NEW ZEALAND’S ULTIMATE EQUESTRIAN MAGAZINE
SHOWCIRCUIT GOAL SETTING A CRUCIAL ELEMENT FOR SUCCESS
OLIVIA NEWSOM CHARLOTTE WEAR HANNAH BODLE SOPHIA BLACKBOURN STEPHIE JOUSTRA-SMITH HAYDEE WELLS-PARMENTER WENDI WILLIAMSON JOCK PAGET EMMA GAZE
SHOWJUMPING TRAINING WITH ROSE ALFELD
EASY STEPS TO LEARN COUNTER-CANTER
Annabel APRIL/MAY 2021
Francis A SENSATIONAL SEASON
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When life hands you lemons what do you do? Make lemonade! This issue of Show Circuit may look radically different to what we had planned, with the cancellation of the pinnacle event on our calendar, Land Rover Horse of the Year Show, but we are proud of it just the same. In publishing, as with horses, it always pays to have a Plan B. But take nothing away from the riders who feature on our pages in this issue, they are truly deserving. Unfortunately our luck for the 2020-21 season ran out, and LRHOY fell victim to COVID-19. It was a bitter blow for all those riders who have worked hard over the last year to gain qualification and prepare for the show. Our heart goes out to all affected riders, stallholders and spectators who would have attended LRHOY but mostly to the organisers, who had worked tirelessly to make the show happen. A show of this scale takes a mammoth effort, and cancelling was not a decision they would have taken lightly. Given the circumstances, there was probably little other option. We want to make particular mention of the Board and also Event Manager extraordinaire, Sophie Blake, for their hard work. We are know that LRHOY will be back, bigger and better than ever, in 2022 and we cannot wait. This left us with the challenge of filling our magazine, with 57 pages earmarked exclusively for LRHOY action. Our amazing team swung into action and did a fabulous job pulling together Plan B at short notice despite new COVID-19 levels – we are super proud of their efforts. So, it may not be LRHOY, but we think you’ll still find this issue packed full of insightful profiles, top event coverage and useful training clinics. Our cover features Taupo pocket rocket, Annabel Francis, who took the World Cup Series by storm with her classy imports La Quinara and Carado GHP. She may be tiny, but she has nerves of steel and a fiercely competitive nature to rival any. Diana Dobson found out what makes her tick. Other talented teens to feature include Sophia Blackbourn, who initially rose through the young rider dressage ranks, and Olivia Newsom, who has her career with horses all mapped out. Newly appointed ESNZ High Performance General Manager, Jock Paget, talks about his rapid ascent through the eventing ranks, from the highs of winning Badminton to the lows of his horse failing a drug test after winning Burghley, and why he’s content with where he is in life right now. We also visited Ohaupo show jumper Emma Gaze. This busy woman packs a lot into her day, and is enjoying great success on her team of home-bred, self-produced horses. Other profiles include dressage stars Wendi Williamson and Haydee Wells-Parmenter, and Show Hunter rider Stephie Joustra-Smith, who shows us how she and husband Jono have transformed their Kinloch property. We bring you event coverage from Takapoto Estate Show Jumping and in our training clinics, Christchurch show jumper and trainer Rose Alfeld talks us through beneficial training exercises to sharpen your show jumping skills in the ring, and dressage coach Tracy Wright offers six exercises to help execute counter-canter successfully. Our regular contributor Ashleigh Kendall’s article on goal setting is a must read. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation, and her article steps you through the process. We would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to consider supporting the trade stand holders who had planned to be at LRHOY. Many of them are holding online specials, and there is still plenty of opportunity to grab yourself a bargain. Until our next issue, happy riding and stay safe.
Sheryll & Rebecca x COVER IMAGE Annabel Francis & CARADO GHP (Caretino - Only You V x Corrado I) IMAGE - Christine Cornege Photography
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WAIATA PUBLISHING LTD PO Box 1245, Pukekohe, Auckland 2340
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ABOUT SHOWCIRCUIT Our magazine is published bi-monthly. Articles reflect the personal opinion of the author and not necessarily the view of Waiata Publishing Ltd. This publication cannot be reproduced in whole or in part in any way without the publisher’s express written permission. All contributions are submitted at the sender’s risk. Waiata Publishing Ltd accepts no responsibility for loss or damage. © SHOWCIRCUIT Magazine 2021
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IN THIS ISSUE APRIL | MAY 2021
OUR PEOPLE 18 26
Annabel Francis | Pocket Rockets
36 44 50
Sophia Blackbourn | Growing Up With Horses
58 66 76 82 90
Olivia Newsom | Best Foot Forward
Haydee Wells-Parmenter | Not Your Typical Dressage Rider Wendi Williamson | A Team Effort Hannah Bodle | Chasing Dreams & Reaching Goals Jock Paget | Finding the Right Balance Charlotte Wear | Passion & Gratitude Stephie Joustra-Smith | Making The Dream Emma Gaze | Need For Speed
Takapoto Estate Show Jumping
104 Rose Alfeld | Sharpen Your Show Jumping 112 Straight & Narrow | How To Ride Skinnies 114 Effective Riding | Dressage Training 120 Counter Canter | How To Teach It
126 How To Manage Realistic Goals
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ON THE COVER
ROCKETS Annabel Francis WORDS - Diana Dobson IMAGES - Christine Cornege Photography COMPETITION IMAGES - Michelle Clarke Photography
Annabel is a pint-sized show jumper whose steely determination leaves no question about where she is headed in years to come, but life for this talented teen could have been a whole different outcome.
Annabel isn’t one
to talk much about anything. Even when delving into the world of breeding, her favourite topic, she keeps her dialogue to a bare minimum. However, behind the doors of the family’s beautiful barn, she keeps meticulous handwritten books detailing the breeding of Europe’s top horses, the top 100 stallions, and their offspring. “Horses are pretty much my life 24/7,” says the Taupo-
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based 18-year-old. It’s been like that forever. “I sat on my first pony before I could walk. It was a little mini. Apparently, I did my first jump at five. Mum had planted this little hedge. It was like 90cm high, she walked the pony up to it, and it just jumped it by accident.” It was her mum, Debbie Francis, who encouraged her into horses and is still right by her side all the way. Annabel and her older sister, Charlotte, were adopted
I AM DEFINITELY LOOKING AT TOKYO, BUT IF WE DON’T GET THERE, THEN HOPEFULLY THE WORLD EQUESTRIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS NEXT YEAR OR THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN PARIS IN 2024.
Annabel and the very athletic CARADO GHP
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as babies from Russia. Their childhood at Bangor on the outskirts of Christchurch was a far cry from the world they left behind. “It’s pretty cool, isn’t it?” says Annabel. “I do feel very grateful and incredibly lucky.” Bangor is a beautiful historic homestead, with 20 hectares of gardens and another 50 hectares of farmland, which has only recently been sold. Debbie was a competitive dressage rider and polo groom for royalty. Still, Annabel started her career in the showing ring, then as a Show Hunter, and finally show jumping, where she found her niche. “My first jumping pony was a little chestnut called Dibley. I was quite happy to just potter around initially, but I got a lot gutsier when I discovered show jumping. I was doing Show Hunter and decided to enter a 1.1m and went so well I never went back!” Both she and Charlotte were very successful in showing, and they competed at the Horse of the Year Show. “We also used to do local shows and a bit of Pony Club, but I don’t think I really enjoyed that.” Debbie taught them both in the early days, but Annabel says her first “proper” trainer was Jill Ullrich. “She was into Show Hunter, so it was all about rhythm and position. She instilled in me some good foundations.” Horses have been a constant in Annabel’s life, and as a small child, she would be out with her pony until dark. At school age, she also discovered gymnastics. “I used to be really good, but I was doing about 30 hours of training a week, and my mum made me choose between that and riding. At that time, I was about to join the international development programme, the elite sport pathway. My coach was quite sad when I gave it up. It probably would have been a lot cheaper (as a sport), but I would have ended up injured.” Annabel left school during Year 9 and did a little correspondence, but horses were her focus. When not riding, she loves to study breeding lines or watch 5* Grand Prix and anything she can about the world’s best riders. “You can learn so much from just watching. I don’t have a favourite; they are all good. I may go out and try an exercise I have seen them do.”
At 14, she spent
three months in Germany working at a competition barn for Marcus Wenz. “It was very tough, and I did get a little homesick, but watching the big 4* shows was cool. Just seeing them warm up was really interesting.” She leased a horse from them and competed while working. “It was a bit hard, but I do enjoy hard work.” She wants to head back offshore to “give it a shot” but says it is a big ask in the current COVID-affected world.
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Above - Annabel and Debbie in their elegant family home in Taupo. Below - Charlotte and Annabel often ride together, they have an incredible sister bond. Right hand page - The super-powered CARADO GHP is a 14-yearold German Holsteiner who stands at 15.2hh (157cms). He was bred by Bernd Fritsch. Annabel and CARADO GHP secured the New Zealand World Cup Series Final for 2021.
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Her team of horses are nearly all imported. La Quinara (by Ludger G out of Queenie, a Quality 9 mare) joined her in 2017. Carado GHP (Caretino - Only You V x Corrado I) bloodlines are all about performance, with Cor de la Bryère and Caletto II on both sides of his pedigree, plus a double-cross of Capitol I on his dam’s side. He was purchased from Australian Olivia Hamood in 2019. LT Holst Elizabeth (by Clinton I out of LT Holst Andrea) is a very strong-minded mare and with all the talent and attitude to jump in the big league. A recent inclusion to the team is Gerberoy de St Aubert, a French-bred youngster who is just broken in. She is a Selle Francais by Aldo Du Plessis, out of a mare called Chicgirl de st Aubert, who is by Rock n Roll Semilly x Muguet Du Manoir. This mare has a tremendous scope. Four-year-old Indiana Xtreme (Corofino II and out of Ngahiwi Icon who is by Indoctro VDL x Sasquatch) is a 17 hh brown mare is another to watch for the future. Aussie import Glenara Ciroq (by Casall out of Glenara KG Cinderella by ASB Conquistador x Cristallo I) is another to watch. As she is known at home, Cinderella comes from the super mare Cristalline who won team gold for America at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in 2018 and is ridden by Adrienne Sternlicht of the USA. “They are all pretty flash and very exciting.” The family moved to Taupo two years ago to be more central for Annabel’s pursuit of top competition. “I was ready to move and keen to pursue show jumping more seriously.” Annabel thrives on the competition and adrenaline rush she gets in show jumping. “It is anyone’s game in the show ring as you are judged subjectively, but in show jumping, either the pole falls, or it doesn’t, so it is very fair.” At only 146cm tall and weighing just 42kgs, she does face a few extra challenges when it comes to controlling her
SOME PEOPLE SAY I’M A BIT FROSTY BEFORE I GO INTO THE RING, BUT IT IS JUST FOCUS.
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WITHOUT u Family - They are always so supportive and help me achieve my goals.
u My horses - They all give so much for me and I love them.
u My groom - Briar Sykes - She is always helpful and I can rely on her to do anything.
u My trainer - Jeff McVean - He is so encouraging and always keeps me focused.
u Richie (my Ford Ranger) - He is my first car and I love to go four-wheel driving with him.
u Summer - I love sunbathing and swimming in Lake Taupo.
u The family pets - I have dogs and cats and I just love their personalities. The dogs are human-like!
u Breeding horses - Without good breeding we just wouldn’t have a world class sport.
u Music - Pop music is my favourite when working at the stables.
u My phone - I have to be connected to the world. u My neighbours - They are all horsey and we are a friendly and close neighbourhood.
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Right hand page - Annabel and LT HOLST ELIZABETH placed 5th in the Silver Tour 1.40 final at Takapoto Show Jumping. Image - Michelle Clarke Photography Below - LA QUINARA joined the team in 2017.
often tricky horses, but she says there are also some benefits. “A lot of good riders are tiny these days. I think it is definitely good being light as the horses can hardly feel you, and I think when you are small, you can ride any kind of horse.” Her steely nerves serve her well when the pressure is on. “I tend to go into a bit of a bubble where I don’t talk to anyone – not even Mum. I like to keep my thoughts clear and focused on the job I have to do.” With the precision of a pilot’s eye on a preflight check, she goes over everything – her horse, the gear, and anything else. “I need to know that everything is correct, and I am in a place where I am focused. Some people say I’m a bit frosty before I go into the ring, but it is just focus. I don’t want to let my trainer or horse down.”
For the past three years, she
has trained with Jeff McVean, who she says taught her how to win. “He is very encouraging, and when I first went to him, one of the first things he taught me was how to go fast.” She now knows that the smallest of differences can make the biggest of impacts. Her dream lesson would be time with
German superstar Marcus Ehning, and her invite list to a BBQ would likely include Marcus, Rodrigo Pessoa and Paul Schockemohle. “Imagine what you could learn from them all.” Representing New Zealand at the Olympics may not have originally been on her radar, but it certainly is now. “I am definitely looking at Tokyo, but if we don’t get there, then hopefully the World Equestrian Championships next year or the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.” She strives to compete at the top level and wear the silver fern – something she has yet to achieve. Annabel’s biggest win to date was the Takapoto Gold Tour aboard Carado GHP in 2019. “I was younger, and we had only done about three shows together, so that was super exciting.” On the heels of that victory was winning the FEI NZ World Cup Series and final this year. She is among the youngest national series winners. “Winning the series didn’t sink in for a while.” Annabel was ready to head to Europe to compete at the World Cup Final but was forced to shelve the idea due to international uncertainties. “No one has been to the final from New Zealand for ten years, and I
really wanted to go. It probably won’t even happen now, thanks to the EHV-1 virus. It is disappointing, but I want to compete there in the future.” Last winter, Annabel said she “just had a feeling” this would be her season. “It just felt like things would all line up.” If Land Rover Horse of the Year had proceeded, she would have started as a heavy favourite alongside big names in the main oval. “I just wanted to win a title class,” she says. “I have been second in the Silver Fern Stakes twice, so I just wanted to win one!” Though disappointed that the Olympic Cup, her biggest goal, was cancelled, she acknowledges it isn’t something anyone can control, so she has chosen to look forward to the 2022 event if she is in New Zealand. Annabel hopes to have her own breeding operation one day. “Without good breeding, we wouldn’t have an exciting sport. It is so pleasing to see the modern bloodlines coming through and see these amazingly athletic horses we have now.” It helps that she has a preference for mares. “I have a lot of good ones – I just prefer them. They are tougher and try so hard. Once you get on with a mare, they just know.” C SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
Haydee Wells-Parmenter WORDS & IMAGES - Caitlin Benize
Haydee may be well known for her stunning riding in the dressage arena, but her riding talents stretch far past those 20x60 walls, and you can often see her galloping around a cross-country course with the best of them.
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Above - The extremely cheeky FOXLEIGH MR DARCY, who is ten-years-old, by BELLARIO and out of BWS FIGARO is an exciting prospect in Haydee’s dressage team. Other photos - The stables and tack room are the hub of the farm.
Eventing may have been Haydee’s first love, but she was
quick to realise that dressage was where her heart lay. “As a kid, I evented right up until I got my first hack. To be fair, I still did a bit of jumping with him but mainly specialised in dressage. While I did enjoy jumping, I was always, surprisingly for that age, mostly interested in dressage; I loved getting the details right. As luck would have it, my aunty Gill lived on the same road as Jenny and Louisa Hill, which is where the real love of dressage began. “At the age of 11, I started having regular lessons with Jenny Hill, who was incredibly kind and patient with me at this age; let’s be honest, it was probably quite challenging at times,” Haydee laughs. “Jenny taught me the importance of riding a horse ‘from behind up to the hand’, which, for an 11-year-old, was a tricky concept to grasp. After years of training with Jenny, I started working with Louisa Hill. I had idolised Lou from a young age and would often watch her riding when I went to lessons with Jenny, and think to myself, wow, one day I want to ride like her, so it was pretty exciting when I started having lessons with her!”
After leaving school, Haydee had decided that a career in
horses, specifically dressage, was the pathway she wanted to follow. Little did she know, a series of international opportunities would catapult her dressage career into a whole new world. “My first overseas training experience was as a teenager just out of school when I went to Melbourne and worked for Mary Hanna. On my return from Mary’s, I took up a working pupil role with Louisa Hill, which, given my admiration for her, was a dream come true. My next trip overseas was at the age of 22, where I headed this time to Sydney to train with Clemens and Judy Dierks – I was here for just over two years. In 2005 I made the big trip to Germany, as I always dreamed of having the opportunity to train and learn the system
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MY INTRODUCTION AND LIFE WITH
FROM MUM; SHE WAS
HORSE-MAD WHEN SHE WAS A KID AND
from the dressage masters. My friend Phillipp Oxenius took me under his wing and got me into the yard where Jan Bemelmans was the trainer. It was the most fantastic experience, as Jan was training the Spanish and Russian Olympic teams, so there was always so much inspiration and training to take in. While over there, I spent my mornings training or helping out at Wiesenhof and the afternoons riding at Heiner Schiergen’s yard, another top German trainer and competitor. “Originally, the plan was to be in Germany for a year, soak up all I could and return home. However, a few weeks before I was due to fly out, Britta Schöffmann, who was riding at the stables where I lived, took a tumble from her young horse, which meant she couldn’t ride for months during her recovery. I was asked if I would stay on longer and ride Britta’s horses for her during that time; I cancelled my flight immediately! Her unfortunate fall had provided me with a wonderful opportunity that saw me compete in Young
Horse classes, but also compete her Grand Prix mare in Prix St George and later on in Grand Prix – a truly phenomenal experience.”
