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F R E E M O N T H LY E Q U E S T R I A N M A G A Z I N E

BUSINESS CULTURE TRAVEL MONEY TOMORROW QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS BUSINESS CULTURE TRAVEL MONEY TOMORROW QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS BUSINESS CULTURE TRAVEL MONEY TOMORROW QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS BUSINESS CULTURE MONEY TOMORROW

Equine Online April 2016

YO U R H O RS ES,YO U R ST O R I ES

MINI SERIES

RACEHORSE RECYCLING DOWN TO EARTH DRESSAGE With Anthea Dixon

A GIRL AND HER SPIRIT Why one woman is riding her horse around NZ

FIND THE PERFECT PONY! The only guide you’ll ever need to read.

Y O H f o ! Welcome to our E s AG E G R A E P V FIRST ISSUE! 12 CO


EDITOR

Yvette Morrissey

CONTRIBUORS

Jodie Thorne, Nicola Essex, Hayley Clarke, Senara Caddy, Jane Pike, Marie Gordon, Freya Thompson, Jess Land, Claire Madden, Jax van Buuren, Abigail Smithies.

PHOTOGRAPHERS

FR O M T HE EDI TO R

Kaylee Mcbeth, Kelly Allen, Yvette Stewart, Ellen Davis, John Barnfield.

THANK YOU

Anthea Dixon, Jodie Thorne, Bev Morrissey, Jessica Brechin, Matt Shand, Kerry Phillips, Amy Hollands, Fiona Lumsden O’Neill, Beth Jobin, Sue Holmes,

CONTRIBUTE!

We are always on the lookout for new contributors. If you are interested in becoming a part of New Zealand’s first free equestrian e-magazine, send us an email: editor@equineonline.co.nz

COVER ARTWORK

The beautiful image on our cover was drawn and painted by Ellen Davis from Marton. Ellen is 15 and attends Feilding Agricultural High School. She is also an avid photographer- you will see many of her images throughout this issue! You can view and purchase Ellen’s photography on Facebook.

Yvette with her horse Regi

Welcome to issue one of Equine Online magazine! It’s been quite a journey to get here, and I hope you enjoy what we have in store for you. While there hasn’t been any blood, I’ll admit there has been a few tears and a LOT of sweat gone into this first issue. I am excited to bring you stories from horse riders and enthusiasts from all around New Zealand- those stories that often slip under the radar, yet are great examples of why the equestrian scene in our country is unique and special. There is something for everyone to enjoy- whether you are a happy hacker or an equestrian athlete, a dressage diva or racing enthusiast. Our first issue comes after the Horse of the Year show, so we have plenty of coverage for you. We chat to two first-time Horse of the Year competitors and have twelve pages of gorgeous photos taken by our photographers. These photos and a whole lot more are available to purchase on our photography website- click here to check it out. Part one of our Racehorse Recycling mini-series launches in this issue. Follow four riders retrain their four ex-racehorses, each in a different discipline on page 18. You will also meet our four columnists- each has a different area of expertise and are excited about helping you improve your riding! I would love to hear your feedback on the first issue, so drop me a line. Happy riding, Yvette


contents 4 NEWS AND REVIEWS Para-equestrian at Horse of the Year, results from the Standardbred of the Year ridden classes, top 6 horse apps, and this months product review.

10 INTERVIEW: ARABIAN PRINCESS

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This monrth we chat to Liana Mikaera about her multi-talented purebred Arabian, Cyprus Al Thaqib.

12 FINDING ‘THAT’ PONY Before you start searching for the perfect pony, read our guide equipped with expert tips!

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RACEHORSE RECYCLING

Follow four riders and their journey retraining four ex-racehorses into sporthorses.

25 HOOFING AROUND NZ Marie Palzer and her horse Spirit are circumnavigaing the South Island, all for change. Read the first part of their epic journey!

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30 MY FIRST HOY We chat to two riders about their experience competing at Horse of the Year for the first time.

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32 12 PAGE HOY PHOTO SPREAD Enjoy a selection of photographs taken by our photograpers at Horse of the Year 2016.

46 THE IMPORTANCE OF PREPARATION In our first training feature we visit Anthea Dixon at home where she gives a lesson.

50 COLUMNS Meet our four columnists who will be writing on a variety of topics including rider psychology, health and fitness, coaching, and returning to riding as an adult.

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NEWS

FROM BRONZE TO GOLD By Hayley Clarke From racehorse to show hack, Bronze Jay aka Patch took out the Standardbred Horse of the Year (HOY) title class at the 2016 show held in Hastings in March. Rider and owner Chanelle Dickie grew up around horses. Her father always rode, but her passion for standardbreds came from her mother who owned racehorses. Following in her footsteps, Chanelle decided to hunt out a retired standardbred to train. Bronze Jay caught Chanelle’s eye during his racing career. The Live or Die bred pacer won three of his 15 starts and placed third on one occasion. Old owners David and Catherine Butt made the decision to retire the now 11 year-old from racing, and Chanelle made sure when he was on the float he was going to her place. “I told Catherine if he was ever in need of a home to ring me and I was very lucky that she did,” Chanelle said. Chanelle believes standardbreds are easy to train and says she feels a lot safer on one. “They are trustworthy and have so much personality.” Chanelle competed Patch in many shows leading up to HOY where he nearly always came away with champion or reserve champion. After winning Champion Ridden Standardbred at the Canterbury A&P show three times, Chanelle decided she only had one thing left to do- compete at HOY. Chanelle, her Mum and

Paris, her chihuahua, along with Patch of course, left at 1pm on Tuesday March 1 and arrived in Napier at 7pm the next night. Chanelle said the atmosphere was a step up from anything I’ve ever done before. “The grounds looked great, the crowds were there watching expectantly and the competitors and their horses were all immaculate. The other competitors were all friendly and welcoming and were genuinely congratulating one another.” After many years of hard work, Chanelle and Bronze Jay were officially named Standardbred Horse of the Year for 2016. Chanelle couldn’t quite find the right word to describe winning the biggest standardbred class in the country. “Elation? Pride? Relief? A life dream coming true! The exact moment when it happened I couldn’t get any words out.... and yes there were tears.” Claire Madden was the runner up with Gotham Bromac aka Golly. “I was aiming for a top four finish in the title class but I had never seen the South Island horses go and we have some really talented horses here in the North so I wasn’t sure we would actually achieve it,” she said. Claire shares the same views as Chanelle on standardbreds and how they can be perceived. “I think it’s great that we were able to showcase standardbreds at HOY. They are such an underrated breed and when you gain a ring at such a big show like HOY it shows that people are starting to take them more seriously.” Leaving the last few words to the champion however, Chanelle said the decision to return and try to retain the title next year is a wee way off. “I’m still getting over this year! In terms of Bronze Jay I’m undecided on his next move as he doesn’t have anything left to prove but I’ll be there to support the standardbred ring... watch this space!”

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Chanelle Dickie & Bronze Jay. Photo: Kaylee Mcbeth

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Claire Madden & Gotham Bromac were reserve champions.


NEWS

PARA EQUESTRIAN AT HORSE OF THE YEAR By Jodie Thorne and Nicola Essex It was a wet start to the week at Horse of the Year 2016 but that certainly didn’t dampen the spirits of the para-equestrian riders who made the trip to Hastings. After a few days spent settling in, riders prepared their horses for the Team Tests on Friday. The Para Equestrian Horse of the Year titles were decided over three tests in each grade: the Team test, the Individual Championship test and the Musical Freestyle. Riders were assessed off the horse by the national para classifier, Vicky Melville. Thankfully the sun came out and the riders were blessed with great weather for all three competition days at the Polo Grounds while under the eye of Australian FEI 3* judge Kylie Bullock and Official National judge Myra Frend. Para-equestrian showed to be gaining momentum as a discipline by the number of spectators and support crews watching the performances. Jodie Thorne, the only Grade 1A rider currently competing in NZ, rode against her own PB’s on San Mateo Tech Effects for the Grade 1A title. “I was so proud of Tech over the whole week.” Jodie said. “He didn’t put a foot wrong.” Three riders contended the Grade II competition. Nelson rider and Rio hopeful Frances Dick and her horse Weltmeister AF, rode three superb tests all scoring over 71% which saw them take out the Grade II title. “My horse Weltmeister AF and I had a great show achieving the percentages we did with the huge support from my coach Rachel Thomas.” Fran said. “It was so precious to ride Weltie, a horse who just tries so hard to please. I also really enjoyed watching the Grand Prix Freestyles.” Grade II Reserve Champion went to Aimee Prout and Laghmor. Grade III had the largest number of competitors out of

Chontelle Honour rides Tama Park Bradman in Grade II. Photo: Kaylee McBeth

Para-equestrian riders are classified into five different grades depending on their functional profile. Grade 1A is the most impaired and grade IV is the least impaired. Classification ensures riders are competing against those with similar disabilities. Once classified, athletes are advised of the compensating aids they can use. These aids are used by riders to compensate for the physical or sensory limitations resulting from their impairment, and may include the use of voice, additional whip, handholds, rein and saddle adaptations and rubber bands to hold their feet in the stirrups. the three grades, with seven combinations from around the North Island competing. Rachel Stock and Rimini Park Emmerich (Ricki) had a superb show, successfully defending their Grade III title. Rachel and Ricki also finished 5th in the AB (able-bodied) muscial, 4th in the Super 5 Challenge test and 4th in AB Level 3 Horse of the Year Title.

