Interview by Noor Farhan/Red Sports. Pictures by Vanessa Lim/Red Sports

Caroline Chew

Caroline Chew on the parade lap before commencing her run. (Photo 1 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)

Red Sports caught up with local equestrienne Caroline Chew Pei Jia during Round B of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Individual Jumping event held at the Singapore Turf Club. Caroline shared with us her experiences of the YOG.

Red Sports (RS): Tell us a bit about yourself.
Caroline Chew: I’m a second-year student from Hwa Chong Institution and I’m 18 years old, taking my A levels at the end of this year.

RS: Horses or people — which is the more difficult to deal with?
Caroline: Well, I would say that horses are more straight than people are. People are more cunning and tend to backstab and such. Not all though, but some are. If you think about it, you can understand a broad spectrum of people’s behaviours. For horses, they are more nuanced (in comparison).

RS: Tell us about Gatineau (her mount for the YOG equestrian event).
CC: Gatineau is actually a very obliging horse, so I was quite lucky to have him though he does has his little quirks. He’s very brave over the fences, but sometimes he’s so brave that he’ll knock down the fences.

RS: So who’s braver? Gatineau or you?
CC: Gatineau (giggles). I’m quite a careful rider, more cautious (than the horse is).

RS: How do you view pressure? For instance, the hype generated by the media on an athlete.
CC: It could be a good thing or a bad thing. Ultimately it depends on the athletes, and how they deal with it. As for media hype, I guess it’s something we (YOG athletes) have to deal with.

RS: What are your methods to cope with pressure?
CC: For me, when I’m having my downtime, I’ll read articles and stuff. When the time comes for me to compete, I just focus, forget all the rest and just concentrate (on the competition).

RS: What are your priorities now, since the YOG is over for you?
CC: Well, I have to study (laughs) …

RS: What about your friends and family? Will there be more time with them with YOG out of the way?
CC: I’ll definitely try. I mean … I’m looking forward to having dinners out with my family. For me the YOG came at a weird time, and I have siblings all over the place, and (it’s) this time that they are all home. But it was weird because I was at the YOG village instead of at home (with my family).

RS: Did you have much time to spend with your family and friends during the YOG?
CC: Not really, because I was in the YOG village most of the time which was quite far away.

RS: How do you feel about the YOG equestrian competition?
CC: They (her competitors) are some of the best riders in our age group, which is quite daunting, but it’s also quite a privilege to compete with them. I did not do as well as I wanted, because I was hoping for more. In the team competition we were quite close to a medal but the fact that I held my own in the competition (amongst world-class riders) is quite encouraging.

RS: Which continental riders have impressed you?
CC: The Europeans have traditionally been stronger, but in this competition the South Americans have done very well. The Middle-East riders are definitely good too. They rode good horses and performed very well, so respect to them.

RS: Any advice for those who want to try out equestrian?
CC: Well, they’re definitely more avenues now for equestrian in Singapore. Especially with the public riding school here in the Turf Club. I would say just try it because the bond you develop with the horse is something special and you tend to not have it with anything else.

Caroline Chew

Caroline riding Gatineau in the Youth Olympics. (Photo 2 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)