Show Circuit Magazine - December 2019 / January 2020

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A picture paints a thousand words... On the pages of this magazine, you’ll find plenty of carefully crafted words from our team of talented writers. But it’s the images that bring the stories to life - portraying that special relationship between horse and rider, candid behind the scenes photos of riders in their home environment, or action shots from the latest events on the circuit. Most of our valued contributors, both writers and photographers, also enjoy spending time with their four-legged friends, and many also get out and about competing. Recently, one of our team clocked up a result in the ring we felt was worth celebrating. Photographer Christine Cornege travelled to Ecuador to represent New Zealand at the FEI World Jumping Challenge Final 2019. Not only did Christine wear the silver fern, but she also stood on the podium and took home the silver medal. Congratulations Christine on this wonderful achievement. This issue is jam-packed full of insightful profiles, educational pieces and advice, training clinics with experts and photo essays from some of the early events on this season’s calendar. A must-read is Ashleigh Kendall’s interview with British dressage legend, Carl Hester, who was in the country for Equidays. Carl came from humble beginnings and, even though he has achieved huge success at the highest level of the sport, remains down to earth and relatable. His story makes for an inspirational read. Over in the UK, we profile young eventer, James Avery, who is making his mark at the top level, recently finishing best of the Kiwis in the Nations Cup at Boekelo in 13th place individually, and also making his 5* debut at Pau. At the time of going to print, ESNZ had just announced international eventing owners, USbased Kiwi couple David and Karie Thomson had committed to investing in horsepower and wrap-around support for James and also Ginny Thompson, with a specific eye to the Paris Olympics in 2024. What a fantastic opportunity for these two rising stars. James and Ginny are just two of a number of young up-and-coming eventers putting a hand up for Paris 2024, or even Tokyo Olympics selection next year. With the departure of some of the old guard, particularly the retirement of Sir Mark Todd, there may well be an opportunity for the next generation to make a serious bid for selection. It will be interesting to see who ends up in the mix. We have several training clinics in this issue, including showjumping in the week leading up to a show with Penny Stevenson, and a lesson with biomechanics specialist, Britta Pedersen. Our cover features Chanel Flyger and her gorgeous mare Hot Chocolate MH. Chanel was the rider in our dressage training clinic with Hubertus Hufendiek. If the recent hot weather is anything to go by, summer is (hopefully!) just around the corner. If you’re looking for some ideas on how to beat the heat and keep cool in the hotter months, as well as making sure your four-legged friends are well cared for, check out our Too Hot to Trot and Summer Horse Care Tips features. Stay cool and happy riding.

Sheryll Davies, Publisher COVER IMAGE Chanel Flyger and HOT CHOCOLATE MH IMAGE Show Circuit Magazine

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PHOTOGRAPHERS Arnd Bronkhorst Bridget Ford Images Caitlin Beezie Cheleken Photography Cornege Photography Dark Horse Photography Hannah O’Brien Photography Juan Esteban Iturralde Libby Law Photography Michelle Clarke Photography Pablo Albuja Ruth Gilmour Shelley Paulson Photography Tomáš Holcbecher Tyrone Crous


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OUR PEOPLE 16 22 28 32 40 48 54 58

Christine Cornege | Making Memories James Avery | Realising his Ambitions Emma James | Tough Kid on the Block Carl Hester | A Gold Medal Journey Anna Gale | 24 Hours in the Life Bertram Allen | An International Portrait Anne Hjorth & Peter Hill | Their Adventure Karen Teague | Reaching Mighty Heights







116 Joint Forces 122 Too Hot to Trot 124 Summer Health Guide 126 Legal Advice 128 Can Defeat Build Character?

Hubertus Hufendiek | Dressaged for Success Penny Stevenson | Be Ready to Compete Britta Pedersen | Rider Biomechanics

IN EACH ISSUE 98 Insider's Shopping Guide 130 Subscribe

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WORDS Rebecca Harper FEI IMAGES Pablo Albuja MAIN IMAGE RIGHT Juan Esteban Iturralde


making memories

The award-winning photographer is known for her talent in capturing special memories for people, and she recently created a memorable moment of her own, jumping to a podium finish at the FEI World Jumping Challenge Final 2019.


n what she regards as the highlight of her riding career to date, Christine took the silver medal at the prestigious event, held at Club Rancho San Francisco in Quito, Ecuador, in September. When the Cambridge rider received the email from ESNZ in July to say she had qualified for the final and was invited to compete, it was short notice for a self-funded trip, but Christine wasn’t going to pass up on her golden opportunity to wear the silver fern. “I did a little happy dance and was really excited but


wasn’t sure if it was something I could realistically do with work, horses, and family. “I knew they weren’t running the challenge in New Zealand this season and, if we didn’t get them back next season, it could be the last time anyone gets to go—so I knew I had to make it happen.” Christine qualified by jumping in the qualifying rounds, held last season in New Zealand at three shows – Rotorua Show Jumping Spring Show, Equidays 2018, and Showjumping Auckland Grand Prix Show.


The best two out of three qualifiers count—each competitor’s results are stacked against those of riders from other participating countries, in order to decide who will contest the final. Ironically, Christine won the challenge in the North Island in 2015 but did not qualify to compete in the final. This time around, she placed third overall in the challenge but received the nod. “Emma Gaze, who won, couldn’t go as she’d just had a baby and Mikayla Herbert was second, so she and I went to Ecuador.” Christine ran an auction to help fund her trip and was overwhelmed by the support she received from the equestrian community, as well as friends and family.


Competing on a borrowed horse presents its challenges, and riders were allocated mounts by picking a number, like a bingo wheel. Christine drew Palugo, a 10-year-old gelding by a son of Darco. Luckily for her, his regular rider was on hand and spoke good English. “I didn’t remember him from the trot up, he wasn’t one that had stood out to me, but we went to the stables, and he looked cute. I hopped on and instantly felt pretty comfortable. I took my saddle, which I think was a huge benefit for me personally.” After drawing their horses, they had their first ride that afternoon. They were allowed 30 minutes on the flat and 15 minutes in the main arena to jump and were only allowed to jump six fences. At that stage, Christine was soaking up the experience and wasn’t thinking about the result. “I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself, and I didn’t have expectations other than to do the best that I could.” On Wednesday, she and Palugo jumped clear in the first competition, a warm-up A1 class. The next day was the first qualifier, one round against the clock. They had two fences down, and it was a good learning experience.

“The courses all rode well, and the striding was nice and forward. I still wasn’t thinking too much about the final, which the top 10 combinations went forward to.” 18

“I made the mistake of trying to go a bit too quick for the horse, and he didn’t turn that well. In hindsight, it was a good thing, as it made me realise how I needed to ride him.” Despite the two rails, they were still in 10th place out of 21 riders after the first qualifier. Christine then finished second in the second qualifier. It involved a two-round competition, with round two being against the clock. “The courses all rode well, and the striding was nice and forward. I still wasn’t thinking too much about the final, which the top 10 combinations went forward to.” Sunday’s final was another two-round competition. “I had one down in the first round, and there were three clears and three or four of us on four faults. I thought I could get a minor placing, and I already had two ribbons, so I would have been happy to go home with that. “In the second round, I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t ride too much for the time; I just wanted a clear round, and luckily, I held it all together. I was excited to jump clear, and after me, the clears from the first round went. The first rider sadly jumped the wrong course and was eliminated, and the next rider had a rail. The last rider jumped a beautiful clear round, and she was the winner.” Christine hadn’t paid much attention to her time, and it wasn’t until the placings were announced she realised she’d bagged the silver. “I almost felt as though I’d won because it was so unexpected, and then it hit me, I was going to get a medal. “Overall, it was the highlight of my riding career. I did compete in Europe and Holland at small shows as a young rider, but to represent New Zealand is not something I ever thought I could do at my age. After young riders, those opportunities seem to dry up, unless you make a senior team.” Christine believes the competition is essential and would love to see the classes be rerun in New Zealand. “It’s really important, not just for people like me who get to go


to the final, but being able to ride in those classes in New Zealand is an insight into the courses you could face in Europe, as the courses are set by an international course designer.” She made an effort to document her experience in Ecuador on social media, so people at home could gain a better understanding of the competition.


IMAGE Ruth Gilmour

Horses were always destined to play a significant role in Christine’s life. Her parents, Fred and Lindsay, train racehorses and operate Seattle Lodge Stud, where they have stood both warmblood and Thoroughbred stallions over the years. “I rode on and off as a kid. I used to go to the racetrack and watch mum and dad compete. At boarding school, I was friends with girls who rode, and they couldn’t believe I lived on a horse stud and didn’t ride! I thought I’d better start – and I think now, out of all my friends, I’m the only one still riding. “The first pony I got was Kallista Field’s old pony, so I wanted to do dressage. I think that lasted a week before I got bored and wanted to jump.” These days, her top horse is Marlon, a 13-year-old gelding by Voltaire II, out of Fred’s good jumping mare, Garland. They bred the horse, and Christine has worked with him from day dot. “I’ve had help along the way. He wasn’t easy, he’s so quirky, and we did have a love-hate relationship for a long time. I’m sporting a rather large bruise on my butt—on Friday, he dumped me twice in about a minute. He’s funny like that. I don’t think I’ve ever had a horse with so much personality!” The pair compete at 1.30-1.35m regularly, and Christine says that’s their sweet spot. Marlon has been consistent in the last few seasons, and last season, they were third in the Pro-Am series. “I think I’m happy at this level. He knows his job and finds it easy. He’s been jumping at this level since he was six, and that’s a long time to keep a horse fit, healthy and sound.” She credits her parents and their knowledge of horse management with his longevity. “Dad takes him swimming for me at the track in summer when the ground gets hard. I don’t ride him at home as much, and I don’t jump him at home during the season. He goes on the walker too, but I don’t make him do anything he doesn’t want to do. “We treat the horses like kings – they get looked after better than I look after myself!” Christine also has an exciting paddock full of nicely bred youngsters waiting to follow in Marlon’s footsteps. She is grateful to be sponsored by Equilibrium Australia & Lexvet International, Vetpro and Stirling Collection Equestrian.


Photography is a career for Christine, as well as the perfect way to combine her passion for horses with work. After years of working in daily news photography, she is now self-employed in her own business, Cornege Photography, and mum to four-year-old Georgia. She considers herself fortunate to have a supportive husband, Dave, and family who live in the same town. “I’m lucky Dave’s motto in life is ‘yes dear’, and he doesn’t say no to my hobbies!” Most weekends during the season, Christine can be found at a horse show, and when she’s not in the saddle, she’s a familiar face in the ring with her camera. “It’s the best work-life balance, and I feel pretty lucky to combine my hobby and job and get the best of both worlds.” Readers will be familiar with Christine’s images on the pages of Show Circuit, but Christine considers that she doesn’t have a niche and can be found photographing a broad range of subjects,


“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce” – Karl Lagerfeld

“I’ve had help along the way. He wasn’t easy, he’s so quirky, and we did have a love-hate relationship for a long time.” not just horses. She is a finalist in the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year with her stunning image of a young girl performing in a Kapa Haka group from the IHC. “It’s pretty big, especially considering I don’t work in newspapers anymore. It’s cool to be recognised against great photographers and to know that my editorial work can still cut it.” The thing she most loves about photography is the happiness it brings others and capturing special moments. “I think a photo can be so many things to different people. It’s how a photo makes you feel. I compare it to the difference between baking and cooking– you can make so many more people happy with baking! I like that my photos make people happy. “I photographed a family yesterday, the kids were four and 17 months old, and they said it was the first family photos they’d ever had. I feel like it’s a privilege that I was the one who got to do it.” A message from a happy client summed it up perfectly: “He said to me, thank you for filling my best memories.” C

Marlon is Christine’s main show jumping horse in New Zealand, she wouldn’t describe him as easiest horse in the world but he is worth the effort.




James Avery WORDS Rebecca Harper IMAGES Libby Law Photography

As a sixteen-year-old completing his farrier's apprenticeship in Canterbury, this talented up-and-coming rider never imagined he'd be based in the UK as a professional event rider with his own yard. Now, he is realising his ambitions of representing his country on the world stage. lot has changed for James Avery in a few short years, including the fact he no longer shoes his own horses – though he does confess to missing shoeing. The 26-year-old is based at Lambourn, England, and has a string of promising horses, including One of a Kind, who he recently partnered with to finish best of the Kiwi team at the Nations Cup event at Boekelo, in the Netherlands. The combination finished on their dressage score and placed 13th individually, helping the Kiwis to fourth in the team's competition. James and his other top mount, Mr Sneezy, recently made their 5* debut at Pau, finishing a creditable 17th place on 54.3 penalty points, and showing they are a promising combination for the future. "There were a lot of positives to take away. We have a bit to work on in the dressage ring, but I have no doubt we will get that. The cross country wasn't his ideal track, being a little twisty, but it has done us both the world of good and stepped us in a positive direction for the next one."


James rode as a kid in New Zealand, with his mum and dad putting him on ponies from the age of five. "Eventually I got into eventing and jumping, which was much cooler than show pony classes!" He started as a farrier at 16, doing his

apprenticeship in Christchurch with eventer Brent Jury. "We were both eventing at the time and shoeing as well. I had a horse that was doing the old 2* and wanted to do the Young Rider, but by the time the Trans-Tasman competition came he was out of action, and stayed out of action." Soon after completing his exams and qualification as a farrier, James was kicked in the head by a horse while shoeing and consequently had a year "doing absolutely nothing". He spent time at a dairy farm belonging to the Crowe family, whose daughter Maddy is also an eventer. "I stayed with the family and got back on my feet and did work for them when I could manage it." A meeting with an old friend, Cam Price, (brother of top eventer Tim) was the catalyst for his move to the UK. "He asked, do you have a girlfriend? No. Do you have a job? No. Do you have a horse? No. So he said, pack your suitcase, you're coming to England."


In March 2013, James moved to England to work for Tim and Jonelle Price for a year. "I had always enjoyed working with horses and thought I'd go and see what it was all about - if I like it, I'll stay, if I don't, I'll go home. I had nothing to lose by trying." He was given a horse each of Tim and Jonelle's to compete, which gave him a foot in the door. After that, he spent a year working at the yard


ABOVE James and MR SNEEZY during the Equi-Trek CCI-L4* crosscountry at Bramham International Horse Trial 2019. BELOW James and ONE OF A KIND during the cross-country for the House of Waterford Crystal CCI3*-S. at Camphire International Horse Trials 2019. BOTTOM RIGHT James and MR SNEEZY during the showjumping for the Equi-Trek CCI-L4* at Bramham International Horse Trial 2019.

of British eventer, Tiny Clapham, which was pivotal. "Coming from New Zealand, I was a bit rough and ready. Tiny showed me what it is to have a real routine and have proper care taken of the horses. She would be one of the best horsewomen around and was incredible to learn from." While at Tiny's yard, James put a syndicate together to get his own horse and also met Ruth Taten, who has since become a very close friend. "Ruth had a little yard of her own and a few horses for me to ride, and I could base with her. That was when I went out on my own and got my first recognisable result, at Somerford Park in the 1*, placing first and second. That was the first time I figured out, maybe I can do this.

"HE'S THE FASTEST HORSE I'VE EVER RIDDEN. HE'S ALSO A VERY GOOD JUMPER AND IS DEFINITELY A LONG FORMAT GALLOPING TRACK TYPE OF HORSE." "It's intimidating coming to England, and you are riding against your idols – competing against the likes of Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson, William Fox-Pitt or Zara Tindall. Me not being the most experienced rider either, you think, how am I going to beat these guys?" James's solution was to adopt a typical Kiwi can-do attitude. "I didn't think about it. I just made up my mind, this is something I want to give a really good go, and away we go." But it hasn't all been smooth sailing and one incident was particularly unpleasant. "I got to the end of my two-year work visa and went on holiday out of the country. I was within all the time frames, but while I was away I bought a handbag for Ruth's 40th birthday, and when I came back, they decided I must have a


girlfriend, wasn't intending on leaving the UK and locked me up in a cell for the night. "I was in a cell in Birmingham Airport for 10 hours, put on a plane to Europe and then back to New Zealand." While he can look back on his deportation now and see the funny side, it wasn't so humorous at the time. Ironically, James went back to the UK on an entrepreneur's visa, which was what he needed to start his own company anyway. After spending two seasons at Ruth's yard, another critical moment came when Jock Paget moved back to New Zealand. "I took over the rides from him with an owner called Joe Giannamore. Jock and Erik Duvander got me hooked up, and I took over some of the young horses Jock left behind. That was a stepping stone to making a real business work and having horses that got results at a higher level. I won some 2* (now 3*) events and that was a big part of being able to make my business successful with a bigger group of owners and more quality horses." When he moved to Joe's yard, James started living with Meregan and Charles Norwood, who owned a horse with him. "That's the cool thing about the eventing community here, you meet people, and they bring you into their family. The Norwoods have been part of all the highs, and the lows, of the last three years."


The recent result at Boekelo was a career highlight for James, in what has been a purple patch of good form. "It was special to go away on a Nations Cup team and finish 13th. He was one of seven horses who finished on his dressage score, against the best in the world. Although I didn't win, it was a big achievement." Two weeks prior he notched up his first 4* win at Ballindenisk International in Ireland, also with One of a Kind, a 12-year-old by Jumbo – the same sire as Andrew Nicholson's Avebury – out of a Thoroughbred mare. "He is owned by Hazel Livesey, who has four horses with me now. We have an awesome relationship and some cool horses to work with. "They have all stepped up at the right time. Next year will be exciting, but anything can happen, even with the best plans in the world. But that horse, One of a Kind, is a brilliant jumper. He's a horse that absolutely loves jumping on the last day, and I have all winter to get stuck into the dressage and make sure that's just as competitive as the other two phases." His other top horse, Mr Sneezy, took him around Blenheim long format last year, Bramham this year, and his first-ever 5* track at


"IT WAS SPECIAL TO GO AWAY ON A NATIONS CUP TEAM AND FINISH 13TH. HE WAS ONE OF SEVEN HORSES WHO FINISHED ON HIS DRESSAGE SCORE, AGAINST THE BEST IN THE WORLD. ALTHOUGH I DIDN'T WIN, IT WAS A BIG ACHIEVEMENT." Pau in October. The horse is owned by Tiny Clapham and Ian and Heidi Woodhead and formally ridden by James's girlfriend, Holly Woodhead, who produced him to 4* level. Ian also happens to be James's dressage coach and has helped him up his game significantly in this department. "He's been very important, having someone to push me on the flat, because you have to be competitive in all three phases." Mr Sneezy is an 11-year-old Irish-bred, 7/8ths Thoroughbred and has the most amazing gallop. "He's the fastest horse I've ever ridden. He's also a very good jumper and is definitely a long format galloping track type of horse."