“Ricki was loud and proud in the arena. Rather than tiring he was improving his scores throughout the week,” said Rachel. Anne Watts and BJK Cashmir, also a Saddle Hunter ribbon winner and Gee Whiz Memorial Turnout Trophy entrant, put in three solid performances to take the Grade III Reserve. Unfortunately the Grade IV HOY title was not to be claimed this year after Jo Jackson and her two horses had to retire after Friday’s Team tests. Despite that Jo had a great week with some PB’s in the able-bodied Level 5 on Nonchalant and Level 4 on JD Flash. “I was very pleased with both horses as there was some serious competition there.” Jo said. “It was unfortunate that both horses got a fright in their stalls that resulted in them both not being 100% fit to complete the Para-Equestrian event, but bring on next season!” The next Para Championship show takes place in October at the National Equestrian Centre in Taupo. If you are interested in participating as a Para-Equestrian or know of someone who may be, contact ESNZ Para Equestrian on Facebook.

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OPINION

THE ART OF PERSUASION By Hayley Clarke, Junior Driver at Steve Clarke Racing Stables The most recent debate within the Harness Racing industry has been to do with the use of the whip. Should it stay or should it go? As a harness racing junior driver I can see both sides of the coin on this issue. I think the whip can be used as a great tool during a race. Sometimes horses need a small flick to remind them to stay on the job. Even the sound of the whip hitting the dust sheet, or running it through the horse’s tail is effective. I don’t think the use of a whip is an issue, but how the whip is used can be. A horse that is being powerfully struck on the rump is not going to want to run for the driver. A careful reminder, however, is much more effective and kinder to the horse. Can we afford to attempt to measure whip use on the strength of the hit however? When I’m out driving in a race my power behind the whip is not overly strong. I suppose the question on the minds of owners, trainers, punters and drivers is does the impact of the strike win the race? The whip could create one of the biggest arguments in Harness Racing. Could I live without it? Probably. But I’m only one small voice in a very big world.

YOUR THOUGHTS Do you think measures should be put in place on whip use In Harness Racing? Email your thoughts to reporter@equineonline.co.nz

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EQUESTRIAN JEWELLERY

EquestrianJewellery designed with you in mind

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EQUINE ONLINE MAGAZINE APRIL 2016

W:

www.harrisequestrianjewellery.com

T:

+ 64 354 688 13 (diverts to mobile)

M:

+ 64 211 517 931

E:

sales@kellyharris.co.nz


PRODUCT REVIEW

product review: naturally white soap wash for horses and hounds “I used the Bee Kind’s ‘Naturally White’ Soap Wash for Horses and Hounds today for the first time and am thoroughly impressed. The top picture is of my horse who has been turned out in the paddock for the past 18 months and hasn’t had a bath in that whole time. The bottom picture is after one wash with the soap. It was very easy to use and turned from a manky browny-grey colour to a bright, shiny grey again. I found this product did the job faster than other products as it normally takes a few washes to get my horses clean and it was easier than using a liquid shampoo in a bottle as just rubbed straight on! I will definitely being using this product on all my grey horses and horses with white markings from now on!”

-Jess Land, Christchurch

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REVIEW

TOP 6 HO R

There is an array of applications for equestrians to enjoy. AB can downloa

HORSE RIDER SOS

This app is really something! Horse Rider SOS will alert your preselected contact if you fall off your horse when out riding on your own. It is easy to use as well, just open the Horse Rider SOS app on your Android or iPhone, press the start button and the app will begin to track your ride. As long as Horse Rider SOS continues to detect your movement it will be content to sit quietly and remain in tracking mode. However, if you come off your horse and are unconscious or unable to move, the app will immediately notify your chosen contact that you are in trouble and they will be sent your exact location so you can be rescued without delay.

STABLE DIARY

Created in New Zealand by animal health company Zoetis, Stable Diary collects all your horsey info, keeping you connected to your horse’s health by reminding you when you need to call the farrier, the dentist or worm your horse. Use the GPS ‘Track your Ride’ feature as a fitness tool, upload photos, receive news feeds and much more. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch only. Requires iOS 6.0 or later.

$10.00

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EQUINE ONLINE MAGAZINE APRIL 2016

FREE

VIEW RANGER

ViewRanger gives horse riders everything they need to hit the trail with confidence. It lets you view your mapped location instantly- even when there’s no mobile coverage. With View Ranger you can download local maps to view on and offline, measure your speed and distance travelled (including changes of elevation) and view the location of other members of your group on your phone with BuddyBeacon (requires mobile coverage). You can also record your track and export it to share with others or just to keep a log of your trip. Navigate your route with alarms to alert you at waypoints and if you veer too far off course.

FREE


REVIEW

RSE A P P S

BIGAIL SMITHIES investigates some of her favourites so you ad and enjoy! MY HORSE

My Horse lets you care for your very own virtual horse. Players can collect 11 different breeds of horses, groom and feed them, and enter them in show jumping competitions with the goal of reaching the World Championship. The game is free to play, but players can spend real money to speed up the game, replenish energy, and purchase exclusive items. Users can share high scores via the Game Center social network, and post updates on Facebook, but participation is optional. Available on Android and iPhone.

HORSE HAVEN

Create your own horse haven with this app. Build and manage your dream horse farm spanning multiple exotic sites all over the world. Groom and feed your own horses to boost their happiness and energy levels. Raise your horse to compete in steeplechase races where you can collect coins to purchase items for your horse. The quality of graphics in this app is outstanding, and the tutorials are easy to use and simple to understand. The game is free to play, however in-app purchases are available to speed up the game and buy exclusive items.

EQUISKETCH RECORDS

Manage all aspects of your equestrian life on the go. Equisketch is great for those competing- you can enter and record important information about every horse, rider, show and event. Reminders and notifications are also automatically generated for important dates. For riding instructors the new rider menu allows you to track the progress of every student and set reminders for the focus and goals of future lessons. Available on Android and iPhone.

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Available on Android and iPhone.

FREE

FREE

$14.99

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INTERVIEW

A RAB I A N P RI NC E S S

You’d expect to see an Arabian out on the endurance field rather than eventing at 1* level, show jumping at Horse of the Year and taking home ribbons in the show ring, but this is not

PROFILE: Cyprus Al Thaqib (Chaos) AGE: 8 HEIGHT: 15.3hh BREED: Purebred Arabian DAM: Cyprus Ali Esperance SIRE: Joda Aloof (AUS) BREEDER: Penny Sutherland of Cyprus Arabians NZ and AUS

When did you start riding Arabians? When I was 13 I leased an Arabian mare called Cashmere that was deemed unrideable. My parents couldn’t afford to buy me a pony so I was delighted when the opportunity came to lease her. I hadn’t had her long when I broke my collar bone (on another pony). I decided I wanted to take her to a show despite my collar bone not being fully healed. I entered her in the round the ring- I’d never done it before and when the class started it was very windy and raining. The jumps were white gates and brushes and one metre plus in height. Mum tried to stop me riding but

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I wouldn’t listen and at this point I had never jumped her over 60cm. I felt at ease on her as she carried me round the course to win. So that was that- I was hooked on Arabians. How did you meet Chaos? I first saw Chaos on Trade Me for $1 reserve. He was only 18 months so he was scrawny and a funny colour (turning from chestnut to grey) and I said to my parents ‘That’s the one!’ The day he arrived I remember putting him into the paddock behind the electric tape and the first thing he did was gallop full speed and run through it. That marked the beginning of his escape tactics. Nowadays he is much better behaved behind electric tapes, but will still try to escape pulling out the standards if you don’t secure them properly.

EQUINE ONLINE MAGAZINE APRIL 2016

LEFT Liana & Chaos in more traditional attire. OPPOSITE PAGE LEFT Liana & Chaos in the cross-country phase RIGHT Liana & Chaos at Horse of the Year 2015.


INTERVIEW How did he end up with the name ‘Chaos’? His mother rejected him at birth so it was a chaotic time trying to get her to accept Chaos and let him feed. It took several days but eventually she came around and was a great mother to him. What are some of the most notable achievements you’ve had with Chaos? When Chaos was four he won his first ever round of show hunter. He has won and placed in many show jumping competitions but our best to date was placing sixth at Horse of the Year (HOY) in the 1.15m in a huge class. We have placed up to pre-novice level eventing and he has won a few champion and reserves on the flat. Most recently Chaos won the WAHO (World Arabian Horse Organisation) trophy in 2015. It’s a globally recognised award and is awarded to an Arabian that has achieved high level results in one or multiple disciplines. He is definitely a very versatile horse- he can win at pony club games or teams competitions one day and be a competitive jumper the next day. He is so cruisy and fun. You’ve hit a few obstacles lately,

haven’t you? At the start of last season we had just stepped up to 1* eventing before Chaos was diagnosed with laminitis. I took him off grass and he seemed to come right so we concentrated on show jumping with the aim of competing at of HOY. The weekend before HOY we were schooling rounds of 1.30m and he lost concentration going over a fence and fell. That ended our goal of riding at HOY. Over winter I worked with his physiotherapist and my dressage coach Geoff Culverwell and he returned back to normal. That didn’t last long and something still felt wrong. After talking to my farrier he suggested getting a specialist hoof and leg vet Sarah Taylor in. She x-rayed his legs to find bone chips floating in the fetlock joint in his near foreleg and hind legs. For Chaos to continue to jump and be competitive shows how much he was trying to do well for me. Several vet checks the previous year never picked up anything, but he was sent to Massey to have them removed. I am in the process of bringing him back to work and closely monitoring his soundness.

