said that, I find it hard to catch up, there are many young talents out there and the sport is highly developed nowadays, with incredible systems in place for producing great riders and horses. Accessibility to the good quality sport is mainly reserved for the elite, especially in the USA, and opportunities within those can seem rare and far between. However, the elitist influence has also allowed for the sport’s various business branches to grow and evolve- it has become a big industry around the sport, which allows for various people to find a place to stay involved.
Why do you love this sport?
There are many things I love about the sport. I feel I am expected to start with the love for horses itself. Apart from the fact that I think they are one of the most kind and elegant animals there are, it is incredible how far they go to give us joy and so called success. Furthermore, the partnership between horse and rider is very unique within the spectrum of all sports and allows for a great amount of special and inspiring success stories to take place.
Besides that, I love the classiness, elegance and tradition of the sport, not to forget the lifestyle it comes with which is very active and includes a lot of traveling.
Who are some of the riders you admire and why?
Whilst I admire and pay my respect to the big names on the top of the list without any question, I also appreciate riders with styles and traits I can personally relate to on one level or another.
For the last few years for me that has been Celine Schoonbroodt de Azevedo, a Belgium rider who entered the 5* level a few years ago and who is not only known for riding incredibly well but also for producing horses for those in the top of the world. I watched Celine ride for the first time a few years ago at a show in Europe and was quite taken by her riding. I have been following her career since and it is great to see her doing so well.
Follow Aline's Journey @alinedomaingo