James is quick to point out he has been 'lucky' in his riding career – though that luck is matched by hard work, determination and a hunger to win. His main driver is the fact he loves working with horses; the other is his competitive nature. "I wouldn't always show it, but I'm an extremely competitive person and push myself all the time. I love winning and pushing myself to try to win; that's what drives me to do better and be


James and MR SNEEZY during the SAP Cup - CICO4*-S Nations Cup Eventing Showjumping 2019. better. Without that, maybe you'd be happy with a top 10 or completing a 5*, but for me, they're stepping stones, not the finished product." From a young age, James was obsessed with representing his country. He wasn't fussed on what sport; he just wanted the silver fern. "I think representing my country at the Olympics would be the number one goal. Since moving to England and learning how special Badminton and Burghley are, winning one of those would also be a whole other level!" His advice to other young Kiwis is simple – work hard and be prepared to start at the bottom. "To get where I am in six years, there has been a certain amount of luck and being in the right place at the right time and opportunities. But those opportunities come with putting your head down and working - being at the bottom of the pack at a yard and working your way up. You might start with a riding job and have 100 pounds in your pocket a week." James says it's not necessary to bring horses with you either. "I would never - if I'd stayed home - been able to collect a string of five quality horses, fly them to England and base myself here. People don't need to get hung up on having horses to bring with them." He is grateful to be sponsored by Keyflow Feeds, Childeric Saddles and New Zealand's Moore's Riding Wear, as well as having the support of his mum and dad. He paid special tribute to his invaluable head lad, Louis Westcott, who holds the whole operation together and allows him to focus on riding. C


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You would be forgiven for thinking a horse with the race name 'Tough Kid' was just that, tough. But that couldn't be further from the truth for the 16.2hh bay gelding who is affectionately known as Jeff, a name that his owner, Emma James, says suits him to a tee.


WORDS Cheyenne Nicholson IMAGES Cheleken Photography

stable favourite during his previous career as a racehorse, Jeff made his competition debut at this year's Dunstan Ex-Factor competition at Equidays. It was Emma's first taste of significant competition as well and may not have happened if it wasn't for the encouragement of close friend Justine Scott to get an off-the-track Thoroughbred to continue her riding career.


Emma's 'horse of a lifetime' Ed, a Percheron cross Quarter horse, needed an adjustment in his workload as he entered into his twilight years. She decided to lease him out so he could help another rider build their confidence and enjoy a slower pace of life. "Once Ed was leased out, I thought "yeah I could get another horse." I had never considered a Thoroughbred before. Justine suggested it, and as she used to work at Eventstars, she had a

lot of experience and offered to help me with schooling and everything." Having never owned or ridden a green horse before, let alone an off the track Thoroughbred (OTTB), Emma was dubious about the idea but decided to at least try a few horses. The first two OTTB's Emma tried didn't click with her and it wasn't until she climbed aboard Jeff that she got the feeling she'd found the one. He finished racing in February of this year after a lack-lustre racing career and started his sport horse education with Katrina Davies whom Emma purchased him off. Like many OTTB's Jeff was missing a few buttons and was unsure of many of the questions Emma asked him. He didn't know what soft was, had a bit of a sticky brake and was generally uncertain about his new job. "He was chilled, and I was like ok, I quite like him. Then I was cantering in a circle, and we just got faster and faster, and I couldn't slow him down! My partner was standing in the middle of the circle and asked Justine if I was ok. She told him probably not, but to keep calm. I finally heard her tell me to soften my inside hand, and he started slowing down. "Then I decided I wanted to jump him out on the cross country, which is a huge thing for me as I can be a nervous rider at the best of times. We did some 60cm jumps, and that was the deciding factor, I told Katrina I wanted to buy him on the spot."

has a lot of maturing to do mentally." Justine has been a key ingredient in the success of Emma and Jeff's partnership. While Emma often lacks confidence in herself and her ability as a rider, Justine has been the reassuring and supportive rock for both horse and rider to lean on. "I don't think I would have been confident enough to do this without her support. She backs me even when I don't back myself. She'll push me out of my comfort zone but won't over face me with something I can't do. Justine and my partner Jerran have been amazing through this entire experience, and I wouldn't have done it without them."

Dunstan Ex-Factor

Emma confesses she's not a highly competitive rider; between her work commitments and financial restraints, she says her only goal has always been to have fun with her horses. When entries opened for this year's Dunstan Ex-Factor challenge on their Facebook page, Emma was inundated with notifications of people tagging her and encouraging her to enter with Jeff. While Emma wasn't sure she belonged in a competition with such high calibre riders, she applied anyway, and to her surprise was accepted.

“I DON'T THINK I WOULD HAVE BEEN CONFIDENT ENOUGH TO DO THIS WITHOUT HER SUPPORT.� "I was super excited but also really nervous. I'd never competed in anything that would come close to Equidays. I've never trained a green horse before, and I'm not the most confident rider, but I figured because of all of that, I didn't have anything to lose. If I got in the ring and completed everything, then it was a success in my book." Emma discovered very quickly that working with young green horses, while rewarding, can be equally testing - both physically and mentally. With the help of Justine, who pushes Emma out of her comfort zone and backs her even when she doesn't back herself, she has been taking the training process slowly to ensure Jeff's post-track training is done correctly to set him up for a positive second career. "I'm new to this, and he's only four, so I want to get it right. We're not in a race to do anything at a certain time. He's a talented jumper and has a lot of scope, but it's probably me that's holding us back, I want to focus on his flatwork and get that down before we tackle bigger courses. He's still learning to understand flatwork and gets behind the leg or doesn't understand what I'm asking. He

While it's easy to assume the most challenging part of riding and training OTTB's might be dealing with temper tantrums, young horse behaviour or installing all the right buttons, for Emma it's been dealing with her insecurities and issues. Confidence and self-doubt have been at the forefront for Emma for a lot of her life. Working with Jeff has made her front up to those feelings and address them head-on. "When I'm working with Jeff, I can't think like that; I can't doubt myself because he needs a leader and needs to know that everything is ok. If I'm unsure or worried, he picks up on it and becomes unsure himself. It's why I'm doing everything at my own pace. Yes, we might be less prepared than other combinations at Equidays, but it needed to be a positive experience for us both."

Mental Health and horses

Emma will openly admit that horses have saved her life. In 2014 a fall left Emma with an unknown injury to her hip that remains a mystery even today despite numerous tests, doctors visits and treatments.


“COME COMPETITION DAY I FELT CALMER THAN I THOUGHT, BUT I THINK IT'S BECAUSE I HAD SO MANY PEOPLE AROUND TO HELP IF ANYTHING WENT WRONG.” If there's even one person who can relate to me and feel like they're not alone, then I feel like I've done well. I didn't think we had a chance to win, but it's not about that for me. It's about support and helping people and proving to myself that I can do this and I can push back from my struggles." Over the past few years, along with support from friends and loved ones, horses have helped Emma in her mental health journey and get through some of her darkest days. Having the sole responsibility of caring for her horses meant that even on her worst days when she struggled to get out of bed, she had no choice. "Sometimes, depression can feel all-consuming, but it hasn't been able to get that bad because I've always had my horses to get me through. "One of the main reasons I entered was to show people that not everyone has to be a super experienced or well off or well-known rider to compete at such an event. I've had a lot of people thank me for sharing my experiences about horses and my mental health transparency because it helped adjust their mindsets."

It's showtime

"I've never had a definitive diagnosis. It's suspected that I damaged the cartilage in my left hip. After the fall, I gained a lot of weight, became addicted to sugar and energy drinks, and finally in 2017 was diagnosed with depression." Her depression diagnosis initially came as a shock, but she says in hindsight, the signs were always there. As a teenager, Emma recalls experiencing dizzying highs and extreme lows in her moods, outside the norm of a 'hormonal teenager' which she then thought was the case. "I've never felt suicidal, but I remember curling in a ball in my bedroom and crying, and I was always beating myself up, thinking I wasn't good enough. I told those closest to me, but noone else, not even the people I work with knew anything about it until I put a post-up on my Facebook page I created to track my Ex-Factor journey." Tattooed on her wrist is a simple, yet deeply meaningful semicolon. The semi-colon is used when an author could've ended their sentence but chose not to; they chose to continue. "It's a good reminder than I can keep going and get through anything. I'm quite a private person, and the tattoo is a good way of me talking about mental health and my journey. I suppose in a way that's partly why I wanted to do Ex-Factor. I'm just an average Joe, who loves horses and wants to be an advocate for mental health and help remove the stigma. I want to push myself and prove to myself I can do things and that my mental health doesn't define me.


In the lead up to Equidays, Emma set a few simple goals. Firstly, to ride every class she had signed up for and not need her back up rider (Justine), to get correct canter leads in dressage (and remember her test!), go clear in Show Hunter and overcome her discomfort of riding in front of crowds. "Come competition day I felt calmer than I thought, but I think it's because I had so many people around to help if anything went wrong. The first day was our most unsettled, we were both in a new environment, and it was quite windy, so a lot of store tents and flags were flapping." Both Jeff and Emma put their best foot forward across the three days of competition. Emma achieved her goal of remembering her test and nailing her canter leads and got a lovely clear Show Hunter round without needing to call on her backup rider. "In Paced and Mannered he was settled at the beginning but about halfway through he was telling me he had had enough. It had been a massive few days for him, and he was starting to get uncomfortable, so I retired him from the class. He didn't need to keep trotting around in circles; he didn't owe me anything after such a big few days – I was so impressed with his tenacity to even get to that stage." As one of the youngest horses to compete in the event, Emma says that even though they didn't place, the weekend was a win in her books. With the help and support of friends, family, her sponsors and even from strangers, Emma proved to herself that she could be motivated and goal-driven and could push through her negative thoughts and accomplish what she set her mind - and not letting her mental health own her. "I've learned a lot about Jeff and Thoroughbreds in general. Most of them are such willing and genuine horses that aim to please. They are so talented and given a chance can excel in any discipline." C

198A Great South Road, Takanini, Auckland P: (09) 298 7094 E:


CARL HESTER A GOLD MEDAL JOURNEY Carl Hester is a legend in dressage, and he’s a seriously nice guy who is articulate and humorous. During his career, he has been highly successful as a rider, coach, clinician, and author, and he has recently launched a new clothing collection. Ashleigh Kendall caught up with him during his recent trip to Equidays to find out what makes him tick.

Carl riding HAWTINS DELICATO at the European Dressage Championships 2019. IMAGE Arnd Bronkhorst


“I love riding. I am never going to stop riding. Every horse I get up to Grand Prix is a challenge for me, and that’s why I do it.”


IMAGE Tomáš Holcbecher



“Sark is often described as being 500 people clinging to a rock,” Carl laughs as he tells of his childhood home. “There are no cars, everyone learns how to ride. Horses are very much a normal part of everyday life there, so I learned to ride from a young age. “As a kid, I was blessed by where I was brought up, probably like anyone that was brought up in New Zealand feels,” he reflects. “Being brought up on an island with literally no crime, fresh air, going to the beach after school and all that sort of thing—I was blessed from that point of view. “I was very shy, and I didn’t talk very much. I also loved animals and [was] always hanging around on the farm. That’s all I could think about doing every day when I finished school. I was normal, I guess, regular, not mean and not nasty, but not talkative either! I just enjoyed my childhood.” While many top riders come from families with generations of riders or significant amounts of money behind them, Carl is the exception. He learned to ride on a donkey, later graduating onto bigger ponies and horses. “Sark isn’t renowned for being a place that produces sportsmen; you could say that the main or only sport that takes place is refilling your pint at the local pub and walking back to your table.” Carl is the only gold medalist that hails from the sleepy island and while it is typical that he learned to ride, it is a remarkable feat when you think about the vast distance Carl has travelled from his humble beginnings.

Carl couldn’t believe his luck when the great Dr. Wilfried Bechtolsheimer asked him if he would be interested in joining his yard. “When I first arrived at his yard for the interview, I really could not believe my eyes. His yard was amazing and I was overawed. “I didn’t realise I had a gift as such, but I think having a gift or talent comes with the enjoyment of what you are doing. When I won my first young rider championship, I didn’t know what I was doing, and I didn’t know what had happened, I just did it,” he says. “So I was unaware of a gift as such. From then, my passion just came, and I was called to specialise, so I went to Dr. B’s. It was a whole new world of dressage for me. I just thought you put the horse on the bit and did the movements. I had done dressage as a kid, like most do, where it was a bit of a chore, and then I started to open my eyes to the real complexities in it, and how detailed it is, how disciplined you need to be. That’s when I decided that I could apply myself to it and take it as a career.”


Looking back, the first horse Carl had that inspired him would have been Rubelit Von Unkenriff, the horse who took him to the World Equestrian Games in 1990. “He literally took me from in October in 1989, not having ridden one-time tempi changes or anything, to the following June, competing at the World Championships, riding the Grand Prix, and we even made it to the final.” The pair finished a credible 18th individually, and the team placed 5th that year. “I am in awe of what a horse can teach you. He took my hand and carried me around all the tests. That shows what a generous, kind, lovely horse he was. “Giorgione, who I rode after him and took to the Olympics in 1992, was also very generous. They both pushed me in the right direction in dressage.” Carl, the youngest Brit to ever compete at the Olympics, said, “It was huge, life-changing, exciting, thrilling and a period that changed my life.” At the Olympic Games, he


When Carl turned 19, he didn’t have a clear idea about what he wanted to do with his life. With no jobs on the island, Carl decided to make a move to mainland England. Knowing he enjoyed his time around horses and not identifying any other clear ambition, Carl fortuitously began working at the Fortune Centre in Hampshire, and it was there he got his first taste for dressage. He was offered the ride to compete their coloured mare, Jolly Dolly. The pair went on to win the 1985 Young Dressage Rider Championships. From there, he moved to Jannie and Christopher Taylor’s eventing yard, where he spent the next three and a half years. “My eventing claim to fame was competing at the first Blenheim Horse Trials and winning the Spillers Dressage with Jumping Championship,” he recalls with amusement.


LEFT UTHOPIA is one of Carl’s most successful Grand Prix horses to date, making his British team debut at the 2011 European Championships where they won Individual silver and team gold. Above: Melissa Galloway and WINDERMERE JOBÈI W being taught in the Masterclass at Equidays in October 2019 by Carl. RIGHT NIP TUCK, proved to be a great mistake.

IMAGE Arnd Bronkhorst improved on his World Equestrian Games result, coming 16th individually.

IMAGE Caitlin Beezie


“My first ten was at Goodwood House,” he remembers. “It was voted the best international show every year when we had it in England, and it was stunning. It was in 1992, and I was riding Giorgione, who I went to the Olympics on that year. He had an extended trot to die for. Christoph Hess was a very young judge then; he was starting his international career, and I was starting mine, and it was Christoph who gave me my first ten for the extended trot. I was blown away by it. I have had two horses now who have received a ten for extended trot, Giorgione and Uthopia was my second one. It feels just as good every time.”


“At my first Olympics, there wasn’t the pressure for a result that we experience now. It was very much about going and participating, and it was a lot of fun. It felt a bit like a holiday because at the Olympics,

you can only take one horse, so we had a lot of free time to go and lie on the beach in Barcelona and enjoy ourselves. London was tough for me. I felt intense pressure. There were times I would be watching TV, and I would break down in tears because I just really felt the weight of the country expecting us to do well,” he remembers. Often surrounded by media and even having journalists show up on his yard, intruding on him at home after London, Carl fortunately didn’t let the media attention bother him too much. “The media attention for me has not been that hard because by [the time] London [came around], I had been in the sport and going to the Olympics for 20 years before we won gold with average attention. I got a lot of attention in the beginning of my career. I was a good story because I was so young and coming from Sark and going to the Olympics. There was a lot of interest in that, but it was my life, so that wasn’t difficult to deal with. By the time it came around to London, when the media had become huge at that time, I was already well used to it. It was different


“The other thing to accept is that it is not the winning that determines how good you are.” for Charlotte, of course, because she wasn’t used to it and found it very intrusive. That’s why I had to do all the talking, which is probably why I talk so much now!” he laughs.


Nip Tuck was never an obvious choice for dressage. Carl came upon him by chance during a visit to see some young horses. He was told that in order to buy the horse he wanted, he had to buy the whole group of five unruly-looking youngsters for 1000 pounds each. Carl bought them all. He got them home, sold the ones he didn’t want, and kept the one he wanted. It was a simple plan, though it didn’t turn out in the way Carl had expected. “Anyone who knows me knows this is a reflection of my organisation skills because I sold them all, and then a while later, I got a call from one of the girls who bought one. [She] said that the passport she had didn’t match the horse I sold her. That’s when I realised that I sold her the wrong horse! I said, ‘You have my horse!’ and she said—rightly so—‘Too bad, he’s mine. You aren’t getting him back, so send me his passport.’ So the horse I ended up with was Nip Tuck. I couldn’t sell him as a young horse because he was challenging to ride, and no one would have wanted to buy him anyway. We spent a lot of the time in the beginning just trotting because every time I asked for canter, he would bolt off. Slowly, we started cantering but only for a small amount of time, and then I would ask him back to trot before he bolted. For a horse who is as big as he is, he has the heart of a mouse, and he is literally terrified of everything.” It was partly down to luck that the pair was afforded the time to grow into what they became. “He has a lack of physical ability with his shape and lack of strength and his length, and the way he used his hind legs was always very challenging. That did show me how much temperament was so important because he wanted to do it. I didn’t train him differently other than I spent more time with him and to teach him to be shorter and more collected. You can’t ride a long horse long because it never gets short. You have to do the opposite of what you have got. Leaving him out of the picture, if you have a small mover, you have to teach it to be big, with a big mover, you have to teach it to be small. “We got him to Grand Prix level at home, and I said to his owner Jane de la Mare, who is an excellent friend of mine, ‘He’s not going to be good enough.’ Jane said, ‘Oh, please do a Grand Prix with him before we sell him.’ I said, ‘We’ll go down the road where no one goes.’ We went to a back-of-beyond Grand Prix, and the blooming horse wins with 77%. I came out of that test, and I honestly couldn’t believe it. He wants to do it, and he tries so hard to do what I tell him.” Carl explains that Nip Tuck’s development came on once he got to the Grand Prix. “Everything in the Grand Prix has made him better,” he says. “The pirouettes helped him learn to sit more, and he became stronger. When he started passage, then his back started to lift, and his trot became much better. It has been a huge learning experience for me. I love how he has proved his point.”