He hasn’t been difficult in any way to train or handle- he follows you around like a puppy dog. In the past I’ve done liberty work with him [riding and jumping without tack].

Hot-blooded breeds can sometimes be difficult to train or handle-do you agree with this? Chaos can be a bit of a wuss sometimes and gets easily distracted but that has improved with age.

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Have you experienced any difficulties competing an Arabian in disciplines where other breeds make up the majority of the entries in New Zealand? I think some judges prefer common breeds, but Chaos doesn’t look like your typical Arab and most people think he’s part-bred. I think some people think I’m crazy competing an Arabian but I love him so I don’t care. What would you say to anyone considering buying an Arabian to use as a sport horse? Be patient. They are great all-rounders and if you are kind and caring but smart they will do anything for you. You have to be one step ahead every time, but once you have that bond it’s the greatest feeling. What are your goals for the upcoming season? To get Chaos back eventing, but I’m in no rush. My main focus is to have a happy and healthy horse for as long as possible. We will be competing in our first level 3 dressage start and first competition post-surgery this month.

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F E AT U R E

FFII N D I N G THAT P ONY ONY Finding ‘the one’ may not be as hard as you think. BY JESSICA ROBERTS

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F E AT U R E

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T SEEMS AS though everybody is looking for the same pony – ‘not too big, not too small, not too old, not too young, bombproof, but not half dead, and not too forward either, well-mannered, able to do a bit of everything, but not cost the earth…’ If only it was as simple as buying a wheelbarrow or a microwave! You can’t just look through the pony for sale ads, buy the perfect pony, and gallop happily off into the sunset. So much goes into finding the right pony for the right child, at any level – from a beginner’s first pony right up to a Grand Prix jumping prospect. For those thinking about buying their first pony or wanting to upgrade, here are a few things to think about, along with some words of wisdom from pony experts. TEST THE WATER How serious is your child about owning a pony? Ask the local riding school or a friend who already has a family pony if you can come and help care for it. Spend time catching, grooming and feeding as well as riding. Go even when it’s pouring with rain and the mud is sludging up the sides of your gumboots. You could enrol your child in a Riders Without Horses programme, a tenweek Pony Club course based on horse management. It is run through the NZPCA with a proper curriculum. Toni Atkins, ex-Head Coach for Matakana Pony Club (north of Auckland), says each Pony Club can adapt the programme to suit those attending, and the kids can come to rallies and spend time around horses. “Quite a few started when we did our first one, a few dropped out but two kids ended up getting their own ponies,” says Toni. ”The reality is the opposite. It’s way different to what it looks like in the ▶

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F E AT U R E

the Black Beauty book. It’s a good way to judge if they’re keen.” How serious are you, the parent, about owning a pony? There is a lot of work, time, money and responsibility involved. Some ponies are self sufficient, some need careful grass management. Some are happy without shoes, some will require shoeing, and some will need to be ridden more often than others. If your child wants to attend Pony Club or compete you will need to buy or arrange transport. Even if you’re just riding for fun there are some non-negotiable basics: safe grazing, regular drenching, an annual visit from the horse dentist, hoof care and a well fitted saddle (unless you’re riding bareback!). Toni believes that parents need to be just as involved as the children. “They will be helping to catch and tack up the pony while their kid is still young. It’s a huge commitment, a whole lifestyle change, really. The family dynamic changes.” Invest in weekly riding lessons or a school holiday camp. Does your child pester you to go back there on weekends? Do they want more lessons? Do they go on and on about the adventures they had with ‘their’ pony? If their interest wanes, it’s easier to stop having lessons than it is

to be saddled with a pony you no longer need but have to keep caring for until you find him a new home. If they’re mad keen and still want a pony, the lessons will be improving their confidence and skills, and you will have a good idea of your child’s riding ability. Sarah Galilee breeds and

There are lots of sample lease agreements on the Internet and you should have one so that all parties know their rights and responsibilities and there is something to fall back on if things don’t work out.

Magic number. A good starting point is to combine your child’s age and the pony’s age, it should add up to twenty (or more). produces the well-known ‘Galaxy’ ponies from her north Auckland stud and says being realistic about riding ability is very important when looking for the right pony. “90% of the time you ask what the kid can do and the parent describes them as the next Olympian!” Look into lease options – you can try out owning a pony for a season. It is best to do this with a pony/person you know and trust, or has been recommended to you by your instructor or experienced helper.

FINDING ‘THE ONE’ Know your budget. Look through Trade Me, online sales, Pony Club websites and advertising columns so that you get an idea of what a realistic price is for the type of pony you are looking for. Keep in mind your child’s riding ability and what you are planning to do with the pony. Sarah says buying cheap ponies for beginners is a false economy. “Spend $5,000 plus. They’re the most LEFT Enrol your child in weekly riding lessons to gauge how keen they are. RIGHT Good ponies are often sold by word of mouth, so make friends and ask around!

Photo: Kate Hewlett/Redcliffs Equestrian

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F E AT U R E

important pony in that person’s riding career. You’ll only end up spending that $5,000 in training and lessons [if you buy something unsuitable] trying to sort it out. Even if the pony is older, if they’re good you’ll get your money back.” Tell lots of people you are looking for a pony. Good ponies are so sought after that they often don’t make it to Trade Me or the advertising column, they are sold by word of mouth. “Don’t be afraid to go up to someone and ask about their pony,” urges Sarah. “They don’t mind, it’s quite flattering! Give them your card or phone number – even if their pony is not for sale they may know one that is.” Most people are only too happy to help. SHOP AROUND Take your time, and look at lots of ponies. Tim Featherstone and Kate Hewlett of Redcliffs Equestrian in Kerikeri run popular kids’ holiday camps and weekly lessons and say it’s best to be patient and find the right one. “Don’t be in a hurry,” says Tim, “kids will always fall in love with the first one they see so you have to look at

Photo: Kate Hewlett/Redcliffs Equestrian a few. Go and look at bad ones too – get experienced at looking at ponies first, and take someone with you.” Kate agrees: “We get kids with all sorts of ponies coming to our camps and I think why on earth did they buy that?” Sarah also recommends looking at as many as you can, and not just limiting yourself to the area you live in. “I get people ringing me about ponies from the South Island. If the best pony is down in Christchurch, you can get cheap

flights. It pays to get out of your comfort zone.” LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT You’ve found the one! Don’t just ride him once, make sure you visit several times. This is not unreasonable, especially as it is rare for people to allow you to take their pony on a trial. If you can, see if it is possible to have a ride on the pony away from his home environment, for ▶

S U C C E S S S T O R Y: N I N A A N D G O L D I E It took Lisa Mirfin 12 months to find the right pony for her daughter Nina (then 12). After an initial disaster (“Oh gosh, we did ev-

erything we shouldn’t have – bought the first one we went to look at. Rode it once in the arena and took it home. It was stabled and clipped – we found out it couldn’t live on grass and had Cushings

Disease.”) Lisa came across Goldie through the local Pony Club and paid $7,000 for her. Goldie became a much-loved member of the family, and Nina had lots of fun and success on her for two years before handing the reins over to younger sister Brooke. Lisa had

several offers from people wanting to buy Goldie but considered

her irreplaceable, waiting until Brooke finished riding before selling her to another local family where she is equally loved. Her advice to potential pony purchasers is: “don’t find a cheap pony, there’s no such thing. You actually pay for safety.”

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F E AT U R E

Get all initial contact done by email when buying or selling. Then everything is on record, and you can ask very specific questions like ‘has the pony ever had any injury or sickness while you have owned it.’

Photo: Kate Hewlett/Redcliffs Equestrian example the local pony club grounds, someone’s arena or a riding trail. Research the pony as much as possible, advises Sarah. “Talk to other people at Pony Club, ask who their trainer is and give the trainer a call.” She also recommends having a look at the ESNZ website. There is a profile page for every registered horse and pony in NZ and you can look up the pony and see its competitive background. “They say the horse has done Grand Prix? Go and check; it might have only had one start, or never placed, or there is a three year gap in the horse’s history.” Sarah admits buying a pony can be a minefield, and has heard her share of horror stories. She has two golden rules to share: “My biggest rule is to try to get all initial contact done by email when buying or selling. Then everything is on record, and you can ask very specific questions like ‘has the pony ever had any injury or sickness while you have owned it’, things like that.” The other rule is to always get a vet check done: “If this isn’t practical, ask for the pony’s vet records to be sent to you. If you get the vet check done, get the vet to take blood and hold the sample for three or four days. If the horse turns into a cotcase or goes dead lame when you get it home, you can get the bloods checked.”

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Like Sarah, Kate and Tim rarely have to advertise their ponies. Most of them are sold to kids who come for lessons or camps. The child is able to build a good rapport with the pony, ensuring that rider and mount are well suited. This approach benefits all parties. Kate has been buying and selling horses and ponies since she was eighteen and knows a good match when she sees one. “We’ve only ever had to say no to a couple of people and they’re not very happy about it but you can see that it’s going to turn to custard.” Local buyers often leave the pony grazing at Redcliffs and this works very well; the pony does not have to settle in anywhere new. Feeling intimidated? Don’t be – as long as you do your homework and take your time you will find ‘the one’. There are lots of places to seek help from and making an informed choice will ensure years of learning and enjoyment for your child, whether it be an enthusiastic hobby or the beginning of a successful equestrian career.