Haydee grew up in
the Whitford area, in East Auckland, “back when it was safe to ride your horses down the main road, stop in at the BP for a packet of chips and an ice block, and then head on through to Pony Club for the Saturday morning rally.” Since then, Haydee and her family have hopped over the gorge and are based in Clevedon, at the beautiful Waterview Park Equestrian. “Waterview Park is our family-run property where most of my family are based. I live with my two horse-mad, animal-loving daughters, Sofia (seven) and Baylee (nine). We are surrounded by family, with my brother, wife, and two kids living in one of the houses and my mum, father, and grandfather living in the main house. It’s a unique living situation we have here, and one which has enabled me to continue my riding, training and teaching while bringing up the girls in a close and supportive family environment. They say it takes a village to raise kids; this is our little village! “My introduction and life with horses came from mum; she was horse-mad when she was a kid and loved jumping. She was primarily SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
an eventer but unfortunately had a cross-country accident and broke her back, which sadly ended her jumping days. Most of my teenage memories are travelling around New Zealand in the truck with mum. I think it’s so cool that, through horses, you can share an interest and keep a special bond with a parent that goes on wonderful adventures with you. I find now that with children of my own, my most enjoyable competitions are those that Sofia and Baylee come with me to.”
With a beautiful team of horses currently
moving through the ranks, it’s fair to say that Haydee is incredibly excited for where the future will take her. “My current team consists of seven horses, although there are only three ridden horses at the moment. Fernando, or Fitzy as he’s known at home, is a ten-yearold gelding by Fiji R and out of Ella (Jazz) and has been competing Level Seven this season – I hope to step him up to Level Eight next season. Fitzy is suspicious and quirky, but I understand those quirks and love him all the more for them. Next is Foxleigh Mr Darcy, who is also ten and is by Bellario and out of BWS Figaro. He competed at Level Five this season and is cheeky as hell; he’s a bit like a teething baby and wants to nip everything – if you’re not on your game, you may lose a digit; he’s quick,” she laughs. “Royal Clover is the last of the ridden team; she’s nine and is by Routiner and out of Tielceys Street. She’s been out jumping with good friend Dannie Lodder up to 1* level but is currently back doing dressage with me. She’s an absolute pocket rocket and loves to get stuck in and get the job done. “In the paddock, we’ve got Lucy Duke (by Lingh, out of Gruen Horn du Trichan), who is heartbreakingly now
Above right & below - ROYAL CLOVER is Haydee’s eventing horse. Right hand page - Fitzy (FERNANDO) is Haydee’s top dressage horse for the moment, that she purchased from Louisa Hill.
HE COMPETED AT LEVEL FIVE THIS SEASON AND IS CHEEKY AS
HELL; HE’S LIKE A TODDLER WANTING TO NIP EVERYTHING - IF
YOU’RE NOT ON YOUR GAME, YOU MAY LOSE A DIGIT; HE’S QUICK.
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a broodmare after damaging her pedal bone. She is, however, in foal to Ibiza, which is super exciting – I think Lucy may be the best horse I’ve ever sat on; she was crazy talented. Then we’ve got a few youngsters: Furst World O, a two-year-old colt by Finnigan; Valhalla O, a yearling colt by Vitalis; and Fiorella SW, a five-month-old filly by Foundation.”
Haydee has found over the years that the way
to a happy team of horses is to keep as much variety in their work as possible, and with her (sometimes not so) secret love of eventing, it’s fair to say that Haydee’s horses are living the life. “I’ve learned along the way that to get the best from my horses, variety is key. I like to keep my training interesting, mixing it up with a lot of cross-training. While I do train in my arena, it is by no means limited to that. We have an 800m track, and I’ll often put the jump saddle on and go out there and ride them in two-point; they don’t have to be in any specific frame but I just work them in nice rolling canter. The horses
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love it, and I admit, I’m a bit of a fan, too! Other times, I’ll take my dressage training to the track and school out there; I find it a fantastic place to teach the changes as you can keep going and get a good rhythm without the worry of corners or short sides getting in the way. “Most of my horses also jump, not anything of any consequence, but enough to keep them interested. I find it a good outlet for both them and me, and over the winter months, I like to dabble more in jumping. I have many eventing friends, and Dannie (Lodder) pressured me to do a cross-country training day with the adult ride. I thought, what the heck, at the very least, I’ll give them something to laugh at, but in the end, I had the time of my life and was absolutely buzzing afterwards. That was now two years ago, and since then, Clover’s training has broadened under the expertise of Dannie’s ability, who has been eventing her in between trying to teach me to jump properly again — poor Dannie!”
With not only her
family behind her supporting her every move, Haydee is incredibly lucky to have a fantastic team of sponsors backing her equestrian dreams. “The most important thing for me as a rider is the team behind me: my support crew. I don’t have any sponsors just for the sake of sponsors; all the people who support me, I am close with and love who they are and what they do. Having a great fitting saddle when I’m spending so much time in them is incredibly important, which is why I’m so lucky to have Steph Liefting on speed dial for me with her Prestige saddles. I have to admit, for a while, I had complete oversight of the horse’s mouth and the various issues. As riders, we tried to find bits that work. I was lucky enough to meet Dee Stirling, and having her stand in my arena watching me ride while we fine-tune bits has been invaluable. “My horses are my family, and I try to keep them as fit, happy and healthy as possible. They are athletes like us, and
People often ask Haydee why she wears glasses during events, but she has an awful light sensitivity which is almost blinding especially with the light bouncing off sand in a dressage arena. Here she is riding FOXLEIGH MR DARCY at the Dressage Nationals. SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
Haydee and Fitzy (FERNANDO) training in the arena at home. Haydee always likes to finish the session with a reward, a little pat behind the saddle cloth and a nice loose canter during his cool down. of course, they are bound to get muscles sore or tight at times. I’m very particular that all my horses have their Equilibrium massage pads on for 20 minutes before their saddle goes on; it’s part of their routine, as are carrot stretches and weekly/fortnightly massages by Karen McKechnie. The last of my support crew is Louisa (Hill). Even after 25 years, Lou can’t get rid of me! After a lesson one day, Lou half-jokingly said that if I get over 68% in a Level Four at a national show, she will sponsor me with the beautiful Celeris boots; she is the New Zealand agent. Needless to say, in the first Level Four competition with Pip (Royal Dream) I made damn sure we got over 68%. Pretty boots were all the incentive I needed,” she said with a laugh. “Of course, in the end, my family is always the most important thing to me; I couldn’t do anything I do without them, especially including my long-suffering boyfriend, Jeremy Bullock. Jeremy’s a vet at Veterinary Associates in Karaka, and anyone who has a friend or a partner who’s a vet knows the relentless working hours they endure. Even so, Jeremy makes time for my team, fitting them in at the end of a long day, for which I’m incredibly grateful. They always say teamwork makes the dream work, and I can say without a doubt that I have the best team in the world!” C
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THIS IS DUBLIN New Winter collection out now dublinclothing.co.nz
G ROWI NG up with
HORSES Sophia Blackbourn The Cambridge teen earned her stripes as a youngster in the competitive dressage arena and, since switching disciplines three years ago, she’s been making waves on the show jumping scene.
WORDS - Rebecca Greaves IMAGES - Christine Cornege Photography
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I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO JUMP, BUT MUM THOUGHT IT WAS JUST A PHASE. I LOVED DRESSAGE, BUT I LOVE SHOW JUMPING MORE .
Sophia Blackbourn’s mum Lisa initially thought her daughter’s interest in jumping was just a phase. Still, the 15-year-old has no plans to return to competitive dressage, preferring the adrenaline of show jumping. Her grounding in dressage has stood her in good stead when it comes to training her jumpers, though, and it’s paying dividends. Sophia had a weekend to remember at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping in late February, taking out the Bronze Tour on Octavia MVNZ and backing it up with a win in the Copper Tour qualifier on her stunning grey LT Holst Zalato Blue. “I never expected to win one, let alone both classes. I was so stoked with how they jumped.” Along with her mum, Lisa Blackbourn, and stepdad Alex Matheson, Sophia lives on their 15-acre family property near Cambridge. They have a dressage arena and jumping paddock she can utilise. Downsizing her team to two horses this season has allowed her to manage the juggle of attending school; she’s in Year 12 at Cambridge High, and competing on the circuit.
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Horses were part of life
growing up, and, with both Lisa and Alex competing in dressage, it was natural for Sophia to follow in their footsteps. She got her first pony at the age of five and started at Pony Club, working her way up the grades. “We imported a fancy dressage pony called Champions League from Australia, although he was bred in Germany, and he took me from Level 2 to Level 4. I had lots of success on him.” Notable results included reserve Dressage Pony of the Year at both Level 2 and Level 3 before the pony was sold two years ago. “I’ve always wanted to jump, but mum thought it was just a phase. I loved dressage, but I love show jumping more. I love the adrenaline of it, and it’s so much more competitive. You win if you ride well and go well, not based on someone’s opinion.” Sophia had several good show jumping ponies, including Sabrina LS, who took her from 1.05m up to her first Premier Pony Grand Prix start but moved on to hacks two seasons ago due to her height.
Above - Sophia and OCTAVIA MVNZ Bronze Tour Qualifier 2 at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping. Below - The effervescent LT HOLST ZALATO BLUE at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping.
FIVE FOOT NINE
AND FELT QUITE UNBALANCED ON THE PONIES; I WAS JUST A BIT TOO TALL FOR THEM AND FOUND IT
QUITE DIFFICULT TO RIDE THEM.
“I’m nearly five foot nine and felt quite unbalanced on the ponies; I was just a bit too tall for them and found it quite difficult to ride them.” The family purchased the experienced World Cup horse Sinatra II (Pinky), but tragically, not long after, he passed away when his fetlock collapsed. “That was a rough time for me. I would have done anything to have him still in the paddock; he was such a sweet horse.” Having initially thought Pinky would be out for the season, they looked for another hack to show Sophia the ropes, importing Blackall Park Romeo sight unseen from Australia. “We did lots of research and knew the people selling him. He was such an honest and genuine horse, and I did very well with him, winning five Junior Riders and placing 10th in the series. “We sold him recently, it was hard, but we found him a very good home.” Selling Romeo left Sophia with two horses, Octavia MVNZ and LT Holst Zalato Blue. “I wanted to drop down to two horses so I could get through Year 12 at school. My attendance is not great, but it’s important to me that I pass. The plan is to get a young horse at the end of the season, probably a fouryear-old, to bring on.” Sophia is unsure if horses will be her career, though she knows she wants to keep riding. “It’s unrealistic at the moment to think they will be a career because of how hard it is to keep yourself afloat. I would want to have another career as an option and am looking at going to Wintec to study hairdressing. I think that would work well with the horses.” Left hand image - Sophia and her beloved dog, Panda. Right hand page - LT HOLST ZALATO BLUE loves to express how much he loves his job. Sophia was delighted with his win in the Cooper Tour at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping.
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Above and right hand page - Sophia and LT HOLST ZALATO BLUE competing at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping 2021.
Sophia’s top horse is Octavia MVNZ
(Octy), though she says LT Holst Zalato Blue (Blue) is probably the most talented of the pair and is a horse for the future. Octy is a seven-year-old mare by Cassiano, out of Charming Princess, bred by Mount View Sport Horses, and is currently jumping in the seven-year-old and Young Rider classes. “We got her in June 2019. She was produced by Tors Rattray and was jumping the five-year-olds and 1.10m classes.” This season’s significant result was winning the 1.30-1.40m Super Series at Woodhill Sands and the Bronze Tour at Takapoto. “My goal for her is 1.40m and Young Riders, and ideally Grand Prix, but I would be happy if she got to 1.40m. She tries so hard and always wants to please. She has a swayback from an old injury as a young horse, and she tries extra hard to make up for that – it doesn’t stop her performing.” Six-year-old gelding Blue joined the team in May 2020, purchased from Harry Feast in Christchurch. “We had been looking for a young horse for a while. I saw a photo of Blue and fell in
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love straight away and flew to Christchurch to try him. “He’s the most quirky horse I’ve ever owned, but also the most talented. He’s not dirty, but he likes to rear, levade and leap – he doesn’t like standing still! It’s doesn’t faze me as he’s not doing it to get me off.” Sophia’s goal is to take Blue to the top. “I think he’s very scopey and talented, but I’ll take him slowly, as he’s very big, and I don’t want him to scare himself.” Blue’s results this season include winning the six-year-old at Takapoto early in the season, jumping four clear rounds at the Young Horse Show to take third place overall in the six-year-old, and placing second in his first Junior Rider start. “I’d love to do Grand Prix on both horses, I’ve clicked with them both, and they are both very special to me. Ultimately my goal would be to jump World Cups; I think that’s everyone’s goal! It’s something I’d love to do.” Lisa is quick to point out that both Tors and Harry did a fabulous job of producing the horses as youngsters, giving them a solid foundation for Sophia to build on and continuing to be supportive of her riding.
As well as her mum and stepdad, who help her on the flat, Sophia trains with Jeff McVean. “He has helped me a lot over the last two years. Before, it was just mum and me; when we get stuck, he helps me work through things.” She says her dressage background has helped immensely. “I think it has given me a head-start in show jumping, knowing how to ride them on the flat properly, it’s particularly helped Blue to mature, and he goes a lot more through his body now. “All my horses are schooled to at least Level 3; Romeo was Level 6 and had twotime changes. I still find it fun and like to do it at home.” Lisa agrees the dressage has helped Sophia be disciplined in her training. “Thinking about training the horse on and forwards all the time. Dressage has helped her discipline and skill set. With dressage horses, you can’t just go out and ride once or twice a week and go to a show; it’s having that consistent idea of training the horse on.” Sophia is grateful to be sponsored by County Saddlery, Amy C Photography, Allinflex, and Waikato Chiropractic. C
ULTIMATELY MY GOAL WOULD BE TO JUMP
WORLD CUPS; I THINK THAT'S EVERYONE'S GOAL! IT'S SOMETHING I'D
LOVE TO DO.
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TEAM EFFORT Wendi Williamson Inarguably one of the most talented dressage riders New Zealand has to offer, Wendi has built a reputation for herself as a quiet, hard-working and exceptionally humble rider. WORDS & IMAGES - Caitlin Benzie Due to her father being a school principal, Wendi frequently moved around the North Island as a child, which didn’t exactly provide the easiest route for her to make her way into riding. Still, the self-described “horse mad” child eventually managed to wear her parents down after four years. “My long-suffering parents first got me a pony when I was eight, which, to be fair, wasn’t a hugely pleasant experience because Peanut was a right toad! At the time, we were living in Paroa in Whakatane, and he was well known for deciding to vacate his paddock and head down the main highway in search of greener pastures. “After a move to Taranaki, my riding journey began in earnest, and I was fortunate to be loaned some awesome ponies, including a gorgeous mare of
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We have a really good team here at Waitekauri farm, and I find it incredibly enjoyable to be able to give opportunities to the young riders who work with me. Joy Farquers’ called Sundala. During this time, Maureen Drylie, a very well-known dressage identity in Taranaki (she’s now Dressage Taranaki’s patron), who also happened to be a teacher at the school where we lived, gave me the opportunity to ride her daughter Andrea’s, Call me Madam - Andrea had sadly passed away in a vehicle accident, so it was a real honour to be able to ride her beautiful mare. I also spent a lot of time watching Maureen ride her top horse, which I think is where I really caught the dressage bug.” Even though she had the dressage bug, Wendi did spend some time eventing but found that dressage was truly where her talents lay. “I evented for many years and usually got very good scores in the dressage. I was very slow riding cross-country though, and one day I got someone to video me riding cross country – I was so shocked at how collected the canter was; no wonder I never made the time,” Wendi laughs. “I never evented again after that.”
On the 23rd of November in 2005, all the way up in
the little town of Awanui in Northland at Matthews Hanoverians, Adelheid MH (by Anamour out of Wel Kantje) gave birth to a stunning black colt by De Niro. This little colt would be called Dejavu MH and would change the New Zealand dressage world as it was known. Purchased as a foal by Wendi, DJ (as he was known at home) began his dressage journey in December of 2009, showing a sign of what was to come in the future by winning his first-ever registered test with a 70%. DJ continued to fly up the grades, his list of achievements growing at an impressive rate; Level One Horse of the Year in 2010, Level Two in 2011, Level Three National Champion in 2012, Level Four Reserve Horse of the Year in 2013 and Reserve Advanced in 2014, Level Seven Reserve National Champion in 2014, Level Eight Horse of the Year and National Champion in 2015, Reserve National Grand Prix Champion in 2016 and finally National Grand Prix Champion in 2017. The Bates Dressage Nationals in 2017 played host to the FEI Pacific League Final, an event that earns the winner a ticket to the World Cup Finals, which in 2017 was to be held in Omaha, in the United States of America. Not only did Wendi and DJ set a new New Zealand record in the Grand Prix, but they also had a convincing win in the Final, by over 2%. This meant that the ticket Wendy is riding the new addition to the team who is FUGATO (FOUNDATION and out of WILDROSE (FUERST HEINRICH) who was previously owned by Sheena Ross.
