Horse Vibes July August 2020

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JULY / AUGUST 2020

SPOTLIGHT ON THE BRUMBY Can Australia manage its Brumby population humanely?

FIT FOR PURPOSE

Amanda Ross on upping your fitness game

KIRR A TICK GATE

The equestrian community rallies over an out-dated border crossing

TWENTY QUESTIONS What makes Boyd Martin tick?

THE BEAUTY OF WESTERN The 101 on glamour in the show pen

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INFORMATIVE, INSPIRATIONAL & ASPIRATIONAL

Editor Amanda McWhinnie editorial@horsevibes.com.au

Website/subscriptions: www.horsevibes.com.au Published by Equestrian Hub

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On the Cover: One of Carol Hancock’s iconic Brumby images, taken at first light in Kosciuszko National Park. Magazine Layout: Ailebo Consulting www.ailebo.com

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THIS PUBLICATION IS PUBLISHED BY EQUESTRIAN HUB. MATERIALS IN THIS PUBLICATION HAVE BEEN CREATED BY A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT ENTITIES AND TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, THE PUBLISHER ACCEPTS NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR MATERIALS CREATED BY OTHERS. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS PUBLICATION DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE OPINION OF THE PUBLISHER, ITS AGENTS OR EMPLOYEES. CONTENTS OF ADVERTISEMENTS ARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE ADVERTISERS. ANY USE OF THE INFORMATION IN THIS PUBLICATION IS AT THE SOLE RISK OF THE PERSON USING THAT INFORMATION. ©2019 HORSEVIBES EXCEPT AS PERMITTED BY LAW, NO PART OF THIS MAGAZINE MAY BE REPRODUCED IN WHOLE OR PART WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN PERMISSION OF HORSEVIBES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. INFORMATION AND CREDITS ARE CORRECT WHEN GOING TO PRINT BUT MAY CHANGE AFTERWARDS.

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Contents 6 Our Contributors 9 From The Horse’s Mouth 10 Brister’s Brief 14 Around The Traps 16 Spotlight On Brumbies 24 Culture Corner 30 The Kira Tick Gate 38 Fit For Purpose 44 Around The Traps 46 The Horse Listener 50 Nutrition: Feeding Before Breeding 56 Mount View Stud 62 Equipment

ISSUE #3 • JULY / AUGUST 2020

69 70 74 78 83 84 88 92 94 98 104 106 108

Around The Traps Travel: Fire And Ice Life After Racing Horse Breed: The Anglo-Arabian Saddle Review Breeding 101 Around The Traps On My Tackbox: No Hoof, No Horse Around The Traps The Beauty Of Western Young Rider: Amelia Douglass Horses In History 20 Questions With Boyd Martin H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 5


O U R C O N T R I B U TO R S Happily combining her passion for horses and for words, Amanda is the editor of HorseVibes. In this issue she delves into the fascinating world of renowned equine artist Lyn Beaumont, and chats to Amanda Ross on just what it takes to be fit for purpose. Candida Baker

Amanda Mac A journalist, editor and writing workshop facilitator, Sonia’s love of horses has been life-long. Sadly, she doesn’t own any so lives out her passion vicariously through equestrian friends. Sonia found investigating the Kirra Tick Gate story to be both a worrying and frustrating experience. Sonia Caeiro Alvarez

Candida travelled from Byron to Ballarat in search of answers for her Spotlight feature on Australia’s iconic Brumbies, and the complex issue of whether we can manage their populations humanely. In her Horse Listener column, she explains why negative palmar angles can cause joint issues, and looks at possible solutions. An equestrian coach and world-class eventer, Amanda competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and is shortlisted for Tokyo. A highly capable, all-round athlete, she took time out from a crazily busy schedule to give us some invaluable tips on improving our fitness.

Amanda Ross With a mix of excellent advice and wicked humour, Brister’s Brief is always a great read. In this issue, Charlie, an equestrian coach specialising in re-training problem horses, offers ten top tips to help you get back into full competition mode and finish off 2020 in style.

A multi-award winning horse racing and equestrian broadcaster and documentary maker, Jo is a former top-level show rider who has competed all over Australia. In this issue, she chats with Jane Gollan, one of Australia's greatest advocates for off the track Thoroughbreds. Jo Mckinnon

Charlie Brister A horse-lover since age eight, Geoff is a freelance journalist, photographer and consultant with a passion for horse sports. Now semi-retired, his great joys in life include family, his dogs, cooking, gardening and cycling. In this issue, he investigates the success story behind Mount View Stud. Geoff McLean

N.G. Quinlan, otherwise known as ‘Q’, is a writer, musician, and poet. A resident of the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, he has been contributing to HorseVibes since 2019. In our Horses in History feature, he tells the tale of Picasso, America’s most famous wild mustang. N. G. Quinlan aka ‘Q’

An Equine Nutritionist and founder of Hof Equine, Leisa has a Bachelor of Equine Science, specialising in nutrition. In this issue, she looks at the ways in which nutrition affects important aspects of reproduction, and how to feed your mare in preparation for the breeding season. Leisa Hofstetter

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Francine is a freelance writer and horse enthusiast. Following her retirement from a lengthy print media career, she’s enjoying writing about her personal passion: the horse. And after researching AngloArabians for our Breed feature, she’s fallen in love with these equine superstars. Francine Pullman


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S C H O L A R S H I P

Delivering Dreams Scholarship

As COVID-19 travel and social distancing restrictions slowly lift, we are delighted to announce that the Delivering Dreams Scholarship is back on track! The Scholarship is a HorseVibes initiative designed to help equestrians from a variety of disciplines achieve their dreams. We are dedicated to connecting with communities around Australia to ensure that our Scholarship recipients receive the help and inspiration they truly need to move to the next level. Applications for the next Scholarship round will close on 31 August 2020, and our recipient will be announced in the November/December edition of HorseVibes. To find out more, visit: horsevibes.com.au/horsevibes-delivering-dreams-scholarship

David Shoobridge’s Warmblood, Flame. Photo: Jessica Atkins, JA Studios.


PUBLISHER’S LETTER

From the Horse’s Mouth

New Zealand’s Mount View Stud is renowned for breeding internationally successful show jumping champions. Geoff McLean takes a look at the story behind that success story, while new columnist Francine Pullman writes about the magnificent AngloArabian in our regular Breed feature.

With Fiona Todd

Kristen Fleet keeps her head firmly on her shoulders with this issue’s

I

equipment piece on all things helmet,

see everyone’s Facebook feed with

Jo McKinnon talks to Queenslander

competition photos and smiling faces.

Jane Gollan to find out more about

As we all know - it’s been a while!

the journey a Thoroughbred makes

’m pretty sure I heard a collective sigh of relief across the nation as lockdown rules slowly relaxed

and also explains why she’s added an Icelandic riding holiday to her bucket list … just wait till you see the photos!

and we started getting out and about

In her regular Life After Racing column,

again with our ponies. I can’t wait to

as it transitions into civilian life. She

In this edition, Equestrian Hub

also reveals a brand new initiative

launches its new member platform:

designed to maximise the successful

look for magazines, training tips, prize

re-homing of our OTT friends.

draws, and loyalty points, with much more to be added as we follow our

Training Tips is all about Western

vision for making the Equestrian Hub

presentation – which is pretty

your virtual equestrian hang out.

spectacular by anyone’s standards – and our Young Rider is the high flying

To help you get back into the swing of things - and to make sure you and your

Those of us who float horses between

mounts enjoy the experience - resident

Queensland and NSW will be well

coach Charlie Brister offers his top 10

aware of the truly dreadful stop at the

tips for making your journey back to

Kirra Tick Gate. Journalist Sonia Caeiro

post-COVID life as smooth as possible. And while we’re on the subject, best grab the opportunity afforded by the transition period to up the game on your own fitness! Champion eventer Amanda Ross has all you need to know to lift your riding to the next level. Candida Baker has been down in the Snowy Mountains to investigate the plight of our beautiful Brumbies. Let’s do all we can to support our national treasure – and thank you, Carol

Alvarez investigates the many facets of this problem and speaks to some of those affected, including change

in History offers a bit of a mystery! Neil Quinlan has written a fascinating article on Picasso, America’s most famous wild mustang. But is Picasso really a horse in history, or is he still roaming the wide open spaces of the Colorado plains?

spokesperson Melinda Rechichi.

Then to close HorseVibes’ jam-

On the subject of our horse’s feet, the

champion eventer Boyd Martin twenty

Horse Listener looks at Palmer angles and Master Farrier David Farmilo hops onto this issue’s Tackbox to talk about horse’s legs and, you guessed it, their hooves. What should you be

packed July/August issue, Charlie asks very interesting questions, and gets some equally interesting answers! So as usual, pour your favourite tipple, sit back and enjoy!

looking for when buying a new horse?

Hancock, for our gorgeous cover image.

Here’s a clue: no hoof, no horse!

Editor Amanda Mac talks to

With the breeding season approaching,

internationally recognised artist

Amelia Douglass. And this issue’s Horse

equine nutritionist Leisa Hofstetter

Lyn Beaumont in Culture Corner –

explains how your mare’s fertility

and stay tuned, because we have

can be supported with correct

some seriously amazing creatives

nutrition, and we talk to Agnes Banks

lined up for future issues.

Equine Vets about insemination. H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 9


BRISTER’S BRIEF

Lock down is over – so let’s get riding!

2

HORSE ATTENTION: The next point of order will be checking your

horse’s responsiveness on the ground. Leading horses is a basic skill which is overlooked 99% of the time. Does your horse come forward calmly and promptly when you apply lead pressure? Are they paying attention to you, or are they just hanging around at the end of the lead? Training basics need to be finely tuned. If your horse has also been enjoying

With the first six months of the riding year lost to bushfires and the pandemic, CHARLIE BRISTER offers a few tips to get you back into full competition mode.

a little bit of couch time over the competition break, let him know you are back in business. No more slacking off.

3

CHECK OUT ALL YOUR GEAR: Do your jodhpurs still fit? Seriously,

quite a few people have relaxed their waist lines during social isolation. And

H

opefully you had a horse at home to make social isolation easier and more fun. After all, who is lonely and bored when they have a horse? Broke, frustrated, exhausted perhaps – but never lonely or bored!

Even if you’ve been able to ride regularly, without competitions there hasn’t been that intensity of training. Focus has been hard and coaches have been difficult to get to on a regular basis. So now that we’re gearing back up to normal, everyone is champing at the bit and ready for some competitions and fun. Getting back into full throttle competition

mode might take a bit of work, so here are some tips to help you finish off 2020 better than it started: 1 RIDER FITNESS: Have you been focusing on keeping up your fitness with all that home-time during the pandemic? In reality, who hasn’t been indulging in an extra bit of Netflix? Surely no-one will ever be the same again after watching Joe Exotic! After slouching on the couch you might need to go to the chiropractor or physio so that you’re able to sit up straight and balanced in the saddle. Always make sure that you’re doing the right thing before you start worrying about your horse.

while you’re checking circumferences, are your float tires fully pumped up?

4

TRANSPORT MANNERS: Remember, it’s been a while since

you went out so don’t leave it till the morning of the competition or your coaching clinic before checking that your horse remembers how to load on the trailer (the August 2019 issue of HorseVibes includes an in-depth article on floating). Older horses with a history of being good floaters will probably go straight on like it was yesterday. Younger horses might need a couple trial runs in the lead-up to going out. So, don’t leave it to the last minute.

5

LESSONS AND COACHING: Getting a bit more variety in your training

while under the hopefully watchful eye of your coach will be the best starting point in developing your competition plan. This will also test your fitness – can you ride a full 45 minutes without collapsing?

6

FROM ADRENALIN TO CALM: It can be easy to ask your horse to

remain nice and calm and steady when you’re in the home paddock all the time. Preparing for the excitement of new places means that you practice revving them up a bit then bring them back

Do your jodhpurs still fit? If not, time to get back into healthy eating (and that’s what’s on the checkout conveyor belt, not what’s behind it!). 10 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0

to the calm and steady way of going they had earlier. This will help get them


BRISTER’S BRIEF

ready for the extra adrenalin and speed they’ll have to deal with out in public. Sometimes you just need to go for a hoon in an area where you and your horse already feel comfortable and safe. You can adjust to that really ‘forward feeling’ and practice bringing the horse back to a long and low trot or walk.

7

Getting a bit of variety into your training. BELOW: Brush less, ride more! Charlie and Beatrix back into training.

RIDE MORE: It’s the day before your first show back, and this is where

you need to be riding your horse more than brushing it. My personal motto: Brush less, ride more. Yes, presentation is important but not getting bucked off is importanter (and yes, that’s now a word!). This doesn’t mean lunge them into the ground and get them overtired, but make sure you put in the time required to get your horse listening and relaxed.

8

FRISK-FREE OUTING: The same idea applies on the morning of the

show. Make sure you get the horse on the float nice and early so you have time for a slightly longer warm-up ride. Again, you don’t want to overtire them, especially since their fitness may not be at its peak. That extra warm-up time might just be another ten minutes of walking. If in doubt, ask your coach. They know best. No bias here ;)

H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 11


Where Charlie leads, Stormy follows. RIGHT: Lock down has been tough for us all.

9

START LOWER: Some riders might still be aiming for their original end

of year goals despite this extended time between competitions. It’s unlikely that your horse knows what your plan is though. Starting one level or height down from where you left off is always a low stress way to start out. That way,

six months of 2020 ahead of us!

10

And just before I head out to give a cross

TAKE CARE: Many organisers are anticipating a bit of mayhem

as riders descend like locusts on

Charlie Brister of Brister Equestrian

for six months, that’s no reason for

you can keep the horse confident

you not to keep an eye on your horse

and also get over any first day nerves

– the day out is also about them, so

yourself. Don’t over-face your horse

not too much human socialising. Also

or yourself – we’ve still got another

watch out for other fresh horses!

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT - BREEDING SEASON -

Giving your horse the best start in life Preparing your foal for a healthy life begins at conception, through gestation and into their first few years of growth. The right nutrition in pregnant mares reduces complications at birth. Likewise, the correct diet for foals reduces their risk of Developmental Orthopaedic Diseases (DOD), ensuring they grow up to be healthy and sound horses.

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Pregnant mare feeding tips Increase vitamins and minerals but not calories

Increase calories and trace minerals in the last three months of gestation for vital foal bone and cartilage development

1-7/8 months 8-11/12 months

THROUGHOUT Provide your pregnant mare with access to clean water and salt. When in doubt ask an equine nutritionist. Know your pregnant mare’s body condition score. A Barastoc body conditioning score above 4 adds unnecessary weight to their limbs. You can find this tool and others under the ‘Resources’ section of our website: barastochorse.com.au

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AROUND THE TRAPS Poppy Douglas and Clancy in the speed event at the 2019 Mudgee & Districts Working Equitation Championships (Image by Ruth Glover).


AROUND THE TRAPS

TOP: Jamie Hewitt-Toms aboard Devereaux Sea Salt at the 2019 NSW State Showjumping Championships (Image by Brittany Grovenor). ABOVE: Danni Blismas and OTT Thoroughbred Aeroboyz at the Mortlake Showjumping Festival (Image by Cheryl Hardy). LEFT: Paton Simpson riding Port Commands at the Coffs Coast Jump Club Spring Showjumping Festival (Image by Oz Shots).

H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 15


S P OT L I G H T

Is there a fair future for Australia’s Brumbies? Brumbies are a beloved national icon, but they are also considered a feral pest by some, writes CANDIDA BAKER of the troubled future facing the horses that carry so much of Australia’s cultural heritage.

I

t’s almost forty years ago that I first saw Brumbies. I was on a week-long wilderness ride in the Barrington Tops

riding a young Thoroughbred, Bassie. It was his first trek, and he decided to jog-trot for the entire time, which did a lot for my core and leg muscles, and not so much for my sore rear end.

A rest day meant a chance to explore the Tops on the horses and as we made our way through tracks amongst the gum trees, we suddenly spotted a small herd of bay Brumbies, their colour in sharp contrast to the white snow which had fallen the night before. The horses showed little concern for our presence, until we got too close for comfort, and the stallion went on red alert, galloping his mob off for the shelter of the wooded hills and into invisibility. The sight of them left me with a curious wistfulness – they were so free, so much part of the landscape.

made him seem like an entirely different creature to these small, sturdy, swift ponies. That was in the early 1980s, before the park was turned into a Wilderness area, and the Brumbies removed – although I understand from the Hunter Valley Brumby Association that around 150 remain in the lower reaches, in the park rather than in the Wilderness area. Fast forward to 2020, (with a few wilderness rides in the intervening decades), and here I am again, riding on a Guy Fawkes Heritage Brumby, Guy

Paleface, a Brumby stallion sadly lost in the catastrophic bush fires (Image courtesy Michelle J Photography).

both Mello and Dodge went through their initial training with horseman Taphyl Stewart before Kathy purchased them

Fawkes Carnaby, now renamed Mello,

in 2019.

through the state forest near Kendall,

As we travel through the forest, taking

not far from Port Macquarie. Kathy Holtrust, who runs Southern Cross Horse Treks has always used Arabians as her steed of choice, but recently decided to take two Brumbies - Mello and Guy Fawkes Dodge - to train up as trail-riding horses. The pair had been passively trapped in the Guy Fawkes

some winding steep drops covered with vines and branches, what strikes me is Mello’s spatial awareness. We squeeze between saplings that are only a millimetre from my leg and my mind flashes back to the Australian Brumby Challenge at Equitana in Melbourne in 2018. If one word was going to leap out at me from all the images of Brumbies

Where had they come from I wondered,

National Park a few years before and

these particular horses? How long

had gone through the Guy Fawkes

since their ancestors had pulled carts,

Heritage Horse Association, run by Erica

provided transport and ploughed the

Jessup. The Association offers the

Kathy agrees. “The Brumbies are much

land for their human companions?

horses for sale to the public, keeping

less reactive than the Arabians,” she

Bassie’s gangly uncoordinated moves

a formal register and a Stud Book and

says. “They’re quickly turning into

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competing in the Challenge, it would be ‘brave’.


steady and safe horses. They have great

against Parks Victoria in an attempt

between May and June 22,” he says,

hooves, and they keep weight on well.”

to prevent the removal of significant

“so we don’t want the focus to be on

numbers of Brumbies from the Eastern

the court case, and winning or losing,

Victorian Alps and the removal of all

all we cared about – and still care about

Brumbies from the Bogong High Plains.

– is saving the lives of those horses.