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TOP LEFT Horse riding should always be fun for the child and the pony.


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MINI SERIES

RACEHORSE RECYCLING Four riders, four racehorses, four second chances.

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HERE IS A perception in the horse world that in order to do well in competition, you need a fancy Warmblood or other well-bred horse. While it certainly helps to have a purpose-bred horse, with careful rehabilitation and the correct training, ex-racehorses can make fantastic riding horses. Competitions such as Beyond the Barriers, where top New Zealand riders compete against each other to produce an ex-racehorse for multiple disciplines, are contributing to a shift in this perception. The rise of social media has encouraged multiple racehorse re homing pages; the

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Thoroughbred Rehoming New Zealand Facebook page has almost 8,000 members and Standardbred Rehoming New Zealand has almost 3,000 members. While this is all fantastic, little is known about the journey riders face when taking on an ex-racehorse. In this six part mini-series you will see first hand the trials and tribulations four riders go through in order to give these horses another chance, and just how rewarding that can be. In Part I, we meet our four riders and their lovely horses who are each being trained in a different discipline: eventing, dressage, showing and pleasure.

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MINI SERIES

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MINI SERIES

JESS AND ARNIE

RIDER: Jess Land LOCATION: Christchurch OCCUPATION: Owner of Jess Land Equestrian FAVOURITE QUOTE: Doubt kills more dreams than fear ever will. HORSE: Amadeus (Arnie) AGE: 5 HEIGHT: 16.1HH DAM: Diva in Red SIRE: Pentire STARTS: 14 WINNINGS: $15, 325 DISCIPLINE: Eventing and show-jumping

Jess started riding in 2007 at Kowhai Riding School before getting her own horse. She has showjumped with success up to 1.20m and evented to pre-novice. She gained her H certificate at Eyreton Pony Club. She was a pupil at Katie Meredith’s from 2012 until 2014 then spent five months developing her jumping with Sally and Phillip Steiner in Tauranga. Upon returning home she started Jess Land Equestrian in August 2014. Jess currently has a team of young horses she is taking through the grades in show jumping and eventing. “I got my first thoroughbred straight off the track in August in 2014 from Gina Schick who runs EventStars and was converted to them straight away. I love how trainable they are and how quickly they adapt to different situations. In 2015 I was asked to take part in the Dunstan Ex-Factor Competition, run by Beyond The Barriers. It was interesting getting to work with 11 year-old Group One winner, Fritzy. Fritzy was a great example of how quickly ex-racehorses can adjust to life as a sporthorse. I got Arnie off the track in February. I had no intention of adding another horse to

Arnie, month one

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the team but while working for Gina I rode him and decided to steal him before anyone else did! His loose paces and scopey jump along with his workmanlike attitude appealed to me. On ride two he was standing still to let me open gates and by the fifth ride I was jumping him bareback. He has been fairly straightforward so far, although when he gets overwhelmed he stops still to process things before switching back on. The best thing I’ve found with ex-racehorses is to take them out and let them see everything. Doing this helps them realise that they won’t end up at a racetrack every time they set foot on the truck. I took Arnie to a show jumping training day to jump some 70cm rounds and he coped really well. I then took him to a one day event in the introductory class. Our dressage test had some nice moments but we still have plenty to work on. He did get the comment “plenty of impulsion!” which definetly needs channeling! He was clear in the show jumping and bold in the first half of the cross country before I pulled him up as he became tired. I wanted to end things on a good note, which is very important with green horses. After the event I gave him a quiet week where he had a dentist check-up and some body work done. Next week I will bring him back in for some more training, and next month I aim to take him to another event.”

Arnie taking bareback jumping in his stride!


MINI SERIES

YVETTE AND BOMBA

RIDER: Yvette Morrissey LOCATION: Christchurch OCCUPATION: Editor FAVOURITE QUOTE: If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. HORSE: Keeparunnin (Bomba) AGE: 7 HEIGHT: 16.1HH DAM: Goldilocks SIRE: Keeper STARTS: 19 WINNINGS: $25, 825 DISCIPLINE: Dressage and showing

Bomba back in his racing days

Yvette started riding at age nine after begging her mother for lessons. She stuidied equestrian at Kyrewood Equestrian Centre and holds a National Certificate in Sporthorse Level 4 and is also a qualified riding instructor. Her main focus is dressage, but does the odd bit of showing to mix things up. She represented the Manawatu West Coast team at the NZPCA Dressage Championships where her team placed sixth and she placed seventh individually. She has two ex-racehorses who she is retraining for dressage and showing. “Bomba had a one-way ticket booked to the slaughterhouse after he had retired from racing due to a tendon injury. Luckily, his trainer saved him. He rested for 14 months, and the tendon healed. He was sold to a show jumping family, but it was soon apparent he didn’t care to keep the poles on the cups! Luckily, he had good conformation, lovely movement, and amazing temperament. It was love at first ride. The day he arrived I took him for a quiet hack. I love hacking- it exposes the horse to a lot and is a great trust building exercise. There was all sorts to look at- geese,

sheep, even llamas! I also swear by lunging. When done properly, it’s a great training tool. Not only is it good for letting the horse burn off any steam, but it helps to build muscle, flexibility and teach voice commands from the ground. I have prevented myself from being carried away by a flighty horse many times because I have taught them that ‘whoa’ means slow down and relax! I also feel that if the horse cannot do something by himself (e.g. have correct bend on the circle) how can he do it with a rider on his back? I use the Pessoa training system for lunging. I think it’s great because the bum rope encourages the horse to step under himself (stretching and lifting the back muscles) while the ropes running through the bit encourage the horse to lower his head by putting pressure on the mouth. My first few rides on Bomba told me a few things. Firstly, he’s quite stiff on the right rein (unsurprising as most horses are stiff on one rein). Secondly, he doesn’t yet have an established rhythm and bounces between being speedy and lazy. He also needs to gain weight and build muscle. In order for him to become a successful competition horse, I have some polishing to do! My ultimate goal with Bomba is to compete him at Horse of the Year in both dressage and the Rising Star classes, but at this stage I will be happy to just get out and compete as it has been a while!”

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MINI SERIES

CLAIRE AND OUCH

RIDER: Claire Madden LOCATION: Kumeu, Auckland OCCUPATION: HR Assistant FAVOURITE QUOTE: “I don’t care if your trip was a shoo in for champion or you got disqualified at the first fence. You walk out of that ring, pat your horse and thank him for not killing you because you know damn well he could have.” HORSE: Major Ouch (Ouch) AGE: 8 HEIGHT: 15.3hh DAM: Ouch La Fe Fe SIRE: Art Major STARTS: 32 WINNINGS: $30,390 DISCIPLINE: Showing

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Claire started riding when she was four years-old, after following her godmother around hoping she would get the chance to ride one of her horses. She was able to lease a pony named Calico who was the ultimate Barbie pony being a palomino with a blaze and white socks. She was a member of the winning Springston Trophy team in 2000, and was also a member of the Canterbury Area Eventing squad. She has had vast success with showing Standardbreds, including winning Reserve Inhand Standardbred of the Year in 2012, Overall High Points Standardbred of the Year with the North Island Standardbred Association in 2015 and Reserve Ridden Standardbred of the Year in 2016. “After working at Nevele R Stud I fell in love with Standardbreds. Like many people, I never considered them as competition horses. I always said when I gave up competitive riding I would get one as a happy hacker. Ten years later, I got my first Standardbred and discovered what a smart, versatile and completely undervalued breed they are. My history with Major Ouch began in 2010 when I was based in Christchurch and

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travelling to Auckland with race teams for my boss. At that stage Ouch was a promising young racehorse who was being aimed at two year-old stakes races. As a joke I said to his owner that if Ouch retired, they were welcome to drop him off in my paddock! Ouch came to me retired through injury. He was people sour and didn’t know how to deal with other horses. The first six months consisted of hand walking, massages and stretches to release and free up his back muscles so he could stretch his neck to he ground and trot, not pace. Over time and he accepted me and we moved onto the next phase- breaking in. Ouch handled this process well- in fact he was half asleep most of the time! Standardbreds have been trained to move forward from rein action- slapping them on the rump means go. There was one moment when I kicked him a little too hard and all four hooves went up about six feet in the air. Lesson learnt! Ouch is pretty good with trotting under saddle, however he will revert to a pace if he becomes unbalanced. A half-halt usually fixes this. During this series I will be refining Ouch’s canter which he struggles to maintain for more than one circle. I will also work on lightening his front end as he has a tendency to over-bend and go on the forehand.”