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belonged to them; attending the World Cup Final would be a monumental moment in New Zealand’s Dressage history; we had never had a rider compete there before. Therefore, a huge decision now awaited Wendi and her team. “I had never really entertained the idea of going to the World Cup Final at the time, but Julie Brougham told me to take every opportunity while it was there – advice that I’m very grateful to have received! “We flew over to the United Kingdom and based at a beautiful property in Gloucestershire for nearly three weeks before travelling to Amsterdam to meet the chartered flight to Omaha. During this time, we managed to fit in some training with Charlotte Dujardin, which was a huge confidence boost as we headed into the Final.” Unfortunately, success at the final was not meant to be for Wendi and DJ, with DJ biting the inside of his cheek at some point during his Grand Prix, resulting in elimination. Although an incredible disappointment for Wendi and her team, they pulled together and re-gathered, deciding to aim at further CDIs throughout the rest of the northern hemisphere’s summer season. Together, they achieved top six placings at Hagen in Germany and Windsor, Hartbury and Bolesworth in England. “The support from New Zealand and around the world throughout our campaign was a huge part of our drive to continue overseas then when we got to Hartbury and had the surprise of finding a big kiwi crowd there cheering us on, it was so encouraging. DJ tried his heart out through over 200 hours of travelling, training and intense competition environments, he certainly proved himself to be a horse worthy of our faith and commitment, and I could never express my gratitude to him enough.” Devastatingly, before they had the chance to show off their talent overseas again in the lead up to the World Equestrian Games, DJ tragically passed away due to colic complications. “It was a privilege to have managed, trained and competed such a huge-hearted, generous and special, once-in-a-lifetime horse.”
It’s fair to say that Wendi and the team really do have
a sea of Matthews Hanoverians horses at the beautiful Waitekauri Farm in Waimauku, with the vast majority of Wendi’s competition rides having been bred by them. “First is Don Amour MH, he’s a 13-year-old chestnut gelding, by Don Frederico and out of Adelheid MH; he’s also DJ’s half-brother and is currently competing at Grand Prix. As he’s known at home (or sometimes Donald!), Donny qualified for the World Cup Final last year after winning the Pacific League Final in Australia and was also the 2019 Dressage Horse of the Year and won the Australian Nationals in 2020. Next, we have Don Vito MH, an eight-yearold chestnut gelding by Don Frederico and out of Adelheid MH, making him DJ’s half-brother and Donny’s full brother! He should hopefully be out at Grand Prix next season. Bon Jovi MH is a nineyear-old dark chestnut gelding by Bonifatius and out of Wel Kantje, who’s DJ’s mother’s dam – all of our horses seem to be related,” laughs Wendi. “He will also hopefully be at Grand Prix next season. The last of our upper-level horses is Fugato, an eight-yearold dark brown gelding by Foundation and out of Wildrose (Fuerst Heinrich). He recently joined the team and will hopefully be out competing at Small Tour next season. “Of the young horses, we have Ducati MH, a five-year-old brown gelding by Dancier and out of Anteaga MH (Anamour), currently competing at Novice. Next is Danseur MH, a fouryear-old black gelding by Dancier and also out of Anteaga MH, currently at Preliminary level of training. Domani MH is also four and is a chestnut gelding by De Niro and out of Saphira (Soliman De Hus) and will be out at Preliminary over winter. Papanui Just Downtown is breaking the rules,” she laughs. “He is bred by Heather Graham and is a four-year-old chestnut
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Supplier of Quality German riding apparel for all equestrian disciplines
The support from around New Zealand and throughout the world for Wendi’s & DEJAVU MH international campaign was a huge drive to go to WEG. Pictured here winning the Level 8 Intermediate Freestyle at Horse of the Year 2015. Image - Libby Law Photography
gelding by Donnerubin, and out of Devine (Don Frederico), he is currently competing at Preliminary. Last but not least is Tiffany MH, a three-year-old black mare by Totilas and out of Adelheid MH; she’s just come back from being broken in by Mark Weedon and is looking very exciting. We also have a bit of a collection of two-year-olds, yearlings and foals; in total, we have 18 of our horses on the farm.” It would be easy to presume that Wendi is a professional rider with all those horses; however, the truth is far from it. Wendi has her Masters in Science (with Honours), and with husband Jon, who has his Masters in Science Technology (again with Honours), they together run Williamson Water & Land Advisory. “We have 18 staff that work with us to provide technical services to primary industry, industrial, residential, commercial, government and Council clients. I’m a Contaminated Land Specialist and Environmental Advisor, and Jon is a Hydrogeologist and Hydrologist.”
Having a full-time job and so many
horses in the yard, Wendi is fortunate to have a fantastic team around her to help take some of the load. Steph Baker only recently left the head girl position after four years of dedication to the team to study medicine at Auckland University. Madison Schollum and Tiffany Owen joined the team to fill Steph’s role. Her daughter Becki, an accomplished dressage rider herself, is always on hand as well in between her university study, following in her parents’
footsteps with a Bachelor of Science, and son Benji is, as he puts it, a “no-choice” supporter! “We have a really good team here at Waitekauri Farm, and I find it incredibly enjoyable to be able to give opportunities to the young riders who work with me. Steph Baker recently rode ours and Heather Graham’s Papanui Just Downtown at the New Zealand Under 25 Nationals, where they won the Preliminary championship. I’m also looking forward to seeing Tiffany and Madi out on our young horses next season. “I’ve also been incredibly lucky over the years to have the support of my parents, sister Megan, and brother Chris. Devastatingly, my gorgeous mum passed away last year from cancer, which has been heart-breaking. Dad is incredibly involved, and I owe my early opportunities in horses to his enthusiasm and long-suffering support.”
When cutting edge design and fit at an affordable price is important
Due to COVID-19, and therefore limited
competition, international travel is certainly off the cards for Wendi and the team at the moment. Still, with an absolutely beautiful group of horses coming up through the ranks, it can undoubtedly only be a matter of time before we see Wendi back overseas representing New Zealand and wearing the fern. “I absolutely love the journey of training horses through to Grand Prix; there’s no better feeling, and it’s immensely rewarding, so I plan to continue to do so, for as long as I am physically and mentally able.” C
M: 021 627 082 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.classicequestrian.co.nz F: classic.equestrian SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
dreams AND REACHING goals Hannah Bodle WORDS - Rebecca Greaves IMAGES - Christine Cornege Photography Every cloud has a silver lining. COVID-19 put a halt to Hannah Bodle returning overseas to ride, but when an opportunity to produce quality young horses for Haupouri Sport Horses came up, she grabbed it with both hands.
There’s no formula when it comes to producing young horses for Hannah. She treats each horse individually, building a solid relationship and discovering what makes them tick. From a long line of accomplished horsemen and women, Hannah says it is “in the blood”, and she’s always known horses would be her path. Hannah’s mum Jo show jumped up to 1.40m, and Hannah’s grandfather Bruce Taylor played polo for New Zealand, going on to be a show jumping course designer for Ring 1. On Hannah’s father’s side was the Thoroughbred industry – breeding and racing Group 1 runners and Melbourne Cup winner, Empire Rose. “It was well before
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my time, but it’s a pretty cool piece of history,” she says. Hannah, 23 is based at the family’s Whakanui farm, a 1000 acre dairy and beef property near Morrinsville. She keeps her team of show jumpers out of the original Whakanui Stud stables, which housed the Thoroughbred breeding operation in the 1950s, though the family no longer breeds any horses.
Hannah has been riding since she could walk,
getting her first pony, Poppy, at age two and competing at her first Horse of the Year Show at age four, in the Lead Rein section. “I’ve always loved riding. It’s always been what I’ve wanted to do. For me, producing quality young horses is
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Training young horses is about being consistent in my training and keeping
instructions clear, simple and concise.
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Hannah is holding HAUPOURI GALILEO NZPH (L) and HAUPOURI DU’JOUR NZPH (R). Above - CLASSIFIED II at the East Coast Performance Horses National Young Horse Show.
where I am. I do aspire to have a top-level horse one day, but for now, young horses is what I’m enjoying. “I enjoy working with them and spending time educating them. It’s always rewarding reaching different stages of their training and looking back and seeing how far they’ve come.” Hannah wanted to show jump, but Jo was keen she have solid foundations instilled, which included time in the showing ring and a lot of time doing Show Hunter. “Mum thought it was important for me to learn to ride properly on the flat. From mum’s perspective, and I totally agree now, Show Hunter is so important for learning the basics – riding a course evenly, having a good rhythm, riding your lines properly and letting the course flow, and it’s something I can bring to the young horses now.” Hannah enjoyed success in the Show Hunter ring, winning the Cat A Pony of the Year titles at HOY in 2006 and 2008. “Even now, if I have a horse I think will benefit from it, I’ll enter a Show Hunter class. At Young Horse Show, I always enter the Show
Hunter; it’s good for the horses to have variation.” When she was 10, Hannah was finally allowed loose in the show jumping ring. Things progressed rapidly from there, and she rose to Pony Grand Prix level. In 2009 she was part of the Children’s FEI team to New Caledonia. On finishing school in 2015, Hannah started a degree in Sports and Exercise Science. After two years, she realised university wasn’t for her. “I knew I was going to ride, one way or another, either here in New Zealand or overseas. I decided it was best to get a year of work experience under my belt and save to head overseas.” She got a job at Kendayla Park in Cambridge, which has a water walker and specialises in horse rehabilitation. She finished off the show season and saved her pennies.
In 2019, it was off to Ireland, where she worked for
Kennedy Brothers Sport Horses. “Someone shared their post on Facebook advertising the job. I flicked him a message, and it SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
The alarm goes off
at 4.45 am, and Hannah brings the show jumpers into the stable to be fed before heading to her part-time job at Cheltenham Stables in Cambridge, where she works for John and Rachel Malcolm doing pre-training and breakers. “I’m a fulltime rider. I ride the pre-trainers and help with the breaking
in. I ride the breakers once they’re up and going and do a bit of long-reining.” In the afternoon, she returns home to work with her team of four show jumpers. “I’m basically just in and out of the saddle!” Hannah owns one, and the other three are owned by Warwick and Juliet Hansen and Birdy Berry from Haupouri Sport Horses. “I think I have fallen on my feet in New Zealand with what I’ve got. I will try to go back to Europe for short stints to get more learning experience and gain as much knowledge as I can, but I’m pretty happy back here now.” When the Hansens send the horses to Hannah, they come up with a plan for each individual. “The majority will be sold, but we work together to decide the best outcome for that horse, either selling or producing it on a bit longer. “It’s so nice knowing you are sitting on quality and working with people who understand horses. I would love it to be a long-term relationship.”
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I T H I N K I H AV E
FALLEN ON MY FEET
sounded like something I would enjoy, which it was. The people made it even better; they were so welcoming. It was home away from home.” Kennedy Brothers produce and sell young horses, and competing them was Hannah’s role. “I competed most weekends, including Dublin qualifiers and at Mill Street Jumping Show in young horse classes. I loved it. Being able to ride so many different horses is of huge benefit to my business now. I learned a lot about identifying what makes each horse tick and how to achieve the end goal. I enjoyed the challenge of being in a different country with different systems.” The experience was such a positive one that Hannah had planned to return to the same stable the following year – cue COVID-19. “I had sold both my horses before I went to Ireland, so I rang Warwick and Juliet Hansen to see what young horses they had, and they offered me a couple to school. I thought in the world we are living in, it was an opportunity not to be missed.”
I N N E W Z E A L A N D W I T H W H AT
Right hand page: Left - Hannah holding her own horse, CLASSIFIED II (Cleo), a four-year-old mare by CACHASSINI II out of JEEZMAY. Below and far right - Hannah & HAUPOURI GALILEO NZPH during the 5 year old class at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping. Below right - Hannah’s mum, Jo helping to get HAUPOURI GALILEO NZPH ready for the victory lap after the 5 year old class at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping.
Hannah’s current competition
team are relatively young, but all show promise for the future. First up is Haupouri Du-Jour NZPH, an eight-year-old mare by Kannan out of Nightclub Queen. Hannah picked up the ride in October 2020, and she is your typical chestnut mare – quirky and a bit spicy to ride, “but I love her”. “I spent some time getting to know her and where she was at with her training. I figured out she wasn’t your textbook ride! She has her own way of going, and I kind of just let her be. Preparing for a show means lots of hacking around the hills with minimal arena work to keep her happy.” They finished the season at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping in February, jumping clear in the Bronze Tour at 1.25m, just missing out on qualifying for the final. Next up is five-year-old Haupouri Galileo NZPH, known as G, who is by Air Jordan out of Haupouri Chantilly NZPH.
He arrived in September last year, and Hannah describes him as being very shy at first. “He’s come out of his shell now and has a cool personality. He’s a big scopey jumper, and I definitely see him having a very bright future.” G finished the season with a lovely win in the Five-Year-Old class at Takapoto, judged on style. “I never put too much pressure on him. He only learned to jump in September, so it was about nailing the basics, knowing he had the ability to do what he did at Takapoto, but preparing him for that. I coasted him along until he was ready to step up.” Hannah’s horse is Classified II (Cleo), a four-year-old mare by Cachassini II out of Jeezmay. Cleo came to Hannah just before lockdown last year, fresh off the break as a three-year-old, to have some finishing touches on her early education before being turned out. “A good friend, Nicola Smith, owned her. She turned out to be a bit sharper than expected, and I was offered a half share, which I took because I liked her. She’s sassy and has plenty of attitude!” SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
FOR ME, PRODUCING QUALITY
YOUNG HORSES IS WHERE I AM. I DO
ASPIRE T O H AV E A TOP-LEVEL HORSE O N E D AY, B U T F O R N O W,
YOUNG HORSES I S W H AT I ’ M
ENJOYING. Right - CLASSIFIED II at the East Coast Performance Horses National Young Horse Show. Right hand page - HAUPOURI DU’JOUR NZPH competing in the Bronze Tour Qualifier at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping. Down the track, Hannah purchased the other half share. “I just mooched her away, took my time and competed in the Four-Year-Old class at Young Horse Show, where she finished fourth equal. With a four-year-old, it’s just establishing the basics, getting them used to show life and giving them ring exposure without too much pressure.” Cleo also finished second in the Four-Year-Old Style at Auckland Show Jumping and just missed out on a placing in the Four-Year-Old at Takapoto. “I hope to keep producing her up the grades. She’ll be aimed for the Five-Year-Old classes next season, with no rush. Hopefully, in time, she could be a good 1.40m horse and, if I’m lucky, maybe something more.” Finally, the most recent team member is Haupouri Fiona NZPH, a six-year-old mare by Orlando out of Profit Margin, who came to Hannah in December. “She’s very green and is a big, sensitive girl who wants to do the right thing but just needs a little time. She’s been getting life experience at home, and hopefully she’ll go a few winter training days. She’s got the potential to be a lovely horse.”
“Being able to establish a solid relationship with each horse and figuring out what works for them is so important to achieving the end goal, whether that’s jumping World Cups in five years or jumping an age group class during the season. “No two horses are the same and, although I try to keep the ride similar, how I achieve that may vary from horse to horse. Training young horses is about being consistent in my training and keeping instructions clear, simple and concise. “They are babies; they don’t want to be on the arena for an hour every day. You want them to enjoy their job. I might hack them down the farm and school them in a big paddock, do hill work or spend time in the area jump schooling or doing flatwork. I try to mix it up.” Hannah has been training with Lisa Coupe for the last year. “She’s great and has plenty of experience on her side. She’s good at working with you to achieve what’s best for your horse. Having someone to
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communicate with and who is on the same page is so helpful.” Building a trusted team around you is key. Having people you can call on, be it the farrier, vet, osteopath or trainer, is important to get the best out of your horse. “At the end of the day, horses are athletes as well, and they need to be treated as athletes. Even feeding, each of my horses has a different diet depending on what suits them best. “Mum and dad always said to us, do something once and do it right. That’s how I approach my horses. For them to have a fair opportunity to be the best horse they can be, they need to have their ducks in a row – feeling good, looking good, and happy in their work environment.” Hannah is grateful to her mum, who has been a big influence on her riding career and can still be found at the stables most days, as well as BetaVet, for who she is an ambassador. C
I FIGURED OUT
SHE WASN’T YOUR TEXTBOOK
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Best foot FORWARD Olivia Newsom
WORDS -Rebecca Greaves IMAGES - Christine Cornege Photography
Years spent honing her skills with the Wilson sisters in Whangarei have shaped this dedicated teenager into the horsewoman she is today, instilling the fundamentals of riding and horsemanship. Now, she’s forging her path in the show jumping arena.