The cull was met by stiff opposition from

These Brumbies carry a priceless

I’m impressed with Mello. His walk is so free and easy, I just sit there; his trot is steady and his canter remarkably comfortable. He’s keen to have a gallop when there’s one available, and equally happy to walk along the forest tracks, his nature kind and inquisitive and obviously happy in this new life. It’s this potential ‘new’ life for Brumbies that made the news that Parks Victoria was planning a cull by ground-shooting with ‘noise suppressors’ and ‘thermal imaging equipment’ of the Eastern Victorian Alps High Plains Brumbies so distressing - the shooting announced

Brumby supporters around Australia, most publicly by Omeo horseman Phil Maguire and his wife Louise, who raised money against their family homes to try and prevent the slaughter of the Bogong High Plains Brumbies. Despite the fact that ultimately they were considered not to have legal ‘standing’ and were therefore unable to proceed with their case, Phil is adamant that their actions achieved their goal.

cultural heritage. Generations ago our family would breed Walers up in the High Country for the Waler sales, and these horses are descendants of those horses.” There has never been a commercial goal to their desire to save the Brumbies, Louise stresses. “We don’t want to sell them, or take them off and re-home them, if you do that they’re not Brumbies anymore. We know that

by Parks Victoria the same day as the

“We knew from the start that Parks

country, our property literally backs on

Australian Brumby Alliance lost its case

Victoria only had an opportunity to shoot

to it – we don’t even have fences – they H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 17


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S P OT L I G H T

independent count of Brumby numbers since the drought and bushfires.” The opposing arguments for and against the continuing existence of Brumbies in our National Parks are pretty simple – the anti-Brumby groups believe that Brumbies are part of the feral animal problem in Australia that pose a threat Lin Baird of Bogong Horse Adventures demonstrating some natural horsemanship skills before our trek (Image courtesy Candida Baker). BELOW: Candida’s second Brumby ride on Phoenix at Bogong Horse Adventures (Image courtesy Candida Baker). were burnt out in the last two bushfires,

during the case that it’s the deer that

but we put salt out for the horses to

wallow, pull up plants and rub on

encourage them to come on to our

trees, but Parks Victoria don’t want to

property.”

acknowledge the difference between

What Phil and Louise achieved in a short

horses and deer. It’s estimated that

space of time in terms of financial and public support was extraordinary, and what they hope is that they have bought a permanent reprieve. “Once the window is closed for this year’s shooting, the current management plan runs out next June,”

there are a million deer in the Victorian Alpine parks, which based on the 2019

to returning the land to what is often referred to as a ‘pristine’ environment. (In Victoria, for example, Section 17(2)(a) (iii) of the National Parks Act provides that exotic fauna must be controlled in national parks, with Brumbies being classified as exotic fauna.) Those for the Brumby argue that the National Parks in Australia have already been manipulated and changed beyond repair since the first white pioneers arrived to build their new lives. In Australia, that evidence is perhaps clearest in both the Kosciuszko National Park, and the Alpine National Park where the sub-alpine plains were used for grazing for cattle for well over a century, and where mining,

Cairns count, minus recent bushfire

the development of hydro power, the

deaths in the same area means there

creation of numerous ski resorts and the

are 300 deer to one Brumby, and yet

continued presence of four-wheel drive

somehow it’s Brumbies that are facing

vehicles, hikers, skiers and fisherfolk

extermination. We urgently need another

have already permanently changed the

Phil says, “and there will have to be community consultation. We believe that we’ve created enough publicity and outcry for Parks Victoria to take how they manage Brumby populations very seriously.” (The million-dollar question remains however, as to whether Parks Victoria, with no legal impediment to stop them, may shoot through winter anyway.) Jill Pickering, President of the Australian Brumby Alliance, is resolute in her belief that the presence of Brumbies in the National Parks of Victoria should continue in sustainable numbers. “It‘s critical that Parks Victoria separate deer impact from horse impact,” she explains. “It actually became clear H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 19


S P OT L I G H T

A herd of Brumbies in the High Country (Image courtesy Ian and Michelle Brown).

eco-system. It is an eco-system, Brumby

their nutrient-rich manure is very high

and yet somehow seems to attract more

supporters argue, that has created a

compared to other large herbivores.”

than its fair share of negative attention

symbiotic relationship over the past 150 years between the horses and the flora of the parks. Justine Curatolo, President of the Heritage Brumby Advocates Australia Inc, believes that a large part of the misinformation surrounding Brumbies is related to a lack of knowledge about the benefits of nomadic herbivores. “In Europe, where they are undertaking ‘rewilding’ programs they’ve discovered that landscapes with wild horses are recovering much more quickly than

It’s impossible to mention the word ‘bushfire’ without paying tribute to one of the most-recognisable stallions of the Kosciuszko National Park. Cooma-based

from authorities, which is curious to me because an obvious difference between horses and other feral animals, is that once rehabilitated, Brumbies adapt to

photographers Michelle and Ian Brown

their domestic life remarkably well.

have been photographing Brumbies

To put the figure of 400,000 in

in the Alpine Parks for years, and like many other lovers of the mountain Brumbies, have been devastated by the disappearance of the great Paleface, his son Bogong and their herds. “We’ve had to accept that they perished in the fires,” Michelle says. “Paleface

perspective there are, for example, 1.5 million feral camels in Australia, and over one million deer in the Alpine National Parks alone, according to an ABC news report. According to the then Federal Department of the Environment feral pigs have been considered to be the

was so strong, so beautiful – he was the

worst mammalian pest of Australian

Silver Brumby of our time in a way, and

agriculture since 1987, and according to

those of us that love the Brumbies miss

their figures there are five million feral

him terribly.”

donkeys in Australia.

bushfires have passed through. Due

As a species which allegedly (according

Horses arrived here in 1788 with the

to the nature of their monogastric,

to Wikipedia) numbers no more than

First Fleet, and by 1860 there were

single-chambered stomachs, their seed

400,000 Australia-wide, the Brumby is

160,000 in Australia. For a long time

dispersal and seed regeneration through

considered to be only a moderate pest,

it was survival of the fittest, gradually

those without,” Justine says. “The natural principle is that wild horses promote vegetation regeneration, and we can see this in areas after the

20 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


S P OT L I G H T

resulting in the appearance of the Waler - so-called because it had its origins in New South Wales. The Waler soon earned the title of ‘breed’, developing into an extremely hardy horse. (In the First World War 120,000 horses, many of them Walers, went to war – only one, Sandy, came back.) In the meantime, out in the bush natural selection was creating a very similar horse - the Brumby - a wild horse differing in each state depending on its environment and founding stock mix, from the Percheron-like Brumbies of the northern parts of Western Australia, where horses had often come from the huge stations, to the petite ponies of Coffin Bay in South Australia. The rare Pangaré Brumbies on the coast of Western Australia, south of Geraldton, with their curious light patches of colouring, appear to have adapted well to their coastal environment, and don’t appear to be damaging their main diet of saltbush, with the Department of Environment and Conservation and the

Paleface’s son Bogong also fell victim to the fires (Image courtesy Michelle J Photography).

Outback Heritage Horse Association of Western Australia (OHHAWA) monitoring these particular Brumbies to ensure the careful management of this unusual breed. When the decision was made to remove the Coffin Bay ponies from the National Park, a solution was found by providing them with their own private reserve, and a solid re-homing program – similar to New Zealand’s management of their wild horses, the Kaimanawa. All of these outcomes suggest that with a bit of goodwill Brumby populations can in fact be managed.

We urgently need another independent count of Brumby numbers since the drought and bushfires

banning aerial shooting of Brumbies, and brought the plight of the Brumby to national and international attention. It was the recent controversy around the High Plains Brumbies that took me to my second Brumby ride with Bogong Horseback Adventures who are based at Tawonga, not far from Mt Beauty. The Baird family have been running a

For a long time culling in any way –

trekking operation since the 1980s and

aerial culling, ground-shooting, Brumby-

have been at Spring Spur, their current

running and sending the captured

home, since 1986.

Brumbies to slaughter was seen as the right of National Parks and State

Lin Baird, the current general manager, gave me Phoenix as my mount, an eight-

What Australian Brumby supporters

Governments around Australia, until

desire is a carefully managed fertility

in October 2000 in the short space

control and passive trapping program

of three days, 600 Brumbies were

of reduction, with no shooting or

shot by aerial cull in the Guy Fawkes

aerial culling, and small, sustainable

River National Park by National Parks

populations to keep the legend of the

and Wildlife Service contractors in

Brumby, complete with all its cultural,

helicopters. The public outcry, and the

spent decades observing Brumbies,

eco-tourism and potential environmental

painful deaths those horses suffered,

and absorbing some of their hardy

advantages alive.

resulted in the NSW Government

bloodlines into their riding herd.

year-old 14hh bay Brumby, born on their property to a Brumby mare trapped on the Bogong High Plains. With a licence to take riders into the Victorian or Alpine National Parks, Lin and his family have

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Phoenix was every bit as willing and sweet to ride as Mello, and I was intrigued if there was a difference starting a Brumby that has been trapped, such as Mello, with one born on a family farm, such as Phoenix. “I think all Brumbies have a genetic tendency to be a bit more sensitive,” Lin tells me. “They’re naturally attuned to be a bit more aware of their surroundings, so they always need careful handling, but if they are started correctly they make fantastic horses, and the guests love them.” The guests also, of course, love the sight of the Brumbies on the Bogong High Plains. “To my mind the deer are a far worse problem than the small herds of Brumbies that are on the plains,” Lin says. ****

A ride on Guy Fawkes Carnaby, aka Mello (Image courtesy Candida Baker).

My last stop on my whistle-stop research

government agencies who have to

the smaller paddocks, and then to yards

trip was near Ballarat, to Beaufort, where

manage the Brumbies, and thirdly, to

as the gentling process begins. Visiting

Colleen O’Brien runs the Victorian

educate the public through programs

a paddock full of young (and very quiet)

Brumby Association (VBA), formed in

such as our very successful Australian

stallions, I was impressed with how

2007.

Brumby Challenge, and our Wild Brumby

friendly and curious they were for horses

Gentling Clinics.”

that were so recently out of the wild and

“We have three key aims,” says Colleen, “firstly, to rescue and home Brumbies

On the beautiful property that houses

caught from the wild on public lands;

the VBA, herds of Brumbies live in large

secondly, to lobby and work with the

paddocks, only gradually brought into

not yet handled. As we walked away from the group, one of them followed me, and nudged me on the back. I stopped, and he did it again – just the gentlest of greetings. It was a beautiful out-of-the-blue moment. I can only speak from personal experience, but both days I visited Kiandra in the Kosciuszko National Park and saw three or four small herds of Brumbies, I also saw anglers fishing in the clear-running creeks, and visitors delighted by the sight of the 20 or so Brumbies in view. Just as when I had seen them for the first time 40 years ago, something about the sight of them made my heart sing. Surely Brumbies, an iconic symbol for the wild soul of Australia, have earned the right to be protected from inhumane

Safe at the VBA – three young Brumbies at the beginning of their new lives (Image courtesy Candida Baker).

slaughter in a landscape they have now been part of for over 200 years? H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 23


C U LT U R E C O R N E R

Picture perfect With her work hanging in the homes of HRH Princess Anne and the Duchess of Bedford, Lyn Beaumont is clearly an equine artist of considerable repute. AMANDA MAC spoke to Lyn recently about her remarkable equine portraiture.

MAIN: ‘Arabian Aura’ painted for exhibition in Dubai (photograph reference by and courtesy of Wojtek Kwiatkowski). FACING PAGE: Lyn and Black Caviar (Image by Bronwen Healey).


C U LT U R E C O R N E R

T

here are, of course, many gifted portrait painters: artists whose work gives us pause for

thought - a moment to appreciate, enjoy and acknowledge their considerable talent. But occasionally you discover an artist who has succeeded in capturing not just their subject’s physical appearance, but something else entirely: something very subtle, almost ethereal, which some might call the soul. And that’s what immediately stands out in Lyn Beaumont’s equine portraiture. Her subjects’ personalities, clearly visible in their intelligent eyes, are right there, caught on the canvas. This ability to recognise and capture a horse’s essence is perhaps a facet of her passion for them, which is something that has always been: “I think I was born with it,” she says. “My grandfather was a horseman and I was horse mad one colour, much as you would see in a

from a very early age. But my parents wouldn’t buy me a horse so I had to beg rides from friends with horses, or even from strangers riding past! If given the chance, I’d ride anybody’s horse – even if they were having trouble with it, I would ride it.” Her first horse didn’t arrive until she was 18 with a job and income of her own. This horse, an ex-racer with an unfortunate attitude, almost killed her – so she bought another, also an ex-racehorse, who became a close and loyal companion until he was well into his 30s. I’m curious to know if there was ever another career for Lyn other than painting, and her response is an

I have to liaise quite closely with the person commissioning the work so that I can perfect the image and be absolutely sure that I’m capturing the horse’s character and personality.

indication of the way things were when she was a young woman: “In another

local artist offering oil painting lessons

life I was a nurse. In those days you had

in his home. The artist, Glenn Hoyle, was

to be practical and you couldn’t make

a gifted landscape painter and a great

a living from artwork in the same way young people are directed to it today.

teacher. He fostered the early days of

pencil sketch. Predictably, as Lyn later developed her own unique style as an equine artist with oils as her preferred medium - it was shaped by that early training: “I started to paint horses by myself, no one taught me that. But the tonal training I had did influence my style in the way I laid down and blended colours. The result is a lot softer, subtler,” she explains. As her reputation as an artist grew, Lyn was commissioned by the Victorian Racing Club to paint the then Horse of the Year, the first of four such commissions. Of course, the jockey was a necessary addition to the portrait, sending Lyn on a steep learning curve: “I had to paint a human face, so I decided to take portraiture lessons from Brian Armstrong and Lee Machelak, who were both winners of the prestigious A.M.E.

Lyn’s now 30-year-long career, teaching

Bale Art Award, and both proponents

her to approach landscapes using the

of the tonal technique. My equine work

However, everything changed when by

tonal technique, essentially a rendering

developed from that point with the

chance, Lyn heard of a highly acclaimed

of the subject in various shadings of

softness and tonality I learned in human

But I still enjoyed drawing.”

H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 25


C U LT U R E C O R N E R

portraiture,” she explains. But make no mistake, while Lyn’s work has that entrancingly ethereal quality, it also demonstrates a realism and precision that stems from her painstaking attention to both detail and anatomical accuracy.

Princess Anne and the Duchess of

New Zealand and Japan, and have

Bedford, as well as in the boardrooms

been exhibited in Melbourne, Brisbane,

of the Victoria, Moonee, Melbourne and

Sydney, Dubai and New York.

Mornington Racing Clubs. She has on

With this kind of success, you’d imagine

several occasions been commissioned to paint Black Caviar, and the Australian Stud Book and Equine Federation of

that a relaxed, grounded home life might be an advantage - and that appears to be the case. Lyn and husband Neil live

Australia have both purchased her work.

in Victoria on a property they share with

A testament to her talent, Lyn’s work

Her paintings hang in private collections

eight horses (nine if you count the one

hangs in the private residences of HRH

around Australia, UK, the USA, Ireland,

currently holidaying with them), including

ABOVE: ‘Dynasty of Kings - Sir Tristram’, Sir Tristram, Zabeel, Octagonal, and Lonhro. A print of this painting hangs in the home of HRH Princess Anne (prints are available). RIGHT: A commissioned portrait of the Andalusian stallion GrandiosoMG.

a couple of Warmbloods, an Arabian, some Thoroughbreds, and the odd cross or two, as well as two dogs, seven cows and a colourful Brazilian parakeet that’s been with them for the past 20 years. “The bird is very pretty but very angry,” quips Lyn, “it’s lovely with us but definitely doesn’t like anyone else!” Lyn’s passion for horses is all consuming: “My life revolves around them. I’ve broken one in, trained and reeducated quite a few, and I spend a lot of my time either dressage riding or trail riding. If I’m not painting them I’m either riding or working with them,” she laughs Even with COVID-19 restrictions in place, as they were at the time of writing, Lyn remains busy: “I just shipped off the portrait of J.J. the Stockhorse and I’m now painting a picture of our two dogs as a gift for Neil.”

26 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


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C U LT U R E C O R N E R

It seems that many of Lyn’s commissioned pieces are created as gifts for a loved one, something that she finds particularly touching. “It’s a very personal gift,” she says thoughtfully. “When I accept a commission, whether it’s for a gift or otherwise, I have to liaise quite closely with the person commissioning the work so that I can perfect the image and be absolutely sure that I’m capturing the horse’s character and personality. And that takes a commitment from them to give me the time and details I need.”

One of Lyn’s most recent commissions, Jungle Juice the Stockhorse.

Despite her considerable talents and enviable success as an artist, Lyn’s approach is remarkably modest. “For me, to be able to paint someone’s horse is both a privilege and a compliment because a portrait is something that’s really precious, it becomes a treasured possession. It’s lovely if I can actually see the horse but often I can’t, either because of distance, or because it’s a posthumous portrait – which inevitably brings tears to my eyes - or because someone has commissioned a painting as a surprise for their spouse. But these circumstances are never an issue because even if I have had the opportunity to see the horse, I always paint from photographs.” Lyn finds that by working this way she achieves a far more accurate representation of her subject, particularly given that horses, unlike human portrait subjects, don’t stay still for very long! I can’t help but ask Lyn about the way she feels as she paints, and her response is instant: “I feel inspired because I just love horses. They’re all so different and they each have their own story – I see them as individuals, as personalities. And to be able to give something back to people who love their horses is an absolute pleasure.” Personally, I think that the pleasure is all ours. View more of Lyn’s work at www.lynbeaumont.com – or for portrait enquiries, email lyn@lynbeaumont.com 28 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0

Capturing all the action of a fast fought polo game (photograph reference by and courtesy of Tony Ramiriz).


WinningPost Fencing WinningPost Fencing

WinningPost

Fencing

WinningPost

Fencing


FEATURE

Tick gate death trap With every good reason, the equestrian community is rallying over an out-dated border crossing. SONIA CAEIRO ALVAREZ investigates.

Melinda Rechichi and daughter Chloe with Jazdan Raphaela (L) and Kenlock Sylvestro (R) (Image courtesy Mahalia Ashforth).


F E AT U R E

O

n a steamy Sunday afternoon, just before a storm breaks in Queensland’s south-

east corner, a dozen horse floats, goosenecks and semitrailers line up along Miles Street, a high traffic residential Gold Coast road. They are queuing to get into the Kirra Tick Yard facility for the mandatory check and preventative cattle tick spray required for all horses crossing into NSW. It’s the end of an event day, and there’re a few hundred horses on the highway behind them. Temperatures are reaching the mid-30s, and horses are overheating and becoming distressed

Workers wear protective gear when spraying with Bayticol (Image courtesy Angela Delgiacco).

as they wait to enter the facility. Dressage horse owner and competitor Jane Russell* remembers vividly the last time she entered the tick gates as it was her last. “My goose neck just fitted in but exiting was a nightmare,” she says. “There’s a lot of traffic, it’s hard to see past parked cars, and the slope is very steep as you edge out onto the road. As I was turning out a car came flying past. I slammed on the brakes and my horses banged against each other. They were ok, frightened

as well as bad traffic management

“There are many problems with the

and community impact as issues of

site and the main issue is that it’s just

extreme concern. Not least of which is

not fit for purpose,” Melinda Rechichi

why horses, at their owner’s expense,

says, a competition horse owner based

need to be subjected to Bayticol, a toxic

just south of the border in the Tweed

spray containing flumethrin, an acaricide

Valley, and instigator of the community

and a bit bruised, but I was freaked.”

pesticide designed to kill cattle ticks.

Sandy Thomas* also has vivid

The perceived death trap on suburban

memories. In a similar incident, the oncoming vehicle collided with her float, significantly damaging the vehicle and terrorising the filly inside. She no longer attends Queensland events. Stories about the perils surrounding this facility abound: the horse that died a few years ago after a collision; the woman who had a flat tyre, missed the 8.00pm closing time and had to camp out for the night with her daughter and horses at Mt Tambourine; the young woman who broke a finger leading a fractious, terrified horse into the crush; the woman whose horse slipped its head collar and galloped down the road into traffic.