MINI SERIES

JAX AND WILLS

RIDER: Jax Van Buuren LOCATION: Whangarei OCCUPATION: Mother/ Radio Announcer FAVOURITE QUOTE: Persistance can change failure into extraordinary achievement. HORSE: Buffalo Ben (Wills) AGE: 4 HEIGHT: 16.2hh DAM: Princess Dower SIRE: Buffalo Man STARTS: 1 WINNINGS: $0- but sold for $18,000 as a yearling

Jax’s father bred racehorses so she wasin the saddle from a young age. Her first pony was a little grey called Pancho. She competed in showing and a bit of jumping when she was a teenager. At age 15 she stopped riding, however while on holiday the place she was staying at had horses which inspired her to get back in the saddle and she hasn’t looked back since! She is married to David and together they have an adorable five yearold daughter, Grace. “I found Wills when I was just ‘looking’ at the Thoroughbred Rehoming Facebook page and saw a long, lean gelding by Buffalo Man- the stallion that my family had at the stud. Wills was rather unsuccessful as a racehorse: he raced once and only beat his tail home! I rang my sister who works with the young horses up to the sales stage and told her his breeding. She said ‘Grab him- lovely type and a very sensible boy!’ He was free to a good home and I think it’s pretty cool that he came back to where he was born for ‘recycling’. To have taken on a horse that had been discarded to give him a new lease on life is an amazing feeling. I’m wanting to train Wills the correct way-

I’m in no hurry. I’m receiving plenty of help from my wonderful eventing neighbours- Kate and Juliet Wood. So far I have been plesantly surprised at how sensible he is considering he hasn’t done a lot. He’s a very quick learner and really keen to answer any questions I ask him. I’ve done heaps of groundwork with him and taken the time to lunge and hack out to get him going forward from my leg. All this has built up his trust in me. The one difficulty I’ve had is trying to put weight on him. He was quite skinny when I first got him, as a lot of ex-racehorse are when they are let down from racing. I’ve been feeding him extruded rice and a cereal and protein mix with extra oil. He’s been on that for six weeks now and I’m noticing a big difference in his coat and condition.By the end of this mini-series I’d like to have Wills out and about, jumping nicely, behaving well and working in a nice balanced rhythm ready to start competing next season.”

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F E AT U R E

HOOFI N G A ROU N D N Z Marie Palzer and her horse Spirit are circumnavigating the South Island of New Zealand all for change. Turn the page to read their incredible story. BY MARIE PALZER Text by John Doe, photos by Doe Johnson

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F E AT U R E

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N JANUARY 25, Marie Palzer (21) departed her hometown Marahau on an adventure of a lifetime. Her plan? To circumnavigate the South Island aboard her Appaloosa gelding, Spirit, to raise money for Tearfund to combat child poverty.

Marie has called the journey Hoofing Around for Change, and if all goes to plan, she is hoping to complete their journey by the end of July. Here is their journey so far. DAY 1: MARAHAU TO CANNON DOWNS The small village in which I live organised a surprise farewell for Spirit and I. We received many donations, and it was that moment the excitement kicked in. My friend Karina joined me with her horse for the first stretch of our journey. We parted ways after lunch, and Spirit and I continued uphill past the Takaka lime works where I met Dick, a worker who kindly directed me to a well for Spirit to drink from. It was a hot day, so I led Spirit to the Ngairua Caves to let him have another drink. We continued through the countryside where parts of Lord of the Rings was filmed. That day we climbed 900 meters. I felt immense pride when we reached our first camp spot. I set up my tent, and tried to get some sleep. This proved to be challenging as I worried I would wake up to find Spirit gone, but each time I opened the tent I saw the outline of his pricked ears in the moonlight. I even think I heard a Kiwi call out; it was moments like these I was hoping to experience throughout my adventure. As I lay under the stars I realised I could not wish for a better horse to

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share this adventure with. My soul was content and I could not wait to embark on day two. DAY 2: CANNON DOWNS TO PUPU SPRINGS RIVER My dad walked the Ramika track with us which gave me a great sense of comfort. He shared his wisdom with me which later on in this adventure became crucial survival knowledge for me. Walking through the native forest and listening to the song of birds, I thought, life doesn’t get any better than this. There were some tricky parts with cliff faces to one side and jagged rock to the other- each time I would hold my breath but Spirit handled it well and made sure both of us came down the mountain safely. We had lunch by the river and Spirit decided he would rather help himself to mine than eat grass! We continued to Takaka where I stocked up on supplies and tried to find a place to stay. Today we encountered our first stretch of road which made me a little nervous, but Spirit hardly batted an eye lid! We found a spot by the river to set up camp for the night. DAY 3-6: PUPU SPRINGS TO PAKAWAU I didn’t know you could get blisters on the soles of your feet until now. Apparently you can. We made it to the beautiful Golden Bay beaches where I was able to let Spirit stretch his legs as and we flew down the beach. The following day I attended the Golden Bay Lions meeting where I had been invited to give a speech and was blessed with a generous donation. I then headed to the most northern point of my trip and completed a lifelong dream- of galloping down Wharariki beach. I


F E AT U R E

felt so free with the wind in my hair, sea salt splashing in my face and being surrounded by such immense natural beauty. I rode past gannets and seals, and explored rock faces and crevices before retiring to my tent. It’s the best feeling waking up and not knowing where you’ll be at the end of the day or who you’ll meet. DAY 7-11: PAKAWAU TO MOTUPIPI Week one was probably the most challenging week of my lifephysically and mentally. At one point I broke down in tears and asked myself ‘Why did I do this?’ but by day seven we had raised $1000 so I pushed on. I met a sweet five year old girl who insisted I wait at the beach while she ran to her batch to get an apple for Spirit and a glass of water for me. I waited quite some time but sure enough she came back with arms loaded of treats and a donation. Young, kind souls like these give me hope for humanity! It was an amazing moment as I watched five of the biggest stingrays I’d ever seen gliding through the water past Spirit and I as we crossed a large inlet. Moments like these made me realise that when you live life at a slower pace you see, experience and appreciate the elements of nature so

much more. DAY 12-36: CANNON DOWN TO HOME The first few weeks were a huge mental challenge for me. Spirit had a tender leg so I called the vet. He gave him some antiinflammatory, and I rested him for a few days. After realising that I wasn’t going anywhere for another two weeks I felt defeated. The negative media attention I was getting regarding Spirit not being able to cope with the journey was also starting to bug me. My brother-in-law said to me “don’t let anyone else influence your happiness- you’re the only one that has full control over your own happiness.” It made me think how I sometimes allowed others to influence my mental wellbeing. The day I took Spirit home was a stormy day, the rain was heavier than usual and the wind was thrashing. I still don’t know what was wrong with him, but the next morning he galloped up to me when I called him. He was no longer limping. The rest of the week involved lots of trips to the river to cool his legs as I waited for Spirit to be 100%. It’s amazing how deep of a connection I have developed with Spirit and how well we both now know each other.

At one point I broke down in tears and asked myself ‘Why did I do this?’ but by day seven we had raised $1000 so I pushed on.

LEFT Day 2: Trekking through the Ramika track. CENTER Day 46: Onwards to Murchison. RIGHT Day 42: Spirit earns a well deserved break after reaching St Amaud.

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F E AT U R E

LEFT Day 53: Marie and Spirit receive a warm welcome in Hokitika. CENTER Day 52: Spirit enjoys a trip to the beach in Greymouth. RIGHT Day 37: Back on the road again.

DAY 37-38: NGATIMOTI TO BATTON VALLEY I had mixed emotions hitting the road again. However as we rode along the Motueka Valley Road I felt that sense of freedom return. Ngatimoti school invited me to talk about our adventure, how to create change and the geography of New Zealand. I happily spent the morning there and answered the well thought-out questions the children had. They even presented me with a large donation. I headed south up the Batton Valley following the river where we stopped several times for Spirit to have a drink as I jumped in the water for a cool down. It was a ridiculously hot day which seemed to drag on forever as we made our way up the valley. DAY 39-43: BATTON VALLEY TO ST AMAUD The stars were still shinning as I packed up camp and saddledup Spirit. I wanted to leave early so that we could get over the pass before it was too hot. We set off with a river crossing and rode through the morning mist as we navigated our way over remote farm land and winded our way up and over the pass. It was our coldest morning yet so we covered ground much quicker than in the heat of the day. I couldn’t find anywhere that I could get Spirit down to the river to drink so I hobbled him as I lugged bucket after bucket up the river bank for him to drink. I don’t know if he really was that thirsty but I think he had great pleasure watching me struggle up and down that river bank. My partner Callum joined me for a stretch which I was grateful for as we found ourselves in some tricky situations and struggled to find suitable camping spots that were safe to hobble Spirit for the night. When we reached St Amaud a lovely family

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gave Spirit a paddock. It was so nice to have a hot shower, sleep throughout the night and not have to wash my cloths by hand! It was also amazing to eat something other than dehydrated food! DAY 37-38: ST AMAUD TO LAKE ROTOROA I awoke to the sound of rain on the roof. Once under way it was an epic sensation riding in the rain- a nice change to riding in the heat! Once we made it to the end of Haward Valley we were greeted by Callum who had already set up camp for us and had a fire going. Haward Valley is a breath-taking place where I could have spent a week exploring the mountains and river. That night my parents turned up on their motor bike which was a nice surprise. We had a happy evening filled with stories, laughter, and great food. Later on I heard the ‘click, click, click” of Spirits hobbles to find Spirit walking off. The clever boy had learnt how to unclip the rope from his hobbles! I have started using a carabina, so let’s see how long it takes for him to figure that one out! The next day I headed up the Porika four-wheeldrive track and I found myself once again in a nature wonderland and saw an endless amount of native birds. One of my favourite moments was seeing a falcon soar through the sky above me. I spend a lot of time thinking about how much our society could learn if for a small period of time we would all just slow down, look around as and take in the knowledge that our biggest teacher nature provides. The track was ridiculously steep both up and down yet once again Spirit made me proud. The view from the ridge of Lake Rotoroa was amazing; the water was so clear that I could see the bottom of the lake.