When asked what horse he currently has in his yard that touches his soul, Carl’s eyes light up as he starts to speak of his chestnut mare, Brioso. “She is dressage-bred, but we got her from a racing yard who had her because she was so difficult to start. We have


OPPOSITE PAGE Carl gave an inspiring demonstration of his skill during the Masterclass at Equidays 2019. THIS PAGE Gaylene Lennard and JAX JOHNSON being talked through pirouettes in the final Masterclass at Equidays 2019. had our ups and downs. She had colic, and she had surgery, then I spent a lot of time with her in rehab getting her fit again, she came through it all. I don’t have a favourite, because I have so many characters in the yard, and that’s how I treat them all, but she looks for me - which I love. “We have about five or six mares in the stable now. In the past, I had a preference for geldings or stallions, but now I don’t,” he explains. “If someone said I was to buy a chestnut mare, I would have just been like ‘No, I don’t want one of those,’ and then I ended up with one. And now I am like ‘What was I saying?’ She’s absolutely gorgeous, you know. The love of my life!” Carl emphasises, however, that all the horses are treated the same. “You do have to ride the mares a little bit differently, and they are more about asking them, not telling them, but that’s fine; you can work around that.”


While natural talent is undoubtedly advantageous for any rider aspiring to win a medal or ride with the greats, Carl is quick to emphasise it is not the be-all and end-all. “For a rider to be successful and help their horse perform at their best, a rider needs to have a lot of perseverance first of all. You have to persevere at it to get better,” he says. “The great thing is the realisation that you do get better when you get older; you don’t lose it. That is the great thing about the sport. If you accept that, it is fine. “The other thing to accept is that it is not the winning that determines how good you are. Some horses will not be able to win in certain competitions against a different type of horse, or an amazing horse. When you can accept that your horse has done its best, then you should be happy with your performances. Success comes in many forms. “You need the talent to get to the very top, but you also need a lot more than that because we have an awful lot of talented riders in England who don’t make it to the top, and then there are riders with some talent but amazing work ethic that do make it to the top. We also have riders at home that aren’t very talented, but you could put on a Grand Prix horse and teach them how to ride it, so that shows that with the right horse or with the right horse that matches you and your temperament, that you can have some success. I also think if you have talent, but you don’t have feeling or empathy with the horse or lack dedication to make the whole pack-age, then it will only go so far. You can’t just say, ‘I am going to have a groom; I


am going to have a fabulous lorry; I am going to have lessons with Klaus Balkenhol.’ You have to be 100% into it. Being into it means sleeping, eating, breathing, dreaming it. That and having a relationship with your horse.” Carl describes himself as being fairly laid back. Not a lot will faze him these days, but he admits to a time when setbacks were more frustrating and demanding. “Things going wrong doesn’t eat me. If one of my horses were to get injured or go lame, my job is to look after it and make it better. I wouldn’t be disappointed that I couldn’t go to a competition. You take it, and it is just all part of it. “My perspective in regard to adversity has, of course, changed as I have progressed in my career. It makes it easy for me to say setbacks don’t bother me because I have done what I wanted to do. I would understand if other people didn’t feel like that. Once I finally achieved my dream in 2011, when we won the gold, I finally thought if it doesn’t happen ever again, it doesn’t matter anymore because I have done it. I did think at times that the dream of Olympic gold wasn’t going to happen, so I just pursued it and pursued it until I was good enough and then got myself the right partnership, which was with the right horse.”


“I love riding. I am never going to stop riding. Every horse I get up to Grand Prix is a challenge for me, and that’s why I do it. I love the opportunity to produce a horse at this level. I do anticipate my training role will become more critical with less riding and fewer competitions. Competitions aren’t my main focus; I do it because I still believe it is really important for Britain to be up there. I am just really interested in helping produce the next generation of riders and horses. I love teaching-that’s not a chore for me--and it is essential to pass on what I have learned along the way. “I have never had a time in which I have thought that I am giving up horses or dressage because I never feel that about my riding, but I have to say, after every Olympic Games, there is a time where you do hit a wall. The relief becomes so huge after the event, even bigger when things are expected from you. It will be the same next year, too. When you have completed an Olympics, you do have a momentary wobble of ‘I need a really long break, I am never doing that again.’ All it is, is the need to have the opportunity to say, ‘I am never doing that again,’ I don’t mean it, but I say it because that gives me a get out if I change my mind!”

BELOW Carl and UTHOPIA at the 2011 European Championships where they won Individual silver and team gold.

Carl has a strong desire to inspire and remain relatable to others who don’t come from horsey families or backgrounds. “I am very comfortable with my story and being something that other people can relate to. I had non-horsey/dressage parents and no money to start. I like to think I am relatable. That is nothing against people who come from a different background, if you can afford it, then good for you - but you still have to go out there and produce results. It just goes to show that no matter what your background, what the right place at the right time, and hard work can do. “When I first got onto a team, I was 22 years old, and I didn’t realise just how important my story was going to be and didn’t think I would become an inspiration to other people. Over the years, how I started has been forgotten because I have been around so long now that people just kind of think of me as Carl Hester, who does dressage. Some people assume that I was born into dressage and that success was a gift to me. The opposite [is true]: I worked, and I learned, and riders can do that. That is important to me because other people can look at my story and think, okay, fair enough, I might not have all those opportunities now, but they can come. You can make opportunities.” C


IMAGE Tomáš Holcbecher



New spring collection out now

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WORDS Pip Hume IMAGES Dark Horse Photography



Anna Gale

With a string of competition horses, various business and equestrian enterprises and two young children, George (9) and Lucy (7), life in the Gale household is always full-on. Add in a cottage renovation, and a year-long house build on their property about an hour from Blenheim, and this year it’s been hectic! 40-year-old Marlborough dressage rider Anna Gale takes us through a day in her life.



The day starts early in our house. My husband Andy is a logging contractor and usually gets up at 4.00am. He brings me coffee in bed before he heads out at around 4.30am. I like coffee at this time, then through the day, I drink peppermint tea and water. We are lucky that we have lovely clean, clear water here. First thing in the morning is my time for answering emails and messages. I have a horse-wear business called Exclusively Yours designing and manufacturing high-end products with a little bit of bling, such as saddle blankets, girth sleeves and horse boots. I also supply Dressage New Zealand with presentation rugs for their competitions. Although I no longer start young horses, I have horses that come to me for schooling - acquiring and consolidating flying changes is a common request - and my longer-term competition rides, so I keep in contact with all of my owners. During the breeding season, I’m also dealing with mare owners wishing to breed to my stallion Bloomfield Furst Love Song (Bentley). Now that we’ve moved into our new house we’re offering our cottage as farm-stay accommodation. Riders can bring their horses for a holiday and can use the arena or have lessons, hack along the river and just generally


by the


40 5-9 YEARS OLD










chill out. We live on the north bank of the Wairau River, and it’s very scenic. I like to get the admin done during this quiet time first thing when my brain is fresh. Then, I head out and do morning stables. I try to get the feeding and mucking out done before George and Lucy wake up at about 6.15am, but that doesn’t always happen. The kids have a long day, so they usually have a cooked breakfast such as pasta or omelette. My personal favourite for breakfast - or at any time really - is grilled cheese on Vogels. At 7.15am I make the 15km round trip to the school bus. 7.45AM

TOP Anna has a special bond with her young stallion BENTLEY (BLOOMFIELD FURST LOVE SONG) LEFT One of the trophies Anna has won with her Advanced horse WALK THE LINE RIGHT Lucy enjoys riding her 26-year-old pony SPICE

A N N A’ S

must-haves •

Harry Dabbs custom made dressage saddles.

Moores Riding Wear - I love the whole range they offer.

Elite Equine range - especially Compete, Submit & Gastric Go, Smooth Mover and Super Joint


Coprice range for both the dogs and horses

Stubben EZ Control bits - the best bit for re-mouthing horses or horses with contact issues.

Exclusively Yours Exquisite sheepskin saddle blankets and girth sleeves.

Petrie Padova boots - I have always had issues getting long boots to fit my chicken legs

Once I’ve taken the kids to the school bus and finished up any chores I didn’t get done earlier. I walk my rescue dogs. As well as our three-legged family pet dog Jess, (she lost a leg as the result of an accident) I have four Mastiff or part-bred Mastiffs, who have come to me via the local SPCA, private dog adoption and the Mastiff Breeders’ Club. I started taking on these dogs after I adopted one who was dumped on our road. I fell in

and couldn’t afford custom made. •

Gastropell - I always have a box or two handy, whether for schoolers that turn up, for Bentley at the height of the breeding season and for the horses travelling.

Equi Sol horse fencing - the best decision I ever made was to convert from traditional to Equi Sol.

Anna competing BLOOMFIELD FURST LOVE SONG at Bates NZ National Dressage Championships 2019 love with the breed, and after he died, I decided to offer a home to any dog of Mastiff breeding that needed one. They are fiercely loyal and intelligent dogs who need plenty of interaction and exercise. People think they are big, soft, lazy dogs, but they’re not. They like to be able to see what I’m doing and are constantly under my feet! 9AM Hopefully, by nine I’m ready to start riding! Basically, once I start working the horses, I just keep going until I am finished - I don’t stop for lunch. I ride anywhere from five to nine horses a day. I have a team of five competition horses in work, although I am only taking out three of them this season, while the other two are learning their job and consolidating their work at home. Walk the Line (Moses) is my Level 7 horse. At 18hh and by the Clydesdale stallion Donnybrooke Kalahari out of a big black trotting mare, he’s not your typical dressage horse! But I have learnt so much taking him up through the grades. My coach Andrea Raves has been with me every step of the way, and her input has been huge. I organise Andrea’s Marlborough clinics. Moses came to me to be broken in to saddle in 2009. He was already broken to harness, and his owners wanted to take him hunting. I absolutely loved his canter, and ended up taking part

ownership in him - so he’s still here! My chestnut mare is BF Royal Allure (Fleur) who is competing at Level 4 this season. She is by Royal Hit, and we imported her from Bloomfield Stud in Australia. She is owned in partnership with Mandy Matthews. Mandy and I originally purchased Fleur as she was old enough to start her ridden career, we liked her bloodlines and wanted something classy to cross with Bentley. Unfortunately Fleur came with a list of idiosyncrasies and it wasn’t as straight-forward as we naively hoped, so this is her first full season out competing. Even so, at the recent Nelson Championships she tested us and in the end all it took was a change of saddle blanket to get her to perform at her best. Dare I say it - chestnut mares! Our other Australian import is our young stallion Bloomfield Furst Love Song, or Bentley, by Furst Love out of a Sir Donnerhall mare, owned in partnership with Anna Terrell. For me, Bentley is the perfect package. He’s a smaller stallion, so will cross well with some of the bigger bloodlines we have in New Zealand; he has beautiful conformation, and his movement is everything you could want, but most importantly his temperament is impeccable. He’s just so straight-forward and easy, and he tries his heart out for me. He’s competing at Novice this season - I’m taking him slowly to make sure he builds up his strength before I start asking a lot of him. I don’t want to ruin his lovely nature by pushing him through the grades too fast and perhaps making him sore.


He’s exceptional to take out competing and travels happily in the float with my mare, and he’s very amenable in the paddock. Bentley isn’t my first stallion. I got a good grounding in stallion management when I worked for Nicoli Fife, and when I returned home, Charlton Jackaroo came with me. He was also incredibly easy, so for me, all stallions are judged against Roo’s temperament. I also broke in and competed the Trakehner stallion Komet von C. Prior to riding dressage, I evented to 2* level, but two big crashes within six months (both while out hacking) led me to a change of code. These days I am careful about what I ride as I can’t afford to be injured. I don’t start horses for other people, and I have started all of my own competition horses, so I know what to expect from each one. The horses all get a variety of work - arena work, hacking through the forestry and over a 100ha property I have access to up the road, pole work and gymnastic exercises over small jumps, and walking/ swimming in the river. I love being able to take them to the river, which gives them a good workout that is easy on their joints - and they love it too. My horses are all barefoot, and I find they are able to easily cope with a variety of surfaces. They walk comfortably on the gravel road here, they are fine on the river stones and the arena. I believe that being barefoot is better for them, and I have an excellent farrier who keeps their feet in tip-top condition. 4.45PM I try to have all of the horse work finished by the time I go to pick up the children from the school bus. At that time I will be eating on the run - snacks like crackers and cheese, a handful of nuts or a banana are good to have on the go! The kids have a long day, and it’s not unusual for them to fall asleep on the school bus and get off refreshed and ready to go again! They each have their chores to do, including feeding their own animals. Lucy will often


TOP Anna likes a bit of bling BELOW LEFT Son George prefers his motorbike to the horses BELOW RIGHT Anna loves her Harry Dabbs custom-made saddles

Horses are a part of who I am as a person. They are my life - it’s a no-brainer. ride her pony, and George has a little motorbike that he zooms around on. Lucy’s pony Spice is brilliant. She is 26 years old and has seen it all. She has given Lucy a lot of confidence, and they happily trot, canter and jump on the arena. Lucy can even hack out on her own. Once evening feed-up is done, I take the dogs for another walk, and then it’s time for all of the general Mum stuff! Dinners are quite traditional in our house - meat and veggies, or meat and salad. Chicken is a favourite with the kids. We try to get the homework out of the way while dinner is cooking, and get them to bed by about 8.30pm. 10PM There’s still plenty for me to do, such as sorting out washing and making Andy’s lunch. I also recheck my emails and messages before I head to bed. C


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WORDS Ashleigh Kendall


An international portrait


IMAGE Sportfot

ABOVE The talented, HECTOR VAN D’ABDIJHOEVE (by CABRIO VAN DE HEFFINCK) during the CSI5* Miami Global Champions Tour


ne of the youngest stars in the show jumping world, Bertram Allen, has been featuring in international headlines for years. It is easy to forget he is only 24 years old. A genius, Bertram rides his horses with such flow and such precision that he appears to be one with them. You would be forgiven for mistakenly thinking in the moment that his achievements were easy, that no effort was involved. While he has indisputable talent and commitment to his horses; it is hard work, a great team, humility, long hours and sheer determination which drives him to his victories.

IMAGE Therese Alhaug


From a family with a robust equestrian heritage, Bertram and his six brothers and sisters, April, Grace, Lucy, Ivan, Harry and Ruben, were raised around horses in small-town Enniscorthy in southwest Ireland. His parents always had racehorses and ponies around, and Bertram began riding like many do, at a small riding school, before moving to train with Mags and Con Power, who helped him through his pony years. “The Powers were very good to us, and they are legends in Irish equestrian circles.” The family did what many Irish families do, hunting in winter and generally enjoying their horses and time together. “I loved my pony days,” he remembers fondly. “I had a solid foundation and support throughout the pony ranks, and those days set me up in my career.” Bertram was only 11 years old when he won his first championship and then went on to win every pony level competition in Dublin after that. “Winning at Dublin, for an Irish rider is always a highlight, so

it was an amazing place to start my career. We are away a lot now, so to get home and go to a show in Dublin is still really special,” he noted. He is the only rider who has achieved this feat to date. “I had two exceptional 148cm ponies in Acapella Z who I won the gold medal, silver medal, and team silver medal twice, and Cassandra van het Roelof was also very competitive. They both gave me that push I needed to consolidate my skills and help shape me into the rider I have become.”


With a reputation among other competitors and colleagues for being humble, unassuming, and incredibly polite and helpful to other riders, Bertram is popular on the circuit. He is also focused on his goals, his horses, and their welfare and has a little time or attention for airs and graces. Riding for his country is a tremendous honour and comes with immense pride. Like New Zealand, Ireland is a small nation, and Bertram explains that it can be difficult to find owners and support to thrive in the sport among those who are funded by billionaires. “We have as many good riders in Ireland as anywhere else; it can be harder to find the backing, but there are plenty of us winning every weekend, at every show, and maintaining high rankings.” Bertram first arrived in Germany as a fresh-faced 16-year-old. “I had the opportunity as part of the schooling system in Ireland to explore my passion and potential future. In this transition year, I moved to Germany, and then I never returned. In hindsight, it was not surprising,” he laughs. “I encourage young riders to travel and see what is out there in the equestrian world to really find their direction in the


industry. If you don’t like it, then you can always return home, but you will be richer for the experience. You never know your potential until you try.” Then, in 2017, he made the move official when he relocated Ballywalter Farms to Hünxe, Germany. With his whole family behind him, he brought with him his sister, April. Since then his younger brother, Harry, has joined them. Currently, there are around 20 horses in Ballywalter Farms’ stable. Bertram explains that April’s contribution to the farm and daily management is invaluable. Together they were determined that the horsemanship they learned in Ireland would not leave their routine, with happy horses at the forefront of their focus. “Me and Harry, we get on very well, we do a lot of things together, always on the phone sorting out the horses, the shows and what needs doing. Working out of the same yard is fantastic for us both. We bounce off each other and can push each other along. We are lucky to have each other,” he says. “There is a mix of things we do to keep the horses at their best. We pay attention to having the right system at home and not doing too many shows so that they stay fresh and interested in their jobs,” Bertram explains. “It is important that the horses all have their own training programme that is tailored to their individual needs and quirks. It should never be a one-sizefits-all approach. The horses all go out in the paddocks, just like they did when we were home in Ireland. They go hacking, and everything is kept very simple and easy for them, they are allowed to be horses. Having a good team and management plan ensures that travelling the horses to shows doesn’t take too much out of them. When they do go out to the shows, we try to keep everything as similar as to at home for them. The same good feed, same rugs and gear, everything they know and are comfortable with because if that is not down to a T, then they won’t perform at their best.” His goals in his training are always to ensure the horses are adjustable and on the aids. As a rider, he wants to make sure he is doing everything he can to help and not hinder the horse. He stays out of the horse’s way with his legs in the right place and his hands where they should be. All these are essential

IMAGES OPPOSITE PAGE LEFT TOP Bertram Allen and the 11-year-old stallion GK CASPER is currently jumping at 1.55m with scorching rounds. RIGHT TOP AND BOTTOM IMAGE MOLLY MALONE V propelled Bertram at a young age into the limelight at the highest level.