Miles Street is considered by the horseowning community to be a dangerous, out-dated facility that’s been the subject of complaint and controversy for years.

Facebook page. “Many people can literally not fit into the facility due to the size of their vehicle. They have no choice but to park across the road and lead the horses through traffic and manually take them through the

An equine community Facebook page

spray yards. It’s incredibly dangerous

set up in late 2019 – ‘The Change

but they have no other option.”

the Kirra Spray Yards Fiasco – Tell your story’ – gathered thousands of views and hundreds of testimonies from aggrieved horse owners in just a few short months: from the perils of navigating much loved and often highly valuable animals through the gauntlet of trucks mounted on kerbs, and leading horses across a high traffic road, to staff donning hi-viz vests to aid traffic control, and being drenched with chemicals -

Almost all horse owners cite safety for

the efficacy of which is questionable

horses, vehicles, owners and handlers,

according to the latest science.

Melinda mentions being inundated with hundreds of stories: “Not just about fitting vehicles in, but the fast traffic, the football grounds next door with loud crowds and blasting horns spooking horses, injuries, vehicle damage, local foot traffic in danger, and of course, why we have to do this in the first place. It’s cattle tick, not horse tick. Why are we paying the price for a cattle industry problem?” Going through the facility currently costs H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 31


F E AT U R E

With a truck too large for the facility gates, owners have no option other than to unload their horses next to a busy road (Image courtesy Katrina Parlevliet).

DPI. During this bureaucratic tennis match, questions remain unanswered, solutions uninitiated and frustration in the equine community deepens. Melinda and others have written to various departments, and if responded to at all, have received almost identical letters of dismissal. The office of Mark Furner MP, the QLD Minister of Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, responded to her correspondence in late 2019 by stating that the NSW DPI had advised him that it was “committed to the highest possible work, health and safety standards”, which included signage regarding unloading only in the facility, signage on non-admission, rubber matting in booths, lockable gates, and a widening of entrances

$5.50 per treatment. Failing to do so results in hefty fines and a visit from a DPI inspector. With 500 to 600 horses going through the border gates each month the revenue is significant. The local equestrian community is paying up to $40,000 a year, a fraction of the total when including income from fines, for a problem widely considered to be the responsibility of the cattle industry.

and is dangerously unfit for purpose. Complicating the matter is the number of public service and government departments involved in managing the facility. The NSW Department of Primary Industries which owns and operates it, and the Gold Coast City Council (GCCC) that manages the land are the two primary stakeholders. However, the Tweed Shire Council,

and exits (which would alleviate the issues of large vehicle access but not the turning angles for large vehicles in high traffic). At the time of writing most of this had not occurred. This response was repeated in letters from the NSW DPI and other bodies. Local MPs and councils have all redirected queries back to the DPI. None of the correspondence addresses any of the core concerns of horse

That problem is the cattle tick. Horses,

Queensland Department of Agriculture

amongst other animals are classified

and Fisheries, Queensland Roads

owners. The circular buck passing is

as low-risk secondary carriers, so why

and Transport, Workplace Health

almost laughable were it not so serious.

vaccinating cattle isn’t the primary

and Safety Queensland (WHS), the

control mechanism remains an

Environmental Protection Authority,

Melinda has sent several letters to

unanswered question. That horses

Biosecurity Queensland, Business

are possible secondary carriers is

Queensland, and the Federal

understood. However, no department

Department of Agriculture, Meat and

contacted while researching this

Livestock Australia all have involvement,

story could say why other secondary

or a stake in the border policy.

carriers such as dogs are not subject to mandatory inspection and spraying.

GCCC with no response and finally submitted an official complaint to the Division 14 Councillor around the perilous exit of large vehicles from the facility. When Council was contacted regarding the issues raised, including

The politics are complex. The current

land ownership, WHS management, lack

policy black hole between the two

of road signage on speed, and safety

Despite the latest CSIRO evaluations on

states and the many departments

warnings regarding livestock movement,

acaricide resistance, which according

involved results in the various bodies

a GCCC spokesperson explained the

to some experts was the basis for

responding to questions by suggesting

site was not ‘leased’ but was State

altering the policy on the Northern

it’s another organisation’s remit.

land set apart as a reserve for stock

Territory/Queensland border, NSW

Queensland Roads and Transport

dip purposes under the control of the

persists with out-dated science, in an

directs traffic issues to GCCC, which

Director General of the NSW Department

out-dated facility that poses high risk

directs access issues to the NSW

of Primary Industries as Trustee.

32 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


Bare Equestrian available at


F E AT U R E

The spokesman said that “the city’s road

to access the facility have limited

avoid oncoming traffic. To this, GCCC

safety team has assessed the site and

alternatives. They can arrange for

issued a statement stating that, “the

signage on site and advises that ‘All

private spraying before leaving QLD,

City has been working with DPI and

livestock must be unloaded within the

which is expensive and not practical

the Divisional Councillor to improve

compound’. WHS at the facility is a

for many. There is also the option

matter for the respective Agriculture

of a second border crossing at Mt

Departments in QLD and NSW as is the

Lindesay, 140kms west of Kirra and a

query on the facility being moved to a

five-hour round trip, which is simply not

‘safer’ site. We trust all horse owners/

feasible for those travelling from South

transport carriers to abide by this

East Queensland to northern NSW.

signage to ensure there are no safety issues. Should the horse carrier be unable to abide by the conditions, they are advised to contact the facility to make the necessary arrangements.” Horse owners with vehicles too large

Of primary concern for all those who can fit through the gates is the steep slope and fast-moving traffic - a combination causing anxiety to drivers, and damage to vehicles and animals as large carriers lurch onto Miles Street attempting to

road safety in the area. We will soon install a yellow no stopping line on the eastbound side of Miles Street to improve access into the facility and improve visibility for vehicles leaving.” Unhelpfully, the letter also indicates the installation of additional signage on the westbound side of Miles Street ‘to remind users that livestock should not be unloaded on the roadway.’ This response once again failed to address the perennial issue of large vehicle access and the facility being unfit for purpose. At the date of writing, there is still no warning sign to drivers of a livestock facility, and once again Council directed all further enquiries to the DPI. One ‘Change the Kirra Spray Yards’ Facebook post was a video of a large Sydney Horse Transport vehicle and the trauma experienced by valuable horses. Spray yard staff prohibited the witness from taking images and video on site so she moved to the main road, and with the driver’s permission continued filming. “On the side of the road yesterday at Kirra spray yard,” her post says. “Two colts, two racehorses and four very frightened yearlings - scared and rearing in the crush … then having to be loaded again with the gates open, across the sidewalk with people walking their dogs. It was scary to watch as they were obviously not used to being loaded. The lovely driver said he is usually by himself but was lucky that a strapper caught a lift with him and helped. He said that the Queen had more of a chance of getting a tick then from where these horses were from.” The frustration, and the devil, is in the detail. Complex DPI guidelines state that while a manual inspection is mandatory, as is carrying a

In the crush (Image courtesy Angela Delgiacco). 34 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0

Movement Record to comply with risk minimisation requirements and


F E AT U R E

A large horse truck parked on the verge of a busy road – dangerous for horses, handlers, traffic and pedestrians alike (Image courtesy Katrina Parlevliet).

making an inspection appointment, nowhere does the document state that compulsory preventative spraying is required, particularly in the case of stabled competition horses that did not travel to a tick zone. According to Biosecurity Queensland, chemical sprays are not mandatory on low risk carriers unless manual inspection discovers evidence of ticks. The department states that: ‘Low risk tick carriers must be manually inspected and found tick free to meet the ‘tick free manual inspection’ risk minimisation requirement as stated in the biosecurity manual from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.’ To add to the frustration, despite DPI

If someone does get killed there it’s a potential manslaughter offence under WHS legislation, due to known risks, negligence and no adequate corrective actions NSW is heavy and bookings make no

own horses through. Like many horse owners she no longer participates in events north of the border. Her evaluation of the Kirra spray yards is blunt. “The facility has an Extreme Risk level,” Plim says. “I stopped taking horses through there after a horse died a few years ago and traffic increased to a dangerous level. It was a tough decision but I will not move horses through that gate until it’s relocated and operational practices are improved. If someone does get killed there it’s a potential manslaughter offence under WHS legislation, due to known risks, negligence and no adequate corrective actions.” NSW DPI staff are capped and gowned

requirements for booking the facility

difference to access and availability.

to reduce waiting times and the

Lydia Plim, Kuluha Stud owner and

are not. Aside from human health

subsequent build-up of trucks along

Managing Director of Safety Makers,

impacts, research into acaricide

the road, most interviews conducted,

an independent risk and safety

resistance has not been made available

and anecdotal Facebook page stories,

assessor specialising in equestrian

in NSW as it has in the NT, where

point to inefficiencies, particularly after

safety, believes the facility is extremely

border control guidelines differ from

large events when traffic returning to

dangerous and refuses to take her

those of NSW. The NT government

in the treatment bays. Horse handlers

H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 35


F E AT U R E

recently released information detailing resistance to Bayticol, asserting that, ‘the more often ticks are exposed to the chemical, the more likely they will develop resistance to it ... the treatment of European cattle in eastern Australia every three weeks has resulted in rapid development of acaricide resistance … under-dosing risks survival, enhancing tolerance/resistance to the chemical, as does the persistent use of one chemical group for tick control.’ A senior vet* with decades of equine experience and working knowledge of the biosecurity policies in several states agrees, saying that there are better ways to deal with cattle tick control. “There is clear, available evidence that NSW DPI operates against all recommendations from NT DPI on reducing chemical resistance for cattle tick,” she says. “It also disregards the independent CSIRO assessment for the QLD Government’s introduction of the 2016 biosecurity bill. This legislation supersedes the 1915 Stock Act that required ‘inspect and spray’ which is the antiquated policy NSW still use.” She adds that it must be proved that groomed show horses can sustain or instigate an infestation and thus justify the spraying program. “NSW needs to explain why they spray horses despite the NT and QLD’s better practice. There are long lasting cattle vaccines. Implications of resistance are serious. Certain strains of ticks in QLD are already totally resistant to Bayticol. NSW persists with out-dated and possibly harmful practices of continuing to spray ‘low risk secondary

Melinda Rechichi and Kenlock Sylvestro (Image courtesy Mahalia Ashforth) identical issues. Why has NSW chosen

A comprehensive review of the facility

the more arduous, costly and risky

is vital, especially in the space that

impact? All horse owners should be

has emerged with the COVID-19

given a MDSA safety data sheet on

border closure. It would give the

the chemical used and give consent

equestrian community and the various

based on that data … nothing about

species’ despite warnings from other

this is open or transparent,” she says.

agencies that it could be disastrous

But there are possible solutions. The

and costly for the cattle industry. “It’s odd that two states can have

DPI could restructure the facility to allow larger vehicles to move through safely,

government departments a chance to resolve a polarising situation that appears to serve no one. As Melinda says, “If they can’t move it, all we want is for it to be at the very least accessible for all vehicles, based on best

different requirements for the same

or relocate it to a safer area. The spray

issue - but one has a huge impact on

regulations could be reviewed in line

safety, chemical complications, cost,

with the latest evidence. The onus for

inconvenience, animal welfare, road

cattle tick control could be on the cattle

*A number of interviewee names were

safety, and WHS, while assessing the

industry instead of the equine sector.

changed or omitted for this story.

36 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0

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MAIN: Amanda and Koko Popping Candy gallop through the woods with Werribee Mansion in the background during the CCI2* at the 2017 Melbourne International 3 Day Event. FACING PAGE: Holding on as Loxley launches an early take off in the CCI* at the 2013 Melbourne International 3 Day Event. (Images by Michelle Terlato Photography).


F E AT U R E

Fit for purpose

big moving horse will tell you, but cannot emphasise enough the need for flexibility, balance and a strong core. “If I was focussing on dressage, I would do a lot of pilates and yoga. Body symmetry and awareness is super important because you need to feel when your body’s off balance. If you sit slightly asymmetrically, your horse is going

She’s an equestrian coach, world class eventer, and she rides for Australia. Amanda Ross’ career has been extraordinary, and her commitment to fitness absolute. AMANDA MAC asked her for tips on how to up your fitness game to help take your riding to the next level.

A

to become crooked and won’t move off the aids correctly. Yes, definitely include some kind of cardiovascular work - some skipping, burpees, or a circuit training activity – but always with added pilates and yoga so you’re aware of your symmetry, strong through the core, and also very flexible.”

Showjumping manda Ross first sat on a horse

angle of all three disciplines covered,

when she was two-year-old.

and is more than happy to share the

Her mother, a keen hobbyist

rider, popped her onto a pony and then had to endure Amanda’s howls of protest when she was taken off. A pony of her own followed when she was eight, and a lifelong passion began. Amanda has been competing in equestrian sports for more than 30 years. She was a reserve for the World Equestrian Games in 1998, 2010 and 2018, and a member of the Australian

basics: “For dressage, we need to have great posture. We’re generally trying to keep our bodies still on a moving object, so we need to be flexible particularly through the spine and the hips but still strong enough in the core to maintain good posture.” She points out that cardiovascular fitness is also vital, as anyone who has tried to sit to the trot on a really

The conversation then turns to showjumping, a very different proposition from a fitness perspective in that a jumping round might be up to two minutes at the most, preceded by a warm-up of possibly 20 minutes, and a further quick warm up if your horse is going back in for a jump off. Quite a different scenario to dressage, where you might warm up for anything up to 50 minutes before riding a five minute or longer test. From an aesthetic viewpoint, Amanda

team for the Oceana Eventing Team in 1999 and 2019. She competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and is shortlisted for Tokyo. Add FEI Dressage and Grand Prix jumping to her resume, and a picture emerges of a highly capable, all-round equestrian athlete. Amanda is an enthusiastic proponent of fitness: “We are doing a sport and in any sport you do you need to be fit for purpose. As equestrians, we are fortunate that we can ride for a very long time, we’re not restricted by age. But no matter how old you are, the fitter you are the less likely you are to fall off and the better you’ll recover if you do.”

Dressage

As an eventer, Amanda has the fitness H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 39


F E AT U R E

Because showjumping requires short bursts of agility, Amanda’s focus is more on circuit training orientated fitness. “You might consider a Tabata or F45 style training program that includes some cardiovascular and strength work - and because you only need a couple of minutes of effort in the showjumping ring, short sharp efforts when you train will be ideal. I’d mix up bursts of cardio and strength, with flexibility exercises such as Animal Flow.” To add to this, balance and reaction time are imperative for speed rounds against the clock. Amanda advises working on your balance using a bosu ball, wobble board, or simply single leg work combined with ball games (think juggling whilst standing on one leg!), which are all fun and easily accessible methods for improving reaction time.

Cross-Country

And then there’s cross-country, where you need sustained cardiovascular fitness over a longer period. “I took my heart rate once on an eight minute track and it was over 180 beats per minute for the entire course,” Amanda recalls, “obviously a lot of that is adrenalin, but what it shows is that you’re sustaining quite a high heart rate as well as performing skills on top of that, so you need to have very good base fitness.” A cross-country course asks a lot of a rider: “It requires you to ride in two point position for an eight to twelve minute period, negotiate 40 plus jumps using a variety of jumping positions, react to unexpected slips or bumps, remember where you’re going, as well as plan A, B and C, all while you stay sharp and focussed on the course. Those activities require long continuous ABOVE: Competing with Dondiablo in the CCI4* dressage at the 2019 Melbourne International 3 Day Event.

suggests that posture in showjumping

work, and for that you need muscular

isn’t as important as in dressage: “You’re

endurance and appropriate cardio

not going to be judged for your posture

FACING PAGE: Amanda and Koko Popping Candy go clear to win the 2018 Melbourne International 3 Day Event CIC3* (Images by Michelle Terlato Photography).

fitness. The shorter, sharper jumping

in the jumping ring,” she explains, “but

and turning bursts need muscular

that said, we all know that better posture

strength, reaction time and balance,

is going to make you a better rider, a

as well as the flexibility to maintain a

more effective rider.”

solid enough position to remain both

40 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


effective and on board!” she says. Remember that if you’re not fit, the first thing your body does is go into fright or flight to protect itself. “So if you start getting really tired, your body’s number one priority is to try to stop you from falling off, and that’s when things go out the window,” Amanda warns. Have you noticed that when people get really nervous in a competition they often lose their way?: “That’s because their body has lost its ability to think outside the basic survival mode, and that makes it difficult to retain information or problem solve, so you’re not actually able to think about where you’re going, nor will your reactions be sharp. It’s at this point that riders become slow to react, both mentally and physically, which often results in run-outs, stops and falls, because the riders don’t set the horse up very well,” she explains. Clearly, cross-country requires more cardio in your workouts – but Amanda doesn’t mean jogging or cycling: “I go for shorter, sharper bursts of intensity, with a variety of functional, whole body movements. It’s HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) style fitness. I also have a bosu ball, a foam roller and an Indo Board, which are all great for working on my balance.”

Core considerations

We’ve all heard that core fitness is important – but really, is it such a big deal? Amanda has absolutely no doubt on that’s point! “Your core is really

trying to remain still, there’s got to be

core. I like to mix exercises together. If

important because it’s the muscle group

something that allows movement and

around the lower spine and pelvis,

I’m doing squats, or rows, or anything

absorbs movement, so your spine

and your pelvis is at the very centre of

and pelvis need to be both strong

that’s isolating one part of my body, I

everything. Your legs come out from

and flexible through the core to allow

your pelvis and they form the anchor

you to sit smoothly,” she explains.

between you and the ground. Your spine comes out of your pelvis and that’s what holds your body upright and attaches your arms and head. So if your core is weak, your body will not be stable.”

To keep her core strong, Amanda likes a range of exercises involving static, rotating, flexing and extending movements. Think planks, twists, leg

try the exercise while standing on an unstable surface and it immediately recruits my core,” she says.

And for the finale … it’s flexibility If you were to tell Amanda she

lifts and lowers, and for an added

could pick only one type of exercise

But there’s another issue: “When you’re

bonus: “anything where you have to

for flexibility, then hands down, it

sitting on a moving object and you’re

balance yourself will engage your

would be yoga. She’s a serious H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 41


F E AT U R E

fan – and that’s because when it

that movement. If you’re stiff through the

if you have one side that’s less supple

comes to flexibility, yoga delivers.

back and shoulders, then you’re more

than the other, you’ll lack symmetry

“Being flexible is so important. When

likely to jar your spine, if you’re tight

which will create crookedness in both

through the muscles in your hips, sitting

you and the horse,” she explains.

you’re trying to sit steadily on a moving horse you need to be able to flow with

on a wide horse can reduce your leg strength when delivering the aids. And

Whether it’s going to the gym, or working out at home during the COVID-19 lockdown, Amanda ensures she does something to maintain her physical fitness and flexibility every day. She absolutely practices what she preaches – and we hope that whatever your discipline, you’re now inspired to commit to a fitness program of your own. You can find Amanda Ross on her Amanda Ross Eventing Fit Facebook page and YouTube channel, or visit her blog: www.amandarossequestrian. wordpress.com Amanda and Dicavalli Diesel in the dressage phase of the RM Williams CIC3* at the 2018 Adelaide International 3 Day Event (Image by Michelle Terlato Photography).