F E AT U R E

That day in my dairy I wrote “the world is a wonderland; the more time I spend in nature the larger my childlike wonder about the world and my surroundings becomes.” DAY 46-51: LAKE ROTOROA TO GREYMOUTH The Braeburn track led us to Murchison. We discovered black berry bushes along the way which Spirit and I both enjoyed! In Murchison, Spirit got the all-clear from the vet who said that he is a very fit, healthy and happy horse! I floated Spirit through the tight and windy Buller Gorge before riding down a back road which lead to Blackball- an old mining town. I stopped at the Pike River mine memorial and spent most of the ride thinking about the families who had been effected by this disaster. Just before Greymouth I had to cross the trickiest bit of road yet with tight corners, a cliff up one side of the road and drop on the other. I led Spirit with my heart pounding in my chest. We made it safely to Greymouth where journalists came to see us. The police arrived to give Spirit a cuddle and we headed through the town where we collected some donations before finally hitting West Coast beach. I cannot describe the feeling that flowed through me as I reached the wild and harsh West Coast. Spirit was unsure about the huge waves that bashed on the stoned beach and splashed us with sea salt. DAY 52-59: GREYMOUTH TO FOX GLACIER It had been raining overnight and I awoke to a freezing, stormy day. The alpine mountains that surrounded us had received a

large snow dumping overnight. I had been told that all the river crossings for that day would be fine but when I got to the first crossing it was fast flowing and murky. I tried to cross but quickly turned Spirit back as the sand was soft and the water was strong and deep. It was a hard decision to turn around and backtracking in the pouring rain, but the river was far too strong and dangerous to try and cross. The West Coast has provided me with amazing encounters including seeing many wild shammy and white herons, hearing deer roar and crazy storms. The West Coast is a challenging coast to navigate and I have learnt to never underestimate mother nature. Despite this, the West Coast has a special place in my heart. A two day ride will take me to a farm where I will spend a week helping with mustering and farm work. Although I love the life style that I have created for myself on horseback, I look forward to spending a week in one place before heading to Wanaka. The next stage in my journey will involve me riding into areas I’ve never been before. The fear of the unknown gives me a surge of adrenaline. At this stage in my journey I have raised $1628 and have travelled 691 kilometres, and this is what I have learned: The time you spend on earth is your very own time to live, you are the biggest influencer on your own happiness- do what you need to feed your soul!

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Follow the rest of Marie and Spirit’s journey by liking their Facebook page, Hoofing Around for Change. You can also visit their website for more information. To support Marie and Spirit you can make a donation to their Give A Little account. EQUINE ONLINE MAGAZINE APRIL 2016 

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MY FIRST HOY

YVETTE MORRISSEY had a chat to two riders who competed at Horse of the Year 2016 for the first time and discovered that preparation and self-belief were very important factors in their success. LEIGH JONES / SHOWING

Two years ago Leigh Jones (Christchurch) was your typical adult riding club rder. She had dabbled in showing cobs, but generally just hacked around the farm. Fast forward to March 2016 and she was competing her horse Aschwood Acapella (Bud) in the Rising Star Park Hack ring at Horse of the Year. “I was so excited to compete- it was a dream come true,” says Leigh. It was a year later after Leigh first inquired about Bud that she purchased him. Initially she couldn’t afford him without selling one of her horses. As fate would have it, she was left some money after her mother passed and she snapped him up. He was an unbroken three year-old and hadn’t left the property where he was bred. She recieved help from friend and coach Anthea Dixon.

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“I couldn’t have done it without her help,” she says. It was sheer hard work that saw her qualify for New Zealand’s premier horse event. “Years ago I’d rock up half an hour before my classes started and wonder why I didn’t get placed. Now I try to be the first person at the show.” When asked if she was nervous to compete, she shook her head. “I wasn’t overwhelmed by any of it because I prepared myself really well.” She watched workouts from previous shows to familiarise herself with the grounds and says she practised her own workout “at least 100 times.” “I have to prepare because I am quite a stressy person, and if I didn’t everything would fall apart.” After hitting a few bumps (Bud didn’t enjoy being stabled and dropped a bit of weight) they were ready to go. Her hard work certainly paid off. When she placed fourth in her class, she was in tears of joy. “I worked my ass off


YO U R H O R S E S for this. I literally did, I lost 10 kilos!” The best was yet to come- Leigh and Bud placed fourth in the Rising Star Park Hack of the Year title class. “I thought we were going to be out of our depth. There were so many beautiful horses there. A lady I compete against at home got called in for sixth so I didn’t think we would be placed- and then they called my name. I was stoked!” Aside from preparation, Leigh says there was one other ingredient to her success. “I was having issues with establishing contact so I went to the chiropractor and found out my right pelvis was rotated quite badly. Having that fixed made a world of difference to my riding position. People focus on the horse but you really need to look after yourself too.”

him to make the difficult decision to season, it meant he had to qualimove onto horses. They purchased fy to compete in the title class. Untwo horses late last year- T.M. Mar- fortunately it wasn’t meant to be. jay (Curly) and Giggles. Blake “It didn’t go to plan and we took some rails, says the two are polar opposites. but I’m going to try and win it next year!” “Curly is more whoa than go, The highlight for Blake was the Slalom and Giggles is ‘go, go, go!’” competition, which was held during the He qualified for HOY on both horses. Friday night Extravaganza. Two identical To prepare, Blake practised regu- show jumping courses were set up in a larly and watched videos of him- split arena, with two horses jumping over self riding. Four weeks prior, Blake the courses in a timed competition. Gohad a lesson with a different coach ing into the Slalom, Blake said he wasn’t who he says gave him a hard time. nervous but was slightly apprehensive “He told me Curly wasn’t a good about how many people were watching. jumper, and my position was crap.” “When I went into the arena I thought His mother, Jan, said this affected his ‘Holey Camoly’ when I saw all the people confidence, and it showed in his riding. in the grandstand, but it gave me a bit of “He became a shaking mess before going energy which I used to my advantage.” into the ring and would go He won his first round and went on in and freeze,” she says. to beat one of his idols, Katie LauBLAKE DAVIS / SHOW JUMPING She booked some sports psychol- rie, to place third in the competition. ogy sessions in with coach An- “The Slalom was awesome. Katie was Blake Davis, 14, hasn’t been compet- drew to get Blake back on track. the one person who I didn’t want to ing for long but has come a long way It must have worked, because in his ride against, but luckily she took a rail.” in a short time. He entered his first first class at HOY Blake placed ninth When asked what his most memorable show jumping event only last season, out of 103 riders in the 1.10m and was moment at HOY was, it had nothing to aboard his pony Izzy McGuire (Maggie). one of only sixteen riders to go clear. do with horses. It was the 3000-strong “We entered some 90cm and 1m class- His main goal at HOY was to compete crowd that sang him happy birthes and it was a disaster- we only did one in the Junior Rider of the Year class. day on the night of the Extravaganza. clear round and in all the others I fell off!” Because he started competing in “That was definitely the highlight of the he says. “It put me off riding for a little bit.” the series half-way through the show for me.” However he persisted, and he and Maggie went on to be unbeatable in the 1.10m classes. “She really taught me how to ride. If I didn’t ride her into a jump nicely, I’d end up on the floor.” He then went on to compete in pony grand prix classes with a borrowed mount, Busta Rhymes. With HOY in his sights, Blake started training with Dani Maurer and went to Andrew Scott for sports psychology. “Dani is amazing. She helps me fine-tune my riding. She calls me after every show to talk through how we went. Andrew is brilliant at building my confidence.” The road to HOY isn’t without its challenges. Blake was hoping to compete in Pony of the Year on Busta, but unfortunately the pony did a check ligament and was retired. Blake then had a growth spurt, causing Blake aboard TM Marjay at Horse of the Year. Photo: YK Stewart Photography

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PHOTO SPREAD

HHOO R S E OF THE YEA R Enjoy twelve pages of Horse of the Year photos taken by our photographers! Photographers: Kaylee McBeth, Yvette Stewart, John Barnfield, Ellen Davis.

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ORSES AND RIDERS from all over the country gathered in Hastings for the New Zealand’s premier equestrian event- Horse of the Year. This year over 7000 entries were counted and riders battled rain and temperatures up to 30 degrees over the six day show, which ran from March 1-6. Show jumping was the biggest discipline, with 3000 entries. The mounted games attracted riders from Australia and Canada, and the Standardbred ring returned after a four year hiatus. Highlights of the show were the Friday

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night Extravaganza, Grand Prix dressage, the 1* and 2* cross-country, and as always, the prestigious Olympic Cup. Olympic hopefuls Clarke Johnston and Julie Brougham both had a successful HOY; Julie was the Reserve Champion Dressage Horse of the Year and smashed the record she set the previous year in the Kur, and Clarke won the CIC3* aboard Balmoral Sensation. We picked our favourite photographs snapped at the show by our photographers. Enjoy them over the next twelve pages.