IMAGES - Lena Saugen

but very important when it comes to being successful in his eyes. “Especially at home you have to let the horse jump, don’t help him too much, let him learn knowing if he wants to make a mistake, then that is no problem, they have to figure it out for themselves. You do what you are supposed to do as a rider, and it is then up to the horse to do what he needs to do,” he says.


“I believe I can win every competition.” -Bertram Allen-


Bertram and Molly Malone V were always a formidable force in the ring. By the KWPN stallion, Kannan, and out of a Cavalier dam, she was spotted and purchased by Bertram’s father, Bert, and offered to fellow Irishmen, Billy Twomey and Anthony Condon, who produced her from five years of age until Bertram was united with her at eight. Together, the pair collected win after win and dazzled the show jumping world. Starting in 2013, Bertram and Molly announced their international partnership at Junior Level, winning the individual silver medal at the Junior European Show Jumping Championships in Vejer de la Frontera, Spain. Next, when Bertram was only 18 years old, the pair recorded a huge highlight, winning the opening speed round at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. While, at this point, Bertram’s star had been rapidly rising in the senior competition, his win was relatively unexpected, leaving many scratching their heads as to how the young gun had made it possible. Finishing 7th overall individually was a dream come true for Bertram and lit the way that showed him what was possible.

IMAGE Tomas Holcbecher

IMAGE Malene Nilssen IMAGE Malene Nilssen

“The minute I get on a horse I'm 100% positive. It's a special feeling, and that's what drives me forward.“ - Bertram Allen -


Still a teenager, in 2015, they finished 3rd in the World Cup finals in Las Vegas. The European Championships followed later in the year where the Irish team finished 7th, Bertram, and Molly respectably finishing 16th, individually. “We have had a really close bond because I got her when she was only eight years old, and then we came up through the ranks together, and it is really special to be able to do that with a horse. She is a sensitive horse, and she has a big personality, we know each other inside out. She is as competitive as I am,” his narration came with laughter, indicative of his great memories with Molly. In October this year, the news came that one of the favourites of the sport was to be retired to stud. At 15 years old, the Allen family felt Molly had truly earned her retirement after a phenomenal career at the top. Bertram is grateful for his time with Molly. “She propelled me to the top of our sport at a very young age, and for that, I will be eternally grateful. It is exciting that we can now look forward to the future where Molly will enter a new era of her career as a breeding mare.” Bertram is often noted as being super calm and collected out in the competition ring, and his motto when it comes to sport is very straightforward. “I always think it is important to keep everything simple and not over-complicate anything. It doesn’t matter what show I am at around the world, when I go through the start flags, all that matters is me, the horse and winning.” Bertram is very aware of his age and the experience of his competitors, but he doesn’t let it overawe him in any way. He explains that while it is accepted that most riders will peak around 30 or 40 years old, he doesn’t feel that it is a rule that needs to apply to everyone. “I don’t think that it is necessary to limit yourself to that. I have had success at a very young age, and I think it comes down to having everything right at the right time. Age is less important than timing. Having the right team and horses around you are the most important things. “I go out and try to remain focused on my horse and the course and then just make it happen for us. I believe I can win every competition. Of course, it doesn’t always happen that way, but you have first to have that commitment to the belief that it can happen.


ABOVE Bertram and MOLLY MALONE V. Image: Rolex - Reto-Albertalli BELOW ROMANOV really was the horse of a lifetime. He was introduced to Bertram by his friend Billy Twomey and played a huge part in launching my career. “ROMANOV had everything anyone could wish for in a horse”, says Bertram. Romanov retired in 2017. IMAGE Therese Alhaug

I am not the most positive person in the world, but the minute I get on a horse, then I am 100% positive and trying to win, and that’s what drives me forward.” He explains that if you aren’t trying, then your horse isn’t going to be trying for you either. Mindset is everything and one of Bertram’s greatest assets. “Your team also has to be with you and be fighting for you too, and positivity has to come from everyone involved. That is vital. “When I do win, that is quite a special feeling, and that is what drives me forward and keeps me motivated to get that feeling again.” C

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INTERVIEW WORDS Ashleigh Kendall

A South African adventure Anne Hjorth and Peter Hill from Cambridge have both enjoyed glistening careers in the show ring, as both riders and judges. In August this year, they embarked on a trip of a lifetime to South Africa where Anne, a Grade 1 International judge, and Peter, a Grade 2, were invited to judge at the Western Cape Showing Championships. Show Circuit caught up with the busy duo as they were in between shows.


MAIN IMAGE Ingrid Owen, this page Bridget Ford Images

Bloodlines of a Thoroughbred

Horses have been a lifelong passion for both Anne and Peter. "I've been showing forever, starting on my 12.2hh show pony in the open ring, no lead rein back then, along with show jumping ponies, through until now," Anne reminisces. "I grew up in a family involved with Thoroughbreds, showing and hunting. My father was an owner-trainer who did his own blacksmith work, and both parents bred racehorses - many very successful. Mum showed ponies and hacks and my grandfather had his own blacksmith forge in Cambridge." A woman of many talents, she is a past RAS Mid Northern District Judges Convener and Tutor Judge and briefly took on the role of District Chairperson for the Mid Northern District Council. "For many years, I have been Head Equestrian Steward and President of my local A&P Show, Cambridge,

where I look after the equestrian section of our show. I am passionate about putting back into the sport and helping our A&P shows survive from the grass root levels." With similar backgrounds, Peter also hails from an environment rich in Thoroughbred history. He has a racing family with both parents being successful racing trainers, his father also a rider and farrier. He remembers his childhood fondly and one pony in particular who he treasured called Clunbury Beaubeaut. "My parents campaigned a very successful hack called Legend, and they were also judges, so I guess it was natural that I become involved in showing as a rider and a judge too." Passionate about Thoroughbreds, Peter has spent many years riding track work, doing sales preparation and breaking-in, a highlight for him was working at Shadai Farm in Japan starting


and pre-training. Peter has also judged throughout New Zealand, judging all sections including working hunters and hunter jumping. He is also on the committee of his local A&P Show, Cambridge.

Multi-talented duo

Not shy of success, Anne and Peter have produced winners time and time again, both in showing and Peter's breakers and pretrainers who have graduated to go on to enjoy success on the track. Peter has produced multi winners both on the flat and over fences, and Anne has produced and competed hunter horses which have won and placed at the Horse of the Year Show, including wins in the lead up classes over the years and three times Reserve Champion Saddle Hunter of the Year on board her multi-champion Savile Row. It was Savile Row whom she represented New Zealand on at the Australian Show Horse Nationals in 2009, which was a complete thrill for Anne to tick off a lifetime goal. "He was only six years old at the time, but I was proud of him. Getting to wear the New Zealand fern felt amazing." Other winners have included the show hacks Acquisition, High Command and Brilliant Cut, who had a clean sweep at Horse of the Year, the Royal Show, Easter Show and North Island Premier Show. "I love unity/equitation/turnout classes and appreciate the detail and effort these require. I have won the Sue Yearbury Memorial at the Auckland Easter Show on two different horses and runner up on many other occasions on others," she recalls. "At the 2018 Horse of the Year, I won the prestigious Gee Whizz Memorial Equitation Class." Anne and Peter are both passionate in their judging roles, "I enjoy finding quality types and producing them for the showing. I am a firm believer that a show horse and pony should be a quality animal and true to type and a good mover, and always look for these qualities when judging," Anne explains.

New directions

Anne and Peter's paths have aligned throughout their lives, recently they both made the decision to step back from roles they had held for a long time and focus on other areas of their

LEFT Western Cape Showing Championships, South Africa, JJ Kemp - FAIR CLOUD LESEDI after winning the Warmblood Champion. ABOVE BRILLIANT CUT during the presentation of winning the Riding Horse of the Year in 2012 BELOW Peter and HIGH COMMAND after winning the Captain Charles Ross Cholmondeley-Smith Salver at Easter Royal A&P Show 2018 RIGHT HAND PAGE LEFT Anne and SAVILE ROW competing at Hawke’s Bay A&P Show to take Champion Saddle Hunter TOP RIGHT Peter and CLUNBURY CASH Champion Working Hunter Horse at Hawke’s Bay A&P Show 2016

IMAGE Tyrone Crous

BELOW RIGHT Anne winning the prestigious Beamish Salver at Hawke’s Bay Royal Show in 2014 on HIGH COMMAND


lives. "Last year I hung up my boots as a breaker and pre-trainer as I am not getting any younger and I am now running a fencing and lifestyle maintenance business," Peter says. "I am enjoying competing my own horses at the A&P Shows and taking a step back from the others." Having been wearing many hats for many years, Anne recently decided to leave her role with RAS. "I had put back into the sport for many years, but when it started to impact too much on my ability to have a work/life balance I knew it was time to step aside," she explains. "Work is what pays the bills, volunteer hours don't, and my personal life, family and horses were suffering. I have some exciting times ahead at home with developments which I'm looking forward to." With "far too many" but an exciting bunch of horses in their paddocks, they are looking forward to enjoying their days out

at shows, catching up with friends and perhaps travelling more. Clunbury Cash and High Command are the current stable favourites, but they also have several young horses who Anne says may come out at some point this season too. "There is also the retirement paddock which has my ex saddle hunter Savile Row and my riding horse winner Brilliant Cut as well as the resident baby sitter EP," says Anne.

A trip of a lifetime

When the invitation came to judge at the Western Cape Showing Championships in South Africa, Anne knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that she couldn't turn down. "Getting invited to judge in South Africa has to be right up there in my highlight reel," she explains. "The main highlight was being invited to judge there in the first place. What an honour! I am ever so grateful for the opportunity and those that were part of it. They were fabulous hosts, and we met fantastic people and fellow judges." Anne enjoyed seeing how traditional they are there and how they conduct their classes, explaining it was very much the English way of doing things. "The Supreme Horse was a standout and would hold his own here in New Zealand. The evening event the Chairman's Cup was fabulous – everyone dressed in evening attire, with four judges, one being a celebrity guest judge. The show was held indoors, with the riders competing on their horses. Then the top two ride a mystery horse and the winner is determined from there. Riders are invited only, and the class is judged on how they present, ride and conduct themselves."

In total they were away for 19 days, as they hadn't had a holiday since 2012, so they made the most of the opportunity to be there to do a few tourist things as well and see some of the country. "We went to Victoria Falls which was amazing, and we met the crew from the Australia Amazing Race on our Zambezi River tour who were on a rare night off before their last five days of the race." She also reflects on the fantastic experience they had in Kruger at the Bateleur Safari Camp. "It was incredible. To see all of the big five and other wildlife was simply a wow moment. I totally recommend it." They also loved the waterfront at Capetown and the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek wine areas. "The whole trip was incredible, so much so we didn't think about home. We are super thankful for all who helped make the experience so magical." C


INTERVIEW WORDS Cheyenne Nicholson IMAGES Cheleken Photography


Reaching Mighty Heights Karen Teague has ridden her horse across Christchurch to get to a show and once got her horse stuck in an oak tree. In more recent times, she’s made a name for herself and her business by using some out-of-the-box methods to show what horses can do with the right training and a bit of trust. Brookby Heights International produces top-performing show jumping and eventing horses and has earned a reputation for the breeding, breaking, and schooling of problem horses. Their owner says that when it comes to horses, it’s all about understanding what makes them tick.


Karen didn’t start riding until she was twelve years old; she admits she didn’t even like horses up until that point. A spur-of-themoment decision to go on a horse trek during a “boring” family trip turned it all around and started Karen’s equestrian career. A career that led her to be a contender for the Badminton Horse Trials and even have a few viral videos on Facebook. “After that trek, I said to Mum, ‘When we get home, you’re buying me a pony.’ Mum’s highly allergic to horses, and dad was terrified of them, but they didn’t have a choice, really; I was determined. Mum sneezed her way through the next few years!”


Despite knowing next to nothing about horses, her parents were supportive and did their best to help their daughter, who didn’t know much, either. Karen recalls learning to ride at a riding school, which, despite teaching the basics of riding and horse care, had never shown her how to tie up a horse. “My first pony, Woody, we could never get it to stand still to saddle up; it kept moving away from me. We rang the old owner, and they said, ‘well, are you tying it up?’ We had no clue you could tie them up because we’d never competed! Looking back, it’s so silly!” Looking back at the string of horses Karen has had in her career, she says her affinity for problem horses started with her first pony, Woody, which,


for two solid years, bucked her off regularly. Not knowing any better, Karen deduced it must have been because she was riding badly, and whenever he bucked, she would give him a reassuring pat and apologise for her lack of ability, get back on, and off they went again. “He was horrible! I think he knew he had fallen on his feet with a family who knew nothing! If we had had him on a two-week trial, I would have sent him home, which would have been the biggest mistake. I learned a lot on Woody, and after he had finished with us, he went on to teach other kids.” Woody went from being the worst pony imaginable to winning everything for Karen. He won in the show ring, eventing, showjumping, and dressage and even won a South Island Championship for Mounted Games. “I rode him all over Christchurch at all hours of the day and night for goodness sake! I owe him an absolute bucket load. He taught me not to give up, not to blame the horse and keep trying. He rewarded me immeasurably. That is something I try to encourage in people today: work with their horses and understand them. Giving up is the easy option, but you learn nothing.” Karen’s first-ever competition was at Roydvale Pony Club in Burnside, Christchurch. Living in the suburb of Belfast at the time and not having a float, Karen sat down with her best friend, Barbie Muller, and worked out how long it would take to ride their ponies across town and be at the event in time. At 5 a.m. on show day, two horse-crazy girls packed their backpacks and headed off, much to the surprise of motorists and the general public. In 2019, this would likely raise a few eyebrows, but in 1987, with no other means of getting anywhere, it was the norm for Karen. “We had a packed lunch and found a little corner to set ourselves up in; we didn’t have a horse float, so I think we found a tree to hang out underneath. We competed at the show then rode all the way home again. I’ll add that all of this was on Woody so in hindsight, probably not the safest idea but it was just what we did! I rode my horse through the first McDonald’s drive-through in Christchurch (that was a day trip)! After that, someone suggested to my parents that they buy a horse float.”

TOP Olivia and horse Squishy giving rooster Joe a pre-ride pep-talk. ABOVE Joe (the rooster) is mounted and ready for his lesson. RIGHT Karen is kindly sponsored by Jump 4 Joy and Kiwi Arena Rakes. OPPOSITE PAGE Smiles all around; Humour is at the center of everything at Brookby Heights.



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After the purchase of a horse float and with some knowledge under her belt, Karen started to get serious about competition. The goal was simple: make it to the top. She credits her success to a string of amazing horses that she took through to what is now 4-star eventing and 1.60m show jumpers. But it was a horse that was deemed ‘mad’ by many, including Karen, that would prove to be one of the most talented horses in her career and lead her on the path to Badminton. Karen credits the horse, named The Odyssey, for helping her develop a love of working with difficult horses, which makes up a large part of her business today. Although difficult might be an understatement when it came to this particular horse. Purchased as a four-year-old, the first time Karen introduced him to the basics of show jumping, walking him over a pole, he blind bolted from terror at the sight of a single pole on the ground, promptly depositing Karen in the hospital. “Working with problem horses is all about figuring out what’s missing, what holes they have in their mind and filling them, gaining their trust, and building that partnership. It took so long to do this with The Odyssey because I swear everything frightened him. We had to do everything in the smallest of baby steps.” Along with having a fear of other horses and people near him, he was agoraphobic (fear of open spaces), claustrophobic, had a fear of movement, and was scared of walking over things. So, the fact that Karen worked through all of that, and got him cantering towards a fence and went over it was a feat in itself, let alone the numerous titles they went on to win during their partnership. “Taupo three-day event was his absolute worst nightmare. But I tell you what, I can count the number of poles he had down on the one hand, and he never stopped, and he did not make mistakes.” The partnership that Karen built with this ‘mad’ horse was incredible to watch, and she says in hindsight, he chose her. While being billeted at Sunspot Appaloosa Stud, owned by Carole Davis, his owner’s property in preparation for the Pukekohe three-day event one season, The Odyssey would routinely call out to her when she was walking to and from the house. “One day, Carole said ‘you’re so rude! That horse clearly wants to meet you. You walk

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TOP Olivia has an affinity with horses. ABOVE Doesn’t matter what the tool is, a rooster will do to desensitise the horse. ABOVE RIGHT AND RIGHT HAND PAGE BELOW Tobi making easy work of things while Karen stays sun safe. *Do not try this at home. OPPOSITE PAGE Being a horse at Brookby Heights often means making friends with unlikely suspects, even prehistoric ones. *Do not try this at home.


out of the kitchen, and he screams at you, and you ignore him.’ I was 16 at the time, and this lady made me go out and pat him. When I went to go back to the house, he tried to go through the fence to get to me. “I took him for a ride, his first in a long time, and the lady said, ‘Well, you better buy him then.’ But he was $2,000, and I didn’t want him! He was funny looking!! So, I went on my way home. My family was getting ready for a trip to Australia. When on the plane, I started to get this horrible feeling that I had made a mistake. I couldn’t explain it, I didn’t even like the horse, but there was a feeling I couldn’t ignore. When we arrived at the airport, I made my parents find a phone and call Carole; I was terrified he had sold in the meantime. All Carole could say was, ‘You stupid girl, you went all the way home with a double horse float and only one horse.’ She still says this 30 years on.” Karen says he was the best horse she’s ever sat on over a fence, and in a strange turn of events, an oak tree. The partnership between the two was such that he trusted her implicitly. She asked him to do something, and he did it. “During cross-country, I got my lines messed up a little bit, and he jumped full tilt into an oak tree and got stuck. No word of a lie: They went off to get a tractor to get him out. He fell out before the tractor got there though, which was lucky as he was absolutely terrified of tractors, we were both fine, but it was one of those moments that you look back on and wonder how on earth that was even possible! It just goes to show that with the right training and trust between horse and rider, anything can be achieved and overcome.” The duo was bound for Badminton until he had an accident and severed a tendon. It was more than 90%, but she saved him and boxed him for six months before he was put into permanent retirement, as he was no longer able to be ridden. He lived to the ripe old age of 29 and is buried outside Karen’s bedroom at Brookby Heights. “There’s probably a bit of trend with all the horses I’ve had. All my top horses have been a bit mad before they came to me and growing up I always had the bolters and buckers because we didn’t know any better, and they were free, but I became a good rider from it. It’s probably the reason that I do what I do now, as well.”


