Introducing Sophia Tabasso in our Seeking Excellence Series of equestrian athletes.

Sophia Tabasso - Seeking Excellence blog | Malvern Saddlery

Riders come in all forms, in all disciplines with different levels of interest and commitment.  Every so often there is a rider who stands out to me not just as a competitor but as a true horseman.  Someone who surrounds herself with the best and puts her horses, their happiness, and their welfare way ahead of her own ambitions.  

 It has always been that way as we have watched Sophia. She has faced numerous adversities in her journey. After qualifying for Pony Finals , she lost her best buddy, her first pony, to colic on the day he was being readied to load for the trip. Sophia's heart was broken not for having to opt out of the show but for the pony, I believe she was only 8 years old at that time.

Sophia has developed a tremendous understanding of the skill set and dedication it takes to actually ‘partner’ with her horses. [In my experience], until this is solid and true, the consistency in the ring can never be a given. and she has come to realize the importance of that trust. She is very aware of her responsibility in this role and does not take it for granted.

Sophia Tabasso at WEC Ohio 2023 | Malvern Saddlery

The other piece of her success to be sure has been a 7 year long loyal relationship with her trainer Jonathan Martin, of Hunt Hill Farm. It is every trainer’s dream to have a client who truly wants to be a student of the sport and is willing to do whatever it takes to earn her place in that world. Together they have worked on finding good partner horses and have spent countless hours developing what has become an impressively sophisticated set of skills for such a young rider that will clearly be her tools for life.

After competing medium and large ponies, Sophia added small junior hunters to her schedule in 2020 and that move to horses seemed to be defining. There were great ribbons at indoors, a move up to 3’6 and a new interest in pursuing jumpers.

Sophia Tabasso WEC Ohio | Malvern Saddlery

From there light bulbs and opportunities seemed to go off rapidly. Learning the skills of Equitation and competing successfully in those divisions really made the rider connection, the cause and effect ‘ factor even more apparent for Sophia. Now she is continuing in the hunters having just come off a very exciting win at WEC Ohio in the National Hunter Derby!  Big Eq was a natural next step and Sophia has had recent wins in both the Medal and Maclay.

We can’t wait to see where her journey goes next but with her passion, humility and commitment we know for sure that anything is possible.





February 06, 2023 — Jill Apfelbaum


Sophia Tabasso said:

I can’t thank Ms. Jill and everyone at Malvern Saddlery enough for these kind words and all the support they have always shown me! It takes a village and Malvern Saddlery is a big part of my village! I am so grateful and honored.

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