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(L-R ) - Anyone would be proud to own this lineup of horses: DISTILLED SILVER, DISTINCTION MSNZ, CARETINO JEWEL & CHARMED ESCUDO Olivia (Livi) Newsom has her life with horses mapped out. At just 15-years-old, she knows horses are the path for her, and she’s committed to carving out a successful career with them. Her recent win in the Silver Tour Final at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping with her special boy, Caretino Jewel, was a highlight for the season. Initially, it was horsepower of a different kind that Livi was keen on – motorbikes. But when her younger sister Amelia (Mouse) got into horse riding, it didn’t take Livi long to cotton on too. Based in Tauranga, the family has an enviable 80-acre horse farm. Facilities include a large arena, round pen, stables and a trot lane. “The trot lane is like our take on a river, getting their muscles and feet moving in the water,” she explains. The property consists of medium-sized individual paddocks for the show jumpers and larger rolling paddocks for the broodmares and young stock, as well as hay paddocks. The Newsoms have recently finished building a new home, with views out to the Mount. With non-horsey parents, their dad is a dental restorative specialist, and mum Bini is a farm girl; Mouse piqued the family interest in horses. Now, it’s all in. “I decided to do horse riding instead of motorbikes when I was about eight. We did a little bit of Pony Club, but mostly we did a lot of Showtym camps with the Wilson sisters in Whangarei.” Dedicated mum Bini put in countless hours ferrying the girls up to Whangarei – almost every weekend, they hooked up the float and took three ponies north. Livi ended up spending about three years riding for Vicki Wilson. “I rode her young horses at shows, and that’s where I got my good horse (Caretino Jewel) from.”
Livi is quick to
attribute much of her early learning to the well-known trio of sisters, particularly Vicki. “They have been a very big influence, and where I learned all my horsemanship skills. I don’t like to princess my horses; they’re
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Above - Cornflake, (DISTILLED SILVER MSNZ) having some stable scratch time. Right - Livi and CARETINO JEWEL took out the Dunstan Horse Feeds Silver Tour Final 1.40m at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping 2021 all treated equally. In taming the wild horses, I learned handling skills and about working with young horses.” Bini agrees, saying she has four children, all of whom learned to ride predominantly through Vicki. “She very much mentored us from not owning any ponies through to now having 26! She was crucial to their foundation of riding, teaching them to have that passion. They’ve had so many adventures, from mustering to beach riding, really creating that life of adventure with horses.” Livi fondly recalls memories spent at the Wilson’s property, particularly mid-winter in the pouring rain and thunder. She and Vicki would venture out in their pyjamas and bring in the show jumpers because “they might be cold”. “The main thing I learned is horsemanship is key. Having the foundations, not being scared of your horses, and treating them well.” Livi’s first real introduction to serious competition was at the age of ten when they purchased her dream pony, Apache One in
He likes to think he is the boss; he’s the prince of the stable.
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Livi and CARETINO JEWEL during her outstanding round in the Dunstan Horse Feeds Silver Tour Final 1.40m at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping 2021. Right - Oracle (DISTINCTION MSNZ) out for a farm hack. Livi is lucky enough to have the hills to keep the horses fit. a Million. “I had only really done a bit of Pony Club and Showtym camps. She was the best pony in the world and took me to 1.20m and pretty much-winning everything competitively at that height.” A second pony, Just Nuts, followed, and Livi was a force to be reckoned with at 1.15m-1.20m. “One season, I did 14 classes at that height, and I think I won 11 of them between the two ponies,” she says. “I got into show jumping really because of the Wilson sisters and watching them jump their horses. I just love the thrill of it, the adrenaline, giving it your all and knowing your horse is there for you, and you’re there for your horse.” At just 12, Livi got her first hack, Caretino Jewel (Scotty). “The first time I rode him was bareback in the river. He was the devil of the stable, no one liked riding him except Vicki, but we just clicked. The next day I rode him in a snaffle, which was a bit of a risk, and she chucked the jumps up to about 1.20m, and he just popped over them. I thought, I could do this; this could be fun.” When asked how mum felt about this, Bini laughs that it happened to be a weekend she wasn’t there. “By this stage, Livi was very capable, and I got a phone call to say she would be riding him at the Waitemata World Cup Show. Vicki entered Livi in the 1.20m and the Junior Rider, and I trusted her. I knew she would only put Livi on if she had enough common sense.” Not only did it go well, the pair got into the jump-off, but she also rode Vicki’s old World Cup mount, Showtym Cadet (Ollie), for the first time at the same show, winning the Junior Rider. It was about this time the Wilson sisters started to go their separate ways, and the Newsoms purchased both Scotty and Ollie for Livi.
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I don’t like to princess my horses; they’re all treated equally. In taming the wild horses, I learned handling Above - Seven-year-old CHARMED ESCUDO (Eski), by ESCUDO I out of CASA ROSE is jumping Junior Level. Right - CARETINO JEWEL (Scotty) has the ‘look at me factor’ Below - Livi was always destined to be in the winner’s circle, she has worked extremely hard coming up the ranks, and her stable walls are a testament to her dedication.
skills and about working with young horses. Realising she had two daughters who were very
capable riders and besotted by horses and that purchasing top mounts was not a cheap exercise, Bini had the foresight to start breeding horses early on. “I coerced my husband and bought a few broodmares and started breeding with European stallions. We are up to breeding six a year now. We breed and sell to cover the cost of the season and for the girls to have horses to produce. We try to breed equal quality, so it’s not a matter of selling the best.” They have 15 young horses in the paddocks and, through well thought out breeding choices, all have excellent temperaments and rideability. All of their horses carry MSNZ, which stands for Moon Spirit New Zealand. “We worked out it costs $15,000 to $20,000 to run each horse per season, and that money has to come from somewhere. We pride ourselves on handling those young horses impeccably, and that comes back to the horsemanship the girls have learned through Vicki.” Livi is still attending Bethlehem College in Tauranga but says she is 100% certain she will make horses her career. “I potentially would like to do vet nursing to learn the basics like treating wounds and how to read x-rays to save money. I think it would help with my horses; picking up on small things may be the untrained eye wouldn’t. It would be to enhance my knowledge of riding.” Long-term, she would love to ride overseas and take a team of SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
horses to compete in Europe for New Zealand. Her dream goal within the next four years would be to ride for Team Takapoto. “I look up to those riders like Sam (McIntosh) and Ollie (Croucher). Toni and Colin McIntosh are my coaches, and Sam is always nice and encouraging of me in the ring. “I’d like to highlight how much of an asset Colin has been. He’s always at the ring to warm me up and walk courses. He makes suggestions, but he’s not overpowering; he trusts me and is so supportive and encouraging. He always says, ‘just give it your hardest’.”
Livi’s team is
seven-year-old Distinction MSNZ (Oracle), who she has had since he was six-monthsold. He is by Pico Bello out of a KC Thoroughbred mare.
He did the five-year-old series and, in the last 18 months, since training with Toni and Colin, has stepped up. “They have helped to boost his confidence. He jumped in the Silver Tour at Takapoto for double clear on the first day and fourth overall, which was a huge achievement for him.” Oracle also won the seven-year-old at Wairoa Show and has placed at 1.35m this season. The other seven-year-old in the team is Charmed Escudo (Eski), by Escudo I out of Casa Rose. The Newsoms purchased her in utero, and she is jumping at Junior Rider level. Vicki Prendergast did a huge amount of work producing her as a six-year-old, and this season she and Livi have notched up Junior Rider wins at both Wairoa and Gisborne Shows, as well as winning the seven-
I got into show jumping really because of the Wilson sisters and watching them jump their horses.
Most people would be envious looking at the order and tidiness in Livi’s tack room. All the gear is cleaned to perfection. year-old at Gisborne. She also placed second in the Bronze Tour first qualifier at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping. Number one is Caretino Jewel (Scotty), a 12-year-old by Caretino Glory out of Irish warmblood mare Sabine. He was imported from Scotland as a yearling. The Newsoms describe him as very much a one rider horse. “He likes to think he is the boss; he’s the prince of the stable.” Last year at HOY, they contested their first Lady Rider of the Year class; Livi was just 14 and placed sixth. They also placed second in the 1.35m speed class at HOY. “I was gunning for the LROTY class again, as the youngest ever to win it was
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Bundy Philpott at 16, and I’m 15 now.” That goal will now have to wait another season, thanks to COVID. Winning the Dunstan Horse Feeds Silver Tour Final at Takapoto was a massive moment for Livi. “It was amazing. I think a large part of it was the quality at Takapoto, the ground quality and everything is so professional, that boosted the horses.” With LRHOY cancelled, Livi now plans to finish her season at the NEC Easter Show in Taupo before the horses get a well-earned month and a half off. Livi is grateful to be sponsored by Canter for Cancer. C
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finding the right
balance. Jock Paget WORDS - Diana Dobson IMAGES - Christine Cornege Photography
In a sport well known for big highs and lows, Jock Paget has ridden the monster wave and now, with 5* trophies in his cabinet, an Olympic medal in his clasp and national titles from both the UK and New Zealand, he’s happy to be home, with wife Tegan and sons Billy and Max. It’s a world away from the glamour of the significant events, but in his comfortably Kiwi way, Jock says ‘this is where it’s at’.
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I always said I love riding and competing, and I really enjoyed the fast journey I had, but my intention was always to get in and really make the most of it. I didn’t want to be living that lifestyle forever. Jock is the first to admit he got swept away by the excitement of elite eventing competition and was on an accelerated mission to always do better. It meant he would sometimes still be riding at 1am, doing whatever he felt it took to ensure every task done to the absolute best of his ability. These days, the 37-year-old newly-appointed Equestrian Sports New Zealand High Performance General Manager thrives on being in a different spotlight. “I always said I love riding and competing, and I really enjoyed the fast journey I had, but my intention was always to get in and really make the most of it. I didn’t want to be living that lifestyle forever. It is very consuming, sure it is exciting and a lot of fun, and it is a cool community to be part of but not what I had envisaged forever, especially when starting a family.” Jock was born in New Zealand but grew up in Australia. “I grew up in the suburbs of Sydney, coming from a background where you have a normal job and then you do normal things on the weekend. It was a lifestyle of more balance.”
Jock was late to
competitive riding. He was an apprentice bricklayer in Sydney when, at 18 years old, he took up bronc riding and then turned his hand to work at an eventing yard for a year. He went from having never jumped a fence to competing at 4* level in less than two years. The rest is history. In 2010 he and Clifton Promise were seventh individually at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. He has twice claimed the New Zealand Eventer of the Year Crown, and in 2012 he was part of the bronze medal Kiwi team at the London Olympic Games. A year later they won Badminton. He’s also placed second at Pau (2012), second at Burghley (2014) and third at Badminton (2015) with numerous other top 10 placings and captained the senior team to win the Trans-Tasman clash – the first in over a decade.
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Above - Jock & BING BONG during the Fiber Fresh CCI 2* -L Championship at New Zealand Three Day Event Championships, Taupo 2019. Image - Maria Gobbie Photography “That was the one I enjoyed the most. Badminton is recognised as something quite special, though – it has its own feel to it and is a lifechanging event. I woke up the day after winning Badminton and had 10,000 new friends on my athlete page!”
Jock has had two
principal owners who have been critical to his “very fortunate” success. The first was Frances Stead. “Without her, there would be no story for me in this sport. She was such an enabler. When you think of the impact she had on my career, providing me with a platform, horses and staff, it is amazing.” It was Frances who pulled him from Sydney to Muriwai. “I was driving home from laying bricks, and I got a call from her. She had seen me ride once. Heelan Tompkins had recommended me, and Frances just said, ‘I have a job – come over and let’s do it’. She put a lot of effort into me. She saw something and partnered me with the right horses at the right time. I will be forever grateful for how Frances and Russel took me in, gave me those opportunities and were so generous. We had a great time together, shared some incredible experiences, and it’s fun to be able to reminisce when they drop in to give Promise carrots.” The next massive influence on his life was Joe Giannamore, with whom he is still incredibly close. “He taught me so much. Many people have been part of my success as a rider, but if I wasn’t connected with Joe, I wouldn’t have won a 5*. He showed me the difference between a rider and being a pro, and that was the difference from a top 10 to the winner’s circle”
It is Joe’s son Alex
who has named Jock’s horses – Optimus Prime, Green Eggs and Hammer and Bing Bong, to name a few. “I’m also incredibly grateful for our relationship with Joe, Karine and their two boys Alex and Louis. We really felt part of the family for the seven years we were in England, shared some amazing experiences and learned more than I can ever say. My only regret is that I never got to win a grand slam for Joe as we had planned, maybe later.” Jock was driven to win competitions and to represent his country. “If you had said I was going to win the biggest event in the world and back it up with the British Open and an Olympic medal, I would have said right there, I could die a very happy man, but they all happened, and I realised it wasn’t making me any happier. I was becoming more neurotic about needing more horses and needing to be better. It seems to me that no matter what you do, you will never arrive at that place. I think that’s the point to get to the top, and it takes that type of focus.” He loved what he was doing but realised it wasn’t everything, and he wanted to do other things. Right - Jock & GREEN EGGS AND HAMMER, during the Bronze Tour Qualifier 2 at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping. Image - Christine Cornege Photography Below - Jock & DEO VOLENTE In the CCN2* SPlus, Taupo Summer Horse Trial, National Equestrian Centre. Image - kampic.com
I know to be successful in this sport; it takes everything, and you are consumed by it. I am fortunate to have had the success I did.
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In 2013 his world ground
to a halt when Clifton Promise failed a drug test after winning Burghley. “Initially the shock and devastation is crippling.” Every day for ten months, he was involved with the process of working to clear his name – whether that be with lawyers, scientists or other integral parts of the team. In the end, he was fully exonerated, and while at the time it was the toughest thing he had ever endured, he says now that he wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. “It sounds like an odd thing to say. I knew I was innocent and that we would be able to prove it at some point, but a lot was relying on the system to draw it out. I was shitting myself that we wouldn’t find the reason it happened, but I knew I had done nothing wrong. I just had to trust that at some point, we could prove that.” It taught him a lot about human nature too. He is still heartened by the support he received from Kiwis everywhere. “It reminded me of how good New Zealanders are when the chips are down.” He has made his peace with the few who went out of their way to make his life difficult. “On the other side of the world, I got slain to pieces all over the place. To be fair, I don’t blame them. They don’t know any of the facts and couldn’t until the end. You don’t usually see a situation like that and say, ‘oh, I wonder what went wrong’. You generally assume they doped.” As talented as Jock is, he never thought he was the best rider in the world. “The things that worked for me were my supportive wife, brilliant staff, my meticulous preparation, the ability to focus relentlessly and confidence, on race day. On a really bad day, if it was knee-deep in mud and carnage everywhere, that energised me.” A switch was flicked in 2005 when he first started coaching. “I loved it, and I now know that I love new things, to grow things and to feel like I am learning all the time. As soon as that learning slows down, I tend to get a little bored. The learning changed and wasn’t happening at the same rate, and I started to look to see what was next.”
He’s quick to back
that up by saying he is “super grateful” for what he has and is not at all unhappy. “It is just that I am at my best when learning new things. Whether that is producing horses, training riders, developing programmes, improving myself or learning. When I can put my focus into those things, it keeps me interested, and I feel comfortable having balance when I have worked hard enough on something.” They say you need to do 10,000 hours to be an expert, and being late to the sport, Jock had put his head down and got straight to work, hard work, doing 12-15 hour days to get there. “I know to be successful in this sport; it takes everything, and you are consumed by it. I am fortunate to have had the success I did. I always knew there was a timeline, and it was never in my mind that I would be a rider or pro athlete forever. Sure, I miss the big stuff and the action, but if I am honest, I haven’t once since I have been back, not once, regretted giving up that lifestyle.” Besides inspiring owners, there have been a few coaches who have also had a huge part to play in Jock’s life. Australian Kevin McNab gave him the start he needed, teaching him how to produce a horse and has continued to be a mentor and great mate. The other one was Erik Duvander. “I talked to him about getting Clifton Promise to the World Equestrian Games. It was two years out when we
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were just riding intermediate, anyone else would have thought I was crazy, but Erik just said, ‘yeah, we can do it, but it will be hard, and we won’t be able to waste a day’. He was there for everything. He taught me about winning and had the technical nous too. No one was more committed than Erik.” Jock says he also owes a lot to Penny Pearce. “She took the time to really develop my feel on the flat. She is an exceptional coach and taught me skills which I will be forever grateful for. I love the way she coaches as she doesn’t beat around the bush, holds you to the highest standard and knows how to get you there.” Jock doesn’t discount riding at the elite level again but says it would need to be alongside a balanced lifestyle. “It would all need to fall in place and suit my lifestyle, which is probably unrealistic.” He adores being a dad and says the time is right. “I am glad to be doing it now. Five years ago, I would have been a horrible father – it is an amazing experience, and if I had to choose between anything I did as a rider or being a father, being a dad would win hands down!” His good mate Promise is still with him, enjoying his retirement “fat and sound” on the banks of the Waikato River. Life for Jock Paget is all about gratitude right now. C
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Gratitude, Passion and Dreams Charlotte Wear
WORDS - Ashleigh Kendall IMAGES - Michelle Clarke Photography COMPETITION IMAGES - Christine Cornege Photography
Born into a high achieving equestrian family, 19-year-old Charlotte was destined for the top. With the support of her family, including older sister current Lady Rider of the Year title holder Rachel Malcolm, she has steadily overcome obstacles and setbacks to compete in her first Grand Prix on her self-produced mare, Double Shot NZPH in February this year. Charlotte was six weeks old when she went to her first show. She had her first pony when she was six months old, and it all started from there. “It is a family affair, so many years of me going up and down the country when I was just six years old, probably the best-travelled kid at school, I knew my whole way around the North Island! “I first started properly competing when I got my first proper jumping pony Glenvar Silver Sixpence”, Charlotte reminisces. “She was the first pony I ever rode at Horse of the Year, and we finished in the top 10 of Cat A Show Hunter Pony of the Year.” It was around this time that she started to catch the jumping bug. She
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then continued on for a few more seasons with various other Show Hunter ponies before making a move on to show jumpers.