After many years of riding problem horses, Karen was left scratching her head when she bred her stallion, Mighty Heights, who, to this day, is the easiest horse she has ever owned. “I remember thinking I’ve been doing this horse thing all wrong. Horses don’t have to be mad to make it to the top!” The Irish Sporthorse Stallion by Wynyard Agile out of Astra Amber has many feathers in his cap, including being ranked the number one stallion in the world in the 2003 Eventing World Leader Board. “The story of how Mighty Heights came about is quite cool. I had a wonderful young girl (Beccy Warwick) who used to come and ride my Welsh ponies, and we often talked about an incredible stallion called Shamal. He didn’t have many offspring, but every one that he had who evented, went through to advanced level eventing. I rang his owner, Falaise Hales, and I asked if she had any colts for sale, but she only had fillies. “I went out anyway, to have a look and saw this tiny little orange filly. The lady had bought the mare off someone who, at the time, didn’t know she was in foal to Shamal. The mare died, and the filly was being hand-reared. I was keen to buy it, but the lady wouldn’t sell her to me.” Fast forward four years and Beccy read a small ad in the local newspaper of a filly by Shamal for sale. She begged Karen to call, but she refused, as a “poor student” at the time, it wasn’t the best time to be making big purchases, but Beccy called the number and placed the phone in Karen’s hand. “I just rolled my eyes. She was dreaming if she thought I could purchase the horse! “The mare’s current owner didn’t know a lot about her and was blown away that I, by chance, knew her whole history. She said someone had offered her $4000.00, but she didn’t know if that was a fair offer. I thought, ‘oh, $4000.00; no, I couldn’t afford that, but thought she was probably worth that.’ She then said, ‘well, if you want to offer me $400.00, she’s yours!’ I nearly fell off my seat, and Beccy and I hitched my float up immediately! That mare is the mother of Mighty Heights, and thankfully, she didn’t pass on her attitude because she was a horrible, foul-tempered thing. I showed her as Hoof Hearted,” Karen laughs. Mighty Heights, now 25, has earned a big name for himself in the eventing and breeding scene and was the horse that began Brookby Heights International.


Fast forward a few years, and Brookby Heights International has grown from a business set-up to sell horses to a multi-faceted business that covers everything from breeding to schooling and selling. “In the beginning, I used to sell a lot of horses to San Francisco. There’s an amazing man there, David Murdoch; he used to come back to New Zealand twice a year to buy horses and take back with him to his operation over there. The first time he came over, he bought one of my horses, and he liked it so much, he always used to spend a few days with me and take horses every trip.” In more recent times, you might have seen the name Brookby Heights attached to some interesting videos involving an array of horses being put to the test under some extreme conditions. Although the videos have proven to be excellent entertainment value, this wasn’t their intended purpose. Karen and her team were accustomed to getting requests for videos of horses doing lateral work or jumping, but it was one request asking if they could show how a horse would handle extreme winds up to 90kph while wearing a flapping cover, which sparked a trend. “To start with, we sort of thought, ‘Gosh, how silly!’ But the lady explained she had high winds where she lived, and she’d had a horse spook because of its cover flapping around before and had a nasty paddock accident. So, we thought, ‘Okay, not unreasonable, but how


on earth do we do that!’ In a spur-of-a-moment decision, I had a ridiculous idea of how we could showcase this with this peaceful four-year-old by Mighty Heights. It was ridiculous, but he humoured us. I posted the video that night and at the time had 600 followers on Facebook so thought maybe 200 of them would have a laugh. I woke up the next morning to that video having 90,000 views. I was gobsmacked and realised people have the same stupid sense of humour as me.” While the views on their first video racked up, so too did the strange requests about other sale horses, including the now Facebookfamous horse, Pumba. She is a horse that can apparently tolerate anything and has been through almost every test imaginable, the first of which being the “how is she with children” test, which saw her being worked in an arena full of kids jumping on trampolines, hooning around on motorbikes and more. “I was constantly asked what she was like with kids, and although I could understand where they were coming from, it happened so often that I started to think maybe I had advertised her in the nannies looking for work section! So I thought of a ridiculous video, posted it before I went to bed, and woke up the next morning to my phone exploding, the video had close to 500,000 views!” In videos that followed, Pumba can be seen carrying plastic bags to the supermarket (with the permission of Countdown) and being floated with a llama. “She’s been floated with a llama, which was just myself and a pupil, Sophie Grenfell, dressed up as a camel! She’s had the plastic bag test where we filled up shopping bags with empty boxes and took her to the supermarket.”


So, how do you achieve this level of training with a horse that it puts up with seemingly everything you throw at it? Having spent a large part of her career riding and working with ‘difficult’ horses, Karen has developed her training methods over the years to centre around earning respect and filling in the gaps in the horses’ minds. Karen says that most ‘problem’ horses aren’t a problem at all; they just have gaps in their knowledge that need filling. “It’s not really desensitising, it’s getting the horse locked onto the herd leader (you), and they go, well, if you’re not scared, then I don’t need to be either.” “There are two types of horses; aggressive ones that want to be the leader; you have to be stronger and have more energy than they do. Then there are submissive ones who desperately want a leader and do not want the pressure on themselves of feeling this weight. The majority of horses fall under the second type; they don’t want to be the leader. They want someone to take control, so they know they’re safe. If a person isn’t strong and a leader,


TOP RIGHT All creatures great and small out for a morning trot. BOTTOM RIGHT Diva (grey) isn’t sure about Olivia and Karen’s jokes today.

they get worried and uptight. For my horses, I’m fine riding spooky horses or ones that buck, but most people don’t want that. I started getting horses sent to me to fix those problems, and to do that, and I had to work out what makes them tick, why they are the way they are “Think about a horse’s mind as having holes and find out why the problem is there. Eliminate the physical stuff first, checking for pain, saddle issues, teeth, or pulled muscles. Once we know there’s nothing wrong with them physically, and then it’s a matter of working out if they are trying to assert dominance or are looking for a leader. Did they have a bad experience as a youngster? They have fears built into them that stay with them. What we need to do is fill those gaps and address those issues. It’s all a bit of trial and error, but horses never lie. “Once you know what’s bothering them, you have to break it

down for each horse and put it into little steps. Reward them when they give the right answer and correct them when they’re naughty. When they flee, turn the pressure up, so the easy option is the one you’re wanting.” With an ever-increasing Facebook following of around 30,000 people, Karen and her A-team of staff, Olivia King and Harri Dunmore, have become pros at sharing feel-good, funny videos that show just how far the partnership between horse and rider can go. Humour is at the centre of everything that goes on at Brookby Heights and, in Karen’s eyes, is one of two emotions that will get you anywhere with horses. “The other is patience. You can’t get angry or frustrated with horses, even if they’re doing something bad; you have to see the humour in it. We’re always in hysterics here, and I think that sort of positive environment does wonders for the team and the horses.” C


TRAINING WORDS Ashleigh Kendall IMAGES Show Circuit Magazine

DRESSAGED FOR SUCCESS Ensuring your horse has a solid foundation from which to work is key in dressage, whether you’re at novice or Grand Prix level.

The trainer


Hubertus Hufendiek is highly regarded all around the world and considered by some of the world’s best to be a rare talent. He took up the reins at ten years old but confessed he had no interest in dressage at that stage. When he was only 14, he started training with legendary Olympic dressage champion Hubertus Schmidt. At 16, he came across his first Grand Prix horse, and at 17, he was awarded the Gold Badge of the German Equestrian Federation for winning ten tests at Prix St Georges level, as well as experiencing success at Grand Prix. Hubertus is now a Pferdewirtschafts Meister and specialises in the FEI work. He is not only a professional horse trainer – with students all around the world, including in New Zealand, Australia, America, Austria and Switzerland, he regularly presents at major international seminars. In 2010, he passed his professional Riding Instructor’s Masters degree with distinction and started his own competition and training barn in Bad Salzuflen.

Our horse and rider

In this lesson, Chanel Flyger rides her gorgeous mare Hot Chocolate MH (Milo), owned by Jean Jeffs and bred by Matthews Hanoverians. Milo is ten years old, and the pair are competing at Level 7 this season. Chanel and Milo’s achievements together include becoming Level 6 Reserve Champions last season at the Waitemata & Northland Dressage Championships. They also placed at the New Zealand Dressage Championships. A highlight for Chanel was coming 6th overall—Level 6 at Horse of the Year, 2019—and standing next to riders she has grown up watching and admiring. Chanel has been competing in dressage since she was eight years old. She’s loving the journey and is excited about the future. “I am so grateful for everyone who supports me and makes this possible: my family, Judith and Peter Matthews, Jean Jeffs, my amazing trainers, my sponsors, Cavalleria Toscana, the Riders Shop and BetaVet, and also my new work REB Group Chartered Accountants, who are so supportive of my riding and allow me to have all this time off to ride and do what I love! It wouldn’t have been possible without such an amazing team behind me!”


“If the contact isn’t good then the rest of the work won’t be worthwhile.”

“If the horse makes a mistake then you use that as a training opportunity.”


Warm her up! In the beginning, Hubertus likes to see that Chanel can stretch the horse downward into the contact in walk and trot and canter so that the back starts engaging. “Getting the horse swinging through the back is the aim, it’s the same for every horse,” he says. “It is okay if the horse gets a little bit strong in the hand to do that, but if she is good, try to have a delicate contact and then bring your hands together.” In the warm-up, the rider must be able to drop the horse’s neck and bring it back up without being forced. “Make sure you are always trying to stretch her, push the nose forward as you continue to warm up, you need to use your seat more and more.” It is essential, however, that while you are warming up in the stretch, that you can maintain rhythm and the horse engages her back. Even in the stretch, you have to be able to ride and adjust the horse, and she shouldn’t run off. The solution is impulsion. “If the horse is not stretching enough. Go forward but don’t put her deeper, put her longer, make her stretch forward into the contact. We don’t have the bridge from the legs over the back and into the contact, we need to have this connection so we can work with the power from the hind legs. If your horse doesn’t have impulsion, we have nothing to collect.” Not interfering with the contact allows the horse to find their rhythm. “Give them time to do this and have a feel for the natural rhythm, that they aren’t running, nor are they behind the leg. We mustn’t work from our hands backwards, always come with the driving aids first. The more forward you ride your horse, the easier it is for them to balance, but each horse is different, and

Remember – Forward, not faster. Don’t rush your horse out of her rhythm. HUBERTUS HUFENDIEK

you must develop a feeling for each horse’s rhythm.” Once they have warmed-up, then they have a short break. “When you give her a break, give her the reins, hold them in one hand and let her look around, in the break, she doesn’t have to keep focusing on you, but when you pick up the reins, then she needs to regain total focus on you.” Before you take your session to the next stage of training, go through your checklist – rhythm, looseness, contact, impulsion, straightness. Until you can have all these right and then you cannot ask more from behind.”


Taking care of the basics REMEMBER YOUR OUTSIDE REIN Hubertus reminds his riders to turn using the outside rein as well as the inside. “Lots of riders will pull the inside rein to turn the horse, and then they lose the straightness and the shoulder. The horse ends up falling out through the shoulder and becomes disconnected through the exercise,” Hubertus cautions. “Always remember the outside rein to turn – don’t just pull on the inside, use your outside to turn and take the shoulder with you.” Keep the neck bend if you like, he says, but don’t forget to keep the horse straight through his body. “If you are thinking about pulling the inside rein, usually, that means you should be actually correcting and half-halting off your outside rein, using your inside leg instead to ensure you aren’t going to lose your shoulder and have the horse falling out.”

MAINTAIN THE RHYTHM “Always think about and take care of your rhythm. Of course, if the horse loses the rhythm, you can tap her with the whip, if you like, to remind her to keep going on her own, but be careful not to chase her out of it. If you put your leg on and nothing happens, then give the horse a little click and send her forward off your leg or from a tap of the whip,” he explains. “The horse needs to learn to go by herself and to maintain rhythm and speed. A horse that is truly in front of your leg will move forward on her own; you won’t need to kick her along every stride—that is what you are aiming for in your training.”

The horse needs to learn to go by herself and to maintain rhythm and speed. HUBERTUS HUFENDIEK


Learning from your mistakes After their short break, Chanel picks Milo up into her collected frame, starting in the canter. Hubertus reminds her not to be tempted to shorten the neck too much. “Try to push the nose a little more out and follow with the hands; there is no reason why you would keep her short in the neck, the nose needs to be in front.” He also cautions her not to be afraid of making a mistake, it is part of the training, and as riders, we should avoid trying to save the horses and make it perfect all the time. Training is for failing; the horse learns by having enough freedom to make a mistake, and then the rider corrects her and explains the correct response. “Don’t hold her too much with the upper body, and she should be ready to expect an aid. It is better you run the risk of mistake, and then you can back it up with the whip or the spur and be sensitive with the aids. That is how the horse learns; you don’t need to try and save them all the time,” he explains. “Don’t be afraid to try and see what happens - if the horse makes a mistake, then you use that as a training opportunity and correct her, so she learns for next time,” he explains.

All about the contact “It is vital to pay attention to the contact, to make sure the horse isn’t too strong in the contact or dropping out of it,” Hubertus explains. “If the contact isn’t good, then the rest of the work won’t be good.” He recommends using some shoulder-fore or counter flexion; for example, to encourage the horse to sit better in either rein, depending on where the issue lies. He reminds students not to get stuck trying to make it look pretty and sacrificing teaching the horse the correct way of going. “If it becomes hard and the horse comes above the bit in a moment, put him a little deeper there and make sure he is filling up both reins with a nice even contact. Equally, if the horse is dropping the contact, then you need to be trying to push the nose forward and out,” Hubertus encourages. “Keep the contact; don’t give it away because then you are left with nothing. The horse mustn’t become empty in the reins.” Half-halts are also an essential component in achieving good contact. Hubertus reminds Chanel to half halt and collect the horse more and then send her on again, always testing Milo’s reactions and strengthening her at the same time. If the horse slows down and gets a little lazy, especially with the hind legs, the rider should not be afraid to remind him to keep going with a bit of a tap with the whip to get the jump back into the canter. Another factor in achieving good, correct contact and way of going is testing how adjustable your horse is in her reactions. “Test your horse’s reactions by asking her to come back and take a smaller but quicker step and then go forward again. When you are asking her to come back to you, a common mistake is for the horse to take a smaller, slower stride when you want to aim for a quick stride that pushes up off the ground.”



The curb should sit at an angle of 45⁰.

Moving onto the trot Milo has a terrific trot which Chanel finds much more straightforward to ride than the canter. Hubertus offers her some advice to make it even better and increase her scores more. As he watches Chanel ride around the track, he notices she makes her corners quite deep, and Milo loses some quality in the trot. “Don’t make the corner too difficult to keep the bigger trot and the better uphill quality in the trot. Ride a 10m

corner instead of a 6m one to help her out.” Once the trot is good, uphill and keeping rhythm, Hubertus moves the pair onto working through the shoulder-in and the halfpass. “Make sure you keep the quality of the trot as you execute the movements,” he cautions. “If you lose the quality, then get it back and attempt to ride through the movements again.”

Top tip

Hubertus reminds Chanel that even when the work is hard, and they don’t like it, they still have to focus their attention and work on that. “Don’t abandon parts of your training that need work because it is hard.”

Milo is now balanced and the trot down the long side is fully engaged


Tackling the half-pass A common problem riders experience during the half-pass is losing the shoulder through the movement. “Always remember the outside rein—even though you might be bending one way, it is the outside rein that will help bring the rest of the shoulder and body with the bend.” If you lose the outside rein, the horse will continue bending on a straight line and will not move over on the diagonal line required for the half-pass movement. “When she wants to run sideways, you stop that with the outside rein, not the inside rein,” Hubertus tells Chanel.

Top tip:

Take your time in the half-pass, and don’t rush your horse out of her rhythm.

Activate those hind legs! “If she slows down then don’t be afraid to remind her to stay quick with a little tap of the whip,” Hubertus encourages. “When you ask the horse forward, it is important to remember again that the horse needs to power-up and off the arena rather than run flat. Always aim for the movement to come from the hind-end, especially in the canter—and keep that hind-leg quick and super active.”

Top tip:

Always ride lines that you find in your tests. It is no good riding randomly sized and shaped circles or movements. Look for your markers. Be particular and make them perfect each time. Ride your correct lines in the training, using the corners and markers that will make it easy for you when you come to ride your tests. Look to where you want to ride.


1-2-3 change The flying changes can be a sticking point for horses and riders, and Hubertus coaches Chanel through some adjustments she could make for improved changes. “It looks like you are comfortable with counting and your aids, so you can concentrate on the quality now,” he encourages. One area he identifies quickly is Milo’s desire to rush through the changes. “Don’t let her run in the changes if you feel she gets a little hectic and tries to run in the changes, don’t be afraid to correct her in between.” Chanel then rides a lovely line of four tempis and Hubertus is impressed. “Those changes were good that time; well done!” Another essential point to keep in mind is ensuring the horse remains straight through the changes without too much bend. “Keep the flexion,” Hubertus encourages, “but with connection, it shouldn’t just be bend and running out the shoulder; she needs to stay straight to make the good change. Use the flexion but don’t just pull the neck around.” He also reminds Chanel to keep Milo from becoming too deep and behind the vertical in the change. “Keep her up in the neck before the change; otherwise, the change is too hard and becomes sticky. If she isn’t correct into the change, then don’t do it. Prepare and then go again. Drive Milo into more of a working canter before the change. Risk a mistake or you’ll never get better, don’t settle for that small,

safe change just because you’re scared of making a mistake. If you settle for a safe change in training, you will only every get a safe change in competition.” When riding a half-pass line or even a diagonal, Hubertus encourages Chanel to set up and wait for the flying change. “It is effortless to change the bend over, and the horse learns to do the flying change that way, but that isn’t correct, and it’s not going to make for a great change. Don’t be afraid to use some counter flexion and then make sure the horse changes when you ask her to, not just because she feels like it,” Hubertus warns. “Test your horse using flexions and counter flexions.”