Our services include:  24 Hour Emergency Service  Equine surgery & medicine specialists on staff  Complete Blood Laboratory  Lameness diagnosis & treatment  PRP and IRAP therapy

Agnes Banks Equine Clinic was established with the aim of providing the best available veterinary care and advice for horses and their owners and trainers. The practice accepts surgical and medical cases from the surrounding areas. Agnes Banks Equine Clinic offers a high level of professional skills and has a particular interest in lameness, poor performance evaluations and dentistry.

 Nuclear Scintigraphy (Bone Scanning)  Digital Radiology & Ultrasound  Exercising video endoscopy  Pre Purchase Examinations

 Equine Dentistry  Equine Reproduction

We offer advanced breeding procedures including semen freezing, insemination & embryo transfers.

Telephone: (02) 4588 5200 Facsimile: (02) 4878 1458 Web: www.abec.net.au Email: clinic@abec.net.au

42 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


Membership & Loyalty Program We are delighted to announce the launch of our exciting new membership and loyalty program! Don’t miss out – join today!

F R E E B I E S | P R I Z E D R AW S | S P E C I A L O F F E R P R O D U C T S | L O Y A LT Y P O I N T S | A R T I C L E S

AC TIVATE YOUR EQUES TRIAN HUB MEMBERSHIP TODAY! H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 43


AROUND THE TRAPS Rose Douglas and Quandy, with Maddie Dale and Warrior at the Working Equestrian Nationals in 2019 (Image by Renee Muller).


AROUND THE TRAPS

ABOVE: 10-year-old Rose Douglas and Quandy also competed in the speed event at the 2019 Mudgee & Districts Working Equitation Championships (Image by Ruth Glover). RIGHT: As COVID-19 restrictions eased, Teagan Christie and Digby enjoyed a local jump club day out (Image by My Focussed Photography). BELOW: Horse archer Madison Price with Memphis. Madison is a member of the Horse Archery Association of WA and is the WA State High Points winner (Image by Sharon Price).

H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 45


THE HORSE LISTENER

The importance of a balanced hoof Flat feet is a much worse problem for horses than it sounds, writes CANDIDA BAKER who is currently rehabilitating a horse with negative palmar angles.

A

curious little item to start this

An x-ray of Phoenix’s hoof.

column with - did you know that your horses can get

dehydrated in sudden cold weather just as quickly as they can in extreme heat? Writing this in the generally balmy climate of the Northern Rivers seems

Phoenix is a beautiful nine-year-old Stockhorse who has been diagnosed with negative palmar angles, or flat feet, which has resulted in joint issues (Image courtesy Candida Baker).

a little odd – you wouldn’t think it would be a problem in the tropics or sub-tropics, but a sudden plunge in temperature can confuse a horse’s system, and it can forget to drink. A local vet who had treated three horses in a week told me about this condition (not mine fortunately). Doing a bit of research I found it was quite common. There is a simple way to help your horse ‘remember’ to drink - provide clean, fresh drinking water every day. If your horse seems just a little off-colour, but

administer fluids. If your horse has

rehabilitation back to being a riding

colic, it will exhibit pain in some way

horse might not be possible, but we

rather than lethargy but of course,

wanted to leave no stone unturned.

if in any doubt call a vet anyway.

The turning included, of course, an

the symptoms don’t seem to be colic,

From fluids to feet. As President

extensive set of x-rays, which revealed

pinch a little bit of skin on the neck in

of a small equine charity, Equus

that Phoenix has low – in fact negative –

front of the shoulder and if it doesn’t

Alliance, I’ve recently been caring

palmar angles on his two front hooves.

spring back within two seconds it means

for two ex-Riding for the Disabled

your horse may be slightly (within 4-8%)

horses, who were retired from riding

In case you’re not aware, the triangular

dehydrated. Another sign is if the

classes, one because of his age –

horse’s gums are paler than the normal

20 – the other, Phoenix, because of

bubble-gum pink. In this case offer

an ongoing intermittent lameness.

your horse fresh water, perhaps with a bit of molasses in if they like a treat.

Now, we knew, because we had the vet records that Phoenix, a beautiful

bone inside the hoof is known as the distal phalanx, or P3, or the coffin bone, or the pedal bone – just to confuse you! In the front feet, the two corners of the coffin bone that are closest to the heels are known as the palmar processes, and in the back feet the plantar processes.

Be warned – if a horse has slightly

nine-year-old 15hh bay Stockhorse,

sunken eyes, or a tucked-up tummy

had already had an operation to

Ideally, when viewed from the side

then the dehydration has increased

have a small bone-spur removed,

in a an x-ray the lower perimeter of

to over 8% and you need a vet to

so we weren’t in any doubt that full

the coffin bone should be positioned

46 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


so that the heel end is slightly higher

are not in alignment, creates structural

which means you will need to actually

than the toe end of the bone, up to

discomfort throughout the body as the

spend the money to get the x-rays

about 5º. This allows the back of

horse tries to adjust to the pain coming

done because it’s very important to

the bone to drop at the same time

from its hooves. The condition can often

know at what degree the low palmar

account for a stiff or uneven gait, or a

or plantar processes are lying.

as the heels of the hoof capsule expand when the horse is moving. In some horses the coffin bone has repositioned itself so that the palmar or plantar processes are too low, and

reluctance to trot is noticeable when there’s no obvious answer for it. (Tip: watch for a horse that places its toe on the ground first rather than its heel.)

An obvious next step is corrective shoeing – with shoes that have a wedge in them of usually between 1 to 4 degrees. This takes pressure off

So what can you do if you suspect this

the front of the leg through the P1, 2

might be the case with your horse?

and 3 joints, and can offer your horse

The first thing you could try is to place

huge relief. But there is increasingly

a folded face-cloth on the back of

a school of thought – not unknown

your horse’s hooves, secure it with

throughout the world of farriers, vets

duct tape around the hoof, and see if

and more holistic horse practitioners

this makes an immediate difference

- that long-term use of wedges can

The resulting excessive pressure on

to your horse in terms of its comfort

be detrimental in itself, causing the

the joints, and the fact that the bottom

when it’s walking or trotting. If it does,

unsupported frog to sink or prolapse

three joints of the leg (P1, P2 and P3)

then you’re probably on the money,

down between the wedged heels,

may even lie below the horizontal plane. This is known as ‘low palmar angle’ in the front feet and ‘low plantar angle’ in the back feet, and may occur in either the fore or hind feet, or sometimes in all four feet.

H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 47


THE HORSE LISTENER

genetic, or caused by too much pressure on joints through exercise when a horse is too young and their bones have not yet formed properly, or by soft or stringy laminae in the hoof. It’s not the easiest condition to diagnose, and it’s not the easiest to treat, but – and it will be interesting to see, since this is the way Equus has decided to go long-term with Phoenix – there are reports that the magnesium given ABOVE: A) Aligned foot, B) Club foot, C) Negative palmar angle (Image courtesy The Essential Hoof Book).

daily and ongoing, and the wedges in boots can make a big difference over a period of time, sometimes short, sometimes longer depending on the

RIGHT: Example of a negative hoof angle.

angle needed to correct the condition, the age and condition of the horse.

BELOW: A balanced hoof.

We’ll let you know how Phoenix goes. At his young age, it’s well which, in the long-term, can actually

Once the feet and body are pain-free,

worth taking the time to try and

worsen the structural weakness.

the horse can begin using its feet

correct this problem for him.

One interesting thing that all the research points to is that just as in humans whose physical bodies are put under stress, the horse with this condition has a MUCH higher need for magnesium, and if you haven’t discovered the miracle of magnesium for your equine companion (and even for yourself) I would suggest a

more normally, including striking the ground with the heels first, rather than the toe, which is what horses with low palmar or plantar angles will do to avoid

As well as from our farrier, vet and other practitioners, much of the material in this article was sourced

the pain. Correct movement in turn

from: www.gravelproofhoof.org

stimulates development of fibrocartilage,

Candida Baker has a Facebook Page:

gradually creating a stronger and more functional back-of-the-foot. Low palmar or plantar processes can be

trip down the Google rabbit hole. What researchers have found is that, in the same way humans respond to orthotics, horses given boots to wear with foam wedges inserted into them, for four-to-five hours a day gradually increasing until they are wearing them all day, and with a maximum dose of magnesium given daily, often begin to self-correct. Boots with a soft or elasticated heel area are apparently ideal because the raised wedge pads will place the heel bulbs higher up within the boot. Be warned that boots that fitted when the hoof was flat on the ground may not fit when wedge pads are inserted. 48 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0

www.facebook.com/TheHorseListener1/ and is the President of Equus Alliance: www.facebook.com/equusalliance/


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234 Myocum Road, Ewingsdale NSW 2481 Ph: 02 66847241 Email: langparkcottages@gmail.com Find us on Facebook @langparkbyronbay


NUTRITION

Feeding before breeding Knowing how and what to feed your mare can have a huge impact on whether or not you breed from her successfully. LEISA HOFSTETTER offers some expert advice on the subject.

I

n mares, there are several ways in which nutrition can affect important aspects of reproduction, including the regularity of reproductive cycles, fertility and conception rates. Some of these nutritional considerations are to do with the energy and vitamins supplied by the diet, and the action of certain compounds in feeds on the hormones involved in the reproductive cycle. It is important to remember that each mare is different, and will therefore have different needs.

distribution of fat, or lack thereof, around

The condition of mares during the

Mares with a body condition score of

breeding season certainly plays a role in conception rates. The best way to

certain parts of the body is assessed to help achieve a more reliable overall idea of the horse’s condition. The overall condition is then assigned a score from one to nine. Using this system, the ideal condition score for a horse would be around four to six. The best fertility and conception rates for mares are achieved at a condition score of around five.

less than five have reduced fertility rates for a few reasons. Horses are of

assess any horse’s condition is with the

course seasonal breeders, which means

help of the Hennecke Body Condition

most mares will only come into heat at

Score system. In this system, the

a certain time of the year. During the

50 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


A horse with 24/7 access to fresh grass will usually have most if not all of their Vitamin A and E needs met. FACING PAGE: It’s important to make sure your mare’s dietary needs are met prior to breeding.


F E AT U R E

breeding season, a mare will continue to cycle through ovulation like a human does, unless they have managed to conceive. Between the breeding season (oestrus), and the off season (anoestrus), there is a period of transition in which the mare will behave erratically and will stand for the stallion, but often will not conceive. The tendency not to conceive during this phase makes the transition period an undesirable time to breed your broodmare. Thin mares, with a condition score of less than five, tend to have a longer transition period, reducing the length of the breeding season and reducing opportunities for conception. In addition, the conception rate for mares with a condition score lower than five is decreased, even in the peak of the breeding season. Mares with a body condition score

These compounds mimic the hormone estrogen, which plays a crucial role in the eproductive cycle of both mares and humans.

higher than five also have decreased reproductive performance. Overweight mares tend to have longer periods of time in between coming into heat (oestrus). This essentially decreases the opportunities for conception during the breeding season. They are also more likely to have cycles in which ovulation does not occur due to anovulatory follicles (follicles that never release an egg), which further decreases the chances of conception. This is a huge missed opportunity – but that’s not all. Overweight mares are also more likely to have pseudo-pregnancies. When feeding mares prior to breeding, it is important to make sure that their dietary needs are met. Malnutrition does not only adversely affect their chances

supplementation for every mare is not always the best approach, as oversupply can have just as detrimental an effect as undersupply. Usually, a horse that has 24/7 access to fresh grass will have most if not all of their Vitamin A and E needs met. If fresh grass is not available, or is limited, Vitamins A and E may need to be supplemented. It is important to assess a broodmare’s diet to determine if supplementation is required. Your equine nutritionist can assist you with

with animals such as rats indicates that

this assessment and design a ration

a deficiency of the proteins needed for

for your broodmare that best suits her

growth and maintenance will negatively

needs.

affect reproductive performance.

A mare’s reproductive cycle is actually

The vitamins that have an impact on a

the result of a complicated balance of

mare’s fertility are those involved in the

hormones. For each stage of the cycle to occur normally, many different hormones

of conception, it can also lead to early

hormones that play a role in the mare’s

embryonic death (early pregnancy

reproductive cycle. The main vitamins

loss). Certain feed components

are A and E. Vitamin A in particular plays

such as vitamins and the quality of

a huge role in reproductive hormones,

protein in a mare’s diet may make the

so a deficiency or oversupply can

difference between a fertile mare and

definitely have an effect on reproductive

one that’s sub-fertile. Though there

performance. Supplementation with

is scarce research on the effect of

Vitamins A and E is only beneficial

A prime example of a component in

specific proteins on the reproductive

in a fertility sense if the mare was

feed that might impact fertility is a group

performance of mares, research done

deficient in the first place. Besides this,

of compounds called phytoestrogens.

52 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0

are required at precisely the right levels. Knowing this, it’s easy to see why foods containing compounds that cause an imbalance in any of the hormones involved in the reproductive cycle will also affect a mare’s fertility.


F E AT U R E

These compounds mimic the hormone estrogen, which plays a crucial role in the reproductive cycle of both mares and humans. In order for the right things to happen at the right time within the mare’s reproductive cycle, estrogen levels must fluctuate - so there are parts of the cycle in which the estrogen levels are low and parts in which the levels are high. If a mare is consuming enough phytoestrogens to alter the normal levels of estrogen, the action of estrogen will not be what it should during that particular part of the reproductive cycle and irregularity will occur, essentially having a negative effect on fertility. Phytoestrogens and other factors that affect the regularity of the oestrus cycle are a particular problem in the breeding season’s transition period. This is when irregularity of the reproductive cycle will have the most profound consequences. Some feeds commonly fed to horses contain phytoestrogens, but not all types of phytoestrogens will cause problems for mares. The phytoestrogens found in soy and clover are called isoflavones, and according to research, these will not disturb the mare’s reproductive cycle. However, the phytoestrogen coumestrol, which is found in lucerne hay, has been shown to have a negative effect on the reproductive cycle of mares by decreasing their fertility rates. In summary, feeding broodmares the right feeds for their individual needs can assist in regulating reproductive cycles and improving fertility and conception rates. Your equine nutritionist can help you to develop the best feed program for your broodmare this breeding season, not only improving her ability to conceive, but also helping to make for a healthier, happier horse. Leisa Hofstetter holds a Bachelor of Equine Science and specialises in equine nutrition. Find her on Facebook at Hof Equine Health and Nutrition, or email hofequine@gmail.com.

Be sure that the hay you feed your mare will support her fertility rather than decrease it. FACING PAGE: A healthy well-nourished mare is more likely be fertile, and to produce a beautiful foal.


B-COMPLETE BY BANANA FEEDS AUSTRALIA- THE GUT HEALTH REVOLUTION Banana Feeds Australia has developed ‘B-Complete™, Nature’s Elite Equine Supplement’.

area widely accepted as needing a solution in the equine industry, other than expensive medications.

100% Australian owned, 100% Australian made, and a family business, Banana Feeds Australia has made waves within the equine supplement market in a truly short time. A 100% natural supplement focused on Equine Gut Health, and indeed a world first has resonated with the masses.

The insoluble fibre act as prebiotics to favour the nourishment of microflora in the gut (particularly the hindgut) to stabilise the microbiome.

The patent protected product, consists of whole dried green bananas, including the skin, the pulp, the stem and the flower ends, and horse owners across the country are expressing disbelief about the positive results they are seeing. WHY GREEN BANANAS AND WHY B-COMPLETE™? Green bananas have long been the subject of intrigue, from use in the Sydney Olympics, to consumption in space, but with correct dosages of B-Complete™ the true benefits become obvious. EQUINE GUT HEALTH -The health benefits that derive from supplementary feeding of dried green bananas are broad and include: Green bananas have been shown to have antiulcerogenic properties, an

This stability in the gut promotes immune competence allowing horses to counter bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasitic challenges whilst also improving digestion, feed utilisation and temperament. Other reported benefits include: Antimicrobial, Hypoglycemics, and Anti-lithiatic (prevent kidney stones). GENERAL WELL-BEING Active compounds like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin all act to calm the animal and promote a sense of well-being, helping to make the animal more relaxed and easier to manage. ANTIOXIDANT CAPACITY Green banana is recognised as antioxidant rich, with a wide spectrum of antioxidant compounds (phenolics, carotenoids, ascorbic acid or Vitamin C, tocopherols or Vitamin E, dopamine, flavonoids, norepinephrine) which are primarily located in the peel. All improve gut health.

54 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


“B-Complete is widely used in our stable. It has had a profound impact on the performance of our horses. I consider it a game changer. Our horses are working better, performing better, getting better results - particularly the ones we know are ulcer-prone. Very happy.” - David Tootell “Since I have been using B-Complete, our racehorses have better gut digestion, are healthier & maintain their condition easily. Their coats are amazing. We also found it extremely beneficial for highly-strung horses, making them safer and more manageable.” - Rob Wilkinson

Banana Feeds Australia Pty Ltd: 14 Ponzo Street, Woree, Cairns, QLD, 4868


FEATURE

The story behind a stellar brand It is not by chance that Wendy Keddell has developed a breeding formula that’s producing internationally successful show jumping champions. GEOFF McLEAN of Gone Riding Media spoke to Wendy and dug deep to discover more.

