SPAR Homegrowing Hero October 2017 – Dylan Muller

Woodridge College learner Dylan Muller has made a habit of showjumping achievement in recent years. He claimed his first crown at age 12 when he became the youngest rider to win the Eastern Cape Pony Rider Showjumping Championship and since then there’s been no looking back! Past successes include representing the Eastern Cape at the South African Pony Rider Showjumping Championships as provincial champion and at the tender age of 12 he won the Port Elizabeth Riding Club overall Showjumper of the Year award (a trophy awarded to the showjumper with the most accumulated competition points for the year across all age groups).

Woodridge College learner Dylan Muller has made a habit of showjumping achievement in recent years. He claimed his first crown at age 12 when he became the youngest rider to win the Eastern Cape Pony Rider Showjumping Championship and since then there’s been no looking back! Past successes include representing the Eastern Cape at the South African Pony Rider Showjumping Championships as provincial champion and at the tender age of 12 he won the Port Elizabeth Riding Club overall Showjumper of the Year award (a trophy awarded to the showjumper with the most accumulated competition points for the year across all age groups).

Currently aged 17, Dylan now competes as a junior at 1.3m and added to his impressive list of achievements recently when he won the SA Showjumping Victor Ludorum award at the nationals held in Johannesburg on his horse Tiger Moon. Horse and rider will both be going back to Johannesburg in December to take part in the South African Junior Showjumping Championships.In addition to his partnership with Tiger Moon, Dylan is also working with a young horse named Soofee. Soofee is 7 years-old (which is quite young in showjumping terms) and jumping 1.2m at the moment. Dylans long-term plan is to jump the South African Derby with Soofee in 2019.

For now, however, and for his Victor Ludorum triumph at the SA Showjumping Champonships, Sport Elizabeth is pleased to add to Dylan Muller’s growing list of achievements by naming him as our Homegrowing Hero for the month of October 2017.

Dylan, congratulations on winning the Victor Ludorum award. Would you say this is the biggest win of your career?Oh definitely!
I’ve enjoyed all my other wins and appreciated them but this was the biggest stage and against the stiffest competition. It was also based on a number of different events over the course of two days and to find out that I’d received the most accolades and been name Victor Ladorum was a great feeling.Take us back to where it all started.

hen did you decide that this was the sport for you?
Well, I started showjumping when I was 7 years-old on my ponies Dream Catcher and Tequila Girl but the first time I got onto a pony was when I was about 5. I think we went to Holmeleigh Farmyard and I loved the pony ride so much that I didn’t want to get off. I think ever since then all I wanted to do was ride horses.

What makes for a good bond between horse and rider when it comes to showjumping?
You have to spend time together. The more time you spend together the better the bond will be. It’s important to groom your horse and let him know that you love him. That way you get to know and understand each other. You even begin to sense each other’s moods. If I’m feeling tense or nervous for example he will definitely pick up on it and react.

How much time do you typically spend with Tiger Moon?
I spend time with him, and Soofee, every single day! I also try and ride them each for at least half-an hour every day. It’s important to work together as much as possible if you want to showjump competitively and I think riders who spend less time with their horses won’t achieve as much.

How much of a showjumper’s success is down to the horse and how much is down to the rider?
It’s about fifty-fifty. Of course you need to have a horse that can jump and likes to jump but you also need a rider that knows how to bring the best out of the horse. Trust between the two is important and you have to be able to work as a partnership if you want to succeed.

What makes Tiger Moon and Soofee so special to you?
Well, Tiger Moon is not only the first horse that I’ve owned but he’s also the first male I’ve owned. He’s fit and he’s strong and he’s a really good natural jumper. I only had ponies before him so the fact that he’s my first horse means he will always have a special place in my heart. Soofee is younger than Tiger so is more of an extrovert and loves playing.

What has the reaction been like from family and friends to your showjumping achievements?
Everybody has been really happy for me but most of my friends and schoolmates don’t really know what goes into doing well at showjumping. It’s only my parents and my coach, Diane Snodgrass-Botes who really understand how much time and effort it takes so I probably appreciate their compliments a little more. But everyone has been kind and supportive of me.

You mention your coach – how big a role does she play in your performances?
She’s very important to me. I’ve been with Diane since I was about 9 years-old so she knows me really well. She always pushes me very hard because she wants me to achieve great things and, importantly, she believes I have it in me to achieve great things

How about your future plans. Do you envisage being a full-time showjumper in future?
No. I do want to carry on showjumping but I plan on that being more of a hobby than anything else. I definitely want to jump the SA Derby as I said earlier but once that’s done I’ll probably concentrate on making a career for myself as a heiicopter pilot.

FACT FILE

Full name: Dylan Muller
Birthdate: 5 May 2000
School: Woodridge College
First Sporting Hero: Jade Hooke
Favourite other sport: Cricket
Favourite sports team: Proteas
Favourite cricketer: AB De Vlliers
Favourite TV show? I don’t watch much TV
Favourite food? Braai

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