PHOTO SPREAD

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PHOTO SPREAD

Photo: Kaylee Mcbeth

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PHOTO SPREAD

Photo: YK Stewart Photography

Photo: Ellen Davis Photography

Photo: YK Stewart Photography

Photo: Ellen Davis Photography

Photo: YK Stewart Photography

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PHOTO SPREAD

Photo: YK Stewart Photography

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EQUINE ONLINE MAGAZINE APRIL 2016


PHOTO SPREAD

Photo: YK Stewart Photography

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PHOTO SPREAD

Photo: YK Stewart Photography

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EQUINE ONLINE MAGAZINE APRIL 2016


PHOTO SPREAD

Photo: YK Stewart Photography

Photo: Ellen Davis Photography

Photo: Ellen Davis Photography

Photo: YK Stewart Photography EQUINE ONLINE MAGAZINE APRIL 2016

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PHOTO SPREAD

Photo: YK Stewart Photography

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EQUINE ONLINE MAGAZINE APRIL 2016

Photo: YK Stewart Photography


PHOTO SPREAD

Photo: Ellen Davis Photography

Photo: John Barnfield EQUINE ONLINE MAGAZINE APRIL 2016

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PHOTO SPREAD

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EQUINE ONLINE MAGAZINE APRIL 2016


PHOTO SPREAD

Photo: YK Stewart Photography

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PHOTO SPREAD

Photo: YK Stewart Photography

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EQUINE ONLINE MAGAZINE APRIL 2016


PHOTO SPREAD

EQUINE ONLINE MAGAZINE APRIL 2016

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THE I M P O RTA N C E O F P R EPA R AT I O N In our first training feature, Yvette Morrissey visits Anthea Dixon at her property in Swannanoa, Canterbury and sits in on one of her lessons.

OUR COACH

Anthea Dixon is a para-dressage rider and List 5 dressage judge from Christchurch. Previously an eventer, Anthea competed in Springston Trophy six times and NZPCA Eventing champs in 1998 for Canterbury. She was made paraplegic after a horse she was leading slipped and they both fell in 2006. She has won numerous national awards for para-dressage, and has previously also competed in Australia for New Zealand. She competed at the London Paralympics in 2012 on her horse Huntingdale Incognito, and was New Zealand’s first ever para-dressage rider at the World Equestrian Games riding leased mount Doncartier.

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EQUINE ONLINE MAGAZINE  APRIL 2016

OUR RIDER AND PONY

Jessica Brechin, 16, is a show rider from Christchurch, and has been having lessons with Anthea for three years. While her favourite discipline is showing, Jess also competes in dressage and eventing in the winter. In this lesson she rides Eastdale Imogen (Ivy), a three year-old mare her parents purchased for her as a weanling who Jess broke in herself. Jess and Ivy have had successful first season under saddle competing in the show ring in Canterbury. They have won many championships including at the South Island Premier show and the NZ National Showcase Championship Show.


TRAINING

NAILING THE BASICS = RECIPE FOR SUCCESS “This pony should be out doing dressage!” Anthea says this several times throughout the lesson, and it’s obvious why. Ivy has extravagant movement. Anthea lets Jess warm up by herself before getting started with the lesson. “It’s a good chance to see how they are going together as a pair, and I can pick up on anything that I think needs fixing.” Ivy was broken in last year, and because she is a young pony, Anthea has been helping Jess to establish the basics with her. “My theory with showing and dressage is that it’s all the same. The horse has to be in a clear rhythm, they’ve got to be relaxed, and good in the contact. Once you’ve got that down, you can start doing whatever you want.” STRETCHING FOR RELAXATION Anthea begins the lesson by telling Jess to ride Ivy on a circle and encourage her to stretch her neck down in the trot.

“Stretching is important for all horses. Not all horses will let you do it at the start, but it’s good to try.” Letting the horse stretch aids relaxation. Because Ivy can be hot, stretching is incredibly beneficial for her.

BOTTOM LEFT When teaching leg yield, don’t worry about the frame to begin with.

LATERAL WORK = BETTER BEND

TOP RIGHT Going stirrupless is

To start with, Ivy is a little wooden on the circle. “A lot of horses will bend through the neck, but not through their body,” says Anthea. To counteract this, leg yield is a good exercise to encourage the horse to supple through the ribcage. First Anthea has Jess leg yield on the circle by pushing her out with her inside leg. She then instructs Jess to ride up the three-quarter line, and leg yield Ivy back to the track. Ivy doesn’t move over at first, so Anthea tells Jess to slide her inside leg back even further, and Ivy moves over to the track. She also has Jess leg yield from the track to the three-quarter line. “Don’t worry about her head,” she says as Ivy pops her neck above the bit. “I’m more interested that Ivy moves off your leg and crosses her legs under ▶

great for improving rider balance. BOTTOM RIGHT Top tip: Begin and end your ride with a trot, halt and salute.

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TRAINING

TOP LEFT Leg yielding helps Ivy to bend through her rib cage and relax. MIDDLE Jess and Ivy finish with some lengtheningsomething Ivy is very good at! TOP RIGHT Anthea and Jess have a debrief after the lesson.

her than if she’s on the bit. We can work on that later.” RIDING AT THE CORRECT SPEED LIMIT

RIDER BALANCE AND WHY IT MATTERS Ivy is a hot pony and she tends to speed up when she is unsure. Because she is still learning to leg yeild, when she becomes confused her trot becomes bigger and bigger. Anthea says there are a few things you can do to control a speedy pony. Firstly, control the speed by slowing down your rising in the trot, or sitting deeper in the saddle in canter. You can also ask for a half-halt. Walk breaks are also good to keep the horse calm and should be used as a reward when the horse has done what you have asked especially when you are trying something new – reward a small try. STIRRUPLESS FOR A BETTER SEAT Anthea then instructs Jess to take her stirrups away. She puts Ivy into a canter on a 20 metre circle. “It’s important that the rider’s hips and the shoulders follow on the curve of the circle so the horse can move around the circle correctly.” The leg yielding has certainly improved Ivy’s way

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of going. “Now you’re not having as much trouble on the circle because she’s bending through her ribcage.”

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Luckily, Jess has a natural balance in the saddle and is able to ride without stirrups fairly easily. “There are a few riders out there who don’t have the correct balance in the saddle, which means the horse has to compensate which can be a problem.” So what is good rider balance? “You need to have even weight in both seat bones and in your stirrups, sit back in the saddle so your core can engage, and have relaxed shoulders so your hands can float nicely.” “Keeping that core engaged is what gives you the balance to be able to sit and adjust things independently rather than relying on your hands to balance.” DON’T NEGLECT TRANSITIONS “I think a lot of people forget about transitions,” says Anthea. “When I’m judging I see some people dribble up the centre line into the halt. You’ve got to practice that stuff.”


TRAINING

Anthea asks Jess to do some walk to trot transitions, and vice versa. “You want to prepare any transition with a half-halt,” she says. Practicing multiple transitions helps to engage the hindquarters. They also help to open the channel that runs from the hind legs, over the back, through the neck and down into the bit. “Someone told me that every time they ride they start and finish with a trot and halt up the centre. I think that’s great!” END WITH SOMETHING EASY By the end of the lesson, Ivy was relaxed, balanced and was sitting in a good contact. Anthea ended the lesson with some lengthening- something Ivy finds easy and is very good at! The lesson lasted half an hour. “There’s no point in working them any longer if they’ve done everything you’ve asked.” WHAT JESS SAYS

The Half Halt Half-halts are a valuable exercise that everyone should use, no matter what discipline. Their purpose is to rebalance the horse, so they are useful when preparing for a movement, fence, or transition. Without an effective half-halt the horse will most likely balance over the forehand, rather than on the quarters, and tend to be heavy in the rein and may stumble or break pace from loss of balance. To ride a good half halt it’s all about adjusting the weight in your seat. It’s not about pulling the reins! The rider should sit up and drop their weight down into the saddle while maintaining forward momentum. Try to ‘hold’ your seat for a stride and then ride on, keeping an elastic rein contact. The sign of success is when you feel the horse lighten in your hands and push off from the hind legs. You can do as many as you need to to get the feeling you are wanting!