L

ocated on New Zealand’s North Island with views of the historic harbour city of Tauranga, Mount

View Stud, owned by husband and wife team Richard and Wendy Keddell and operated by Wendy, is internationally renowned for producing world class show jumping champions. Eldorrado, Carrado, Miranda, Lincoln and other Mount View horses, all bearing the stud’s MVNZ brand, are making their mark in Australia, the United States, Asia, and across Europe. As a young woman, Wendy, a Tauranga girl born and bred, moved

developed an interest in horse

to Europe and had no experience

to Australia to study physiotherapy at

riding and show jumping, she

the University of Queensland. It was

with Warmblood horses.

quickly recognised a need for

ten years before she returned to New

better horses. At the time, most

Zealand to pursue her career, marry

jumping horses in New Zealand

But as fate would have it, she was introduced to an equine veterinarian

were Thoroughbreds, Thoroughbred

interested in bringing Warmbloods

Clydesdale crosses, Anglo Arabian

to New Zealand. He asked Wendy if

derivatives, or station-bred horses.

she’d like to import some mares, but

It turns out back in the day, Wendy’s

But were these the best options?

with six young children at home at

father owned two Standardbred stallions

Wendy began to research other

the time she thought: “Go to Europe

possibilities – quickly arriving at

import mares and start breeding

European bred Warmbloods, specifically

– a really bad and stupid idea!”

and raise a family. But what brought about the leap from physiotherapy to breeding world class sport horses?

which stood at an Auckland stud. She would often stay at the stud, helping the knowledgeable old stud manager foal down mares - an experience she holds dear to this day, and one that would ignite her fascination with breeding. When Wendy’s young daughters

Holsteiners. Clearly, here was an opportunity to significantly improve

However, after six more months of

the quality of show jumping horses

research with her veterinarian friend

in New Zealand, but there was a

and two local riders, Phillip and Sally

problem: Wendy had never been

Steiner, it was decide that the Steiners

56 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


MAIN: Izabella Stone and Lincoln MVNZ competing in the 2020 Australian Jumping Teams League. FACING PAGE: Wendy Keddell at the 2019 Australian Jumping Championships (All images by Geoff McLean, Gone Riding Media).

would go to Europe on a shopping trip.

the breed show jumping needed. The

After a lengthy search and much

Belgium bred horses were older and

discussion with Wendy, a purchase

began competing when they arrived.

successfully in the USA and Asia. As Wendy studied her imported horses’ bloodlines, she realised that

of three three-year-old mares,

Both proved to be outstanding jumpers,

Sereedom, Seremonie and Solette,

taking out many major competitions

Holstein, Germany. She decided

and Senator, a stallion, was finally

including the Olympic Cup, the

made from the VDL Stud in the

to visit the region as soon as was

prestigious Norwood Gold Cup, plus

possible. The opportunity arrived

many Grand Prix wins and placings.

in 2006. After attending the World

Netherlands. Another mare and stallion, seven-year-old Charming Princess and five-year-old Pico Bello, were subsequently purchased in Belgium. The horses arrived in New Zealand in 2002, and when the three mares produced foals - Whittaker, Wimbledon

And the trio of foals? They were standouts. During a very successful 2010 season, Whittaker won the seven-yearold series and the seven-year-old Horse of the Year title, while Wimbledon won

most had their foundation lines in

Equestrian Games in Aachen and the famous Bundeschampionate horse show, Wendy and Richard travelled to Holstein to visit some of the old farm breeders: Harm Thörmalen (Capitol and Capitano) and Hermann Claussen

and Wembley - Wendy’s aim was to

the Horse of the Year and the 1.30

(Cassini I and II) also Hobe Bernhard

train and compete the youngsters to

championship title. Both were sold

(Cabrio, Crawford, Corofino I and II),

prove her theory that Holsteiners were

overseas and went on to compete very

Timm Peters (Concerto I and II, Casario I H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 57


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F E AT U R E

Brook Dobbin and MVNZ Carrado competing at the 2020 Boneo Classic.

and II, Concept, Cisco and Quick Nick). While there, Wendy noticed that rather than keeping stallions, all these breeders had strong mare families. She was inspired – and over the next six years imported five more Holsteiner mares. With these foundation mares came the potency and genetic critical mass of the great European stallions - Nimmerdor (Dutch stallion of the 20th Century), Landgraf I (Stallion of the Century), Cor de la Bryere (Reserve Stallion of the Century), and Capitano. Those bloodlines were also

kept a stallion, choosing instead to

Wendy’s breeding program is a

focus on broodmares carrying specific

process of understanding, matching

bloodlines. Whilst Tesio never shared

and complementing the ‘soft

his secrets, analysis of his methods

characteristics’ of both the mare and

has revealed a seven step process:

stallion to produce sound, trainable,

• Research pedigrees.

resilient, athletic and rideable horses.

• Establish a breeding goal and

But there’s more to Wendy’s formula.

determine which bloodlines

She believes each young horse is an

will help you achieve it.

individual and should be treated as

• Line breed: ensure the presence of an ancestor occurs twice or more in

solid foundational training. Long before

a horse’s pedigree with at least one

going to the breakers, Wendy’s foals

strain present from each parent

have good ground manners and are

evident in the original VDL imports

• Balance the bloodlines: find a mate

Sereedom, Seremonie, Solette and

among the daughters and sisters of

Senator, Wendy’s much loved stallion.

your good male lines, or the brothers

So what is critical mass and why is it important? It’s when superior genetic traits become so concentrated over four to six generations that quality

such, while at the same time receiving

and sons of the female lines. • Consolidate the bloodlines by engaging the background strength of the pedigree.

accustomed to being handled. It’s this shared philosophy that has helped forge a productive partnership between Mount View Stud and Glenwood Park (owned by Brook and Angela Dobbin) in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. At Glenwood Park, each

horses are regularly produced.

• Bring in siblings: full if possible,

Without realising it, Wendy had

or 7/8, 3/4, 5/8 or ½ (statistics

well as their mental and physical

show that full or 3/4 siblings send

maturity, is assessed before work with

the genetics into high gear).

them begins. “Brook and Angela are

inadvertently stumbled across the methods practised by Frederico Tesio, the famous 19th Century Italian master Thoroughbred breeder. Tesio rarely

• Repeat the process to ensure the best outcomes in the progeny.

individual horse’s temperament, as

thoughtful, compassionate, yet have exacting standards. My horses are H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 59


Angela Dobbin and Gabrielle MVNZ in the Open 135cm at the 2020 Boneo Classic.

Lincoln MVNZ

Seerdom VDL

Senator VDL

Seremonie VDL

Solette


F E AT U R E

have been additions to the family joy

Brook Dobbin and Gina MVNZ in the 140cm at the 2020 Boneo Classic.

in the shape of four grandchildren, with hopefully more on the way! Where to next for Wendy? Her dream

BELOW: Brook Dobbin piloting Miranda MVNZ to victory in the 2019 Future Stars Class at the Elms World Cup.

is for her horses to reach the very top in the world of show jumping, including Olympic Gold. There’s no doubt her current horses have the potential to deliver. On a day-by-day basis her focus remains on breeding the best of breed: sound, reliable, resilient, rideable, sport horses. From a breed improvement perspective, Wendy continues her research into generations of bloodlines, looking at specific couplings and the resulting progeny to see whether they’re a match for the athleticism, temperament, trainability and resilience she seeks to

all very happy and relaxed in their care. In return they learn quickly and perform well,” Wendy explains.

be adaptive, athletic and resilient.

establish through her own breeding program. As she succinctly points

On a personal level, Wendy and

out: “You can’t just say let’s make

Richard have just celebrated 35

a baby from this dam and this sire

Wendy’s diligence and thoughtful

years of marriage. They are an active

breeding is clearly evident in the

couple, both love hiking and cycling,

stunning 16.2hh stallion Lincoln MVNZ.

and love cooking, but it is Richard

Paired with Australian rising star show

who stars in the kitchen. According to

jumper Izabella Stone for the past two

Wendy, her favourite dish that Richard

years, the partnership came about after

prepares is: “His duck in orange sauce

Angela Dobbin showed Izabella a video

on a bed of kumara with a side of

of Lincoln. A trip to New Zealand for a

bok choy.” And now their six much

test ride followed, with Izabella quickly

loved children are all adults with

Visit Mount View Sport Horses at

realising Lincoln was indeed something

successful careers of their own, there

mvnz.co.nz/horse-stud.

because they are champion jumpers” – it doesn’t work that way.” But thankfully, through her research and by tapping into the knowledge of the old Holstein farm breeders, Wendy has learned a way that frequently delivers champions!

special. She was equally impressed with his impeccable breeding, especially the mare line. The pair has since successfully progressed to 140-150cm classes, but unfortunately have had their first World Cup jumping start, as well as their Jumping with the Stars campaign put on hold due to COVID-19. Looking to the future, Wendy’s goal is to travel to Europe every two years to keep a close eye on developments. With jumping undergoing rapid changes there - the European competition is fierce and the courses are tough and technical – riders can’t afford to put a rail on the ground. Consequently, the horses she breeds will need to H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 61


military. By 1928, the cork helmet had been given a hard exterior shell and was reborn as a motorcycle helmet. Ten years later and the first horse racing helmet was developed, changing the equestrian world forever.

Current Global Standards Many equestrians were taken by

surprise when in 2016, Equestrian Australia (EA) announced that new safety standards for helmets would come into force from 2017 onwards, and in order to compete in any EA event, a rider must wear an approved helmet with the chin strap fastened at all times (of course,

FEATURE

this is recommended whenever you ride a horse). But how do you know if your

A heads up on helmets

helmet complies with the standards? Because helmets are imported from a number of different countries, the EA rules list several globally recognised standards, and at least one of them should appear on the labelling inside your helmet:

Value your head! You only have one and damage to it can result in life changing consequences. KRISTEN FLEET takes a look at what’s what in the protective headwear department.

W

• Current Australian standard AS/ NZS 3838 (2006 onwards) provided they are SAI Global marked. • New Australian standard ARB HS 2012 provided they are SAI Global marked. • Current American standards

hen I was a child helmets

helmets had to comply with the most

were never compulsory,

recent safety standards, and as designs

nor was wearing them

and standards improved, the rule books

enforced at any of the riding schools I attended in the early days. When I think of some of the stupid things I used to do on my pony, I am amazed I have a head left at all! As equestrian sports became more competitive (think harder and faster), more schools, trainers, and mothers, recognised that helmets were a

were updated to reflect those changes.

Helmet history trivia Protective helmets in one form

or another have been around for hundreds of years. The ancient Greek and Roman armies did battle in protective headwear, and the word

ASTM F1163 (2004a and any subsequent updates) provided they are SEI marked. • Current American standard SNELL E2001 (and any subsequent updates). • Current British standard PAS 015 (1998 or 2011 and any subsequent updates) provided they are BSI Kitemarked. • Interim European Standard

‘helmet’ is itself derived from ‘helm’, a

VG1 (01.040: 2014-12) with

medieval term for protective combat

or without BSI Kitemark.

necessity rather than an accessory! It

headgear. Jump forward a century or

wasn’t long before peak bodies across

two to 1911, and Englishman Charles

most riding disciplines included the

Owen, driven by a desire to ‘make

wearing of helmets in their competition

products for a safer world’, began

rules. But not just any helmets. These

manufacturing cork helmets for the

62 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0

(See our sidebar for more info on standards and markings.)

Protect your head

Helmet manufacturers usually


F E AT U R E

recommend replacing your helmet every five years, but if you’ve had a hard-blow impact accident, you should replace your helmet immediately - and there’s a very good reason for this. The part of the helmet that protects your head is the liner. Usually made from high grade polystyrene, it’s a bit like microscopic bubble wrap. The liner itself is protected by a hard fibreglass or plastic exterior. If you have a fall, the exterior shell diffuses the impact while the liner reduces bruising to your brain by increasing the length of time it takes for the shock to reach your head, thereby lessening its intensity. During this process, layers of bubbles

 Troxel Sierra Brown Rugged Nylon and Distressed Leather $279.95.

actually burst - and if the impact is hard enough, the liner will collapse. And that’s why if your hat has been subjected to a severe impact, including being dropped on a hard surface, it should immediately be replaced.

 Kaminski Fur Felt Top Hat $275.00 (Image courtesy Equestrian Online).

So which helmet should you buy?

There’s a wide variety of safety standard compliant helmets on the market for both adults and children. The price can range from around $65 to over $1,000, and when it comes to styles, colours, and fabrics, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Knowing what you’re looking for from the point of view of safety standards is essential, but after that, the fun begins! That said, accepted styles vary

 Troxel Avalon Rose Gold $219.95.

 Troxel Rebel Turquoise Rose $159.95.

from discipline to discipline, and are also dependant on the level at which you’re competing, and on whether you’re showing under a breed society or in costume. Some disciplines, dressage for example, are very clear about the style of headwear approved for competition, but eventers, endurance and pleasure riders have a myriad of options, including helmet covers in an array of colours and prints, reflective covers for night riding and novelty covers. There are

 Troxel Fallon Taylor Lavender Chevron $209.95.

 Troxel Liberty Cobalt Gloss $134.95 (Images courtesy Just Country Australia). H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 63


F E AT U R E

 Newcastle Hats Australian-made Horse Riding Brims protect against the sun. The rear neck flap is optional (Image courtesy SunSafe Australia).

even stylish helmets available for western and stock riders who have traditionally worn a cowboy or stockman’s hat. You might be a traditionalist who opts for velvets and simple styling, or LeMieux Pom Pom Hat Silks are available in a range of great colours $49.95 (Images courtesy Ashbree Saddlery).

you might prefer the modern look of a ‘skunk’ helmet with its decorative ventilation strip running down the centre. And if bling’s your thing, you’ll love the crystals and reflective laser or placement prints offered by many helmet manufacturers. Some

fastened protective headgear with a three point retention harness at all times when mounted. EVENTING Event riders must wear properly fastened protective headgear at EA or FEI events in Australia. Obviously the helmet should comply with the approved standards, but as of January 1st 2020, your helmet must also be tagged with a current and visible EA helmet tag to show that the helmet has been inspected and has been found to comply

companies also offer personalised

with the required safety standards.

designs, embossing and logo

Some eventers like to stand out from

treatments for a truly individual look. But before you get totally carried away, here are some discipline

the field with helmet covers in their own stable colours or in a personal design. Covers are readily available in a wide

orientated points to ponder:

array of styles, colours and prints, and

DRESSAGE

and show jumping phases. For eventing,

All riders competing in an EA dressage

a sturdier cradle or harness is used for

competition must wear an approved

the chinstrap and it should be worn

safety helmet with the chin strap

tight to ensure the helmet stays put!

fastened. Riders 26 years and over, riding Prix St Georges and above, have the option of wearing a top hat. As a dressage rider, you don’t have many choices regarding the colour of your helmet, which should match the jacket colour you’ve selected from EA’s list of acceptable colours. However, you could

can easily be removed for the dressage

ENDUR ANCE There are quite a few popular styles for endurance riding. You should look for one that’s lightweight, super breathable, and able to withstand extreme conditions. These types of helmets are making their way into

always break out with a touch of bling!

mainstream riding, and are especially

SHOWJUMPING

humid climates. Endurance riders

It’s compulsory for all riders competing

can also make use of lightweight

at EA showjumping events to

waterproof visors which fit easily over

wear approved and properly

the helmet for extra protection. Many

64 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0

comfortable in warmer or more


Low Profile Schooling Helmet FEATURES Fit System: DialFit™ Headliner: + Removable and washable + FlipFold™ fit adjustment + Air-Channel technology Ventilation: Mesh covered vents Certification: ASTM/SEI-certified Sizes: S (53 - 56cm) M (56 - 58cm) L (58 - 59cm)

LIBERTY COBALT 04-232 | $134.95

LIBERTY BLACK DURATEC™ 04-231 | $134.95

The soft-touch dial permits quick and precise helmet adjustment

LIBERTY WHITE DURATEC™ 04-238 | $134.95

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FOR A TROXEL STOCKIST NEAR YOU | VISIT WWW.JUSTCOUNTRY.COM.AU OR FREE CALL 1800 427 428 Troxel® Helmets Represented by Just Country Australia Pty Ltd


F E AT U R E

Kask Star Lady Swarovski on the Rocks Helmet $1,949.

KEP Como T Helmet $819.

Kask Star Lady Helmet $899 (Images courtesy Kentaur Australia).

endurance helmets have reflective

available in adult and children’s sizes

Since the 1930s, helmets have come

tape for safe riding at night, as well

and some have adjustable ratchets

a long way with regards to function,

as a three point harness or chin strap

on the inside to ensure a snug fit.

fit and fashion, and are continuing to

for added comfort and stability. WESTERN/STOCKHORSE – TR AIL RIDING There are few innovations in this space.

But there’s more

Once you’ve chosen your safety standard compliant headwear, you might want to consider a helmet

evolve as more high-tech and innovative materials are developed. There’s never been a safer time to be an equestrian! Please note: the safety standards

However, some manufacturers have

cleaner and conditioner, or a polish for

come up with a helmet and removable

outer polycarbonate shells. There are

visor combination which still looks

anti-odour and anti-microbial sprays

like a cowboy/stockman’s hat but is

for the inside lining and removable

also a safety helmet. If required, the

padded strips to help you customise

visor removes easily, and the hat can

your fit. Helmet covers and travel

be used both in competition and for

cases are also available to keep

may change to reflect ongoing

pleasure riding. These helmets are

your investment clean and safe.

improvements to safety headwear.

The skinny on

helmets to check that the finished

each standard, AS/NZS refers for the

STANDARDS

product complies with the standard.

Australian and New Zealand Standard,

If reading through the standards leaves

represent the Standards Mark for the

you more confused than clear, let’s take a moment to break it down. The markings referred to in each of the standards approved by Equestrian Australia (EA) are quality compliance marks. Your helmet label should include the wording of at least one of the EA approved standards, along with the required mark. Each of these marks represents the organisation responsible for not only auditing manufacturers to ensure the prescribed safety standards are met

SAI Global: the five ticks in their symbol Quality Assurance Scheme of Australia. SEI: refers to the Safety Equipment

listed in this article were sourced from Equestrian Australia’s (EA) website: www.equestrian.org. au and were correct at the time of writing. However, the standards

while ARB HS is the Australian Racing Board Helmet Standard. ASTM stands for the American Society for Testing and Materials, SNELL is the standard developed in America by the Snell

Institute where helmets are tested to

Institute, and PAS is the Product

ensure they’re manufactured to either

Approval Specification developed

meet or exceed ASTM standards.

by the British Standards Institute

Kitemark: is the mark of the British Standards Institute (BSI). The overall look of this compliance mark can vary depending on your helmet’s year of manufacture. But no matter what the year, if your helmet is BSI approved, this symbol will appear as part of the mark:

during the manufacturing process,

And just in case you were wondering

but also for rigorously batch testing

about the letters that appear as part of

66 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0

(BSI). As for the Interim European Standard VG1, search as we might, we could not discover what VG stands for! Nonetheless, we hope that by now those strangely worded standards aren’t such a mystery!



Photographer: Ashley Grant @theblachat

Kentaur Australia is the thought-child of Lucy Galovicova, an equestrian entrepreneur from Slovak Republic.

youtube  

Originally an agent for wellknown and highly regarded European brand KenTaur, the business has now grown into far more. As well as KenTaur, we now co-operate with numerous other international equestrian brands; House of Montar, Cavalleria Toscana, KEP

kentauraustralia.com

Italia, KASK, Lorenzini, FairPlay and more. Kentaur is a well-known and respected supplier of high quality, sought after brands and has cultivated a market of satisfied consumers not only in Australia but worldwide. We aim to provide variety and quality to the equestrian customer, with free shipping available worldwide and numerous interest-free finance options.


AROUND THE TRAPS

ABOVE: Dean Morris riding Belrock Nadal at the NSW State Championship (Image by Jessica Kennedy). BELOW LEFT: Olivia Hewitt-Toms and Gypsie Queen competing at the 2019 North QLD Showjump Club Day (Image by Peter Collins). BELOW RIGHT: Tasha Voss with Trick or Treat, looking the part for an online show ring styling photo competition (Image by TJV Photography).

H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 69


TRAVEL

The land of ice and fire Defined by its volcanoes, glaciers, geysers, hot springs and lava fields, KRISTEN FLEET has already added an Icelandic holiday on horseback to her bucket list.

