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A Career in Equestrianism, A Lifelong Passion for Horse Riding

Written by: Goh Yu Le (21S79), Lim Yu Shu (21S74)

Edited by: Ms. Caroline Chew, Hu Chenwei (21A15)

Ms Caroline Chew Riding at the Olympics

Caroline Chew, a Hwa Chong alumna, has been dedicated to the Equestrian discipline of Dressage from an early age and steadfastly pursued this passion all the way to the great heights of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. This journey has taken her from her time at Hwa Chong well into her professional life, with her interest in horse riding stemming from a simple pastime and developing into a highly competitive career.

Ms Caroline Chew with Her Beloved Horse

Horse riding was simply a fun activity for Caroline when she started – weekly lessons were an opportunity to spend time with her siblings outdoors. Gradually, however, horse riding developed into something more than a hobby and became an integral part of her life, as she started to compete more seriously. Nevertheless, fitting horse riding around her busy schedule was not an easy feat. She emphasised that consistency was key as she tried to be “equally driven whether it was in horse riding or in her studies”.

In Hwa Chong, she kept up with her commitments through the help of both her close friends as well as her dedicated tutors. Reflecting back on her school life, she said that “though it wasn’t easy, it was a good learning experience which came in useful even after I graduated from Hwa Chong”, as she kept up this “dual-career” initially at Bristol University, and then at work at Freshfields, a global law firm headquartered in London.

This balancing act has had its ups and downs, amidst keeping up a busy schedule of competitions throughout Europe alongside a gruelling legal career. A key highlight came when Caroline received the sudden call back for the Olympic qualifier, having taken a year off competitive horse riding during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maximising the remote working arrangements in place, Caroline decided to live and work at the stables full-time and was therefore able to train more intensively.

Nevertheless, Caroline described her qualification for the Olympics as a “miracle” and she was surprised that everything worked out well – though truth be told, this was a result of her hard work and resolve, as well as the critical support provided for her both by her horse riding and legal team mates. She was incredibly grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Olympics.

Although Caroline acknowledges that “people tend to think of sports as a stepping stone, and tend to impose a very strict time frame” on sporting endeavours, she believes that if one is really ambitious and passionate about the sport, there will always be ways for them to continue this pursuit – even if it leads to a slightly different path to that of their contemporaries. She encourages all Singaporeans to continue following their dreams, sporting or otherwise, and enjoy the journey as there is no telling where it will take you in the end.

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