Following on from gorgeous Glenvar Silver
Sixpence, Charlotte moved on to Mr Hugo, who she leased from Monique and Rebecca Anthony. She competed in the 105cm pony classes, “he was the coolest pony who taught me heaps and set me up to move on to Pony Grand Prix pony Hawai Haka, aka Rusty”, she explains. She finished third in the 13 years and under Child Rider of the Year in 2015 on Mr Hugo
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I FIRST TRIED HER
, AT AND WE PURCHASED
LITTLE WHILE LATER. HER A
and doing her first lap of honour in the main ring; it was that moment she knew she wanted to be there doing it again. Hopeful for the future, Charlotte was all guns blazing going forward onto Hawai Haka and went from jumping in the 90cm ring to just a few short months later competing in her first pony Grand Prix. They had a super run together and developed a formidable partnership until tragedy struck, and Rusty became unsound. “He’s now hanging out at home as a paddock mate for all the horses. He is quirky as hell,” she laughs. “No man can catch him, my dad never has any luck, but it was Rusty that really sparked my love for the bigger classes. I always enjoyed it, but it wasn’t until I got him that I really got the feeling that I could do it. I was always so nervous as a kid. Anything above 70cm was too high for me, but then I got him, and it all changed.”
They formed a fierce partnership in that short time. “He loved me because I let him do what he wanted within reason, we would get in the ring, and he would have my back no matter what, always looking
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after me, and that made it really special.” Sadly, just as it was all looking so promising, Charlotte was hit with a devastating blow when Rusty became unsound. “It was undoubtedly the most difficult time in my career to date,” she says. Charlotte feels she can relate to the younger kids in the smaller classes as she understands just what it is like to experience the highest highs and the lowest lows. “I was really fortunate when I was younger to have some amazing ponies; I got Rusty, and then he, unfortunately, went lame, so I ended up back in the 90cm ring, spending two seasons trying to produce something I could get back into ring one on so I get it what it is to be stuck down in the smaller heights when you desperately want to be back up there.” Her sister, Rachel, has always been a tremendous mentor to Charlotte. “I always looked up to her as someone who I wanted to be like and ride like. She won 2009 Young Rider of the Year, and I always had that as something I also wanted to win and win that trophy as well, which would be really cool.” She had another setback before moving from Auckland to Taupo when she came off a pony she had for schooling, fracturing her hip in what she describes as an unlucky accident.
“While moving to Taupo, I was stuck on crutches for weeks, so I had to decide to let a couple of my young ponies go to new homes as I was out of action for a while.”
The move south has left Charlotte
full of gratitude as her mum purchased her a new horse to start over on, explaining how she is unbelievably thankful for the horse she currently has - Double Shot NZPH, a nine-year-old mare by Ideal de la Loge out of Sparkles NZPH. “I am thankful every time I get to go out in the ring on her. She is a super mare, and we have so much fun together”, she says. Rising nine this year, Charlotte acquired Gemma from NZPH in 2018. “I first tried her at Takapoto, and we purchased her a little while later”, she says. “She was a little five-year-old that didn’t know where to put her feet or what to do with herself, all over the show like they usually are.” She had a ride on her and instantly fell in love. “She would jump around the ring and have a couple of rails and look a bit funny, but I always thought there would be a lot more in the tank. I can only afford one horse for myself at the moment, so I feel so lucky
I AM THANKFUL
EVERY TIME I GET TO GO OUT IN THE RING ON HER. SHE IS A
, AND WE HAVE SO MUCH
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that the horse I chose turned out to be the best horse I have ever sat on and could dream of having.” At home, she is known as Worm, “she came with the name Gemma, and it has evolved into Worm because she wiggles all over the show on the ground when you are doing anything with her, that and she is very brown,” Charlotte jokes. “Most people notice her at the ring when she is down there, and she flaps around her lip when she has the bit in. She has to be the absolute coolest horse I could have ever wished for, and she will go in the ring, and every time she goes in there, I know that she will give me all she has got. It’s amazing to do it on a horse that I have produced myself from a sixyear-old onwards. The feeling of being able to take a young horse up the grades and produce them yourself is success to me more than winning ribbons.” She also explains she has been lucky enough to jump Stephie and Jono Smith’s talented horse Milhouse in the Show Hunter rings for the past couple of seasons after a few seasons of solely show
AND HELPING OUT THOSE KIDS AND SEEING THE
NEXT GENERATION C O M I N G U P. I L O V E H E L P I N G OUT IN THE PONY 1.1M RING.
Below and right hand page competition photos - Young Rider Series at the ECPH National Young Horse Jumping Championships.
jumping. Last year she finished in the top 10 Junior Show Hunter of the Year on him. This season she has had Milhouse and Goshka Enchante competing, owned by Susan Wallis, which she has thoroughly enjoyed. “I believe Show Hunter is the best thing for young horses and riders as it teaches you so much about technique and riding correctly.”
Focused on the future, Charlotte
is hoping to contest the Grand Prix with Gemma consistently. “If Gemma wants to do it, then I would love to have our first couple of World Cup starts,” she says. She currently works for Stephie and Jono Smith, hoping to turn her riding into
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something more serious. “It is amazing to have help all the time, and they take me to shows. I work for them in the day, helping them out with the kids and the horses, and at night I work at a restaurant down the road to help pay for it all.” She also gets great enjoyment teaching riding lessons in the area. “I love teaching and helping out those kids and seeing the next generation coming up. I love helping out in the pony 1.1m ring. If I am not down there watching, I will be standing in the warm-up. “In the next five years, I would like to be consistently jumping bigger classes, if not World Cup then Grand Prix”, she says. “I would love to think I will still have
Gemma by then, but of course, we just have to see how that goes.” Depending on how it all goes with COVID, she might have an opportunity to go and work and ride overseas. “It would be amazing to take Gemma with me and jump her around in Aussie,” she explains. “My biggest fear would be something happening to my horse; the thought of not being able to have her as my teammate would be terrible. To not be able to have a horse consistently jumping at that height. I am very used to having to go back into the metre ring and having to produce them again, that I am enjoying being up here. I would hate to lose her as a teammate just
WANTS TO DO IT,
THEN I WOULD
T O H A V E O U R F I R S T C O U P L E O F W O R L D C U P S T A R T S. like I did with my Grand Prix pony when he just started going well.”
Charlotte overcomes any negativity and low times by keeping focused on what she is doing, always encouraging everyone else to do their best. “I hate seeing people on the sidelines that aren’t pleased for other people.” She keeps good people around her when she feels unsure or nervous before a class, “we are all human”, she reflects. “We all get nerves from time to time.” Having
positive people around her and trying to be a good role model for the younger kids is important to Charlotte. “Being someone that other kids can look up to, I am not yet winning all the big stuff, but I try to be someone that the kids can relate to, being someone that the kids can help me at the shows, and I’ll give them a hand in return. If their family doesn’t have heaps of money, it may be that you don’t have to have the biggest chequebook to make it possible. Not everyone can afford to buy the 50k Grand
Prix pony but being able to work with what you have got is all you can ask of somebody when you are giving them a lesson.” She encourages younger riders to make a goal and stick to it. “No matter what happens, how well or bad your ponies go at the show, just keep to that dream of being the one in the class with the rug on, galloping around the ring to Stand Up for the Champions and hold onto that dream, I have ever since I was a kid and it is what has kept me going and wanting to do it.” C SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
MAKING the dream
Three years ago, Stephie Joustra-Smith and her husband Jono embarked on a lifechanging adventure. Transforming a 20-acre bare block in Kinloch into an equestrian paradise they could enjoy and raise their young family. Nestled in the hills with mountain and lake views, the pair have fallen in love with their new home and have no plans to move any time soon.
WORDS - Ashleigh Kendall IMAGES - Michelle Clarke Photography
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With a background in Public Relations, event design and management, Stephie found herself in a creative oasis as she brought her dream designs to life on their patch of paradise. Still, it was not without its challenges and plenty of hard work, blood, sweat and tears. “We lived in Kumeu with family while we saved up for our place”, Stephie explains. “We loved Auckland, but we knew that to fund the dream we had that we needed to make a move south. We have always loved Taupo, so it all just made sense.”
It was a bit of luck that the pair found the block they have settled on, and it took them a little while to find it, after a couple of heartbreaks missing out on properties they loved. It all worked out
Stephie and HR CLOONEY (above) and DISNEY (left) competing at captions captions Auckland Show Hunter 2020. Images - Hester Gerrand Photography.
how it was meant to when their offer was accepted, and they began making plans. “It was completely bare, split into two paddocks and not one tree on it”, she remembers. That first year of ownership was both rewarding and taxing as they commuted down to their block every weekend with their three-month-old baby, Stella. “We would leave at 4 am each Saturday, drive down, work on the land both days and then drive home on Sunday evening”, she says. Jono would be back at his full-time job on Monday, while Stephie would be home looking after Stella, making plans and organising things for the following weekend. They did virtually everything on the land themselves to stay within their budget and achieve their dream property. They only paid for a few contractors to help with things they
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This page - From a bare block of land to a fully functioning equestrian property, Stephie and Jono have spent the most part of four years developing it to a high standard.
were unable to do like earthworks, putting in fence posts, the house plumbing, plastering and tiling. The rest they did on their own. “We hired Kiwispan to put up the shed that is now our house, they did the exterior, and we did all the interior”, she says. That Christmas, they travelled to the South Island to pick up their new horse truck, and in true Stephie and Jono style, it needed a renovation. So in their spare time they completely gutted it and redid it within a week so they could move into it while their house was built. They lived in it for around six months with baby Stella. “When we finally moved into our house, it was, just gibbed walls and concrete floor”, she recalls. “We put the kitchen in ourselves, and we still showered in the truck. It was a really exciting time when we got doors when our second baby Xanthe was born! “It has been fascinating going through the whole process and working to budget”, she reflects. “I am very handy. I can do most things like putting together our kitchen. It just shows you really can do it if you want to and are motivated. I design everything and come up with all the ideas. I am fortunate that Jono trusts my vision, I will explain things to him, and he tells me if it will work or not and how we will do it. “Often, I will go to him with pictures I have seen and say how can we make this? Rather than buying it. He is so handy, and he is amazing at creating things and using things we already have around the place to put things together.”
We loved Auckland, but we knew that to fund the dream we had that we needed to make a move south. We have always loved Taupo, so it all just made sense.
While the project would seem daunting to many,
Stephie reflects while there were some challenges moving to a new area with young children overall, it was a fun experience for the young family. They enjoyed it so much that they contemplated selling it and starting all over again until they had a look around SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
Above - Xanthe, Stephie & Stella have cuddle times in between farm duties. Right - Stella will follow in her parents footsteps with her love of horses, and has begun riding already.
and knew that they would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful outlook than what they currently have. It was irreplaceable. “We are five minutes to Kinloch township, and we have the most beautiful mountain and lake view. Pieces of land like this just don’t come up, and we were so lucky to get it in the first place”, she reflects. “It was the right time, right place, right budget. It ticked all the boxes.” Stephie and Jono are also looking forward to when Jono’s parents Sue and Chris move over here. “When they decided that they were moving over, we knew we would be staying here and calling this place home for a long time.” Jono’s parents have been hugely influential for him. His dad competed to World Cup level, was selected for the Australian show jumping team for the Olympics and won Wembley on his horse Sanskrit. “His mum was also a top dressage rider, so it is engrained in Jono’s family to ride. They are phenomenal and phenomenal instructors”, Stephie says. “Having huge support makes it all possible, whether it is Jono who has always pushed for me to keep going, he has always been a driving force to keeping it going as a family.” Stephie and Jono were very fortunate to live and to be able to have the horses at her mum’s (Jenny Stiles-Joustra) place in Kumeu while they were figuring out where they wanted to live and then during the build at Kinloch.
A year after they moved to Kinloch, Jono went out on his own
in his two Kinloch Electrical and JS Farrier Services businesses. “Being self-employed in his businesses gives us great flexibility with our lifestyle, horses and kids”, she explains. “He does about three days a week shoeing and a couple of days a week electrical work.” This gives him a lot of variety in his work. “He is the most intelligent man. He is so clever,” Stephie beams. “He loves the shoeing, he is great with horses, a real natural, and he enjoys the physical side of that, but we both didn’t want him to be doing that 24/7 for the rest of his life because it is so hard on the body.
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Above - Stella is in love with her perfect pony, PEACHES. Below - Xanthe enjoying the ‘horsey’ swing.
Having the electrical side of things uses a different side of his brain. I can see the benefits in him having both jobs, and I am so lucky to have such a talented partner.” They always knew they didn’t want to make money out of horses because it is challenging. “We have had the odd horse we have sold because it hasn’t fitted with us. It hasn’t been perfect for us, but it has been perfect for someone else. We have never tried to make money out of it”, she says. It is vital that horses are for them, and it’s more of a hobby they excel in rather than making a living from it because that would take away the enjoyment of it. “Jono is an incredible father, so he has helped me keep riding. I think it is amazing having a husband that understands horses because he really wants me to keep riding and understands how important it is for me to ride”, she says. “Having children changes everything. You have to be so organised, and it changes you physically and mentally, which comes with its own set of challenges, but Jono has been a huge influence for me to keep riding and make sure I have an outlet for me.” Now the girls are a little older, Stephie enlisted the help of young rider Charlotte Wear, who lives there in the guest house. “She helps Jono work his horses when he gets busy in the week. I am not as brave as I was, and I don’t have any interest in riding young warmblood show jumpers”, Stephie says. “After kids, I realised it wasn’t for me, and I was stressing myself out for reasons I didn’t need to, so Charlotte helps him, and she gives me a hand with the kids. She is amazing with the kids. She has become a member of the family, like a much younger sister.”
Stephie has three horses, Disney, who she has had
13 years and has won nearly every Show Hunter title in the country over their 12 seasons together. HR Clooney (George) is a 10-year-old who has enjoyed great success this season, and next season, she is looking forward to adding Milhouse, who she has inherited from Jono, to the competition team. “He jumped one Grand Prix super at the beginning of the season and then decided show jumping wasn’t for him, sadly. He just said, ‘no, I don’t want to do it’, we gave him heaps of time off and made sure SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
he was sound and everything, but at some point, you do have to say ‘oh well’. It was a real disappointment for Jono, but it is what it is so now he will be an amazing Show Hunter horse for me.” “We are slowing Disney now. He is 18; he doesn’t need to do a lot. He is sound as a bell, he’s perfect in every way, and he has nothing to prove. He doesn’t need to be thrashed around,” Stephie explains. “I heavily considered retirement a couple of years ago, but he wasn’t ready to be retired. So having Milly is an excellent opportunity for me to slow Daf down and build back on another horse that I know well.” Jono’s leading horses are now ones that his parents bred in Australia. He has SP Victor out of his old Young Rider mare, Phoenix NZPH. “His parents have been breeding quietly over there for a while”, Stephie says. Victor came second in the North Island five-year-old title, and Stephie says he is looking the business. “He is a nice horse, a lot of scope and a lot of jump, still lots of strengthening to do, and he’s going to need some time, but he is bold, confident, and he has a huge jump, so Jono is excited about his future.” He has two more arriving from Australia- Victor’s older sister and a two-year-old from the same mare out of Chacco-Blue stallion.