“At the start of the lesson Ivy felt uptight but throughout the lesson she started to soften and relax. By the end she felt really good! The leg yielding definitely helped to soften her across her back.” EQUINE ONLINE MAGAZINE APRIL 2016 

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C O LU M N : R I D E W I T H YO U R M I N D

THE POWER OF BELIEF Columnist and mind coach Jane writes about why believing in yourself may just be your secret weapon in the saddle! Follow Jane on Facebook Our level of belief in our ability is the determining factor- the ingredient that dictates how far we progress and the outcomes we achieve in the saddle. What a rider believes, what he or she thinks is possible or impossible, to a great extent determines the outcome, regardless of whether or not we acknowledge this consciously. From a biochemical and neurological perspective, when you don’t believe in something, you send your nervous system messages that limit or eliminate your ability to produce a result. It’s the glass ceiling effect- you create a boundary or limitation as to what you believe to be possible for yourself, and no longer search for ways to break through them as a consequence. While this may seem trivial, it is actually fundamental. When we repeat or reinforce a belief consistently, we create a sense of permanence that breeds pessimism, procrastination and inaction. Think of yourself in a riding situation where you are doubtful of your ability to produce the outcome that you want. Are you likely to take the necessary action to move you closer towards the results that you desire? Or do you think that when you are feeling pessimistic or like you “don’t have what it takes” you are more likely to look for “ways out” or excuses that stop you achieving your goals? Changing your beliefs about yourself and how you view your riding capability is critical in moving forward. The difference between successful riders and those who struggle begins at this selfbelief level. Successful riders have beliefs that allow them to gain access to their most resourceful states on a consistent basis. The key to achieving your goals is to put yourself in a state where you feel empowered to take quality actions. Limiting the belief in our ability causes us to focus our attention on one incident or area. For example, if you fall off your horse on competition day, you may create labels or bask in a sea of disempowering questions. We are hopeless, unskilled, a chicken, useless, incompetent. Why does this always happen to me? We can never seem to get it together! It’s not fair. It’s never my turn. Better off doing nothing than completely wreck my horse! Sound familiar? If we were to turn it around and focus on positive solutions, we might ask ourselves, what would I have to believe in order for this to be possible? What actions do I need to take, what do I need to learn or who do I need to talk to prevent or minimize the chances of this happening again in the future? As a qualified and successful NLP, Time Line Therapy and mindset coach, Jane has worked with both competitive and recreational horse riders all over the world, inspiring them to new levels of confidence and performance. She specializes in riders with confidence and anxiety issues and peak performance training for competition. She established My Equi Coach in 2012, which gives riders the tools to break through performance and confidence blocks and ride to the best of their ability. For more information on My Equi Coach visit Jane’s website: www.myequicoach.co.nz

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C O LU M N : H E A LT H A N D F I T N E S S

nutrition for riders Columnist and personal trainer Freya Thompson makes healthy eating look a whole lot easier. Follow FREYA on Facebook

As riders, regardless of discipline, we require the same basic principles as most other sporting athletes: optimum physical performance, effective muscle mass, and lean body weight. Too heavy and we limit our horses performance, too weak and we struggle to not only control our mighty steads but with all the extra jobs such as stacking hay and carrying heavy buckets of water. We measure our horses feed and supplements, so why not our own? Food with low glycaemic index (GI) is required to give our bodies energy over a long period of time. For us that means being able to cope with riding several horses before having to refuel. High GI gives us a quick burst of energy but can also result in an energy crash later on. This can be useful if we haven’t had any food in the last few hours and need some energy for your cross country round, as an example. Healthy examples of low GI are oats, kumara, pumpkin, and rice. Examples of healthy high GI are bananas, dried fruit, and sports gels. Protein is important to help our muscles recover after a hard workout and also to encourage lean muscle development. It keeps us full which is important to maintain a healthy weight. Ideally protein should be taken at the end of a riding session, after stacking hay or scrubbing down troughs to aid muscle recovery. Examples of protein include a pot of yoghurt, a small handful of nuts, a few cubes of cheese and even a glass of milk. Fat, the naughty word. Fat is important for maintaining a lean body weight. It fills us up, it encourages our body to utilize fat for energy, and it ensures our body does not break down muscle for energy. Fat is also used as a storage facility for numerous vitamins and minerals. With a normal diet it’s likely you’re getting enough fat, however if you have a dietary limitation, if you are vegetarian or vegan for example, you may need to have a think about where you are getting your fat intake from. Hydration is the other important factor for athletic nutrition for performance. It helps our muscle contract smoothly, aids in muscle recovery, and allows our kidneys to work effectively and keep our electrolyte levels balanced. The first sign of dehydration is a lack in energy so instead of reaching for an energy drink or coffee, grab a bottle of water. In summary, Low GI before exercise, High GI when required for short bursts of exercise, protein after, fat all the time, water throughout. Freya gained her Bachelor in Sport and Exercise from Massey University in 2009 and has been working as a personal trainer for the past six years. She works with the New Zealand Jockey Apprentice School to encourage a healthier lifestyle and therefore longer careers for young jockeys. She has competed in a variety of disciplines including Level 4 dressage, show jumping up to 1.20m, and 1* eventing. She has also ridden track work for several years and retrained several ex-racehorses into sport horses. Most recently Freya has been competing in Muay Thai. Over her 16 fight career she gained three New Zealand titles and was in New Zealand team at 2014 World Muay Thai Championships. *This information is for general population. If you have any medical conditions seek advice from a health professional before changing your diet.

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COLUMN: COACHES CORNER

FINDING A COACH Columnist and BHS riding instructor Senara Caddy tells you how to find your perfect riding coach! Follow senara on Facebook In New Zealand there are several associations and bodies that offer equestrian coaching programmes and qualifications. Equestrian Sport New Zealand, The New Zealand Pony Club Association and NZQA Frame Work. The advantages of using a qualified coach that has been through any of the above courses, is that they have been through a training programme that tests not only their horse knowledge but also their ability to plan lessons and deliver to their pupils. A good coach does not have to be a super star rider competing every week. In fact often those riders that have struggled with their own riding ability make the best coaches as they are more empathetic and understanding to those that are finding it hard or frustrating. Equestrian Sport New Zealand (ESNZ) has a register of coaches. You can look this up on their website under ‘Find A Coach’. Coaches range from Introductory level through to the Elite, coaching high performance riders. ESNZ registered coaches have to have a coaching qualification, hold current first aid training certificates, and attend ongoing development. Contact your local Pony Club Branch to get a list of Pony Club qualified coaches. You can find your closest Pony Club by visiting the NZPCA website, and clicking on the ‘Join/Find A Pony Club’ link on the home page. Pony Club coaches are able to attend annual conferences. The 2015 Conference was held at Manfeild stadium in Feilding and was very well supported. It was run over two and a half days and consisted of practical workshops as well as theory sessions. NZQA coaching programmes are usually delivered as a full time course or by correspondence at a private training establishment. They are hands on practical courses that develop well rounded coaches. Qualified coaches are often supporting each other as mentors and enjoy networking with others, not only from the equestrian sports sector but also other sports such as rugby and rowing. Qualified Coaches abide by the FEI Code Of Conduct For The Welfare Of The Horse as well as SPARC’s Coaches Code Of Ethics. This ensures there is a high standard of care and delivery towards both horses and riders. If you are looking for a coach there are many advantages to using a qualified person. If your coach is not qualified it’s worth suggesting that they look into a programme that will support them and help grow their business and development. Senara has over 20 years experience as a equestrian coach. She worked at Kyrewood Equestrian Centre in Palmerston North for 15 years before leaving to go back to her hometown in England earlier this year. While working at Kyrewood she was the Head Coach and taught many of the NZQA programmes they held. She studied at the British Horse Society where she attained her Intermediate Instructor (BHSII) qualification. She was also a Equestrian Sport New Zealand Development Coach, and ESNZ Coach Advisory Team Member. Recently she launched her own coaching business on Facebook, Equest Coach.

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COLUMN: RETURNING TO RIDING

BACK IN THE SADDLE After 30 years, adult rider and columnist Marie Gordon is back in the saddle. This is her first of many tales! I have horses in my heritage and as a child was obsessed with all things equine – movies and books especially. The annual A & P show in my hometown was a special treat as I could find willing ponies to pat in the yards and a whole range of drama in the showing and jumping classes. Dreams were also lived out on the merry-go-round, making sure as to choose the right ‘horse’ every time so as to maximise the speed and swing available while at the same time practicing for epic adventures in real life. Attending the annual horse racing event was another opportunity to come into contact with horses – time mostly spent leaning over the fence hanging out with the steward’s horse who was always a friendly giant off the hills, and the local rodeo wasn’t to be missed either – there were horses and people dressed up as cowboys. The total package! But despite the dreaming, owning a pony wasn’t an option. It wasn’t until my parents measured me up for a helmet (under the guise that “your head grows every night and we want to see by how much”) that I got the surprise opportunity to learn to ride. Thanks to the generosity of pony club parents and a friend nearby, I was able to attend the local pony club, riding any spare pony available on the day, and, as often as possible I would ride my friend’s paddock mate after school. The joy was short-lived however when my family moved onto an orchard a couple of years later and I headed off to boarding school, then university, then into a career. Fast-forward 30 years and I’m living on a lifestyle block outside of Christchurch, and my dream of owning a horse can now be a reality. I currently have two horses. Some might say that’s madness for a ‘re-learner’. You’d be right thinking there’s a story to have ended up in that position and some lessons learned out of it. Georgie, a Clydie-cross mare, is a chunky, clumsy 14 year-old who’s motivated by what’s going to keep her belly full and life as easy as possible. I have lessons on her once a week and she has three lessons a week with a trainer to help her improve her way of going. I purchased her from a woman who was also learning and took her out and about including lessons in dressage and jumping. Then there’s Dandy, a 14 year-old quarter horse who’s spent a good part of this life barrel racing and doing farm work. I bought him last year to provide me with a horse to practice on a couple of times a week between my lessons on Georgie. Best laid plans. He’s taught me more about how diet and saddle fit affects horses than I expected - but more on that at a later date. I remember thinking, how hard can it be, to start again, and spend weekends hacking round the paddock, on the hills, and maybe, as a longer term goal, heading into the show ring? It turns out, a lot harder than I thought! Marie is originally from Roxburgh and now resides in Christchurch. Be sure to read the next issue of Equine Online where Marie talks about what it was like getting back in the saddle after 30 years and finding the perfect (or not quite so perfect) horse.

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Equine Online April 2016  

Welcome to our first issue! Our first issue comes after the Horse of the Year Show, so we have plenty of coverage for you. We chat to two fi...

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