Today, the Icelandic, as it’s commonly referred to, is known for being surefooted, and despite their pony-sized stature, exceptionally strong, agile and with huge personalities. They’re friendly, quick to learn, usually very easy to handle, and cooperative both on the ground and while ridden. Interestingly, they are a so-called gaited breed, meaning that in addition to walk, trot, canter and gallop, they have two extra gaits: the tölt and the skeið, also known as the flying pace. By lifting only one foot at a time, a tölting horse can keep the rider comfortable over

A

considerable distances, so there’s no Nordic island nation, Iceland

Immortalised in Norse mythology,

is renowned for its dramatic

need to worry about booking a two,

the Icelandic horse (and despite its

landscapes and wealth of

three (or possibly more) day riding tour

somewhat diminutive size, it’s never

unforgettable attractions, many of

if you haven’t been in the saddle for a

referred to as a pony) can be traced all

which run all year round: from nature

while. The tölt is so comfortable and

the way back to the late 9th Century

relaxing you’ll want to take an Icelandic

when Vikings arrived on the island’s

home with you! Their other pace, the

shores. With them they brought horses

skeið, is fast and smooth, with some

of mostly Germanic descent – horses

horses able to reach up to 50 kilometres

that proved to be indispensible to early

an hour. It’s not a gait for long-distance

settlement and have served the human

travel, but it is something you might want

population faithfully ever since. These

to experience.

horses were vital to all aspects of life,

Horse riding is a great way to explore

and wildlife walks, whale watching, music festivals, and incredible restaurants, through to more extreme adventures such as glacier hikes, snowmobiling and cave diving. If you are very lucky you may even see my favourite bird, the Atlantic Puffin. Most of the population lives in the

transporting people and goods across

capital, Reykjavik, which runs on

glaciers and inhospitably rugged terrains

geothermal power and is home to

in all kinds of weather. Although their

the National Museum of Iceland and

role has changed quite dramatically

the Saga museum, where you can

in the last 100 years, they are still an

explore Iceland’s intriguing history,

important part of Icelandic culture, and

interwoven as it is with epic tales of

experiencing Iceland on horseback is

Vikings and the unique Icelandic horse.

truly an adventure of a lifetime.

any country and Iceland’s unspoiled panoramic landscapes certainly won’t disappoint. There are many different riding tours on offer, many of which are only a few minutes outside of Reykjavik. The tours suit all levels of experience and can last anywhere from a half day to nine days. For obvious reasons, some riding tours may not be offered during winter, but to be absolutely sure, check with your chosen tour operators.

General tips

Australian citizens do not require a visa if their visit is for 90 days or less. You’ll fly into Keflavik International Airport, located on a peninsula around 50 kilometres south of Reykjavik, with flights from Sydney taking approximately 22 hours. The Icelandic currency is the króna (sometimes called the Icelandic crown), but the card is king with cash 70 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


T R AV E L

MAIN: Lingering evening light and spectacular scenery (Image courtesy Viking Horses). FACING PAGE: The land of fire and ice (Image courtesy Unsplash). rarely used even for tipping. Although

with decent weather, shorter days,

beginners and the inexperienced, but

English is widely spoken, it always

fewer visitors, and cheaper prices.

advanced riders are also welcome.

helps to learn a few words relevant to

Where to go

The guided tour meanders through

your riding holiday. You never know when ‘Hér er gulrót vinsamlegast ekki peninga’ (Here is a carrot, please don’t buck) might come in useful!

Doing your pre-trip research There are so many tour options and so many extraordinary things to see and do, extensive pre-trip research

With so many different tours available, you’re likely to find making a decision quite difficult - so here are a few suggestions to get you started: Fosshestar: One of the newest tour operators is Fosshestar, which translates to ‘Waterfall Horses’, the

the Engidalur Valley, with its majestic mountains and abundance of rivers and waterfalls. At the bottom of the valley you’ll find the Fossavatn, Isafjordur’s first hydroelectric power station. But while that might sound a bit industrial for the average nature-lover, don’t worry! With sheep roaming free

perfect name for a company close to

throughout the valley, extraordinary

the river Fossá (Waterfall River) and

birdlife and beautiful scenery, you’re

Lake Fossavatn (Waterfall Lake).

guaranteed a wonderful experience.

to visit during the height of the season.

Located in the beautiful Engidalur

Fosshestar provide all the equipment

Weatherwise, from May through to

Valley, just five minutes’ drive from

you’ll need, including helmets

August you can expect pleasant

the town of Isafjordur in Iceland’s

(a non-negotiable requirement),

temperatures and long days. April and

Westfjords region, Fosshestar specialise

and offer a variety of delightful

September are reasonable alternatives

in short riding tours designed for

accommodation options. Plus, the

is a must. Most horse tour operators allow you to book in advance, which is advisable, particularly if you’re planning

H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 71


T R AV E L

“Don’t call me pony!” The Icelandic may be small in stature, but they’re big on personality (Image courtesy Íshestar Riding Tours). LEFT: The company’s friendly and the landscape wild and free (Image courtesy Íshestar Riding Tours). BELOW LEFT: Rugged up and enjoying the ride (Image courtesy Íshestar Riding Tours). BELOW RIGHT: The very best way to see the countryside (Image courtesy Viking Horses). welfare and care of their horses is

enjoy a summer’s evening ride across

just 15 minutes from Reykjavik.

a top priority - good to know.

a scenic lava landscape complete with

They’re proud of their happy horses,

pseudo craters and mountain views?

high-quality riding equipment,

Alternatively, there’s the Horses and

professional service, and the unique

Spa package that yes, offers scenic

riding adventures they offer for small,

landscapes and the opportunity to

private groups. Mountains, abundant

experience the tölt, but adds to the

nature and the not to be missed

experience a fabulous spa visit after

volcanic red hills of Rauðhólar are all

you finish your ride (we like!).

within easy reach of their stables.

Viking Horses: This is a family owned

Choose their Sleipnir Tour if you fancy

and operated tour company located

an evening ride through the Hólmsheiði

And so you can share your adventure with the folks back home, Fosshestar will send you a film and photos of your tour within two weeks of your visit. Íslenski Hesturinn: Translating to ‘Icelandic Horse’, this is a horse rental and tour company located on the outskirts of Reykjavík. They offer a variety of packages, most of which are available all year round, while some are season specific. The Volcanic Landscape, their basic tour, is included in all their other packages. So, would you like to add on the option of seeing whales, or puffins, or

72 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0

Hills, Stallion Valley and spectacular Rauðhólar. The tour begins with a short riding lesson and ends with a light meal of traditional Icelandic snacks such as flatbread with smoked lamb, kleina (a deep fried sweetbread), beverages and coffee. Or there’s the Volcano Tour,


a relaxing, fun morning ride that includes stunning views over mountains, lakes, Reykjavík city and volcanic formations, followed by a light meal. They also offer an afternoon ride, or you might like the sound of their tailor made private riding tours for individuals, closed groups or families. Íshestar Riding Tours: After running riding tours for more than 30 years, Íshestar’s focus is on exceptional service, excellent horses, a safe ride, and sustainability. Essentially their operation is divided into day tours and multi-day tours. Day tours are run

magic of the Northern Lights. And if

September usually means that demand

out of their stables in Hafnarfjörður,

you plan to see the Northern Lights

isn’t as high - but don’t leave it until

book from September through to March

the last minute. Plan your trip and

when the sky is at its darkest - but that’s

book accordingly! You might even

also winter, so you’ll need to rug up.

want to consider hiring a camper or

which is around 15 minutes from Reykjavík and surrounded by lava, lakes, and wilderness. These rides are for beginners to experienced riders and range from one to seven hours in length. Their multi-day tours, which can be up to nine days long, are operated out of farms located all over Iceland. Depending on which tour you

And finally ... Many tour companies will help you to plan your adventure and assist with bookings. If you’re thinking of visiting during the May to August

car before setting out on a self-drive holiday so you can experience riding adventures in all parts of the country. But no matter what you decide, you can be pretty sure ég sé þig þar

choose, you’ll have the opportunity

peak season, hotels, tours, and flights

fljótlega (I‘ll see you there soon)!

to experience the stunning Icelandic

should be booked many months in

For more information visit www.

Highlands, volcanos, glaciers, beaches,

advance to avoid disappointment. The

fosshestar.is, www.islenskihesturinn.is ,

a traditional sheep round up, or the

colder weather from April through to

www.vikinghorses.is, and www.ishestar.is H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 73


L I F E A F T E R R AC I N G

MAIN & RIGHT: Jane Gollan, off the track advocate and keen event rider, is excited by her new initiative’s potential (Images courtesy of Andrew Thurtell, Thurtell Photography).

Q LIFE AFTER RACING

Advocate for off the track

ueensland's Jane Gollan is one of Australia's greatest advocates for

off the track Thoroughbreds. Married to Tony Gollan, Brisbane's leading horse trainer, Jane, 36, has been at the coal face of a major stable for many years – and knows how important it is to find suitable homes for horses when their racing careers end. A keen eventing rider herself, Jane is about to launch an exciting new equine

Have you ever wondered how an off the track Thoroughbred is transitioned into ‘civilian’ life? As you may have guessed, it’s quite a process. JO MCKINNON spoke to Jane Gollan to find out more.

welfare initiative: the Transitioning Thoroughbreds Foundation. A not-for-profit organisation, the Foundation will begin by focussing on rehoming horses that have competed in the Queensland racing ranks. "Essentially, we will assess the

74 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


L I F E A F T E R R AC I N G

horse off the track and get a good

to determine which discipline they

you can find a purpose for them," she

understanding of its history both

are best suited to. They will then

says. "There's a risk we can't move

mental and physical by talking to

be adopted out for a low fee.

them on and that's why our system

"The most important part is the marrying

has to be right from the start."

of that horse to the most suitable

Jane, now a mother of two young

riders, getting vet reports and talking to farriers and dentists," she explains. Selected horses will then embark on a

owners," she says, "hopefully they

12-week training program run by several

will go into long and lasting homes.

experienced equestrians including well-

We don't look to make money out

known eventer Kate Drevernan, who

of it and will trace them for life."

used to ride trackwork for Gollan Racing.

The Foundation initiative was sparked

"They will be doing everything from

by the ABC's horrific exposĂŠ on

de-sensitising to classical dressage

racehorse welfare in Australia that aired

training, flatwork, and things that

late last year, and Jane is more than

they have not been exposed to as a

enthusiastic about this vital program.

racehorse such as being hard tied, floating and lunging,� says Jane.

"These horses are so versatile and what we want to get out of this 12-

children, has been instrumental in a number of off the track success stories. She was responsible for placing LA Confidential, now one of Australia's most successful show hacks. "He was one that retired with no race starts. He was a chocolate-box goodlooking horse that was liver chestnut and turned heads. You could see straight up he wasn't going to be an eventer and make it in the show ring," Jane recalls.

Each horse’s progress will be carefully

week program is to see how they can

monitored on a week to week basis.

be placed and find their purpose. If

Another horse that came through the

Once they have completed the

you are dealing with a fairly sound

Gollan stable is Staturbo. He was retired

program, horses will be assessed

prospect off the track then I believe

at the ripe old age of ten after 68 starts H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 75


76 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


L I F E A F T E RF E RAT ACUI N RG E

and is now enjoying camp drafting. Jane recognises the benefit of Thoroughbreds being exposed to a variety of situations during their racing careers: “It's important that they are handled the right way of course, but if you get a horse that has been there and done that, he doesn't usually turn a hair at anything." A racehorse called I'm A Ripper, who has been a great flag-bearer for Gollan Racing, earning over $1 million in prize money, will be the first official project horse for the Transitioning Thoroughbreds Foundation. "I get a great kick out of seeing exracehorses perform. If we want to attract new owners to racing, we have to show

TOP: Horses undergo careful assessment before being selected for the program.

that we are doing our bit by the animal.

ABOVE: New beginnings:

These horses become part of families

learning the ropes.

and if you can make a difference to not

LEFT: After re-education,

just the horse's life but a person's life then that's really special," says Jane. The Transitioning Thoroughbreds Foundation will be launched very soon so stay tuned. We wish Jane and her team the very best of

OTT Thoroughbreds can go on to enjoy life as safe and sensible pleasure horses. (Images courtesy of Andrew Thurtell, Thurtell Photography).

luck with this great initiative. H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 77


HORSE BREED

All hail the Anglo-Arabian From the grandeur of Grand Prix dressage to the stamina of endurance and eventing, the AngloArabian has been a shining star in the equestrian world, as FRANCINE PULLMAN discovered.

for three-day eventing as it is for endurance and the show ring.

What is an Anglo-Arabian? The Anglo-Arabian is considered by

many to be a superior athlete, exhibiting the endurance and stamina of the Arabian combined with the larger frame and speed of the Thoroughbred. As an all-rounder, it’s particularly suited to jumping and endurance but is equally impressive in the show ring and dressage arena. Throughout its history, the breed has also been successful in speed events and has been used in the military.

A

thletic, powerful, fast and

lineage left has had French enthusiasts

magnificent, it’s hard not to fall

scrambling to re-establish the purity

in love with the Anglo-Arabian.

of the breed they claim as their own.

One of the oldest developed breeds in the world, it has its origins in 18th Century France where the foundation studbook featured the Thoroughbred (hence the Anglo) Arabian cross.

Essentially a high level sport horse, the Anglo-Arabian has found its way into endurance, racing, jumping, dressage, carriage driving and cross country. Typically around 15-16hh,

More recently, reports that the true

it’s a good all-rounder, and thus as

breed is dying out with no original

equally coveted among enthusiasts

But it’s not athletic prowess alone that makes for a great athlete, even among horses! Temperament contributes to trainability and as you might have heard, the Anglo-Arabian does not always exhibit the Arabian’s milder manners, making it potentially unsuitable for beginner riders. But while not as calm as the cool Arabian, neither is it as hot headed as the Thoroughbred. It is said to be a spirited, smart and sometimes stubborn horse, but also a very willing performer.

Breed standards

While the studbook breed was being refined in France more than a hundred years ago, breeders experimented to find the best cross and discovered that the offspring from an English Thoroughbred mare to a pureblood Arabian was of a better type than that of a Thoroughbred stallion to an Arabian mare. They also determined that the offspring from a 50/50 Anglo-Arabian mating was less favourable than that of a good Anglo-Arabian mare put to a pure Arabian stallion. French studbook records indicate that the best results occurred when purebred Arabian stallions were put over an English Thoroughbred, with the progeny then bred back to a purebred Arabian to yield 75 per cent Arabian genetics and a top 78 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


HORSE BREED

quality horse. This led to their accepted breed standard: to be registered as Anglo-Arabian, the horse must have 25 to 75 per cent Arabian genetics.

Anglo-Arabian Characteristics

In appearance, the Anglo is an elegant, balanced saddle horse with highly veined skin and fine hair. Any height or colour is acceptable. In profile, the small, fine head may vary from straight to slightly concave, but should not be overly dished. The neck is long and elegant, with a clearly defined poll, matching arch of throat, and a welldefined wither. Their sturdy, compact body is deep-chested, with a short to medium back strongly coupled to long hindquarters and usually a rounded croup. With good bone structure and strong hooves, they hold condition easily. Overall, the body appearance is a series of curves with no sharp angles. The Anglo-Arabian’s gait is smooth, with rhythmical, flowing paces. These eye-catching horses are often shown in hand, with manes and forelocks plaited. Although English style show halter or bridles are usually used, Arabian show halters are acceptable.

Anglo-Arabian health and care

Not surprisingly, the Anglo-Arabian is a relatively easy horse to keep in good health, making it a good choice for amateur and professional rider alike. It can be a little hotter than an Arab but it is generally hardy and doesn’t have the health issues common in the more delicate Thoroughbred. However, Arabians can suffer from a number of genetic defects, some of which may prove fatal, posing a risk for the unsuspecting Anglo-Arabian breeder or buyer. To ensure the progeny is healthy, breeders and buyers of Anglos under the age of five should check the Arabian parents’ genetic profile for these diseases:

MAIN: Warrawee Grandee, an Australian National Champion AngloArabian Stallion (Image courtesy of Warrawee Stud). FACING PAGE: Anglo-Arabian colt foal Devise FF (Image courtesy of Future Farms).


HORSE BREED

performing Anglo-Arabian progeny.

Sired by Concherto FF, Justified FF was Runner Up in the Anglo-Arabian class at the East Coast Arabian Championships (Image courtesy of Jodi Dinucci).

Tamarillo: UK Anglo-Arabian Tamarillo was one of the world’s most successful eventing horses. His breeding gave him a ‘light and extravagant movement in dressage’ yet he also had speed, endurance and agility in cross-country and in the showjumping ring. Tamarillo began his illustrious career in 1995 as a three-year-old, when he won Champion Part Bred Arabian at his first national show. By 2002 he had placed second at the Badminton Horse Trials and had gone on to represent the UK at the World Eventing Championships in Jerez. This was followed in 2004 by a win at Badminton and inclusion on the British Olympic team bound for Athens. In 2005, he came second at Badminton and at Blenheim, before winning the individual silver medal at the European Championships, as well as gold for the British team. Vassily de Lassos: An Australian equestrian hero, Andrew Hoy finished 4th in the Individual Eventing at the 2018 Wembley Equestrian Games on Vassily

• Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disorder • Cerebellar Abiotrophy • Lavender Foal Syndrome • Occipital Atlanto-Axial Malformation

athletes, as well as being among the

de Lassos, his much loved French

most beautiful of horses, during the 1936

bred Anglo-Arabian gelding. More

Olympics. Two of the three French silver

recently, the duo helped the Australian

medal-winning dressage team’s horses

equestrian team to qualify for the 2020

were Anglo-Arabians, while Rumania

Olympics (now postponed to 2021).

A reputable breeder will be able to

and Portugal, also with Anglos on the

confirm the Arabian parent is free

Hill Dream: Another super-athlete

team, collected showjumping medals.

from these genetic defects, but it’s

is Anglo-Arabian Hill Dream, who,

And if you were in any doubt at all over

as a 15-year-old won two gold

the Anglo-Arabian’s prowess, read on:

medals at the 2010 FEI Junior

always good to check the horse’s profile with the registering body. Apart from those issues, the positives for the breed are many.

Anglo-Arabians in the spotlight

For more than 70 years Anglo-Arabians have been coveted for their eventing talent, especially in the US and Europe,

Aiglonne: In the 1948 London Olympic Games, Captain Bernard Chevalier took out gold for individual eventing on the French bred AngloArabian stallion Aiglonne. Askar: In the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, Anglo-Arabian stallion

European Eventing Championships in Bad Segeberg, Germany Athena: Anglo-Arabians have also made their mark in the US. Californian rider Rita Mason bought AngloArabian filly Athena as a yearling in 1998, thinking the horse might be a good endurance prospect. She never

but they’ve also earned accolades

Askar won gold in the speed and

thought for a moment that the little

in many other disciplines worldwide.

endurance events. He died at the age

grey filly would one day become

They were first recognised as great

of 17 but not before siring some top

a Grand Prix dressage horse.

80 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


Fever FF

Concherto FF

16hh Arabian Warmblood/ISSA stallion

15.2hh Anglo Arabian stallion

AVAILABLE AT STUD

AVAILABLE AT STUD

Killimanjaro (Imp NL)

17hh KWPN Warmblood stallion AVAILABLE AT STUD

Ph: 03 54285255 - 0412 304 500 - 0411 756 683 | Email: info@ff.org.au | www.ff.org.au


HORSE BREED

Book Thoroughbred breeding, with a

Anglo-Arabian stallion Concherto FF, a multi-state, Royal, national, East Coast and Australian champion in both halter and performance (Image courtesy of Holly Hess Ricks).

minimum 12.5 per cent Arabian blood. The horse can have two registered Anglo-Arabian parents, or one registered Anglo and one registered purebred Arabian, or be the result of a mating between a registered Thoroughbred and a registered Arabian. It’s these standards that help keep the bloodlines of the breed pure, thus maintaining the qualities of the Anglo-Arabian horse. According to the AHSA, there are currently just over 4,500 registered Anglo-Arabian mares, with about 3,900 stallions and geldings. One of the most notable breeders is Future Farms in Victoria, a stud specialising in Arabians and Anglo Arabians.

As a three-year-old, Athena was too

settlement. When the Arabian Horse

young for endurance events, so Rita,

Society of Australasia was established

a dressage novice, began training

in 1957, its newly formed Studbook

them both for the dressage ring. They

longer focussing on the Anglo, in the

catered for purebred, part-bred and

past the stud produced many show

Anglo-Arabians. Under the rules of

winning Anglo-Arabians horses.

the now Arabian Horse Society of

Visit the Arabian Horse Society

steadily worked their way up the levels, eventually winning the Fourth Level National Championship in 2004.