The pair have also begun their own breeding program
over the last couple of years. “It is hard to find nice young horses within a reasonable budget, so we are trying to breed some of our own”, she says. “We have a mare that was imported from France by the Cohens. She has a beautiful Hector van d’Abdijhoeve foal on the ground for us at the moment. We have another for Jono on the ground out of Cormina Obolenskey’s daughter by Euro Sport Darco Obolensky.” Stephie also was able to acquire George’s (HR Clooney) dam from Dunedin as a broodmare. She is currently in foal, and she has another mare with Voltaire II/ Distelfink lines in foal to Donnerubin. “I don’t want a fieriness and electricity of a horse who can jump 1.60m. I also don’t want a happy hacker horse either. They need to want to jump, be able to be nice to handle around the kids and that I can do on my own and not have to have someone else on them all the time when they are naughty. I need something that is a nice combination of someone in-between,” she
Above - Jono schooling SP VICTOR. Lower right hand image - Couples that ride together, stay together.
explains. “Lots of people are breeding superstars, but the general population can’t really ride them. So we are both breeding, but we have two very separate breeding programs going on. I have no intention of sitting on Jono’s horses ever”, she laughs. “I realised early on in my riding career that show jumping wasn’t what I wanted”, she says. “The same as many aspects in my life, I love things to look nice, I love putting things together, whether it be an outfit, how a horse is turned out, or a property. I am fairly creative that way. I love things to look nice, so that is why I absolutely love Show Hunter. I can put something together that is visually appealing and look the part while still getting to jump because I do love jumping. I don’t want to jump huge, go flat tack, and even if it doesn’t look good, you still win a ribbon; that isn’t for me. My personality fits with Show Hunter.” Success has come to Stephie in many forms, but it is fundamentally defined by going to a horse show and enjoying it for her. “It means that my horses are where I want them to be, they are feeling great, the kids are enjoying it, we can make it work, mentally at the point where this is good and I’m enjoying it”, she says refreshingly. “It is having a happy family and having happy horses, so whatever that looks like.” C
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With a reputation for a clean and speedy set of heels in a jump-off, the Ohaupo show jumper doesn’t do things by halves, in life or the saddle. She’s been consistently stacking up the results with her team of home-bred, self-produced horses. WORDS - Rebecca Greaves IMAGES - Christine Cornege Photography Emma has just come off a 10-hour shift at Waikato Hospital; she’s on call and has horses to feed. During our interview, she gets a phone call that a staff member is sick – she will have to go in to cover, and it’s already after 9 pm. That’s how life rolls for this busy mum and fierce competitor, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Emma and her “very supportive” partner Brendan live on a 10-acre block at Ohaupo with their 17-month-old daughter, Abigail. Whatever competition horses are on the truck, along with any horses Emma is bringing on over winter, also live on the property. “The young stock and whatever I’m hiding from my partner live at my parents’ farm at Rotorangi, 20 minutes away.” Emma works fulltime as a radiographer and has taken on a unit charge role for theatre radiography, which
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involves liaising and organising equipment for theatre and running the team. “It’s been a steep learning curve, but a good one.” Throw in the mix six show jumpers on the competition team and a young child, and you wonder when she finds time to sleep. “I’m very lucky; I couldn’t do it without mum, my family and Brendan. You have a kid to enhance your life, not limit it. It was something we wanted (to have a child). She’s part of our lives, and the horses were already part of our lives. The only real adjustment was I had to accept I couldn’t come home and work six horses a night.” Emma has a system that works for her lifestyle and the horses without sacrificing family time. “I definitely do my horses differently to most people,
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Left to right - SHUTTLE BUG, LADYBUG, TALLULA BUG and KOWHAI BUG
but we came up with a method that works for us. It’s mainly the length of time I ride for, and I’m cautious of how we work. If I’m fatigued after a day at work, I go for a hack. It’s 20-minute rides mostly, and the horses get a lot of lunging and hacking.” A typical day has Emma up at 5 am and heading to work. Brendan takes Abigail to daycare, and Emma picks her up after work. “He goes to the gym because he’s crazy and training for multisport events. That’s mine and Abigail’s time to hang out, then he gets in the door, it’s ‘hi, love you, bye’, and on a good day, I work two horses a night. It can be as late as 10.30 pm when I get back in.” For the past six years, she has shared a groom over the summer season with her parents and sister, Kate Ramsey. “They help with the lunging and hacking, which I just can’t do because of the time it takes. It’s been fantastic.” Emma has a small sand arena at her property, though she admits she misses hacking over the hills. “Nothing beats it. I do a lot of road riding here, too, as it’s the only way to get off the property.” Emma is well-known for her distinctively named team of horses – all ending in ‘Bug’, descending from the breeding line of her wonderful Grand Prix mare, Bush Bug.
Growing up on a dairy farm with a mum who was keen
on horses, the number of horses on the property somehow “kind of accumulated”. “Mum remembers very well the first pony she got me; an eight-yearold called Squeaky, who was in the newspaper free to a good home. She bought the bridle for $40, and the pony was free.” That freebie turned out to be an amazing pony, and the pair did everything from Round the Ring to games, endurance, hunting and eventing. “She just tucked in behind mum’s Thoroughbred and followed him everywhere. She was the most phenomenal little pony.” After Squeaky, she moved on to Miss Melody, again competing in a wide range of disciplines, including Pony Club show jumping champs and Timberlands, as well as hunting and trekking. “We were hopeless at dressage so deviated towards show jumping. We got better and better until that was just my niche.” Being quick and clean was something that developed instinctively from a young age. “Mum always remembers me doing silly stuff, like
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angles. That’s the part of the horses I enjoy. I love the fact I can ask a 600kg animal to take that risk for me, and they answer yes. The more work you put in, the more trust you have; you can challenge them and see how much they will give you. “I love that relationship and bond you have with them. It’s the mutual respect you have between the two of you that gets the results, and that’s the part of producing young horses I enjoy. It’s not forced; it’s education and asking the questions.”
Emma has had all of the horses in her current team since
the day they were born – they’re part of the family. But getting into breeding was more by accident than by design. When she was 17, the family purchased a horse that would have a considerable influence over her riding career, Bush Bug, from Maurice Beatson. “Mum was chatting to Dr Lee (Morris) from EquiBreed; Lee said ‘come down and give it a go’, so we took Bush Bug and my pony, Miss Melody. They both fell in foal on the first try, which never happens! From there, mum was hooked.” Every horse in the team that descends from the Bush Bug line gets the word ‘Bug’ in its name, and they’re up to the third generation. Jitter Bug (2003) was the original, followed by Fire Bug (2006), Woodland Bug (2008), LadyBug (2010), Kowhai Bug (2011) and Shuttle Bug (2012) – all out of Bush Bug. These days Fire Bug is in the broodmare paddock and is producing ‘Bug’ babies. “Producing my own was the only way I was going to get decent horses that jumped. Mum said, ‘if you want a decent horse, make one’.” It’s taken time to develop her skills, and each horse has taught her something. Tina Fagan helped in the early days, but Emma has backed every horse herself. She says it’s a natural progression of backing rather than ‘breaking’ them. “My big things are time, patience and consistency. Time to let them develop at their own rate, patience to know things won’t change overnight but keep asking the question, and consistency builds efficient communication.” Emma is always keen to learn and take advice. “It’s a thing I think a lot of kids are missing these days – take advice and keep your ears open. It might not be the advice you want to hear at the time, but it
I love the fact I can ask a 600kg animal to take that risk for me, and they answer yes. The more work you put in, the more trust you have; you can challenge them and see how much they will give you.
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Producing my own was the only way I was going to get decent horses that jumped. Mum said, ‘if you want a decent horse, make one’.
Emma was thrilled to take 2nd place in the Dunstan Horse Feeds Silver Tour Final 1.40m with KOWHAI BUG at Takapoto Estate Show Jumping could be useful down the track. It’s not just one person who has helped me; so many people have given me little tit-bits of advice over the years, and I’m like ‘thank you, I’m locking that in’.” Learning to compose your frustration and never taking it out on the horse is also important. “Removing your emotional response, I’ve learned that with age.” Her parents have been the biggest influence over her riding, but trainer Job Bruins has been instrumental in shaping Emma’s approach in the last five years. “He gives advice, and I take it with open arms. I wouldn’t be sitting on the horses I am now without him. He gave me more understanding and direction in what I was doing.”
On the truck this season are Kowhai Bug (Fred), a 10-year-old by Euro Sport Centavos, out of Bush Bug, who recently won the Mini Prix and placed third in his first Grand Prix start at Taihape. The pair also took out the North Island Speed Horse title at Hawera. “It was my first Grand Prix on one of Bush Bug’s offspring – the last time I jumped that level was on Bush Bug. It was a phenomenal feeling; he gave me his all and stepped up.” Emma describes Fred as her reliable chap, always a perfect gentleman. Next up is the quirky Shuttle Bug (Mitch), who won the 1.20m
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championship at Hawera and the Pro-Am at Taihape. Nine-year-old Mitch is by Senator VDL, out of Bush Bug. “He’s a spooky fool, but I love him to pieces. Even last season, if there was a Liverpool in the ring, I couldn’t even get him to it. It was to the point I bought a Liverpool home with me and put his feed in it – he refused to eat his feed for a whole week!” Emma has taken Mitch slowly, giving him plenty of mileage at lower levels, and feels he’s starting to come into his own. Eleven-year-old LadyBug (Izzy) has been Emma’s biggest leveller. The mare is by Vivant, out of Bush Bug, and while she has scope and ability, she is also anxious. “She got to 1.30m but wasn’t confident and doubted herself off the base of a fence. We felt she needed time out from the bigger classes, so we gave her to the grooms as a fun ride.” In the team, but sadly not on the truck currently, is Woodland Bug (Woody), a 13-year-old by Prestige VDL, out of Bush Bug. The pair won the FEI Challenge in the 2018-19 season and were very competitive at Pro-Am and Mini Prix level. It was a devastating blow when he went in the wind. Woody had an operation on his wind in winter but did not recover as Emma would have hoped despite the best love and care. Now it is a waiting game to see if he will return to competition. “I won’t force him to do anything.” The baby of the team is Tallulah Bug (Janie), a five-year-old by Emillion VDL, out of Fire Bug. She has cruised around 80-90cm this season and learned about competition life, standing in yards or tied to the truck. “We’ll wait and see; she’s definitely a ginger mare. She’s got a lot of jump, but a lot of sass – she enjoys her work; we just need to keep it all reined in!” Fire Bug is still in the broodmare paddock, but tragically they lost Jitter Bug while foaling in 2019. “That was gutting, she was my little pregnancy buddy, but it didn’t quite go to plan. We did get a beautiful filly. Bini Newsom was amazing and loaned us a wet mare, so we’re forever in debt to the family.” Jitter Bug’s first offspring, Mountain Bug (Stanley), is rising five and is Emma’s next up and coming youngster. With many notable wins under her belt, Emma says it’s something far more innocuous she holds dear. “The thing that sticks out to me, for all of them, was their first ribbon. It sounds corny, but when that happened, I felt like we were getting somewhere. “I have goals, but I will keep them close to my chest. I’ll see how far we can go without it being at the expense of my horses. They will tell me when that’s their peak.” C
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2 3 TAKAPOTO
SHOWJUMPING IMAGES - Christine Cornege Photography
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1. Alexa Randall - CARNIVAL NZPH in the DUNSTAN Silver Tour Final 1.40m, 3rd 2. Isabelle Saxton - DOUBLE SHOTT placed 4th in the Scania Copper Tour Qualifier 1 3. Emily Hayward - VALCHETA winners of BTW Bronze Tour Qualifier 1
4. Vicki Prendergast - SELENA C placed 6th in the Dunstan Horse Feeds Silver Tour Final 1.40m 5. Nicole Watson - OHMYHOLLY winners of Partridge Jewellers Amateur 1.10m A2 6. Olivia Dalton - CASSERA MS the Silver Tour Qualifier winner
7. Tessa Silcock - CRACKER XTREAM placed 2nd in Partridge Jewellers Amateur 1.10m A2 8. Brooke Hawthorne - ZIGGY STARDUST GNZ winners of the Land Rover Silver Tour Qualifier 1 - 1.35m SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
1. Francesca Corich - LDS LAVANDA placed 4th in the APL Anne Symes Derby 2. Rylee Sheehan - FUN HOUSE 2nd place in Pony Speed 1.15m 3. Crystal Hackett -THE DREAMER winners of Pony Speed 1.15m 4. Rosanna Dickson - DSE EXUBERANCE, 5th place in the APL Anne Symes Derby 5. Laura Inkster - NIKAMA MVNZ placed 2nd in Land Rover Silver Tour Qualifier 1
6. Samantha Mynott - CORNUCOPIA placed 3rd in the APL Anne Symes Derby 7. Zoe Shore - SAFFRON winners of Life Fitness Amateur 1.15m 2 phase 8. Duncan McFarlane - BE MINE NZPH winners of the Partridge Jewellers Gold Tour Qualifier
9. Nakeysha Lammers -BALBOA NZPH placed 4th place in the Dunstan Horse Feeds Silver Tour Final 1.40m 10. Jordyn Appleton - SCOTSMANS VALLEY placed 4th place in the BTW Bronze Tour Qualifier 2
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This image - Michelle Clarke Photography
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10 1. Bundy Philpott - TRESCA NZPH winners of the BTW Bronze Tour Final 1.30m 2. Kylee McCambridge - PHS ARMANDO, 2nd in Class 21 BTW 5 year old 1.05m On Style 3. Sophie Scott - JOOP BOX winners of the Copper Tour 2
4. Jess Land - EMILIO MSH placed 2nd in the APL Anne Symes Derby 5. Logan Massie - FLORENCE winners of the Duncan & Ebbett 6 year old 1.15m 6. Maya Hegh - ENCORE NZPH 2nd place in Copper Tour 2
7. Jesse Linton -KELTERN WILLIAM placed 2nd in the Duncan & Ebbett 6 year old 1.15m 8. Georgia Massie - LOOSE CHANGE placed 2nd in the BTW Bronze Tour Final 1.30m 9. Kate Hewlett - CAPATINO GNZ winners of the APL Anne Symes Derby 10. Rachel Malcom - ONESSA MVNZ winners of the Partridge Jewellers 7 year old 1.25m SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
Shopping guide Our
1. Cavallo Pacco - Men’s competition polo shirt. Functional pique and button down collar. Made from cool, wicking, polyamide/elastane fabric. Available in medium, large and extra large . White or navy. RRP $100.00. www.classicequestrian.co.nz 2. Oscar Quartz (wide brim)
Safety Helmet - Finished with stunning metallic rose gold fleck. Adjustable dial for a customised fit. VG1 and super lightweight. Available in two sizes: medium 50cm to 54cm and large 54cm to 58cm. RRP $134.90. From all good retailers. www.zilco.co.nz 3. Cooper Allan Siena Riding Tight - Lightweight perfect for everyday riding with gel grip on the knees for more security in the saddle. Two toned colour design with an added pocket on the side to keep your hands free and hold any essentials. Navy. Sizes 8 – 18. Price: $49.99. www.saddlerywarehouse.co.nz 4. Smooth Mover - Your horse’s daily B boost plus other functional nutrients! This supplement is an exciting new approach to optimising muscle function, suppleness and recovery. Smooth Mover effectively supports horses prone to muscle disorders and tie-up. Starting from $59.50. www.eliteequine.co.nz 5. Monoflap Saddle Stud Guard Girths - Double end expansion. Colours: Black and brown. Sizes: 70cm, 75cm, 80cm in 5cm increments. RRP. $185.00. From all good retailers. www.arionefv.co.nz 6. EquitFit MultiEq Boots - Fronts The MultiTeq Boot offers full coverage for daily exercise and turnout, the MultiTeq Boot is packed with benefits. Its ImpacTeq liners provide extreme impact protection. Pressure points are dispersed with three straps and double reinforced safely closures keep the boots securely in place. Available in black and white. $259.00. www.maddoxequestrian.co.nz
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7. Flex-On Composite Safety Stirrup O “Safe On”- Made in France. With all the advantages of the existing Flex-On models, these new
“Safe-On” stirrups bring in the safety element. The outer branch of these stirrups releases for safety. $489.00 www.maddoxequestrian.co.nz 8. Collegiate Degree Mono Event Saddle - Handcrafted from the highest quality leather. Mono Flap and Long Girth Point design for closer contact to your horse. Changeable Gullet and traditionally flocked panels. Great value at RRP $2499.00. Available at leading saddleries New Zealand wide. www.collegiatesaddlery.co.nz 9. Dublin Leather Polo Belt - This stylish belt made from quality leather is a must have. Available in Cowdray brown/black/red/white & Cowdray brown/pink/blue & yellow in 75cm & 95cm. RRP $79.99. Available at all good retailers. www.dublinclothing.co.nz 10. Mountain Horse Sovereign LUX - Astonishing soft and figure hugging boot made in supple premium leather wth an impressive crocodile detailed top. Available in black or gorgeous dark brown in eight different size height/width options; Euro sizes 36 – 42. $799.00. Available from your nearest Prestige agent or saddle fitter. www.prestigeequestrian.co.nz 11. Roeckl Grip Winter Gloves Featuring the addition of a soft and warm Micro Bemberg lining. Available in Black, sizes 6 to 10, RRP $104.90. From all good retailers. www.zilco.co.nz 12. Prestige E87 Bridle - Elegant hanovarian style bridle with soft leather padding. Stitched contrasting colour inserts within the browband and noseband allow you to mix and match your browns and tans with your saddle or just have it as a lovely stand out feature! $225.00. Cob or full sizes available from your nearest Prestige agent or saddle fitter. www.prestigeequestrian.co.nz SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
SHOWJUMPING SKILLS WITH ROSE ALFELD WORDS - Ashleigh Kendall IMAGES - Michelle Clarke Photography
MEET THE TRAINER
Rose Alfeld from Christchurch is a 25-year-old who has been riding since before she could walk. She competed in her first Springston Trophy at the age of eight. She now specialises in show jumping and has produced horses to World Cup level. She currently has three top horses competing. Eye Catcher NZPH is presently leading the 7-year-old series. He is by Kannan x Mr Blue. Footloose NZPH is a six-year-old by Quintus x Calvaro Z, has a bold jump and is sitting in the top six for the six-year-old series. Lastly, there the cheeky character; five-year-old Celebration ECPH by Corofino 11 x Salutation, who is the newest member to the show jumping team. He is currently competing in the five-year-old series and happily jumping at 1.20.