Don’t be too quick with your hands; try and keep them more still. Everything you do you need to think about, and not just left-right, be a little more clear with your aids. HUBERTUS HUFENDIEK


Pirouettes Pirouettes are another area where riders can get stuck. They are challenged to get them right, but with correct training, you can improve them. In the beginning, Hurbetus encourages Chanel to start off riding her full pirouette larger than she would in the competition and then work to bring them smaller. He instructs her to ride the full turn on the diagonal, concentrating on the diagonal, look where she is going and get her to come back on the hind leg before making a start with the pirouette. “If it isn’t right, then come again,” he says. “Sit her up. Use more outside rein and make sure she is sitting properly. If you want to do a small pirouette later, you must be able to bring her back.” “If she makes a mistake, that’s okay, and you try it again. If the first pirouette is not good enough, then go straight into another one. Just keep going until you get it. Then hit the diagonal and ride straight out and pat her for doing a good job.” You don’t need to be rigid in training, and he suggests practising the preparation without doing a pirouette. When Milo wants to quit and fall into trot instead of finishing the pirouette, Hubertus offers Chanel some advice. “Keep her active, expect her to be travelling forward on her own. You mustn’t let her get away with being lazy. She can not decide when the pirouette ends, you decide when you have finished, and until then, she needs to keep going. If she falls into a trot, then follow it up with the leg or whip to correct her.”

Half steps Finally, Hubertus asks to see the pair work through their half steps. Previously, they have only worked a little in the half steps, and with help from the ground. Despite their inexperience, they achieve some super steps, highlighting what is to come in the future. Hubertus guides Chanel through the half steps, advising her to make her a little hotter in the walk before she starts. “Pick her up, ask for more collected strides, you have to train her, so she starts a little bit on her own.” Milo offers some proper steps, and Hubertus emphasises the importance of patting her and letting her know she had the right reactions. “You need a few strides, and you can add in some voice aid. Change the rein and then do the same again on the left. Don’t keep her the whole time too short, when you want to start, bring her back and let her know something is going to come next, and help her with the whip in a rhythm a little bit.” C


TRAINING WORDS Ashleigh Kendall IMAGES Christine Cornege Photography



The week leading up to a show can make or break your weekend. It is a good time to make small adjustments and iron anything out beforehand, but it is imperative that you don't overdo it too. Finding a balance is key. In this clinic, Penny Stevenson coaches her two Takapoto Equestrian riders, Jaime Tiller and Oliver Croucher through their preparation before they headed off to Waikato Show Jumping that weekend.


Penny Stevenson is one of New Zealand’s top show jumping trainers having competed herself at the highest levels and as such, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her lessons. Penny has previously held the roles of Chairman of Selectors and High-Performance Selector for Equestrian Sports New Zealand.





Jaime has been working for Takapoto since mid-2017 as the Event Manager for Takapoto Estate Show Jumping and also runs Takapoto’s New Zealand-based stables. Before joining Takapoto Equestrian, Jaime trained and competed successfully overseas, travelling many times in the off-season to Germany, to the stables of Florian Meyer zu Hartum and once with Axel Wockener and Markus Renzel to expand her knowledge. She has competed internationally in Australia, India, Canada and Germany. She has competed in two World Cups in New Zealand, but her passion is bringing on young horses. Her proudest achievement came with winning the Leading Rider at the Young Horse Championships in 2018. For this clinic, Jaime rides the 15.2hh nine-year-old imported Belgium warmblood Lanice van de Heffinck who is by legendary Plot Blue out of Hades van de Heffinck and is competing at 1.35m level.

Oliver began riding for Takapoto as Young Rider in August 2018. Hailing from Rotorua, he started riding at age ten and progressed through Show Hunter and pony classes, then Junior and Young Rider. Though young, Oliver has enjoyed many successes so far, including being selected for the New Zealand Young Rider team twice, in 2018 his team won the Trans Tasman Young Rider test series. Some of his highlights so far have been placing fourth at Horse of the Year in the Junior Rider of the Year, then sixth in the Young Rider of the Year class in 2017, placing third in the 20172018 Young Rider series and winning the 1.40m at the Christmas Classic in 2018. Previous to his employment at Takapoto he worked for show jumping legend John Whittaker. Oliver is riding Scotsman’s Valley, who is a seven-year-old gelding bred by Penny and her daughter Samantha McIntosh. He is by Quinar and out of Powergirl.



“Remember with horses there is more than one way to do things, in your rides you have to ask yourself, are we getting what we want, and if you aren’t then you might need to change things a little to get the result you do want.” 77



At the time of this lesson, Jaime and Oliver are looking forward to competing that weekend at Mystery Creek. The goal of the training session is to perfect the basics, test their horse’s reactions to angles and overall checking out how they are feeling going into the weekend. “I don’t want the horses to do too much today as they have a show coming up this weekend, our main focus will be a bit of work on what we always need to keep working on which is rhythm, really concentrating on going forward around the turns to the fence,” she explains. “I want them to focus on riding forward to the fence and finding a deep spot into the fence to take off. When we get that deep spot, then we are more likely to be able to get the horses to make a good shape. They will feel strong and powerful over the fence and have a nice powerful explosion feeling and like they are scopey and able to jump whatever we put in front of them. We are also going to work a little bit on some lines in preparation for jump-offs and working on angling over fences. We don’t want to do too much and overwork them but enough to get their brains into gear and get them using themselves.” Penny also mentions that sometimes Scotty hangs in the air over the fence and she would like to see Oliver encouraging him to get going stronger off the leg. “We can put up some low and wide fences to help with this too,” she says. “It is just about getting the connection of the right type of forward impulsion but not so much that we are pushing them through the top of the fence, which is hard to get. We need to give them forward for their confidence but not so much that they become quick in the air.”




Penny coaches Jaime and Oliver through their warm-up on the flat, really emphasising looseness and quality in the work. “In the flatwork, I want to see that you can adjust the horses forward and back, check that the buttons are all working. Take them a little bit more forward, and remember you don’t need too much contact at the beginning but still be sure to push the horse forward, so we get a bit of a longer, slower stride.”


Horses will get bored and switch off mentally if there is no variety in the work, which is precisely what Penny doesn’t want to happen with her students. She also emphasises changes of rein to test that the body is supple, straight and in between two reins. “Make sure you keep his bend to the inside, keep his brain focused to the inside,” she reminds Ollie. “Instead of going around and around in a big circle, work around the fences and change the rein. Making sure in the turns they don’t drop the shoulder, and they bend around the inside leg.” By testing their responses as the riders warm up, they can work on the weaker areas and prepare them well for the jumping.



It is not long in the warm-up that the horses begin to let go and begin to move. “Feel her body starting to loosen up a little bit, Jaime? Good with him Ollie, no contact to start with, and when he is warmed up a bit we can take it up.” Penny focuses on not being tempted to shorten the rein and jam them too much from the beginning, and they must have their chance to warm their muscles up before asking for more collection. “That’s good Jaime she is wanting to work forward a little more and looking to stretch her neck which is great,” she says. “Once again, you want to aim for nice long, slow, sweeping strides that aren’t short and choppy. Make sure Ollie that you make your turns nice and smooth, keep your eyes up, looking ahead and looking to where you are going to keep the horse balanced.”


Now they have stretched and are thinking forward Penny instructs Ollie to take a little more contact and feel on Scotty’s mouth and continue to push him forward to the bridle. “Little bit more forward Ollie and as he warms up I want to see that he is lengthening the neck more. Always looking to keep a nice contact in both reins. Now we are

“LITTLE BIT MORE FORWARD OLLIE AND AS HE WARMS UP I WANT TO SEE THAT HE IS LENGTHENING THE NECK MORE.” going to encourage him to take a longer, slower stride. You don’t want to shorten the horse up too quickly too soon, or you will end up stifling them and restricting his movement, which is the opposite of what we want. Scotty tends to want to hold his body a little bit, so Penny explains how much they have to work on getting him to relax and let go through the body. “Follow towards his mouth with your hands, so he takes a longer neck, then he will be able to start moving. We want him to loosen him up in the body and swing. Don’t let him trick you into not getting him to use himself as much as he can.”



Penny encourages Jaime to keep her forward in the outline and begin to ask for some forward and back transitions in the trot. “Make sure you have equal contact in both hands so the body is nice and straight and I want to see a difference in the forward and back. Even when you come back and you are slowing her down, still, try and keep a nice active feel underneath you. You don’t want to shut the top down, you are closing it, but you are still keeping it active. Keeping the hind end engaged.” Once Lanice is working well and keeping active in the transitions within the trot, Penny challenges her to move onto some short, quick transitions from trot to walk and back to trot. “Work on riding some quick transitions from trot to walk and back into a trot, do a few strides of trot and then into a walk for a couple of steps and then go back into the trot, repeat. Encourage her to get her back end underneath her and listening. Really, in the end, it is like a more exaggerated half halt. You can make it harder by reducing the number of walk steps as you go on through the exercise.” When Jaime moves Lanice into the canter Penny’s main advice is to open the canter so she takes a bigger stride, without letting her become flat and on the forehand. “At only 15.2hh, Lanice is small in her stature but her paces have a super quality to them that Jaime is careful not to lose. She praises Jaime on her warmup, “That warm-up was good because she is little and although she naturally has a good stride we need to make sure she keeps the quality in the canter, and she is cantering up and off the ground not dropping on her nose.”

f GET IT RIGHT BEFORE JUMPING The warm-up is arguably the most crucial part of your ride. A good, positive warm-up where the horse loosens his body and works through himself is going to make all the difference when it comes to the jumping. Penny advises Ollie in particular of this as Scotty needs a little more time to work in than his smaller counterpart Lanice. “With him in your warm-up, he shouldn’t go anywhere near the ring to compete until he has softened up through his body like that. If you start without warming him up properly, he is not going to be able to do his best,” she says. “This horse needs a bit more time; he’s not a little athletic horse like Lanice. Each horse needs a different preparation. He shouldn’t go to the ring until he feels like he is nice and loose through the body. If he is moving jammed up on the flat, he is not going to suddenly change when he goes to jump so unjam him and then go. “Remember with horses there is more than one way to do things, in your rides you have to ask yourself, are we getting what we want, and if you aren’t then you might need to change things a little to get the result you do want.” Now that the two horses are supple and active, Penny is happy to move onto jumping a small warm-up fence to begin. The focus is keeping it simple and getting the basics correct before they move on to bigger and more challenging questions.





To begin, Penny sets up a nice inviting vertical for them to pop over. Starting on the left rein and then landing on the right lead before turning away. “I want you thinking about the basics, nice waiting distance coming in, jumping in the middle and then landing on the right lead.” Both make a great start to the exercise and Penny is pleased.

They move on to jumping through a low bounce, to test their reactions and athleticism. “They have to react and get their knees up quickly, thinking about the question and where their legs are,” Penny says. Lanice takes a rail and Penny doesn’t mind, “That is just part of the exercise, she made a genuine attempt to jump it but was a little late behind and caught the rail so now she will learn to be sharper next time without it being stressful to her.” Ollie had the same experience with Scotty, then next time around they both went through it super and clean with sharp hind legs. They are proving how this exercise helps their coordination and brain and teaches them where the legs are and where the rails are, which is crucial for this job.


JUMP-OFF PREPARATION g Jumping a simple fence on an angle

To begin with training for the jump-off, Penny asks Jaime and Ollie to practice jumping a low fence but on an angle, again focusing on getting a nice spot into the fence for takeoff and landing on the correct leads. “We will ride through this exercise as a little preparation that should we get into a jump-off at the weekend that they go straight to the fence, even though we are on an angle. We want their body to remain straight, and they go exactly on the part of the fence that we want them to. Here we are training for accuracy, control, straightness, and teaching your horse to trust you when you place him on an angle to a fence like that.” Jaime is first over, and Penny offers some advice to make it better next time around in regards to landing on the right lead or doing a good flying change. “The jump is great, but Lanice needs to be landing on the correct leads or making a good clean change, so we need to work on that a bit more,” she says. “Remember to be definite when you ask for the change, give her more space. It doesn’t matter if she makes a mistake because this is how she learns to do it right.” Next time around Jaime makes a definite aid, and Lanice is happy to oblige. “What that is telling me Jaime is that perhaps you aren’t asking her as strongly because when you did it was very easy for her, so if she isn’t getting it then check with yourself that you are giving her a definitive aid. Be sure not to half give it and expect her to sort it out for herself.”

“This exercise might be a bit harder for you Ollie because Scotty gets a bit more wayward,” Penny predicts. “Don’t forget your outside rein around the turns so that he doesn’t pop out his shoulder. Keep going through the exercise until it is feeling natural.” Penny explains this exercise is excellent because it gives you an idea of just how much angle you can ask for. “This exercise is not easy, and it is obvious why it is easy for them to land on the wrong lead as it sets them up to do it so. This is bringing the other component into it that they need to do the change. If they didn’t change when you ask them, then the next step would have been to put a rail to help them sort it out. Keep the fence low, the height of the fence doesn’t matter; it is about sorting out and riding those more difficult lines.”


fFOCUS ON POSITION “Sometimes I notice when you are jumping a bigger oxer Jaime that your body is a little low and you end up lying on their neck a little bit. “I want you to think about using a little more core and just thinking about keeping your chest up and off her neck. It doesn’t affect what you do with your reins, and you still need to give her a lovely big release, especially as the fences are getting bigger and wider but don’t throw your upper body. I want you to take heed of that because the quicker you are with your upper body, the more you are encouraging her to be quick underneath you. It is amazing the difference if you control your upper body and the weight distribution, it is like you are picking them up in the air.”



Penny sets up a low, wide oxer to tackle next. She sets a goal for Jaime to practise riding deeper to the fence to get her to jump it much better. “There was nothing wrong with the distance you rode the first time, but if she can get deeper then she will balloon over the fence a lot more, and if she does that, then she will be able to


use her back end a lot better. If she is back off the fence a bit then her back end will trail.” Next time around, Jaime finds that perfect spot and Penny is thrilled. “That was a huge difference that time, really lovely, and it is allowing to give her the best possible jump. We aren’t talking a big change, but as the jumps get bigger, it all adds up. I want you to practise that even when the jumps are little. Beautiful work.”


For Ollie, Penny once again wants him to focus on keeping Scotty at the middle of the fence. Finally, Penny places a rail over the oxer in the hope that the horse will realise it is an oxer, so they pay attention and look at the fence to give it more effort. “Give him a stronger ride Ollie, the rail over the top hasn’t been there so it might take him by surprise,” she says as he is riding to the fence. The pair make it look easy, “Good best jump we have had today!” She says “Super, that’s what we

want to see with this horse, he has totally turned around in that ride and he’s looking amazing now. I think with him he is the kind of character that chooses to do as little as possible. When you make him go nicely and are particular then he uses that strength and scope that he has and he looks outstanding. How he is at the end of this lesson is how we want to have him when he goes into the ring at the show. Don’t let him get away with ever dropping his shoulder, because you will pay for it in the ring.” C




WORDS Cheyenne Nicholson IMAGES Christine Cornege Photography

biomechanics specialist - BRITTA PEDERSEN Biomechanics is the study of the structure, function and motion of the mechanical aspects of biological systems. In sports, this relates to the muscular, joint and skeletal actions of the human body. For horse riders, there are two biomechanical systems (human and equine), each with their normal way of functioning, coming together to influence each other. To bring about the right dynamic between the two systems and get them working in unison, it is important to understand both the horse and rider biomechanical system. We are often well versed on the horse’s mechanics and their way of going, but not as familiar with our own.


OUR EXPERT Britta Pedersen is the Founder and Director of a specialist Physiotherapy & Performance Clinic ‘The Performance Refinery’ based in the USA. She is an equestrian performance coach, inventor and physiotherapist specialising in musculoskeletal conditioning, functional performance coaching and biomechanical analysis of the equestrian athlete. She has combined her extensive medical and equestrian backgrounds to develop a revolutionary system on gaining riders exceptional results both in and out of the saddle. “My medical knowledge integrates and intertwines with the horse side. Being a former professional equestrian athlete, in both Eventing and Dressage disciplines, I know what it takes to ride in functional alignment on a horse, the demands it places on the body and how you have to use your body to get the best results. Riding is so much more than just sitting in the saddle!” Britta has spent years developing her sportspecific four-part ‘Equestrian RMBA (Ridden Muscle Balance Assessment) system’ which tests riders for strength, flexibility and range of motion, and treats areas of weakness.