Origins of a breed

Where did Anglo-Arabians acquire

Australia (AHSA), an Anglo-Arabian

Also of note is Warrawee Stud in Lancefield Victoria. Although no

Australia at www.ahsa.asn.au for more

horse is one derived exclusively

information on the Anglo-Arabian and

from horses of Arabian and Stud

other Arabian derivative horses.

that winning streak? It’s apparently in the genes! Although there is little to document this, it’s believed that as early as the 1750s, Anglo-Arabians were being bred in Normandy as strong and agile war horses. It wasn’t until the early 19th Century that a breeding program began in earnest. The breed studbook was officially established in 1833, under the auspices of the French National Stud Service. The breed grew in popularity, and by the end of the 19th Century, the visually appealing and athletic Anglos had found their niche in a variety of disciplines. Since then, Anglo-Arabians have been used to improve many other breeds, including the German Warmblood.

The Anglo-Arabian in Australia

Arabian horses were introduced into Australia in the earliest days of European 82 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0

Warrawee the Maestro, a champion in ridden and led classes (Image courtesy of Warrawee Stud).


SADDLE REVIEW

Hennig As many of us can testify, when the horse bug bites, it can bite early - and Cara Kwiecien was definitely no exception to the rule!

N

ow based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Cara Kwiecien clearly remembers her early obsession with horses: “I just wanted a pony! My parents had to erect a fence around our backyard to stop me from disappearing when I went to visit the horses that were kept just down the road,” she recalls. And by the time Cara was nine, there was a pony! Although her parents were not in the position to take her to Pony Club, the fact that she could ride laps around the backyard was more than enough. Now an equestrian with more than 25-years’ experience, Cara has a passion for dressage, but wants to try out Working Equitation. And

her partner in this endeavour is Doc, an OTT Thoroughbred formally known as Doctor Keys. Doc, grandson of the famous New Zealand-bred Octagonal, was simply not cut out for racing. “My husband, then an equine photographer, was taking photos of OTT horses to help rehome them. And that’s when we met Doc, who despite his excellent bloodlines had not distinguished himself on the track, unless you count achieving a second to last,” Cara laughs. “Racing wasn’t his thing, but we loved him.” At just shy of 16hh, Doc is quite narrow with a short saddle area – so fitting a saddle was always going to be challenging. Cara had her heart set on a Hennig, but knew they were very rare,

very expensive, and usually designed to fit a much broader backed Warmblood. “I was searching through second hand saddle sites when I came across The Saddle Hub – and that’s where I found an excellent Hennig at an excellent price! After a number of emails back and forth to establish whether the saddle would be a likely fit for Doc, I decided to go ahead with the 14 day free trial,” Cara explains. “I really liked that Shae at The Saddle Hub was happy to answer all my questions – that really gives you peace of mind.” And was the Hennig a good fit? “I adored the saddle from the first,” says Cara. “The twist was very narrow so I could easily have that long draping leg. I found that I had to adjust to how much I could feel Doc’s musculature through the saddle – a feature I now love - but the cut away section at the front was instantly perfect for him. It allows plenty of horse in front of the saddle without interfering with his back.” We think it’s safe to say that Cara is delighted with her Hennig saddle! The Equestrian Hub has a wide variety of second-hand saddles, so be sure to visit www.equestrianhub.com.au and browse through their fantastic range. All saddles come with a twoweek trial, finance options, and a courier right to your door.

Cara and Doc, blissfully happy with their beautiful Hennig saddle (Image courtesy of Averil Crebbin, Picture the Moment Photography). H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 83


FEATURE

Breeding 101 You’ve decided to breed a foal! But before you do, there are a few important basics to consider. To help you on your way, we sourced the expert advice of Mark Wiggett and Jenny Watts, veterinarians at the Agnes Banks Equine Clinic.

W

hat is there about a foal that’s not to adore? Absolutely nothing!

Long-legged, frisky and mischievous, there’s not a horse lover among us whose heart isn’t melted by the sight of a foal alongside its dam.

Problems with fertility

But before you go ahead with your plans to breed, do you know if your mare is likely to be fertile? Some are more so then others, and rather than waste time and money attempting to get a subfertile mare in foal, it may be wise to get

But as appealing as the idea is, if you’re

a fertility assessment.

contemplating breeding a foal from your

The Agnes Banks Equine Clinic offers

mare there’re are a number of factors you should consider seriously before you put your plan into action. And to be clear, not weighing up your options, and not seeking out expert advice could result in disappointment, not to mention

advanced techniques in equine reproduction and veterinarians Mark Wiggett and Jenny Watts both have a keen interest in this field. Mark explains that an assessment could include a number of approaches: “We assess

an investment of your hard earned cash

the mare’s confirmation and I would

that produces nothing in return.

probably suggest a uterine culture and

So the take home message here is that

First things first

cytology (the examination of cells under

even if your mare does have issues

Horses are seasonally polyoestrous, which means that they have more than one cycle of coming into season (sometimes known as coming into heat) each year. These cycles usually occur in spring and summer when the daylight hours are longest. A mare’s cycle lasts for approximately three weeks, during

a microscope). These tests potentially identify if there’s a problem such as a bacterial yeast or fungal infection – and

that are interfering with her fertility, it’s not the end of the road - there are treatments available that could help

if that’s the case we can treat it with

overcome the problem.

antibiotics or by lavaging the uterus.

The next stage

Essentially, the tests give us a clue as to whether the mare may be fertile and able to carry a foal to term.”

Once you’ve ascertained that your mare is a viable breeding proposition, your next decision will be how best to get her in foal: will you opt for a natural

which time she will be in oestrus -

There are occasions when a culture

meaning she is getting ready to ovulate

shows no sign of an infection, and

and to mate - for up to eight days. To

that’s when a uterine biopsy might be

work out when’s the best time to breed

helpful: “Sometimes a biopsy can give

your mare, either watch closely for signs

you answers that a culture doesn’t. For

of her being in season, or alternatively

example, it can tell you how healthy the

– which has increased the number of

ask a veterinarian to examine her,

uterus is. So if a biopsy does come back

mares that can be covered by a single

possibly through the use of a rectal

abnormal then you may then want to

stallion - paddock breeding is not as

ultrasound.

investigate further,” Jenny says.

usual as once it was. It’s a method that

84 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0

progression, or investigate the option of artificial insemination (AI)?

Paddock Breeding

Given the closer control offered by AI


You want to breed a foal? Then one of your first decisions is between paddock breeding, live cover, or artificial insemination (AI).

requires little explanation: a stallion is

infections, so you could actually be

handlers and a vet can be difficult to say

turned out with one or more mares,

increasing infertility problems, and that’s

the least.

and nature takes its course. Some

not ideal if you’ve got valuable stock.”

experts believe that the advantages

Live Cover

of this method are that little handling is required and there is arguably an increased conception rate.

But the advantages of the method are definitely there: “The up side is that in

In this situation, the stallion physically

some instances you’re getting a large

covers the mare, but this occurs in a

amount of semen deposited hopefully

controlled environment. A breeding

into the uterus, with the added benefit of a dilated cervix. The down side is that

However, Mark is not a fan of paddock

shed specifically designed for the

breeding because of the possibility of

process is usual, with an area large

injury to both mare and stallion, the

enough to safely accommodate both

fact that what you see in the paddock

the horses and their handlers, and with

might not actually be mating, as well as

flooring that provides good footing as

the potential for sexually transmitted

well as being easy to clean and disinfect.

diseases. Jenny offers further detail

An advantage of live cover is that there

on this potential for disease: “If you’ve

are typically better conception rates.

diseases,” says Mark.

got a mare or stallion that’s carrying

However, the process is significantly

Another potential issue with live cover

an infection of some kind, when you

more dangerous for the stallion, the

is the lack of the semen extender

paddock breed you’re not necessarily

mare, and their handlers, plus co-

present in chilled or frozen semen.

treating them for any post-mating

ordinating the availability of horses,

While some vets believe that the

you don’t necessarily know the quality of the semen unless you get a post-mating sample, and that can be tricky. Also, the complications with live cover are the same as with paddock breeding in terms of injuries and sexually transmitted

H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 85


F E AT U R E

as Mark explains: “This technology allows you to send semen to different parts of the country and the world. You can also freeze semen from a stallion who’s going to be castrated to preserve its genetic material. Freezing semen is also an insurance policy in that if a stallion were to die, you’d still have its genetic material stored. From that aspect, they’re the big benefits of AI. On the down side, I think that you have the risk of a lower conception rate with frozen semen.” Clearly AI has made a considerable difference to equine reproduction, with ABOVE: AI is safe, minimally invasive, and allows you to choose the best stallion for your mare (Image courtesy of Exclusively Equine Veterinary Services).

apparently other new methods on the

BELOW: A stallion dummy is used to collect semen, which can then be used fresh, chilled or frozen (Image courtesy of Exclusively Equine Veterinary Services).

revolutionised the way we’re able to

way. As Jenny says: “I think technology’s breed and I think that it’s a good thing. It allows you to choose the very best

extender is beneficial for mares, others

needs to be inseminated as soon as

disagree. “Semen extender is a mixture

it is collected, while chilled semen

of antibiotics and other elements that

remains viable for some hours following

prolong the life of semen. The presence

collection. However, organising the

of antibiotics can be helpful for some

transportation of chilled semen so that

mares, while others have reactions to

its arrival coincides with the mare’s

it - and they’re the mares that are better

ovulation can be difficult. So unless the

Banks Equine Clinic’s website - www.

off with fresh semen or live cover,” Jenny

mare and stallion are located within a

abec.net.au – email clinic@abec.net.

explains.

relatively short distance of each other,

au ,or call the team on (02) 4588 5200.

Artificial Insemination

the best option might be frozen semen.

Exclusively Equine Veterinary Services

AI is now a very common breeding

While frozen semen does require an

in Hatton Vale, Queensland offers a

option, one of the main advantages of

experienced AI technician to ensure

range of reproduction services and can

which is that it removes both the need

successful post-thaw handling, there are

be contacted on (07) 5411 4554 or visit

to transport valuable horses, and the

definite advantages with the approach

www. eevs.com.au

potential for injury inherent in paddock breeding and live cover. The procedure also allows you to choose a stallion that may, for whatever reason, not be available for live cover. It’s minimally invasive and safe for your mare, and can maximise the chances of breeding success as it eliminates uncertainty regarding whether or not the stallion has actually ejaculated, an issue present in both paddock breeding and live cover. Additionally, you can choose the peak moment of your mare’s breeding cycle for insemination. AI can be performed using fresh, chilled or frozen semen. Fresh semen obviously 86 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0

stallion for your mare.” And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want. For further information, visit the Agnes


FOOD FOR THOUGHT - BREEDING SEASON -

Giving your horse the best start in life What to feed foals Foals require high fibre; low GI feeds like Barastoc Breed N Grow. Breed N Grow contains all the necessary ingredients and nutrients to produce healthy horses.

FOAL RISK FACTORS Developmental Orthopaedic Diseases (DOD) DOD’s are a range of conditions that can occur in a growing horse. Including OCD.

Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)

Barastoc Breed N Grow A low to moderate starch feed which has a lower glycaemic index (GI) response to feeding. High fibre content encourages digestive safety, especially when horses are fed in groups and may consume their feeds at a faster rate.

OCD is an interruption in bone development. During normal bone growth, cartilage is remodelled into bone, however, this process can go wrong, which leads to OCD lesions. One of the causes of OCD is the wrong nutrition, particularly deficiencies, excesses, and imbalances of nutrients. Feeding a high grain diet to achieve the greatest growth in your foals will increase the risk of DOD problems. Feeds that have a lower glycaemic index are associated with a lower incidence of OCD.

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AROUND THE TRAPS

Grace Norley riding Vanessa Harland’s Henry. The pair scooped Child’s Hunter Hack over 16hh and Rider Class 15-17 years at the SHC SA Rising Star Show (Image by Cecilia Norley).

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AROUND THE TRAPS

ABOVE: Paige Dempster achieved a great result with her ponies at the 2019 Leighdale Pony Club May Day Showjumping competition – a 1st with Diesel and a 4th with Braefoot Park Bordeaux (Image by Kylie Dempster). RIGHT: Madeline Wilson and Lake Muir Lieutenant had a fantastic day at the Manjimup Agricultural Show (Image by Samantha Stevens).

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O N M Y TAC K B OX

No hoof, no horse Never were there truer words spoken. Accredited Master Farrier DAVID FARMILO is on a mission to encourage horse owners to gain a better understanding of the horse’s hoof as an essential part of its well-being and performance.

Once we have an understanding of what is normal, we can begin to assess what might go wrong with our potential purchase of this horse or pony. Consider the predictability of hoof related lameness. Long toes cause low and crushed heels, also tripping and stumbling as well as back strain. High heels cause a shortening of stride and/or a stilted action in front as well as shoulder pain. When the shape of the bottom of the hoof is not a mirror image of the normal coronary band, it means the hoof is flared and out of shape, so the flight of the leg is crooked and will travel in the direction of its longest point, causing interference, joint strain and bad attitude through pain.

W

riting now as a retired farrier after 65 years of shoeing and competitive riding much of that time, it still surprises me how few horse owners pay any attention to the condition or conformation of the lower leg and hoof when considering the purchase of a horse. I have advocated for decades that prospective horse owners should have to pass a knowledge test about the bone structure and tendons and ligaments especially of the lower leg prior to owning a horse or pony. I constantly make the statement that at least 90% of all lameness in any horse originates from the knee down. Anyone owning or buying a horse has a duty of care to that horse for the rest of its life.

with the centre line of the pastern (see pictures 5 & 6) - thus allowing the hoof to land evenly and stand straight.

band (see pictures 1, 2, & 4). The hind coronary bands should be diamond shape and the bottom of the hoof wall should be a mirror image of that diamond shaped coronary band. Viewed from the side on there should be a parallel line down the front of the

Standing the horse squarely on a level surface we should see all four hooves pointing straight towards the front, the cannon bone should be centred directly under the knee joint, and the pastern should be centred under the fetlock joint. If all this is so then the hoof will point straight forward. Conformation faults can be minimised to a degree by a good farrier, but avoiding a horse with conformation faults is much better.

A very simple visual inspection will show if the coronary band on the front hooves is an even round or oval shape and the hoof wall at ground should be a mirror image of that coronary

pastern and the front of the hoof wall

heights and that they form a ‘T’ square

The hinds should also point forwards and be in line with the fronts, however if the hind hooves have been allowed to flare to the outside they will be pointing to the outside i.e. cow hocked, and this

1: The ideal shape of the hoof capsule

2: Perfect balance in the hoof

3: Parallel hoof/pastern angle

(see picture 3). When lifting the leg and viewing down the back of the pastern, it must show that the heels are of equal

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O N M Y TAC K B OX

causes back strain in the hip area. Always ask if you can pick up the back feet when looking at a prospective horse purchase – nothing scares a farrier away quicker than a horse that has never had its back feet picked up. Ditto for shoeing – there is always a reason and while it is rarely the horse’s fault, if you buy into it you may have an extensive retraining program ahead of you. If the horse is for competition and passes all these checks, then you have made a good start. For the pleasure rider - check if the horse is the right build for the rider; too many riders are ‘underhorsed’ to put it politely. Many owners and riders have also never considered the left or right handed tendencies of their horse. Many farriers will refute it and it is rarely explained how critical this is for performance. In brief the horse will always be more athletic when working to the side of their dominant (larger) hoof. There are very few ‘ambidextrous’ horses. Apply that principle to a racehorse running clockwise or anti-clockwise and you can begin to see the flow-on effect. The time we spend evaluating the horse and getting feedback from owner or rider before we pick up that first leg is very important in planning a course of action for the trimming or shoeing of that horse. To the horse owner who may feel intimidated when asking questions of the farrier - don’t be shy, just remember that YOU are the expert when it comes to recognizing a difference in the way the horse is working, or travelling, or

6: Incorrect T-square the way it feels. The farrier only visits once every six weeks or so, making it difficult for them to assess these minor changes that you observe daily. It is your right to query these changes in the horse’s behaviour or in its working. It is so important to have a good relationship with the vet, farrier and rider as a team. If you think I am just preaching to the converted, I sincerely hope I am. But I have had dozens of new horse purchasers over the years tell me they didn’t know a horse needed its feet trimmed, they didn’t know the hoof was at all important, they didn’t know that a foal should have its feet picked up regularly, or that behavioural problems generally lie directly on the shoulders

of the owner, or the past owner. And always get a vet check if one hoof is a ‘little bit boxy’ – you would be amazed at the number of breeders who deny a mild club foot. But that is a story for another time. I make no apology if my comments upset any breeders or farriers as my platform is for the horse, and the horses’ reactions dictate my comments. Located in South Australia, David Farmilo is an Accredited Master Farrier. Understanding the horse’s hoof has been a passion since the day he commenced shoeing as a jackeroo in outback South Australia at the age of 15. Over the following 65 years, David built up a vast understanding of the horse's hoof and was also a very successful competitor in all forms of equitation. Follow Horsefarrier on Facebook, visit www.horsefarrier.com.au or email David at djf@horsefarrier.com.au

4: Internal bone structure demonstrating alignment of P1, P2 and P3 (the three phalangeal bones of the lower leg).

5: Perfect T-square down the back of the pastern and across the heels H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 93


AROUND THE TRAPS

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AROUND THE TRAPS

Get featured in Around The Traps! If you have had a great photo taken of you and your equine partner while you've been out and about enjoying yourselves, submit your photo to info@horsevibes.com.au to be considered for a starring role in our next issue! If your image is selected it will be published in the print and digital magazines and on the HorseVibes website! www.horsevibes.com.au

ABOVE: Poppy Douglas and Clancy, Maddie Dale and Jed, and Monique Dale and Oak practising their working equitation moves (Image by Sue Geering). LEFT: Nicole Johnson competing with Star of Isaac at the Tamworth ODE (Image by Oz Shotz). RIGHT: Nellie Rogers on Rocket Rod competing at the Warrnambool Show (Image by Cheryl Hardy). H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 95


AROUND THE TRAPS

ABOVE: Chloe Stewart and Water Lily training at Natalie Siiankoski Equestrian in preparation for the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions (Image by Helen Stewart). LEFT: Neve James riding Sorbeaux in their first Grade 2 trials at the 2020 State Pony Club Trials in Tasmania (Image by Sarah Walker).

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AROUND THE TRAPS

LEFT: Grace Norley and Serenepark Pony Express competing at the Nanua Gymkhana (Image by Cecilia Norley). BELOW: Sarah Shelverton competing with Sir Beau Gart at the 2020 PCT State Trials (Image by Sarah Worsley).

H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 97


TRAINING TIPS

The beauty of Western If you compete in either Western Reining or Western Pleasure riding, this is the article for you! CAROL BACKHOUSE and NATASHA HUMPHRIES are experts in creating a showstopping look and kindly took the time to share some of their top tips.