MEET THE RIDER
Sophie Townsend is 18-years-old and is from Christchurch. She has represented New Zealand three times now, in Mexico and Bangkok and was part of the South Island Junior rider team that travelled to Melbourne, Australia for the trans-Tasman competition where the team took first place honours in 2018. The combination has previously competed at Junior Rider level, and this season stepped up to Young Rider classes. Last season they were third in the New Zealand Junior Rider Series and won the Canterbury Junior Rider Series. Recently she placed 2nd in the South Island Premier Young Rider. Sophie rides Kingslea Kiwi (Marlo) in this masterclass. He is a 10-year-old gelding by Awatea Splashback out of Strumpet.
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“It doesn’t matter how good you are, it means nothing without the passion.”
“Riders who are dedicated are the ones able to achieve their goals.”
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GET IT RIGHT AT HOME Rose says the foundation for your show-day starts with developing a routine back at the home base and knowing your horse. “You have to ride your horse on show day the way the horse knows you will ride him. You should be consistent. “Don’t go to the event and try to be somebody else. Do what you normally do, do it well and you’ll be fine.” Achieving the ride you want on show day means trying different things at home so that you know what works for your horse and what doesn’t. Experiment with flat exercises that address your horse’s weaknesses and help encourage balance, adjustability and straightness. Introduce fences at various stages of your warm-up, so you know about how long your horse needs on the flat before he’s ready to jump his best. Some horses are better at jumping after a brief flatwork session, while others need more time to be attentive, supple and relaxed. For a successful jumping round, your aids need to communicate with your horse effectively. And he must respond to those aids, shortening his stride for a steady line or lengthening it for a forward line, as well as moving laterally for turns and to navigate bending lines. How well he responds determines his rideability, forwardness, straightness, balance and rhythm. And the more rideable he is, the smoother, faster and cleaner your show jumping round will be.
Your aids need to effectively communicate with your horse
Without a proper warm-up, success in your training session i s doubtful
Always ride with a long-term training strategy in mind!
THE WARM-UP Without a proper warm-up that prepares the horse and rider for training, it is doubtful that they will achieve a good result. In winter, your horse will take longer to warm their muscles up than it would in the warmer months. Warming-up in the walk doesn’t mean you are not working your horse. Rose suggests experimenting with the length of your warm-up. A 30-minute warm-up usually works for most horses, but tailor it for your horse’s temperament and attitude. The warm-up purpose is to have the horse complete general movements that ensure they are at an optimal physiological state before jumping training commences. The first part of your warmup encourages relaxation as well as getting your horse’s muscles working. Check his walk has an upbeat and regular rhythm as you ride. Now try flexion and bend. Introduce movements which will keep your horse’s attention, as well as working on his suppleness and engagement. Try simple lateral work such as legyield on a straight line, making sure you keep the angles shallow. Now you can up the pace and canter on both reins. But make sure the work you ask your horse to do that he has a steady contact. Transitions are everything, and you can never ride too many. Make sure you include trot-canter-trot-canter-walk to encourage the horse to come from behind and make sure your horse is lifting himself rather than pushing from his hind legs. These will also check that your horse is listening to you and being obedient to your aids—the final part of your warm-up targets straightness and whether you have control of his shoulders. Check you can you keep correct bend from poll to tail on your circles, and then straighten your horse up, so his shoulders remain on two tracks for the straight lines.
Goals from the warm-up should be:
improved elasticity strength, fitness, better concentration and enhanced movement coordination.
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THE FAN In this exercise, ask the horse to work his way through the poles in balance, ensuring he is always active and rhythmic. Shorten and lengthen his stride depending on which line you take over the poles. Closer to the centre is suitable for trot work. Middle to the outside of the centerline is for canter work. The closer the poles are together (closer to the centre), the more the horse has to sit back and push from behind and, alternatively, the further they are set apart, the more the horse has to lengthen his stride. Ensure he has a slight inside bend throughout his body. This exercise is excellent for suppleness and if practiced correctly; it will bring a horse’s shoulders around the turn.
Benefits to you and your horse: n
Controls and balances your horse
Improves the coordination of your inside and outside aids
Makes your horse supple
How to ride it - You can start with trotting the poles and
encourage a rhythmic pace, using a half-halt, so your horse is set-up correctly from the first stride before the first pole. Start on the left lead and ride to the fan line’s first pole in a balanced, controlled canter. To keep your horse from falling in, use your inside leg and rein. Ride the centre of the first pole, keeping your eyes ahead to the centre of the second pole to tell your horse where to go. Maintain your inside leg to ask your horse to curve his body in the line but keep a good connection on your outside rein so he doesn’t bulge his shoulder out and drift in the other direction. Ride the curve in even strides (not as easy as you may think!). As you land from the second pole, re-establish your connected seat and re-balance your horse before turning—practice riding just the fan line in both directions until it feels comfortable but do not overdo it.
“Control, rhythm, collection are all essential tools that contribute to success in the show jumping ring.”
TOP TIP By practising this exercise, you’ll eventually master the pattern. And when you go to your next competition, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that your horse is listening to your aids and you can quickly and smoothly recover his rideability: pace, balance, rhythm and suppleness.. SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
THE HEART The heart is a good exercise for inexperienced horses who need various elements to keep them focused. Before you ride obstacles on bending lines, you must be able to use your hands, legs and seat independently of one another, canter a designated track without significantly drifting right or left, and be able to adjust your horse’s canter stride. The horse will follow where the rider is looking provided the rider’s body weight reinforces this. Looking where you are going is the first step towards redistributing your weight to help your horse turn. Secondary to this is putting your weight into your inside seat bone and heel, then letting your shoulders and hips naturally follow where your eyes look. The horse will understand the direction wanted but not feel restricted by a fixed hand by opening the inside rein as a leading rein and closing the outside rein to the neck. Keeping an elastic contact is very important. Using your aids independently is essential for any curved line exercise
How to ride it
This exercise is great to practise your straightness by riding down the centre line to start with, then the next time ride the curves to help your horse’s suppleness. You can ride this exercise in trot or canter. “Focus on keeping the same rhythm over each cavaletti, making sure you have balance and control. Remember to bring your horse’s outside shoulder around using your inside leg and weight aids with a nice steady contact as you come around the bend,” says Rose. Next try the exercise in canter. It is always a good idea to start by turning on your horse’s good side first and then ride it on the stiffer rein. Once you have gone over that pole then repeat the exercise but next time turn right. Make sure to sit up tall and use your body to help your horse around the turn.
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RIDING GRIDS Gridwork exercises for horses can help improve their jumping technique and help tackle specific problems, such as horses who rush, horses that frequently knock poles down in front or behind, and those that lack confidence or are just starting to learn how to jump. They encourage the horse to come off the forehand and learn to process the obstacles in front of them more quickly.
Advantages of gridwork exercises
Gridwork makes jumping easy; it improves a rider’s sense of rhythm and develops any eye for distances. The aim of gridwork is not to jump big fences but rather to improve both horse and rider’s confidence and ability. Lazy and unresponsive horses often wake up when jumping a grid, as the exercise helps them get stronger and chances are you can end up with a more responsive horse. Forward horses also benefit as they have to slow down to get the footing right.
Gridwork improves rhythm and balance
Every ride should have a focus, and you should always be working toward building your horse’s confidence and setting him up for success. Rider benefits
Because they are structured in a straight line, they allow you to work on your position and balance and flexibility over close jumps. It helps the rider see the stride because everything is spaced precisely. They also teach the rider to gain some flexibility with their hands when approaching a fence. They allow the rider to gain confidence, form and flexibility over higher fences. As you become more confident with gridwork, your seat should become lighter and develop sympathetic hands, soft elbows, stable legs and keeping your weight well down into your heels, therefore developing an excellent jumping position over each fence.
How to ride it n
Look at the first pole through the turn, to arrive at the grid in the middle of the first fence.
Once at the grid lift your eyes to look straight ahead.
Keep your posture straight, do not fall for the temptation to lean forwards. This is an important one! If you start to lean forwards the horse will pick up speed and the grid will feel short towards the end.
Keep your horse straight. Also go straight after the last fence.
Concentrate on your balance and the ability to give the horse enough rein over each part of the grid.
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TACKLING BIGGER FENCES A horse’s ability to jump at a particular level of difficulty in competition depends on four various factors: natural jumping talent, experience in many different situations, and his confidence level and rider’s ability. For a horse/rider pair to successfully move up in the various sections offered at today’s competitions, a sufficient degree of all four components needs to be present, otherwise even if the initial attempts are successful, things are likely to fall apart.
Oxers to boost performance
An oxer can be a challenging jump, and they help your horse understand what you’re asking and encourages him to stretch. This exercise is useful when warming up for jumping and improves his shape over the fence. The number one rule of riding is to keep your heels down. Bringing your heels down prevents forward momentum from getting the best of you. It keeps your body balanced in the saddle and helps you stay quiet in the saddle over fences. If you pop up on your toes (as some riders do over jumps), you are more likely to fall forward over the horse’s shoulder and less likely to recover from imbalance over the fence. At the very least, riding on your toes will quickly exhaust you and make for a frustrating ride. Oxers are challenging but when ridden correctly they improve stretch and shape over fences
Feeling your horse’s stride as you approach any fence is critical to success
How to ride it
Go large around the arena to establish a rhythmic canter, where your horse feels like he is putting his weight onto his hindquarters. As you ride to the jump, remember to listen to your horse, feel their stride and make adjustments if they feel like they are going to fast or too slow. n
Keep low in your seat and heels
Keep a slightly open hip angle in a modified three-point position
Seat and heel become a little deeper on approach
Increase leg pressure to drive the horse a little forward
Elbows bent and with slightly more contact with fingers, resist the increased forward motion
Feel the horse transfer weight to the hindquarters, soften the feel in the fingers
Maintain balanced upper body in a two-point position
Squeeze with the inner calves at the girth
Arms give towards the bit
Ensure the contact is elastic to allow the horse’s nose and neck to stretch out enough for the canter step to cover more ground
If the step increases or is unbalanced, half-halt when the seat brushes the saddle, enabling the horse to transfer weight back again
COOL DOWN Cooling down is as important as warming up properly. We often don’t give our horses enough time to recover after their work routine. Before you walk back to the stables, remember to make sure your horse’s breathing and heart rate are fully back to normal, and he has been allowed to stretch his neck and back. This phase will allow the muscles to cool down gradually to prevent the build-up of lactic acid that will cause sore muscles and stiffness. C
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TRAINING clinic 3O
KEEPI NG ON THE workout
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN: Why horses find narrow gaps and fences a challenge l How to train your horse to jump skinnies with confidence
Does your horse have a tendency to run out at narrow fences? Let five-star eventer Imogen Murray explain how to tackle skinnies successfully. Skinny and narrow fences are designed to test horses and riders and slow them down. It’s important that you train your horse to understand what it is that you’re asking, rather than just expecting him to automatically know
This exercise introduces your horse to narrow gaps. Horses in the wild are prey animals, so they would generally avoid narrow spaces in case they got trapped. We need to understand that it’s not natural behaviour for them to go through a tight gap when they can see there’s a wider space available either side. 1 Set out two sets of wings five or six strides apart, with a gap of roughly 90-95cm between the wings. Now place two ‘tramline’ poles midway between, the same distance apart. The poles will help to keep your horse straight through the ‘skinnies’. 2 Walk through the wings and tramlines on each rein. In walk you have most control, so you can stop your horse from running out. You want him to see only the option of going through the gap, not going around the side of the wings. Repeat the exercise until he walks through the wings calmly. 3 Once you’ve mastered walking through, try it in trot. Build up to it by approaching in trot, downward transitioning to walk before the wings, then going back into trot after. Each time you ride it, do fewer walk steps until you’re trotting right the way through. 4 Next do the same in canter. As before. approach in canter, trot as you go through the gap, and then back to canter before staying in canter for the whole exercise. This teaches your horse not to rush and ensures that he understands the exercise. 5 Now add a short pole on the ground between each set of wings. Start in walk or trot, depending on how confident your horse is, then progress up the paces. 6 If you and your horse feel confident, raise one or both poles to a small fence.
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what to do when he comes across a skinny on a course. Introducing him to narrow fences in an arena allows you to start at a basic level and build up before tackling a more difficult solid fence.
Always practise exercises equally on both reins and remember that you don’t need to achieve everything in one session — you can do these exercises many times and progress to a higher level each time.
Build up from the basics before tackling a more difficult, solid skinny fence
This is a really helpful exercise that teaches your horse to be confident with narrow fences. As he gains confidence, you can start to skip the first couple of steps so that he jumps the fence from the beginning. At this point you’re ready to go out and try a proper cross-country version. 1 Set up your two skinny poles and wings again, but this time on a dog-leg curve. As before, start with the poles on the floor. 2 Walk, trot and canter over the poles as you did in exercise 1. This time it will be harder as you’ll have to ensure that your horse travels straight on a curved line (the back end follows the front) and doesn’t fall in or out on the turn. 3 Once you can follow your line over the poles, make one or both of them into a small skinny jump. Again, it’s important not to move onto the next step until your horse is confidently tackling this exercise without too much influence from you. 4 Gradually increase the height of the skinny jump until it’s suitable for your horse’s level. At this point he’ll be confidently jumping a fence that’s much narrower than the skinnies you’re likely to encounter at competitions. C
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PHOTOS - Mathew Roberts
Dressage rider and trainer Dan Greenwood challenges you to ditch the circles and try his exercises using only straight lines. Give them a whirl to transform your horse’s way of going and make you a more effective rider. And round you go again on another 20m circle… How often do you find yourself riding endless circles in your training sessions? There are lots of benefits to riding circles; however, they can encourage your horse to fall onto his inside shoulder, rather than stepping through from the inside hindleg and pushing forwards into a good uphill balance. To correct this, you need to work on improving the engagement and check your horse is bending through his body, not just his neck. This is much easier to do on the straight than on a circle. Dressage trainer and rider Dan Greenwood suggests four exercises that are all ridden on straight lines, with not a circle in sight. Take his challenge and incorporate these exercises into your training and you’ll soon be a much more effective rider while also improving your horse’s way of going.
RIDING CORNERS When you’re riding a circle or making a turn it’s all too easy to pull your horse around the corner using your inside rein. All this does is place your horse’s head and neck around the corner while his outside shoulder drifts in the opposite direction. To ride a turn correctly you need to use your outside aids. Move your outside rein so that it’s against your horse’s neck and apply gentle pressure, then use your outside leg to steer your horse around the corner. Your inside leg is there to keep the impulsion, while your inside rein guides and creates the bend to the inside, but it doesn’t pull. Learn to ride corners from your outside aids and you’ll have much more control over the position of your horse’s shoulders. This makes riding circles much easier as you’ll be able to maintain the shape and quality of the circle by riding the outside of your horse’s body rather than just the inside.
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MEET THE EXPERT Dan Greenwood is a dressage trainer and rider. Dan is an accredited trainer for the British Young Riders Squad and trained in Germany for three years preparing the young horses for the prestigious High Performance Sales. He’s won numerous national titles and has competed for Great Britain.
Working in straight lines can promote engagement and improve your horse’s way of going
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BOOSTING BALANCE The first exercise involves riding a large square shape. Pick a place in your arena to ride the shape and begin by riding it in walk a few times so that you can get a feel for riding an accurate square. Now ride it in trot. Make a transition to walk just before one of the corners, go around the turn, then ask for trot again. Ride this several times and you’ll begin to find your horse will start to anticipate the walk transition and his upward transition to trot will become more balanced too. Mix it up and ride a nearly walk transition at every other corner — a great way to develop your half-halt.
Points to focus on
1 Make sure that the lines of your square are
straight. Keep your horse’s head and neck straight. 2 Just before you turn, position your shoulders to the inside and put a little more weight to the outside. 3 Ride a slight leg-yield through the turn and picture pushing your horse’s tummy to the outside.
Keep your horse’s head and neck straight through the turn
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Move your shoulders in line with the direction of your turn
Look ahead to the point you’re riding to on your diamond
STEPS TO COLLECTION
The next exercise involves riding a half diamond shape in canter. It’s a good way to start teaching your horse to shorten his stride without you using too much rein and holding onto him. On the right rein, for example, turn off the track at B and ride straight towards the centre line. Ride a right-hand turn at the point of your diamond on the centre line and ride another straight line back to the track at E.
