In her fi rst lead role on a TV show, Ariel Ka­plan is rid­ing high. Guy Davis chat­ted with the young star of the pop­u­lar chil­dren’s se­ries The Sad­dle Club.

Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide - - Q & A -

It seems that there’s al­ways been a con­nec­tion be­tween young girls and horses, which goes a long way to­wards ex­plain­ing the suc­cess of Bon­nie Bryant’s best­selling se­ries of Sad­dle Club nov­els.

And the TV se­ries based on the books have proven pop­u­lar with young view­ers all over the world.

The third sea­son of The Sad­dle Club, fol­low­ing the ad­ven­tures of a trio of pony-crazy pals, is now air­ing on Nine, and 13-year-old Ariel Ka­plan is one of the stars.

Ariel, I un­der­stand that horses weren’t re­ally your thing be­fore you joined The Sad­dle Club.

No, and we had about two weeks of train­ing be­fore they said “ OK, go ahead, start rid­ing!” [ Laughs] And I just fell in love with horses from then on. I can’t get enough of them, even though I’m the fur­thest thing from a coun­try girl. I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have even tried rid­ing if it wasn’t for Sad­dle Club but now I ride ev­ery week.

Tell us a bit about Lisa, your char­ac­ter on the show.

I think she’s a great char­ac­ter. She’s some­times seen as the goody-two-shoes, some­one who tends to fol­low her friends in what­ever they do, but when it’s im­por­tant and when it means a lot to her she pulls through. She’s such a de­ter­mined girl who’s of­ten faced with re­ally hard de­ci­sions and it doesn’t help that her mum is al­ways on her back push­ing her to be a per­fec­tion­ist. How­ever, the truth is that Lisa is a tough girl with a heart of gold. Play­ing her was a great ex­pe­ri­ence for me.

Were there parts of the char­ac­ter could you re­late to more than oth­ers?

Well, she usu­ally tags along and I’d prob­a­bly be the one lead­ing! But there are lit­tle things that we have in com­mon – I’m a bit of a worry-wart, just like Lisa. [ Laughs] She’s al­ways up for a bit of fun but she’s scared about get­ting in trou­ble. When it’s the right time, though, she’ll step up and be the hero. And like Lisa, I try to be aca­demic … well, I try! The things is, every­one on the set was telling me I was so much like Lisa it was scary.

Had you read the Sad­dle Club books be­fore you joined the show?

I knew about the books but I was more fa­mil­iar with the TV se­ries. Like I said, I wasn’t that into horses but I re­ally liked the friend­ship as­pect of the show.

Did the friend­ships and re­la­tion­ships you cre­ated for the show ex­tend off - cam­era as well?

Defi nitely. The three of us in The Sad­dle Club were spending 24 hours a day to­gether, so we be­came good friends – the other two girls have gone back to Canada now but we talk ev­ery week. And I lived with two other girls from the cast who ac­tu­ally play our en­e­mies on the show, and we be­came best friends as well. I don’t think there could be a more en­joy­able and fun se­ries to be a part of. The cast and crew have be­come like a fam­ily. I can’t be­lieve how lucky I am to have had an ex­pe­ri­ence like this.

What were your favourite scenes to fi lm?

I liked it when I got to be mean! [ Laughs] It only hap­pened once ev­ery 10 episodes or so but when­ever I got to say some­thing mean I was like “ Yes! Fi­nally!” That’s one of the great things about act­ing: you get to say things you would never, ever re­ally say.

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