RIDER BIOMECHANICS Understanding how your horse’s movement is affected by the movement of your own body is important no matter what discipline you ride in. Most Pony Club-goers will remember being told time and time again ‘thumbs on top!’ or ‘heels down and shoulders back!’ but true rider biomechanics has a lot more to it. As riders, we all have little habits which we know aren’t ideal, but we struggle to know where they arise from, how to fix them and therefore how to break those particular patterns. Take, for example, crossing your hands over your horse’s neck/ wither when turning on a circle. This is a compensation that the human body naturally does to try and correct an imbalance somewhere else in the body. It is a signal that something else isn’t right, for example, a possible pelvic tilt, meaning that you can’t keep your pelvis in a neutral position on a turn, causing the horse

When a rider falls into this patterning they disengage their posterior shoulder and midback stabilisers, resulting in an unbalanced and often weak biomechanical change

to possibly fall in. Therefore your body goes into overdrive ‘fix’ mode, and you cross your hand to try and keep the horse out on the circle radius. “Often the rider is entirely unaware that this is even occurring. By going into compensatory mechanisms, we are not working on correcting the root cause of the biomechanical issue, meaning that we further develop compensations which will have a direct reflection on our body and our horse’s way of going. It’s like trying to fix a leaking tap by moping up the water on the floor. You never address the cause of the problem and will forever be moping as a result. “ Another common habit is riding with ‘chicken wings’ (elbows lifted away from the body) instead of arms gently hanging by the rider’s side. Riders will carry their arms away from the sides of the body because they are not strong enough through the mid-back and posterior shoulder stabilisers. The body will often then compensate and combine this position with a forearm and hand pronation (palms facing downwards with thumbs turned facing inward). “When a rider falls into this patterning they disengage their posterior shoulder and mid-back stabilisers, resulting in an unbalanced and often weak biomechanical change. If left to adapt over time the rider learns to use their anterior chain (biceps, pectorals, wrist and forearm flexors) to try and balance themselves in the saddle, instead of their postural stabilisers, which will impact the horse’s way of going.” Achieving appropriate balance and bend of the horse’s body in circles and lateral work can be another challenge faced by riders that can be improved by a focused look at your biomechanics. As you’re working on a circle, the horse has a certain degree of required rotation and mobilisation of its body. On a left rein, you want the horse to wrap around your inside leg and bend throughout its body to the left. “As a rider, you also need applicable mobility and rotation of your


own body to help guide, bend and rotate your horse through his body. What can happen with some riders is they naturally want to rotate the other way, especially if the horse is falling in on a turn. Have you ever tried walking around a left-hand turn facing right!? If you’re rotated to the right on your horse, you’ll never get the horse to carry true bend throughout the left side of their body.” To help this, think of turning through the ribcage. A good visual is to have your sternum facing towards the horse’s inside ear, and of course, not forgetting the engagement of both seat bones in the saddle. If a rider lifts through the pelvis on a turn, one side of the seat bone (normally outside) will “float”, and the horse has the ability to drift out the outside shoulder, making true connection through the rotation impossible. “A good exercise to help riders feel what this rotation should feel like is having them halt and place a whip through their elbows behind their back. Ask the rider to turn side to side, keeping both seat bones evenly in the saddle. Often riders think they are turning their body when in reality they are just moving their head. This exercise can be done both on and off the horse. We want to work on this in both phases because we have to get

that connection in place from a mind-muscle-joint connectivity perspective, and know exactly where the mobility needs to come from, in this case from the mid-back (thoracic spine).” Although the range of issues riders can have is varied, Britta says there are some commonalities within disciplines that she sees a lot. “Dressage riders often present in clinic with an array of lower back injuries and/or dysfunctions. In dressage the rider is in a constant seated position, meaning that they have a constant articulation between the saddle and their pelvis 100% of the time. They’re never out of the tack like a jump rider.” This means that the dressage rider is under constant compressive loading forces distributed throughout the pelvis and spine. If they’re not stable or strong enough through their core stabilizer complex (comprised of the Glutes, Abdominals, Mid Back and deep neck muscles), then they’re taking all of this loading impact distributed up their spine. Jump riders, on the other hand, tend to present with more fallrelated injuries and issues, in particular shoulder (rotator cuff) and neck.

- ENGAGING YOUR SEAT BONES Have you ever tried to turn a 4-wheel ATV motorbike around a corner using only the two left wheels? Probably not, it would be near impossible! You would have to compensate somewhere in your body to remain upright, with the likelihood of tipping over very high. It’s the same on a horse. “If we ask our horse to turn by dropping one seat bone in the saddle and floating the other (e.g. collapsing through the pelvis), the horse has to compensate through its own body to make the turn happen.


Start by understanding where exactly your seat bones are and the difference between the anterior (front), middle and posterior (back) portions of your seat bones. If we don’t


FIGURE 2 Sitting on Central portion of seatbones (balanced)

FIGURE 3 Sitting on Posterior portion of seatbones (pointing forwards)

Graphics © performancerefinery

FIGURE 1 Sitting on Anterior portion of seatbones (pointing backwards)


know how they move, then how do we understand where exactly we should be sitting or feeling? Sitting on a 65cm Swiss Ball/Stability Ball in front of a mirror, practice finding your middle portion of your seat bones. Then rock forward on your pelvis to find the front, before rocking back to find the back portion. Make sure that your shoulders remain on an even line and you don’t drop one side in order to find a seatbone. Now translate this when you are sitting in the saddle. Practice finding an evenness between both seat bones and sitting directly over the middle point so that they are facing directly downwards.


CASE STUDY WITH TRACY SMITH During a whirlwind New Zealand tour Britta held a series of clinics helping riders from all corners of the country. We had the opportunity to drop in on one of her sessions and observe her methods at work. Tracy is a successful New Zealand Grand Prix Dressage Rider and Trainer. A lot of professional riders are good at disguising niggling issues, and Tracy has a history of chronic lower back pain both on and off the horse. She had her first child 18 months ago and occurred a diastasis recti (separation of the abdominals). Britta was excited to help Tracy understand the methodology behind what was causing her back pain and give her the tools to correct it.

STAGE ONE: RIDDEN MUSCLE BALANCE ASSESSMENT As Tracy goes through her normal warm-up routine with her horse, Britta assesses her postural alignment and biomechanical systems. Taking note of how she is sitting in the saddle, how she moves and the flow-on effects to the horse. "To start, I'm doing a full on-horse assessment to determine what is causing her persistent episodes of lower back pain in the saddle. This is important as it gives me a detailed look into her daily patterns on the horse before we go into the off horse assessments and how to effectively treat the underlying causes."

Pictured left and below you can see Tracy’s right hip collapses. After doing a detailed off horse assessment Britta found this to be caused due to: 1. A lack of her left PGM (Glute Medius) strength, which is a pelvis stabilizer in the saddle 2. A restricted internal rotation on her right hip and 3. Asymmetric pelvic tilt.


“When a rider has a tendency to collapse a hip, in the frontal plane, it causes a sideways movement to occur, shifting towards to the opposite direction of the rider’s collapse. The hip and pelvis serve as the main connection point between horse and rider. The lower extremity and trunk are controlled by this particular articulation in the saddle. As a rider, this works in an open kinematic chain, meaning the foot is free to move and not on a fixed surface.” When a rider collapses their pelvis, it causes a direct translation through to horse. The side of the collapse is normally increased in weight-bearing, causing the opposite side to ‘float’ in the saddle. This can cause a loss of connection through the outside of the horse, which could lead to things like swinging hindquarters, shoulders drifting, tilting of the head, and loss of mobility in the lateral work. Pictured Right: Tracy has an external rotation in her left leg. Following the off horse assessments and findings described above, the left external rotation of Tracy’s lower leg is a compensatory patterning of the right collapsed hip. The body naturally wants to pull itself back into a neutral position, and by turning the left leg outwards, it can do this.

STAGE TWO: OFF HORSE MUSCLE BALANCE AND JOINT RANGE ASSESSMENT During this stage, Britta assesses Tracy off the horse by going through a series of specific tests to further investigate the cause of the issues identified and how they can be corrected. The objective muscle balance assessment on the ground looks at muscle tone, joint range and neural attributions, assessing what is weak and what is strong. “I look at how we might be able to get a rider engaging and firing.

Every rider is different, so what works for one may not work for another. This is where, as a medical professional, you need to be able to think outside the box and adapt your treatments specifically to your rider. “Looking at this off the horse is incredibly valuable as well as important. Some of this you can’t see when they're on the horse but may be playing a big role in the overall picture."

HIP ALIGNMENT TEST Here, you can see the right hip has an anterior tilt, which for Tracy is caused by specific tight muscle groups (right).

Here, the left hip is in neutral alignment.



TESTING HIP RANGE OF MOTION: When sitting in the saddle, your seat bones need to be able to move in all three planes to facilitate smooth,

efficient and economical gait so that you can follow your horse’s movement.




MANUAL MUSCLE TESTING: ADDUCTORS The Adductors are a fan like group made up of five muscles that attach from the pelvis to the mid thigh of the hip, primarily used for bringing the thighs together (called adduction). They also play a very critical role in pelvic stabilization of the rider. Portions of this complex are typically some of the strongest muscles in the rider. Riders can, however, rely on parts of these muscles too much, which can create asymmetry or imbalance with other

muscle groups. Excessive gripping with the upper portion of the adductors, namely the Pectineus, Adductor Brevis and upper portion of the Adductor Magnus, can cause the rider’s pelvis to ‘pop’ out of the saddle, resulting in a shallowness of the seat. Whereas the Adductor Longus and distal portion of the Adductor Magnus are pelvic and upper leg stabilizers needed in the dressage rider.

Left hip adductor muscle length test here is showing tightness

Right hip adductor muscle length test here is showing normal


The glute medius is one of the three gluteal muscles. This muscle rotates the hip inward as well as abducts the hip outwards to provide pelvic stability in walking gait and pelvic stability of the rider in the saddle. It’s crucial to help riders stay both balanced in the centre of the saddle and effective in their leg aids

Muscle test of the left PGM (Glute Medius)

Psoas (hip flexor) and rectus femoris Thomas test

Muscle test of the right PGM (Glute Medius)


The Psoas muscle is involved with flexing your hip and laterally rotating it. It also has a role in flexing your spine sideways, extending and rotating it. Its significant role is in the management of the pelvis and controlling the front to back motion. In riders an overactive Psoas can lead to hyperextension of the lumbar spine, which can be a contributing factor related to lower back pain and infectivity of the riders ability to fully fire the core. The Thomas test is used to measure the flexibility of hip flexors.

TREATMENTS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Manual Muscle Activations of the Glute Medius Kinesiotaping (facilitatory) of the Glute Medius Mulligan Mobilizations of the Right Hip restriction Manual Muscle Activation retraining of the Transverse Abdominus (TVA) Ongoing Home Exercise program designed specifically for Tracy, which she will do three times weekly Passive Stretch to the left adductor

Passive and PNF stretching of the psoas & rectus femoris A passive stretch is one where you are using some outside assistance to help you achieve the stretch. They are a great way to improve flexibility.

Teaching Tracy how to activate her lower abdominal Engaging your lower abdominal muscles is crucial for a quiet and independent seat. For your seat bones to be still and your hips to become mobile, there needs to be strength around the pelvis. Activating the correct muscles will help stabilize your midsection and remain stable in the saddle, allowing greater control and influence on your horse. Mulligan Mobilization techniques ~ Lateral Hip traction with MWM (mobilisation with movement) Internal Rotation.

The Mulligan method is designed to reduce pain and improve range of motion.


KINESIOTAPING FACILITATION TECHNIQUE Often Britta will use this specific type of kinesiotaping application to help treat clients. This facilitation technique is used to help re-educate the muscles via an increased proprioceptive input. Kinesiotaping can elicit a small immediate increase in muscle strength by producing a concentric pull on the muscle fascia, which may result in an increase in a muscle’s contraction.

Images this page: Kinesiotaping Facilitation technique of the Left PGM (Weak side) to help the muscle start ‘firing’. Note: This taping is usually done on the skin. For the purpose of this article, we are demonstrating over the breeches to show visual placement.


Muscle activation and strengthening of the Left PGM. Learning how to isolate and activate muscles properly can help you understand how your muscles work together to support your skeleton and your position. In much the same way understanding

your horse’s anatomy can help you understand his movement. Strengthening movements on your ‘weak’ side build up strength to re-establish balance in the body.

ON HORSE BIOMECHANICS COACHING SESSION It’s here where the magic comes to fruition. Once Britta has worked with a rider off the horse from a treatment stance point, she has to help the rider to work on the horse to understand the

new functioning mechanics in the saddle. She works closely with the rider, coaching them through exactly what they should be feeling and how to enhance the best outcomes.

PUTTING ON EQUIFORMANCE POSTURE SLINGS To aid Tracy during the biomechanics coaching session, Britta has her put on the Equiformance Posture Slings. Designed by Britta herself, the slings help to give riders awareness of what their body is doing as well as for postural stability.

“They’re a functional training tool. It’s all about alignment, but in order to stay in alignment, as a rider you need the right stabilisers to be working at the right point in time and working in synergy together.”


POSTERIOR RIDER STRAIGHTNESS AND ALIGNMENT The postural slings help the rider to feel correct muscle activations by keeping the them even and get all parts of the body working in synergy together.

They’re a functional training tool. It’s all about alignment but in order to stay in alignment, as a rider you need the right stabilisers to be working at the right point in time and working in synergy together. Canter work in band Using the slings in all paces is important to help you be aware of which muscles are firing and which are not. For example, if you favour one side more than the other when wearing the sling, the opposite side will contract, forcing you to use the correct muscles to lengthen against the sling.



On the left (during stage one) the external lower leg rotation is clear, compared to the right after some treatment and

biomechanics coaching (stage three) where Tracy has the correct anatomical alignment.

Pictured right during stage one compared to post-treatment and coaching (stage three) C For more information on this topic or to check out Britta’s P2Performance slings visit the websites below: 97

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Compositi Ellipse Stirrups

From Zilco Featuring flexible, shaped-memory arch that prevents stress points and quick release branch frees the foot in the event of a fall. The shock-absorbing sole reduces impact. Available with or without a spiked tread in 4 colours: black, blue, red, silver. RRP From $399.90. From your local Zilco stockist.


Supa Joint & Supa Joint Gold

From Elite Equine Nutrition The ultimate in joint support.

Dublin Galtymore Tall Field Boots

Prestige RP Girth

By Prestige Equestrain Revolutionary cushioned panel in the centre designed for pressure relief. Available with or without elastic in dressage and jumping lengths. RRP $545.00. Prestige Equestrian FB page or

By Dublin Premium full grain European soft leather upper with full grain leather lining and a full length elasticated panel for the perfect fit. Featuring a RCS ultra footbed that offers sweat control and a shock absorbing heel. Available in black and brown. RRP $449.99.


Enzo Aluminium Stirrup & Spurs Set

From Saddlery Warehouse Aluminium stirrup with a pearly lustre finish. Never rust zinc alloy spurs. Available in Black, blue and red. RRP $49.99. Visit your local Saddlery Warehouse store or shop online:

Vetmax Sun Block Cream

By Arion A protective, soothing sun block cream developed to safeguard delicate, exposed areas of skin which are at a high risk of sunburn. Sizes: 200gm, 450gm. From $34.50.

Hay Bag By Arion Heavy duty 600D polyester bag, with 25mm webbing mesh. Size: 50cm (w) x 60cm (h) x 15cm (d) Hole Size: 5.5cm x 5.5cm. $44.50.

Cavallo Horse Fashion

Exclusively from Classic Equestrian Holly Saddle Pad: $120.00. Hallia Fleece Bandages: $55.00. Colours: Navy or grey Add some sparkle to your horse’s day. In stock now.

KiwiBlack Sun Stopper Combo KER Neigh-Lox

From Gregory Equine Horses with stomach damage can show irritability, poor appetite, and resistance to work. Research has shown that as many as 90% of horses in training have some level of stomach damage. From $167.00.


From Saddlery Warehouse A durable rip stop shade rug which protects against flies and UV. The quick drying material makes it just as suitable for rainy days as well as the hot ones. 3.9ft 5.6ft, combo $99.00, rug only $79.00. Visit your local Saddlery Warehouse store or shop online:


2016 Nations Cup, Ocala, Florida PHOTO ESI Photography



172cm 2004 Black/Brown Stallion

"Euro Sport Centavos is extremely scopey (powerful) and careful, intelligent & lovely to ride! Traits we all hope for." Multiple Olympic & World Championship SJ Medalist - BEEZIE MADDEN

Escudo l x Argentinus x Bariton Fresh/chilled semen and WFFS free Service fee $2000 + GST LFG Cannot produce chestnut offspring

ES Centavos is fully approved for Hanoverian, Oldenburg, SBS and NZWB studbooks. He is an International 1.60m Show Jumper, representing New Zealand in the Furusiyya Nation’s Cup in Ocala, FL 2016. 2015 Silver Fern Stakes & NZ Horse of the Year Champion and winner of countless Grand Prix. NZSJ High Performance Squad Member in 2016/17. ES Centavos’ young progeny have already amassed 7 National titles in Show Jumping & Eventing, and many more Island and Regional champions across the disciplines. Centavos’ progeny earned him the title of Champion Sire at the 2017/18 NZ Young Horse Show Jumping & Show Hunter Show. He was also the sire of 2018 NZ Hanoverian Tour Jumper Foal Champion ‘Everlast’ (Danske xx), as well as three ‘Premium’ ranked foals.”

Email: Cell: 021 907 227 or 027 223 4818



KALASKA 168cm 2015 Bay Stallion Kalaska de Semilly x Centadel x Quilot Z Service fee $2000 + GST LFG • Licensed for Hanoverian, AES & NZWB studbooks • Carries 50% Thoroughbred blood • Sire is Olympic and WEG competitor KALASKA DE SEMILLY, sired by DIAMANT DE SEMILLY out of NORMANDY NIGHT (1.60m SJ & puissance winner at 2.25m). • ES KALASKA’S dam, CENTA QUICK PS, began her SJ career as a 6 1/2 yr old and in less than a year was competing to 1.40m with clear rounds & style scores up to 9.’ • CENTA QUICK PS is maternal sister to 6 CSI show jumpers. They are: CARILOT 5* 1.60m SJ & World Cup winner with riders Ludger Beerbaum, Christian Kukuk & Phillip Weishaupt, CARQUILOT 5* 1.60m SJ with Nicolas Pizarro, ROLLS / KALOTUS 1.60m SJ with Liubov Kochetova, KATYUSA 1.55m SJ, CASSIUS S 1.45m SJ, & QUICK LUCY 1.40m SJ.

“This horse is very modern, uses its body in a good way, a lot of action and strength in the hind legs, great technique in the front legs, uses its back properly, a beautiful and chic stallion.” XAVIER LEREDDE - Superstar French rider & breeder.


DIAMANT B 176cm 2014 Grey Stallion Diacontinus x Calido I x Calypso II Service Fee: $2000 + GST LFG • Licensed for Hanoverian & NZWB studbooks • Sire DIACONTINUS is the No.1 ranked sire on the German FN Show Jumping Young Horse Sire Rankings (the only ranking he is eligible for currently with his oldest progeny being 5yr olds). He leads with an index of 165, far ahead of second place with 156!