B

efore we dive into some winning

our property to the show pen starts

tips on preparing both yourself

from the inside out. A good feeding

and your equine partner for the

program, rugging, housing, and

show pen, let’s first define exactly what‘s

regular shampooing with a good

meant by Western Reining and Western

quality shampoo and conditioner are all

Pleasure riding for those of us who might

essential,” she explains.

not be quite as western savvy as others. Western Reining is a competition in which the rider guides the horse through a precise pattern of very athletic movements at speed: fast circles, flying lead changes, spins, and sliding stops are all carried out with a high degree of precision and control. Western Pleasure, on the other hand, is a competition style in which horses

If you’ve seen a reining competition, you’ll know that many reining horses have long manes – and these require particular attention and regular grooming. “We have a regular cleaning and maintenance program for all our horses’ coats, manes and tails,” Carol says, “with manes kept plaited, and tails plaited and bagged all the time. And a reining horse with a strong hair gene

are evaluated on manners, and their

makes this job a lot easier!”

ability to produce a relaxed but collected

Prior to a completion, the Backhouse

cadence coupled with a relatively slow speed of gait, plus a calm, responsive disposition. In other words, the horse is comfortable, smooth and, you guessed it, a pleasure to ride.

horses are shampooed and conditioned, clipper trimmed, and have their tails, manes and forelocks dyed if necessary. But as Carol points out, the preparation doesn’t end there: “We usually arrive at

Carol and Warren Backhouse own and

a show a week before the competition.

operate Backhouse Training Stables

Reining surfaces differ greatly, so to

and Five Star Reining. Warren is one of

prevent injury we find it necessary to

Australia’s leading reining trainers and

arrive early so we can get the horses

clinicians, while Carol is the maestro of

accustomed to the new surface.”

turnout.

But there’s more: “On the day of

“We take great pride in our horses and

competition the horses are shampooed

as you might guess presentation from

thoroughly, manes are re-plaited, and

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Natasha and CP Surely The Best (unbeaten as a three and fouryear-old) in colour co-ordinated vest and saddle pad at the 2017 Summer Sizzler (Image courtesy Ev Lagoon Photography).

H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 99


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TRAINING TIPS

Warren Backhouse in his signature green shirt with Rocin on the Ranch at the 2013 Equitana Reining Masters. The pair were Champions in the Open Reining class (Image courtesy Stephan Mowbray Photography).

Hayley Saunders-Backhouse and RU Ready For This winning the Non-Pro Futurity at the 2018 Reining Australia National Championships. In true Hayley style, her blue shirt is a perfect match for her saddle pad (Image courtesy Ken Anderson Equine Photography). Ashleigh Backhouse and Smart Nu Georgie, beautifully presented with matching saddle pad and shirt (Image courtesy Ken Anderson Equine Photography). tails plaited and bagged. The clippers

silver on all our show saddles because

and the colour of your shirt and pad

come out and any extra trimming is

it makes for better presentation when

really comes down to personal choice,”

taken care of. Facial makeup is applied

entering the show pen,” Carol explains.

Carol says, “but just make sure that they

And the same goes for their show

match and also suit your horse.”

bridles, which are kept spotlessly clean

And a handy tip: using a thin pad under

and hooves are blackened. Then they’re saddled up, the plaits come out, they’re brushed and wiped over, and they’re ready to go,” Carol explains. Well, nearly ready. The horses are also kitted out in front and back leg protection boots – but not just any boots: “The boot colour depends on the colour of your horse, but we tend to prefer white front boots and leather skid boots for the back,” she says.

with the silver shined to perfection. Now that the horses look dazzling, how about the humans! In Western reining, men generally wear a smart shirt in a colour that matches their saddle pad. Warren’s signature colour is green, so he usually rides in a shirt of that colour. The Backhouse’s daughters Ashleigh and Hayley work and show with

your show pad will help to keep it clean and protected. The Backhouse’s also show in western style chaps. Again, these come in a variety of colours, some are plain while others have stamped leather inserts. The type you choose is down to personal preference, as long as you ensure that they work well with the rest

All Carol and Warren’s show gear –

their parents and are very fashion

saddles, bridles, boots and saddle pads

conscious when it comes to showing:

- is well-maintained, clean, and kept for

“Our girls like a shirt or a jacket with lots

And one final word from Carol: “Our

just that purpose. “We have saddles

of bling and they do look great wearing

family motto when we arrive at a show

for working in and show saddles that

them. There’s beautiful variety and

is whether you win or lose, you have to

are only for showing. We prefer a bit of

choice when it comes to saddle pads,

look great doing it!”

of your outfit.

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TRAINING TIPS

Sporting a stunning $6,000 hand-made jacket featuring intricate Swarovski crystal and bead embellishments, Natasha and a perfectly groomed MTC Locked Out Of Heaven made a winning impression in the 2019 Western Breeders Group Two-YearOld futurity (Image courtesy Ev Lagoon Photography).

sure that we chose colours that are a good match for our jackets and the horse’s colour,” she adds. When buying a show saddle, the first and foremost concern is that it fits your horse properly, as well as being comfortable for you to sit in while allowing easy leg contact. Good saddles are a substantial investment, so keeping them in bags when you travel to a show will help protect them from scratches and dust. Natasha always ensures that saddles and bridles are spotlessly clean with the silver polished before they leave for a show: “The way you present your horse and gear to the judge should deliver a clear message that you mean business,” she says. Wearing black chaps over black show jeans so that they blend to create an unbroken silhouette, Natasha also dresses in dazzling jackets. Jackets embellished with crystals make an eyecatching statement, but given that good quality jackets start at around $3,000,

But now it’s time to meet another

yes, you end up with very sore fingers

Backhouse daughter, Natasha

they’re not a statement that’s cheap to

but it’s well worth it,” she says.

make!

Tails also need attention. The Humphries

However, vests and shirts are now a

horses’ wear false tails into the show

popular alternative and these give you

pen, which are washed and blow-dried

the option to mix and match: “But make

the night before to ensure they’re

sure that they do match,” she advises,

Natasha’s area of expertise is in Western

thick and glossy. When it comes to

“and that includes your vest, shirt and

Pleasure riding, including the Hunter

face makeup, Natasha says it’s a must,

saddle pad. And remember that in major

Under Saddle classes.

particularly on a horse with a pretty

classes it’s important to stand out, so

head, but suggests that you always opt

when you’re deciding on colours for

for good quality products.

your outfit, make sure that they also

Humphries, who along with husband Travis owns and operates the TNT Training Stables, a professional Western horse training facility.

They too leave their property several days before competition so that their

complement your horse so that they

horses become used to the new

“On show morning, it’s normally a

environment and are settled in the arena.

3:00am wake-up call to allow time to get

But as Natasha explains, there’s plenty to

all the horses lunged down, and to give

And a final word from Natasha: “When

do before departure: “Before we go, we

them one last time in the arena to make

you enter the show pen, you have to

want our horses look their absolute best,

sure everything is perfect. There’s no

ensure that the judge is drawn to you

and that includes washing, clipping and

room for mistakes,” says Natasha.

by the way your horse is presented –

making sure their feet are freshly shod. Then the night before we show them, we wash them thoroughly and whiten their socks”.

“We ride in high quality western saddles with a lot of silver on them for the Western Pleasure classes, and good

bring out its best too.”

well-rounded, shiny and polished to perfection. Remember, first impressions last.”

quality jumping saddles for Hunter Under

Visit www.fivestarreining.com.au

On the morning of the show, the horses

Saddle classes. Saddle pads have to

and www.facebook.com/

have their manes either plaited or

stand out, and ours are tightly woven

tnttrainingstables for contact details

banded. “That takes about an hour and

and usually come from the US. We make

and further information.

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YO U N G R I D E R

A jump ahead

a working student for jumping great George Sanna. “I brought my four horses with me and worked with the Chatham Park clients,” she says. Since then, Chatham Park has become

With a stellar year behind her, showjumper Amelia Douglass has no intention of slowing the pace. She spoke to AMANDA MAC about the story so far and her plans for the future.

I

a private business with three riders lucky enough to have George as their coach, and a team of horses. Amelia’s current horses are all Warmbloods. There’s 13-year-old Sirius du Granit and eight-year-old Upper Class Z, both from Edwina Tops-

n 2019, Amelia Douglass had a big

terrified of jumping. “I started riding at

year! She won the NSW State Titles

riding school and school riding camps

Championship (where she was

when I was about six and got my first

Alexander’s stables in Europe, and two others: “Barrichello is also from Europe and he’s my World Cup horse, and then there’s Cassis Z Ten Halven, who’s

also runner-up) and the NSW Indoor

pony a year later. I thought jumping

Championship. She was awarded

was the scariest thing because I was

Kathy Ward’s horse,” she explains.

Equestrian Australia’s Young Rider of the

put on ponies that didn’t like to jump.

Year, was both Champion and runner

I kept persevering though, because I

No stranger to hard work, last year

up in the Stal Tops Australian Young

wanted to keep up with the other kids in

Rider Series, and placed third overall

Pony Club. By the time I was 12, I had a

at the Australian Championships. She

from 5:30am to around 10:00, when it

pony that actually wanted to jump and I

becomes too hot to ride. In winter it’s

also rode in her first three World Cups,

loved it! I loved the thrill of it and didn’t

generally from 7:30 to 11:30am spent

placing tenth in one of them, plus, in

want to do anything else,” she laughs.

in the saddle, plus Pilates once a week

a victory that’s probably one of her biggest to date, came third to Tom McDermott’s first place and Chris Chugg in second at the Aquis Silver Final. “That was pretty exciting,” she says.

When she was 17, Amelia, who comes from a family in which she’s the only rider – “my younger brother used to ride but gave it up” – moved from her

Amelia rode five horses, this year it’s been four. In summer, she rides

and currently a lot of home workouts including cardio and resistance training. “I spend quite a bit of time working on my core strength and legs,” she says.

family home in the Southern Highlands

For the future, Amelia has her sights

And that’s quite an understatement

of New South Wales to Chatham

set firmly on Europe: “One of my

given that 19-year-old Amelia was once

Park in the Hawkesbury to become

biggest goals is to compete on the Longines Global Champions Tour on one of the teams.” And just as it’s been teamwork that has supported her success so far, it’ll be teamwork that will help her to achieve her dreams. “I’d really like to thank Mum and Dad,” says Amelia, “they’ve been massive supporters, as well as George, of course, and Amber Fuller, Kate Hinchsen, Tess Anderson our head groom, and the rest of the team at home.” Once COVID-19 restrictions ease and competition begins, we have no doubt that Amelia Douglass’ name will be front and centre. Congratulations Amelia, on all you’ve achieved so far and our very best wishes for the future.

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FACING PAGE: On the podium at the 2019 Aquis Champions Tour Young Rider Final. LtoR: Jamie Priestley, Amelia, Sophie Smith, and Hamish Douglass, Amelia’s dad (Image by Oz Shotz Photography). LEFT: Riding Sirius Du Granit at the 2019 Chatham Park Summer Classic (Image by Oz Shotz Photography). BELOW: At the 2019 NSW State Titles with Cassis Z Ten Halven (Image by Brittney Grovenor). BOTTOM LEFT: Amelia and UpperClass Z competing in 2020 at Takapoto Estate (Image by Cheleken Photography). BOTTOM RIGHT: Amelia and Barrichello competing at the 2020 Boneo World Cup (Image by Samuel Noakes Photography).

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H O R S E S I N H I S TO R Y

Picasso

with many scars, reminders of battles lost and won as he fought with other mustangs for territorial rights and the chance to mate with the finest mares. It has been said that perhaps one of the secrets of Picasso’s longevity is

Songs have been written about him, photographers adore him, and horse lovers travel long distances in the hope of catching a glimpse of him. N.J. QUINLAN brings us the remarkable story of Picasso, a living legend and America’s most famous wild mustang.

that he knows when to step away from a fight. His battle-worn hide, pitted by rips and tears and with chunks of hide taken out by the teeth of some adversary, are testimony to his courage - yet a mustang does not live in the wild for nearly three decades without an uncommon degree of intelligence. Whereas many other stallions will fight

I

to the death over a mare, the wily n the pre-dawn light he sniffs the

Picasso seems to realise when he is

air, nickering softly. As the first rays

beaten and retreats to fight another day.

of sunlight bathe the high desert

In 2014, after a long-term romance

plain, the wild pinto catches the scent

with a mare named Mingo, Picasso

of winter on the breeze. He knows that

was usurped as leader of his band and

the cold will be coming soon, yet he will

dwelt in lonely exile for almost four

survive this winter as he has survived

years. Then in 2018 he fought several

many before. He will find shelter among

pitched battles with a stallion known

the gullies with a few trees to block

as Voodoo. The two mustangs were

the bitter wind, and perhaps a hiding

fighting over a filly named Spirit Dancer

place with a little vegetation for food.

and their fierce contest spanned several

In this way, the old scarred stallion

weeks. In the end the younger stallion

may yet see another spring thaw.

wore Picasso down, sending the old pinto away bleeding but not broken.

In the human imagination, nothing

Sadly, within a year, both Voodoo

evokes the essence of pure freedom more than the words ‘wild horses’. Songs, poems and books have been written about their raw power and untamed beauty. It is estimated that there are over 71 thousand wild horses in the western United States. The Sand Wash Basin in the northwestern corner of Colorado is home to over seven hundred of them, yet there is one who has captured the hearts of people everywhere. His name is Picasso and he is the most famous mustang in America. Picasso, who has several Facebook

Management was conducting a routine roundup, one of the workers spotted a pinto with unusual markings. The stallion’s hide was a rich shade of brown

and Spirit Dancer were gone, both having been euthanased because of injuries. Picasso, the Dean of Sand Wash Basin, outlived them both.

and cream, and his striking two-toned

Picasso’s legacy stretches to more

mane was black and white. The worker

than twenty descendants, many of

remarked that he looked ‘like a Picasso’

them bearing the echoes of their sire’s

and that’s been his name ever since.

striking colours. Even in the company

Though he is one of many, Picasso has been called the ‘Dean of Sand Wash Basin’. His age is estimated to be thirty years – a remarkable age for any horse, and especially rare among

pages dedicated to him, is followed by

the wild mustangs of the West. These

thousands of fans around the world -

horses endure extreme weather

yet there was a time when he was just

conditions, struggling for survival

another wild mustang roaming free

under the baking summer sun and

across the desert of the Sand Wash

through the freezing depths of winter.

Basin. In 2008, when the Bureau of Land

Picasso’s face and body are pocked

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of other wild mustangs with names like Tashunka, Cimarron, Tango, Flame and Corona, the old stallion stands out. Through social media and the work of photographers like Scott Wilson, Nadja Rider and Carol Walker, Picasso has become a favourite among horse lovers the world over. Many people travel thousands of kilometres in the hope of catching a glimpse of him. It remains to be seen whether or not


H O R S E S I N H I S TO R Y

Picasso will make it through another winter, but we can hope that at the end, he will be left alone and allowed to die as he lived – wild, free and unbroken.

“Picasso is just pure, raw, wild horse. He has such a swagger about him … this arrogant, cocky, bring-it-on kind of attitude, and it’s absolutely wonderful to see.” Scott Wilson

FACING PAGE: Picasso with that unmistakeable bring-it-on attitude. ABOVE LEFT: Doing battle with long-time rival, Voodoo. RIGHT: Sand Wash Basin’s iconic wild mustang.

All the images in this article are the work of Scots-born photographer Scott Wilson, a multi-year finalist in the UK Landscape Photographer of the Year competition. Now located in Colorado, his iconic images of Picasso have become the subject of numerous news and equine photography features. See more of Scott’s stunning work at www.wilsonaxpe.com H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 107


20 QUESTIONS

20 Questions with Boyd Martin With a career that’s spanned several continents and includes an impressive list of three day event successes, we were curious to know what makes the remarkable Boyd Martin tick.

A : Burghley would have to be the toughest (cross country).

Q: During COVID-19, is there anything in particular you’ve been working on?

A : Working hard on my crutches.

I’ve just had surgery on both hips so I’m seeing how fast I can hobble.

Q: What past horse of yours would you most like to ride on again?

A : True Blue Toozac. I won Adelaide

with him when I was quite young but would love to have him back and see how much more I could get out of him.

Q: You’ve ridden at the Olympics and WEG, what are

Q: How old were you when

Q: What are the names and

you started riding?

breeds of the horse you’re

A : I started around 12-years-old

aiming to ride in Tokyo?

in the Terrey Hills area. Figured it

A : Tserterleg (Trakehner), On Cue (Selle

was a good way to meet girls.

Francais), Long Island T (German),

Q: Who do you most look up to in the equestrian world?

Luke 140 (Holsteiner) and Blackfoot Mystery (American Thoroughbred).

A : Heath Ryan in Australia and

Q: When you’re not riding,

Phillip Dutton in America.

how do you relax?

Q: What do you think can give you an edge as a competitive rider?

A : With age comes wisdom.

your next long-term goals?

A : There’s plenty left in the tank. I still

feel fresh and new here in America. Really enjoying riding at the 5* level and hopefully winning some more.

Q: If you had to stop riding completely, what would you do?

A : That’s a scary thought. Managing

the farm I’m on would be enough to keep me busy without riding horses.

A : I move cross country jumps around

Q: What is the wisest piece of

the paddock at the end of the day.

advice you’ve ever received?

There isn’t much time for anything else.

A : The key is consistency and sticking

to your program. Also, staying hungry

Riding a lot of different horses and

Q: Which three day event has

having the extra experience over

the toughest cross country

older is to stay as hungry, focused and

the young guns is invaluable.

you’ve ever ridden?

sharp as you were in your twenties.

to improve. Hardest thing as you get

Q: You bought an elementary school in Pennsylvania, built a gallop track and cross country course, what’s next for your horse farm?

A : Hopefully an indoor to make riding

in the snow a little easier, or to set up a new stable down the road.

Q: Do you have a ‘go to’ motto? A : Who dares wins. Q: Does dressage ever get easier? A : The key is to marry a dressage rider. It’s amazing how much your horses seem to improve after that!

Q: Any advice for young riders, 108 | H O R S E V I B E S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 0


20 QUESTIONS

besides sending them to Heath Ryan for a baptism of fire?

A : The number one thing is to

myself I would never do that again!

Q: The name of your farm is ‘Windurra’ - where does that come from?

TOP LEFT: Cross country with Long Island T, 2020 Wellington Showcase.

means ‘flying horse’.

BOTTOM LEFT: Boyd and Ray Price in the dressage phase at the 2019 Bromont 4*.

someone that is very, very good that

Q: How many broken

you emulate, can learn from, and

bones have you had?

ABOVE: Winning ways with Long Island T, 2019 Bromont 4*.

work with for a long period of your

A : Stopped counting after 22 surgeries.

understand that this is a long process, and to really learn the craft well takes about ten years. You need to find

A : It’s an Aboriginal name which

life. Make sure the person you select

Not all of them were horse related

is very good. They are the people

and could’ve been avoided.

you want to gravitate towards.

Q: What’s the greatest number of horses you’ve ridden in a day?

A : Early on when I came to America I

rode 18 horses at Fair Hill Horse Trials.

Q: The ideal pet? A : Our Russian blue cat from the Amish

FACING PAGE: Boyd and Long Island T competing at the 2020 Wellington Showcase. (All images courtesy of Cindy Lawler.)

breeder down the road. His name is Kostya Tszyu. Best thing in the world.

Nine horses doing all three phases on

Q: Do you force vegemite

Saturday, and another nine doing all

on the Americans?

three phases on Sunday. I promised

A : No, but my kids have to eat it! H O R S E V I B E S . C O M . AU | 109


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