Points to focus on
1 Keep your horse’s neck straight and use your legs to keep his body straight.
2 Just before you turn at the point of your
diamond, turn your shoulders in the direction of the turn. 3 Keep your horse’s neck straight through the turn and use your outside aids. Resist the temptation to pull him round with your inside rein. 4 Ride your horse’s inside hindleg through the turn. After a few attempts, you’ll feel as if you can let go of the inside rein. To test your horse is in self-carriage and that you’re not holding onto your inside rein, try giving and retaking the inside rein. Your outside leg and hand help to turn your horse
Using your inside leg on the turn will encourage your horse to step through with his inside hindleg
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Keep your horse’s back straight as you ride a turn on the forehand
ENGAGING THE OUTSIDE HINDLEG If you stay on a constant circle your horse is likely to become heavy on your inside hand. This exercise of riding leg-yield in canter away from the track encourages your horse to listen to your outside leg and also improves engagement of his outside hindleg so he becomes lighter in your inside rein.
Points to focus on
1 Leg-yield away from the track by about 2m,
then continue down the long side. 2 As you ride off the track, have a little more weight on your outside seatbone. 3 If you’re riding this exercise on the right rein, the aim is to have the right side of your horse straight and the left side in a slight curve. 4 As you ride the leg-yield, you’re aiming for equal weight on all four feet, not on the inside shoulder as can sometimes happen.
Leg-yielding away from the track will lighten the feel on the inside rein
Another exercise to encourage your horse to be reactive to your leg aids while remaining straight in his body is a turn on the forehand. Ride a large square in walk a little off the track and at each corner ride a turn on the forehand. You don’t need to halt — just steady the walk before each corner before riding the movement. Once you’ve mastered this in walk, add a trot transition out of the corner.
Points to focus on
1 Shorten the stride until your horse
almost halts. 2 Ask for a little flexion to the inside. 3 Have your inside leg at the girth and your outside leg a little behind the girth. 4 Use your inside leg to ask your horse to move his inside hindleg to step under his body. He can now pivot around his inside front leg, which steps ever so slightly forward, and
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move his quarters around his front end.
5 Look up where you want to go. 6 Keep your hands level as you turn. 7 Your inside rein gently leads,
balanced by your outside rein to avoid too much bend in the neck. Once you complete the movement, 8 ride your horse forward in walk. 9 Repeat in the next corner. C
CANTER Are you ready to try counter-canter? Dressage coach Tracy Wright helps you hone it.
MEET THE TRAINER Tracy Wright is an Essex-based UKCC level 2 and 3 dressage coach. She is also the British Dressage (BD) Eastern Region coaches’ rep. When not competing and training her own horses, she teaches riders and horses at varying levels.
For want of a better description, counter-canter is cantering on the wrong
leg lead. In dressage tests, counter-canter first appears at novice level, but there are advantages to practising the movement in your schooling sessions even if you’re not preparing for a test. Working in counter-canter will help to straighten your canter. It will also improve your horse’s suppleness and help with canter balance. In addition, it’s a fantastic foundation on which to base teaching flying changes later in his training. Dressage coach Tracy Wright believes that it’s crucial to teach counter-canter correctly, however. “Riders need to keep their horse feeling confident,” says Tracy. “We’re continually asking our horses for the correct leg lead, then suddenly we change the game plan. So, as a rider, you must be careful with your body position and leg aids. When you start going into counter-canter ensure that your body doesn’t fight it and try to switch your legs the other way. Keep your aids sure and solid, or else your horse will get confused.”
IN THIS CLINIC YOU WILL LEARN n n n
How to test your horse’s balance and canter rhythm How to teach counter-canter To make tidy transitions with shallow loops
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Before you start the exercises, to help develop the counter-canter you must have enough balance in the canter. A great way to check your canter’s balance is to be able to spiral in and out of a 20m circle. “Establish an 18m circle, then a 15m circle, then 10m,” says Tracy. “It mustn’t be a rush to get straight in to a 10m circle. Your horse has to develop strength and balance. So focus on getting the 18m circle going first while maintaining balance and rhythm.”
3 Try to imagine a model train on a circular track. Even though it’s on a circle it keeps straight on the tracks and doesn’t derail. 4 It’s important when spiraling in that you keep the circle shape. Using cones or poles can help with this (see diagram, below). 5 Focus on the ‘straightness’ of your circle and the quality of your horse’s canter.
This is essentially a half 10m/15m circle back to the track (see diagram, below). The circle size depends on how balanced your canter is from exercise 1. It can also depend on your school size. In a 20x60m arena you have a little more room on the long side so you can get away with a half 15m circle. In a 20x40m school you’ll be better riding a half 10m circle as it allows you to get back to the track sooner.
How to ride it
1 The canter must remain ‘straight’
How to ride it
1 First, check that your leg aids are
correct — inside leg by the girth, outside leg slightly further back. 2 Your horse must be slightly flexed to the inside. Be careful, though — too much flexion can cause him to fall in or fall out.
Cones to help connect 18m, 15m and 10m circles
— again, care must be taken to have the right amount of flexion. 2 Once you’ve turned on the half circle you need to do a gentle turn back to the track. 3 The key is not to panic and rush the canter back to the track as this will throw your horse out of balance. Straightness and ‘jump’ are important. 4 It’s also important to merge carefully back to the track — if you make a sharp turn your horse could become disunited or even break back into trot. 5 The first few times you ride this exercise, trot before you get to the first corner. 6 Remember to praise your horse when his work is good.
Think of maintaining ‘jump’ in the canter
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Speed mean acti doesn’t necessaril always m vity and nor doe y s e maintain an collection. Th slow in ing ‘jump ’ in the ca k of “I often te nter. ll ride they’re ju mping th rs to feel that ro rope or g oing thro ugh a skipping of bounc ugh a long line e fen says Trac ces,” y.
Counter-canter around the end of the arena. Keep calm, don’t rush
GETTING AROUND THE SHORT END
Once exercise 2 is becoming more established, the next step is to counter-canter around the short end of the arena. Here you ride the half circle as you did in exercise 2, then continue around the corner in counter-canter, forming a half 20m circle (see diagram above).
How to ride it
1 When you’re in counter-canter,
remember that your horse needs to be flexed slightly over the canter lead, but not excessively. 2 Don’t wedge your horse into the corners. This will throw him out of balance and could cause him to break into trot or become disunited. As 3 before, don’t rush. There’s always a panic to get round the end of the arena, but don’t get desperate about it! The key is the quality and balance of the canter and the ‘jump’. 4 The jump of your canter will help your horse to negotiate the end — so not a fast, flat canter. 5 If your horse gets it, go back to trot and give him lots of praise. 6 If you’re not quite there yet then go back to exercise 1. You may need more work developing your 15m and 10m circles.
Work on keeping in counter-canter along both short and long sides
Exercise 4 BUILDING IT UP So, you’ve counter-cantered around the short end of the arena — what’s next? “Well, there are several things you can build on now,” says Tracy. “Continuing up the long side and checking your horse’s straightness is a good test.”
How to ride it
1 Remember that the front of a horse is
narrower than the back end, so don’t ride your horse straight along the fence line. 2 You need to be in a slight shoulder fore over the leading canter leg, but take care not to bend your horse’s neck too much. Instead, think about where his shoulders are. 3 Arena mirrors are great for this, but if you don’t have them, ask a helpful friend to video the long side for you. Watching things back helps to tell you whether what you feel is how it actually looks. If it’s not right, you can adjust accordingly.
Straight shoulder fore
If the counter-canter is good, see if you can ride through another end. Ensure that you keep the quality. If you lose the ‘jump’ and your canter is flat, do another exercise and recharge it. SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
Continue in counter-canter
Canter on left leg lead
Come back to trot whenever you feel your horse is struggling in the canter
Always remember which canter lead you’re on, and pay close attention to your leg, weight and seat aid as well as your flexions. It’s s, very easy to find that your legs creep back to the wrong can ter lead aids, and shoulders have a habit of doing the same.
SHALLOW LOOPS Shallow loops are a great way to pick up counter-canter (and a good exercise on their own). They are handy if your horse has lost balance down the long side and gone into trot — riding a loop will enable you to pick up the counter-canter again swiftly and continue.
How to ride it
BACK TO THE CORRECT LEG Remember that you can always come back to trot if you feel the canter is struggling — or as praise and reward when your horse has managed a particular exercise well. “There’s also a smart way you can finish and come back smoothly onto the correct leg lead again,” says Tracy. “To do this we’re going to reverse the second exercise.”
How to ride it
1 After riding counter-canter around the short end of the school and then back along the long side, this time leave the track from the middle marker and head directly towards A or C. 2 If you are on a left counter-canter lead, you’ll turn left into the corner so that you’re back on normal left canter lead. 3 If you’ve gone into counter-canter originally from a 15m circle rather than a 10m one, make it a 15m to return back. 4 This exercise is great if your horse has become a little long in the counter-canter. Going back to the correct rein using the fenced corner will help to ‘sit’ him back.
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1 The shallow loop needs to be at least 5m
and, if possible, executed in the first half of the long side to start with. 2 The loop is ridden in trot. As you hit the peak of the loop, pick up the countercanter lead and ride smoothly back to the track (see diagram, above). 3 As your horse progresses, make the loop smaller until you can pick up countercanter on the long side straight from trot or even walk. 4 If your walk-canter transitions asre good, try this exercise with walk-canter. It’s great preparation for simple changes.
It’s much more important to maintain ‘jump’ in the canter than speed. n Don’t be afraid to take a step back if your horse is struggling with an exercise. n Keep a close eye on your aids — it’s easy to creep back to the wrong lead aids when riding counter-canter. C n
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FOR RIDERS with Ashleigh Kendall Ashleigh mentors riders through her business, Empowered Mind. She is a mental skills coach, qualified NeuroLinguistic Programming Practitioner and an advanced dressage rider, offering her clients a multifaceted approach to guide riders to reach their goals.
Goal setting for equestrians is a crucial element for success; helping to take us forward in life; fuel our fire, inspire motivation and help foster discipline when we need it most. The journey through the levels of any discipline is not linear. We will have to ride the roller coaster of triumphs and setbacks as we go. This is why goal setting is vital in boosting resilience and hopefully achieving what we set out to do. Goals help us stay focused, build resilience, measure progress, and overcome procrastination and limiting beliefs.
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Goal: the object of a
person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. A goal is an observable and measurable result having
one or two objectives to be
achieved within a more or less fixed time frame.
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Plan your goals
Many people set goals in life; however, many don’t come anywhere near being achieved. It is not because of lack of work, effort, trying or passion, but more because they haven’t spent enough time thinking about what they truly want from their life. They haven’t sat down and planned and committed to a formal goal-setting process. They have missed critical factors in developing a pathway to success. This informal goal setting is like hopping in your car but having no idea of where you are going or how to get there- no plan and no direction to get anywhere worthwhile! An indicator of your level of commitment to your dream and your goals will be in the level of detail you have in your planning- this is your goal setting, record keeping and identifying your pathway to achieving those goals. The difference between whether your goal is a goal, or a fantasy lies within your plan’s detail.
Another reason writing your goals and pathway down is beneficial comes in those challenging times where you might struggle with your mindset or overcoming unhelpful thought processes that interfere with your performance. When you have a clear plan, you can revisit it and cultivate confidence knowing that you have intense faith in your journey and overcome obstacles. This level of planning helps you build resilience and courage to pursue your dreams. When you plan your pathway to your goals, you suddenly find yourself full of clarity, the path no longer looks like a bush walk, but it has transformed into a highway, you can easily navigate down. Of course, this doesn’t mean it comes easily or without a challenge, but you will be better equipped and more resilient to continue on no matter what. Finding this clarity will allow you to put all your effort into the right things, in the right way and at the right time.
Goals help you cultivate confidence
Setting your goals with this system will lend you the courage to try. You will be able to cultivate confidence from operating in this space, allowing you to push yourself to the limit, failure even, and know that you can bounce back better for it. You will be able to look at situations and circumstance with a fresh perspective
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relative “Success unique and
is to each of us
and isn’t defined by a win, placing or score.
Top-level athletes, successful businesspeople and achievers in all fields set goals. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses on your knowledge, training and efforts, and it helps you organise your time and resources so that you can make the most out of your life.
knowing every experience is like a deposit into a bank that you can draw from when you most need it down the track. Probably when it matters more to you than right now. You will be less concerned about what others think of you and more interested in how you feel about yourself. This allows freedom in your mind to push yourself, meaning you will be even better than you could have been if you didn’t. Removing any inhibition you had before can only be a good thing.
Goal setting focused on an outcome, or result is inconsistent as there are so many other factors at play. For example, setting a goal of finishing in the prize giving at Horse of the Year may sound like a good goal for a competitive rider however this type of goal depends on how judges feel on the day, how well other competitors will do, as well as your performance. Can you see how complicated and distracting that becomes? Therefore, taking focus away from your performance. Instead of having clarity and being able to be present in the moment to ride your horse, you will find your mind is instead full of all sorts of unhelpful thoughts and negative chatter! Illustrating why it is crucial to set non-outcome-based success rules. An example of this for me in my dressage career would be; “I am going to try and ride as mindfully as possible, focused on each step and also riding that moment to produce a harmonious and flowing test. Not what has just happened or what is going to happen next.” If I can achieve this, my result will probably be quite good, and certainly better than if my mind is cluttered with junk that will only get in the way of my performance. I will be able to react and ride through any problems that might pop up as my mind is clear and present. Of course, factors outside of my control could still interfere, but I would assess my achievement based on how I felt I went rather than letting someone else take control of this. Being a bit of a control freak allows me to let go of any clutter in my mind about what other people might think of me because all I have to do is my best at the time. Ownership of your goals and performance in this way is highly liberating and leaves your mind free from stuff that doesn’t matter regarding your performance.
Setting your goals with this system will lend you the courage to try.
How do I set my goal?
One great way to set achievable and positive goals that are independent of outside factors is to set a SMART goal, that is:
S PECIFIC - your goal should be clear and well defined, get into the nitty gritty of it and avoid being vague as you won’t have
adequate direction to achievement. The more specific you can make your goal, the better.
M EASURABLE - how will you know that you have been successful in achieving your goal? How will you know that you
have got there? Make sure you have a way to measure success, again independent of a ribbon or result.
A TTAINABLE - set a goal that is going to stretch you into your growth zone, but not so huge that it is near impossible to
achieve and you become demoralised. The goal is to help motivate you and keep you accountable to your dreams, not undermine your confidence.
RELEVANT - align your goals with the direction you want to take. T IME BOUND - have a deadline to these goals, remember you can set short, mid and long term goals. Remember, recording this in detail is key, put it somewhere that you can easily reflect on.
Developing your pathway
Keeping records is a super way to track your progress. Recording your highlights and areas that you need to work on helps you stay on track and is also a positive way to bottle your experiences and learnings. Staying positive and bottling all the good also enables you to shift away from any negative chatter and thoughts about yourself. You are wiring the mind with positive thoughts to draw on when you need a confidence boost. Constantly gathering evidence to prove you CAN do what it is you want most in life.
Pockets of mastery
Pockets of mastery are little moments that you note that went well in your day and ride, focusing on the positive, so your brain starts to fire towards that way of thinking, helping you build confidence instead of ruminating in the negative which is demoralising and trains the mind to think in negative patterns. It is one of the most powerful strategies you can adopt into your mindset training. It is easy to focus on when things are going south and beat yourself up about it. Some people may even tell you to be critical of your performances to improve, but that isn’t going to help you build confidence, in fact it will do the exact opposite of that, eating away at your confidence until you are full of self doubt. You may not have had a great day, but the key is to always focus on your great moments and identify things that did go well. If you tell me there was nothing then I don’t believe you, look deeper. There is always something. Daily goal setting and pockets of mastery template and complete this each day/ time you ride for best results: n Choose no more than three-five goals, too many will overwhelm you and contradict the exercise n Pockets of mastery: what went well n Areas to work on: these quite often can become your goals for the next training.
4 TIPS ON OWNING YOUR GOALS
1 It can be hard out there when you see everyone getting super results, and you feel like your own don’t measure up to where you want them to be. The challenging part is not to let yourself become resentful of your friends; this is where quite a lot of negativity comes from within our sport. 2 When you can set goals that are unique to you, based on outcomes that don’t require a score or another person’s opinion, you will find your success independent from others. You might not get a terrific result that day, but it won’t matter because you have set great goals that you can measure your success against, you know you are heading in the right direction towards the big picture. 3 It is a small but huge way you can make the competition more enjoyable for you and in turn if we were all able to do that to even a minimal degree the sport would become more encouraging, more successful and most of all more fun! 4 Success is relative and unique to each of us and isn’t defined by a win, placing or score. C SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -
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Join our discerning readers and discover an equestrian world that has compelling interviews, advice and training articles that both empower...
Published on Mar 24, 2021
Join our discerning readers and discover an equestrian world that has compelling interviews, advice and training articles that both empower...