2016 Hanoverian Licensing, Verden, Germany PHOTO Sabrina Lorenz

Diamant B impressing at the Hanoverian Licensing. At the following Licensing auction the under bidder for him was Olympic Gold Medalist Ludger Beerbaum.

• DIAMANT B’S Dam side combines the blood of the Champion sires CALIDO I & CALYPSO II. This high performing dam line features numerous Advanced level (1.40m - 1.60m) jumpers, Advanced dressage horses, and Approved stallions. • DIAMANT B is developing beautifully under saddle. He has a wonderful work ethic, and limitless power. He is giving size, scope temperament and movement to his young progeny.


Find us on:

Email: - Cell: 021 907 227 or 027 223 4818



DIMERO NN Z 2016 168cm Skewbald Zangersheide Stallion Diamant de Semilly x Casper van Erpekom x Querlybet Hero Service fee $2000 + GST LFG • Carries 42% Thoroughbred blood • Sire DIAMANT DE SEMILLY is world famous for not only his performances under saddle, but as a sire. He was ranked No. 1 in the WBFSH World SJ sire rankings in 2015/16, and is currently ranked No.2. • Dam CALIMERA Z’s oldest son, Nutella Duo NN Z was a finalist in the 2018 British 5yo Championship, and now at 6 is competing to 1.30m • From the direct dam line of CSI show jumpers KRISKRAS DV 5* 1.60m, Gucci DV 1.50m & HEROS DV 1.40m, the 3* eventer EDDY WALLY, approved stallions FARCO VAN VRIESPUT (AES, BSPA & CHAPS, with 9.5 for jumping ability), EDDY WALLY (BWP & AES), SOCRATES (BWP), & OBI WAN (AES) who is a 5yr old winner in Spain 2019, also PEROLA COLORIDA 5th place 2017 2yr old BWP National free jumping Championship.

“Not only special in colour, but also in his pedigree!” Flanders Foal Auction Committee


DARCO OBOLENSKY 2016 Black 168cm Darco x Cornet Obolensky x Grannus Service fee $2000 + GST LFG • Performance tested & Approved for BWP studbook • “He is a wonderful horse with everything! His temperament is perfect, he is a really good jumper, careful and a lot of scope. Also his ride ability is perfect.” EDWIN AGTERHUIS, Trainer & rider for BWP Approval. Breaker/trainer/rider of top young horses for prominent owners & breeders such as VDL Stud. • One of the last sons of legendary DARCO, one of the best competitors and sires of his time, ranked no.1 sire in the world 2007-2011. Now no.1 dam sire.

“DARCO OBOLENSKY shows a lot of power. He is a strong stallion who is expected to follow in the footsteps of his father DARCO.” - BWP Stallion Approval Committee

• Descends from the 58/Hima III-stam, responsible for many top level jumpers including 1.60m jumpers CANTURADO 2, LA SUPRA, CARIBIK 7, CALIENTE II & LUISA D • Closely related to elite competition & breeding stallion CORNET’S PRINZ










8 1. Haydee Wells- Parmenter - ROYAL DREAM (3rd test 5C, 3rd test 5B) 2. Cassandra Dally - JAGERMEISTER CD (1st Developing Horse: 4-5 year old) 3. Madison Schollum - KINNORDY GOLDA (3rd test 5A, 5th Advanced Medium MFS) 4. Karla Tarr - PARKRIDGE BOLERO 5. Grace Farrell - VOLLRATH LUIGI (5th test 6B) 6. Ulrike Gerstenberger - PAOLITA 7. Molly Lumb GRIFFINDOR MH (Open Novice Champion) 8. Nicola Drabble AIRTHREY ROLL X (2nd test 6B, 3rd Advanced MFS, 4th test 6A)








7 1. Mandy Littlejohn - DOLCE VITA RB (5th test 5C) 2. Samantha Jones - ARENTO 3. Phoebe Brown - ASTEK AARCIJAZZ 4. Nicole Sweeney - FLUTE NOIR (Advanced Reserve Champion) 5. Anna Wilson - GIZBO 6. Debbie Barke - RM SUZIE Q (Medium Reserve Champion) 7. Ashleigh Kendall - PSL JAHZARA (2nd Developing Horse: 4-5 year old)



2 34

5 1. Danielle Peck - KS ROSE D OR (4th test 1D Restricted) 2. Ottilie Upshall - MEISSEN (1st test 2A Open, 2nd test 2B Open, 4th test 2C Open) 3. Josephine Telfer - DARCY SF 4. Bella Small - KINGSLEA BUSY BEE 5. Sean Bignell - MEL LEWIS 6. Grace Purdie - SIR PEPPER (Novice Restricted Reserve Champion) 7. Wendy Skelton - SISTERS II ANDEE R (3rd Novice MFS, 4th test 1B Open) 8. Sharlene Mitchell SERENGETTI (4th test 2C Restricted, 5th test 1A Restricted)

9. Stephanie Baker - POPSTAR MH (1st test 4C, 3rd test 4B, 4th test 4A, 4th MFS)






1 2 ASHBURTON ASHBURTON A&P A&P SHOW2019 SHOW2019 PHOTOS Michelle Clarke Photography

3 4


56 1. Ella Walker - EASTDALE FOXTROT (winner Paced & Mannered Show Pony) 2. Tania Boyd - ARCODAS NATURAL HONOUR (Winner Novice Saddle Hunter) 3. Meg Fleming - BEWITCHED OF FLAXMILL (Supreme Ridden Horse) 4. Grace Manera - TOULOU 5. K Hume/ C Roberts - NFW OPAL NERA (winner Novice Park Hack) 6. Harry Feast - ACCOLADE HSH (Winner Horse 1.20m) 7. Jaimee Bird - EURO CHAMPAGNE 8. Kimberley Bird - CERA CASSINA (winner 1.30-1.40 Mini Prix)



2 3

1 4 1. Tara Gibson - AMAZING GRACE (winner Novice hunter over fences) 2. Molly Buist-Brown - VALI (winner FMG Young Rider) 3. Cochrane Family / rider- Danielle Simpson - GYMANJI (winner Novice Paced & Mannered Riding Horse) 4. Anna Poole - MISS RENEGADE (2nd place, Open Hunter over Fences 5. Natasha Waddell - UPTOWN CHARLIE BROWN (Winner Open Park Hack) 6. P M Phillips/ J Hunt - ELLANGOWAN XANADU 7. Chrissie Hore - Makuxi (2nd Open Working Hunter) 8. Olivia Brown - RH KUKUMOA (3rd FMG Young Rider)


5 6




12 34




1. Melanie Morris - KOSIUSZKO (Winner Open hunter over fences) 2. Noah Coutts - SURREAL (Winner Horse 1.20m Speed) 3. Kate McDermid - V-DUB HSH (Winner Novice Riding horse) 4. Belinda Field-Dodgson - RIEDNDALE OREGAN (Rider 21 Years and over) 5. Olivia Robertson - GRANDAIRE (2nd 1.30m Horse) 6. Duncan Norrie - ASPEN GLOW (Winner Open Hack over 163cm) 7. Jane Ross - DASHING (Winner best presented riding horse) 115

HEALTH WORDS Cheyenne Nicholson


Horses are majestic movers. Their musculoskeletal makeup enables them to perform a variety of movements, making them able to perform everything from a piaffe to a sliding stop. Looking after their joints is essential for their health, longevity and comfort. We spoke with equine vet Dr Alex Leander to find out what we can do to care for our horse’s joints.

There are 205 bones in a horse’s skeleton, twenty in each foreleg and

twenty in each hind limb to make up eighty bones in the four equine legs. These bones are connected to or aligned with one or more other bones, allowing the horse to lift, bend and flex its legs. This ability enables the horse to absorb concussion as it travels across the ground. The spot where one or more bones join is the joint. There are different classifications of equine joints: synovial, cartilaginous and fibrous. Synovial joints, like the equine carpus (knee), are the moveable joints and the ones that tend to sustain an injury. This joint consists of two bone ends that are both covered by articular cartilage. The cartilage within the joint is smooth and resilient, allowing for frictionless movement. Each joint capsule also contains an inner lining called the synovial membrane, which secretes synovial fluid to lubricate the joints. An essential component in the makeup of synovial fluid is hyaluronic acid. It is responsible for giving the synovial fluid its lubricating capability and therefore is a common ingredient in joint supplements. We often associate arthritis with older animals and humans, but it can strike at any age. It can be caused by several factors, such as chronic inflammation, free radical damage, degradative enzyme activity, traumatic injury or overuse, and the natural ageing process.


For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction Isaac Newton

CONFORMATION A horse carries around 60% to

Common locations and angles for conformational assessment

65% of its weight in the front end, meaning horses experience a higher amount of concussion with each step they take, and thus they are more prone to injury or disease. Conformation is a key contributor to joint health. Horse's limbs are uniquely adapted for speed and weight-bearing. Conformational faults, or deviations from the ideal proportions of the horse’s limbs and body, can increase the risk of injury and decrease performance ability. To put into perspective the importance of conformation on joints, think of the limb as a system of levers connected by joints. Deviations in bone or hoof length, in turn, change the lever arm length and the forces exerted on the joints. An example of this would be a long toe and underrun heel conformation, which would create a larger ‘lever arm’ that increases the loads in the limb.

Conformation abnormalities

“A horse with incorrect conformation will have more stress put on its tendons, ligaments and bones. We assess this subjectively, but several studies have shown correlations between poor conformation and injury. In a 2004 study, Anderson et al. looked at conformations impact in Thoroughbreds. They found that certain traits correlated closely with injury risk," says Alex.

by genetics, with pastern angle, heel height and hoof shape also showing a moderate association with one another. There is a moderate genetic association between bone circumference and hoof shape, with larger bone circumferences having bigger hoof shape. Back at the knee, tied in below the knee, toeing in, toeing out, offset knees, sickle hocked and straight behind have been shown to be strongly influenced by genetics.

Genetic inheritance

Variations in knee conformation

Conformation variations can partly be explained by genetics, with some variations being influenced largely by genetics and others only having a weak association with genetics. There are also some variations that are associated with one another. Hoof conformation is moderately influenced

Back at the knee conformation predisposes the individual to a greater risk of knee lameness. Offset knees causes increased joint pressure in the lower knee joints and increases the risk of knee lameness, splint development and superficial digital flexor tendon injury. Tied in behind the knee increases the risk for splint development and tendonitis in both the superficial and deep digital flexor tendons. "Although physical conformation is essential when it comes to joint health, other factors such as riding discipline, conditioning approach, terrain and farrier care play a role in how much conformation impacts joint health," says Alex.

Effect of age




The conformation of an individual changes over time until the musculoskeletal system has matured. The shape, composition and biomechanical structure of bone, tendon, ligament and cartilage adapt in response to forces placed on them. Any abnormalities in conformation of the limb will alter the cellular activity within the musculoskeletal structures and may cause mechanical weakness and loss of shock absorbing properties. It has been shown that carpal valgus improves with age, whilst offset knees worsen. There is likely to be an association between these two traits as the altered weight bearing in the knee due to the valgal deformity load the growth plate abnormally and this could contribute to the offset development. There is also evidence that back at the knee individuals as yearlings can straighten over time to become conformationally correct, and those that are over at the knee can worsen. The angle of the hoof could lessen with age and those foals that are quite upright can become ‘correct’ by the age of 3-4 years. The percentage of horses with uneven feet increases with age and this can cause lameness when in full work.


Hock angles A large hock angle (straight hocked) is less able to absorb shock, increasing the risk for degenerative changes in the lower hock joints, and it also has reduced flexion during locomotion, which causes lower energy generation during push-off at the end of the stance phase. It can also predispose to stifle lameness, locking


patellas and injury to the suspensory ligament. A small hock angle (sickle hocked) increases the risk of lower hock joint degeneration, collapsing of the lower hock bones and injury to the soft tissue structures of the hock. Hock valgus can increase the risk of pelvic fractures and bog spavin.




Uneven hooves

The hoof with a lower hoof angle has the centre of pressure moved to the back, which increases the length of time there is pressure on the coffin joint, with subsequent increased force on the navicular region and throughout the deep digital flexor tendon. Upright feet are more likely to obtain suspensory ligament injury, as this conformation increases the force applied to it throughout stance and locomotion.

Fetlock variations

Toed in from the fetlock moves the centre of pressure towards the outside heel of the foot and increases the risk of superficial digital flexor tendonitis, interference injuries, sub-solar bruising of the outside heel and fetlock lameness. The same is also true for toed out from the fetlock, with the centre of pressure being moved





towards the inside heel. Short, upright pastern causes greater concussion through the structures of the foot leading to increased risk of lameness. Long, sloping pasterns increase the pressure in the back of the foot as well as the suspensory ligament and superficial digital flexor tendon, and increase the risk of fetlock lameness.



Nutrition and supplements

Having a well-balanced diet is vital for all parts of a horse’s health and wellbeing, as is providing the precursors to components in the body, including joints. However, Alex says it pays to be mindful of not overfeeding young, growing horses: “Overfeeding can disrupt the blood supply of the subchondral bone and cartilage, and the resulting disease/lesions are called Osteochondrosis (OCD).� OCD is a defect in the process by which cartilage lining the ends of long bones in joints matures into the bone in young horses. This process of endochondral ossification can result in things like cartilage flaps, cysts or shreds that occur at the joint, usually causing inflammation and lameness. There are several possible causative factors of OCD, including genetics, mechanical stress and trauma, mineral imbalances, endocrine factors and exercise. Feeding for smooth, gradual growth will help in the development of strong bones and healthy cartilage. Overweight horses have increased stress on their joint structures, which, along with other health issues, can eventually lead to unsoundness for some horses.


Once you know your horse has a joint issue, it's easy to get overwhelmed with the abundance of products on offer. Alex says that there are a few golden rules to follow when looking at joint supplements. C

Use only products that have a complete list of ingredients and that are FEI allowable, to be safe for competition.


Look at the product analysis and see if the ingredients are available in reasonable quantities.


Look at the science behind each product. Where is the evidence for it working in the horse?


If in doubt, talk to your vet.

Mineral supplementation is intended to support healthy function

Excess weight is largely an avoidable condition because you control your horse's portions and make his dietary choices for him. The questions you need to ask are: Do I choose to put my horse at risk for obesity or joint disease, or do I choose to increase his odds for good health?

How do joint supplements work?

Joint supplements are intended to help support normal healthy joint fluid and tissues, not necessarily treat joint issues, so starting supplements while a horse is healthy is the best time to use them. Below are a few common supplements used for joint health and how they work. C

Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They also help reduce cartilage degradation from enzyme activity, injury or overuse and through the natural ageing process, making it a key dietary component to ensuring good joint health.


Glucosamine is commonly the backbone ingredient for many joint supplements for both horses and humans. It is a precursor to the compression-resistant components of cartilage called glycosaminoglycans and also inhibits the enzymes that break down cartilage. Studies in humans suggest that short and long-term supplementation prevents or slows the progression of osteoarthritis. The results of similar studies in animals indicate that glucosamine supplementation reduces the ill effects of osteoarthritis on cartilage and subchondral bone.


Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) supports a healthy inflammatory response and neutralises free radicals through its antioxidant activity. MSM helps give collagen stability and strength and enhances the function of glucosamine.


Hyaluronic acid is a crucial component in the synovial fluid that nourishes, lubricates and protects the joint. It is commonly injected directly into the joint or orally through feed supplement.


Treatment options An accurate diagnosis is essential for precise treatment. A full lameness workup will be completed, which includes a trot up, flexion tests, lunging, palpation, and sometimes a ridden exam is done followed by a joint block, x-ray and ultrasound to locate the source of the lameness. “After this, generally we recommend rest and NSAID (non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs), then a treatment trial; intrasynovial medication with steroids and/or hyaluronic acid to improve joint fluid production and reduce inflammation in the joint.”

Cold therapy Inflammation

Persistent inflammation is a common cause of joint disease. Effusion is generally caused by an excess of joint fluid and is a result of inflammation. Although inflammation is the body’s way of addressing a problem, long-term inflammation can lead to the breakdown and erosion of a joint’s cartilage. "Inflammation in joints often starts with uneven wear of the cartilage, which leads to synovial membrane irritation. There’s an increase in fluid production that can be palpated. If there is ongoing inflammation, this can affect cartilage also, and a negative, destructive cycle starts degrading the components of the joint. If there is severe cartilage damage and wear we can see the exposure of the subchondral bone. Joint issues are painful for the horse, and we will detect this as clinical lameness. We can also see changes on radiographs and ultrasound like osteophyte formation and subchondral bone sclerosis.” If left untreated, cartilage damage can develop into osteoarthritis. At this point, the problem can only be managed, which is why inflammation should be dealt with quickly.


Joint issues can arise in a horse of any age. Being observant will allow you to detect any problems that may be brewing. Keep an eye out for the following: C Joint effusion (puffy joints) C Lameness C Unwillingness to work on a particular surface (soft or hard ground) C Uneven on the circle C Stiffness or change in gait C Heat C Pain during flexion of joint

The benefits of cold therapy include reduced local circulation, tissue swelling and pain sensation. The primary effect is to constrict blood vessels and reduce tissue temperature, which reduces swelling and may inhibit the effect of inflammation.

Nutraceuticals These are joint supplements (previous page - “Nutrition and supplements”).

Manipulative therapy

Such as stretching, which can help with neck or back pain, sacroiliac pain, and back-muscle discomfort secondary to lameness.

Controlled exercise

Exercises which minimises concussion on the joints, such as hand walking, and that increases in duration and intensity over time.

Water walker/aquatic therapy

This has become a popular option in rehabilitating musculoskeletal injuries, with research going into its benefits for osteoarthritis.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications

Phenylbutazone (‘bute’) has been the mainstay of treatment for joint disease for many decades and works well to decrease lameness due to its rapid onset of action and strong anti-inflammatory action. Bute is not able to be a long term treatment for horses involved in competition due to its long swabbing time and both kidney and intestinal side effects. Meloxican is a anti-inflammatory medication which is reported to have fewer side effects than phenylbutazone and a shorter withdrawal time.


Pentosan is common for the management of joint issues. It actively reverses the effects of osteoarthritis in joints through a series of actions as well as anti-inflammatory activity.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) - Joint injection

HA is an essential and normal component of joint fluid and cartilage. It provides joint fluid with the properties of lubrication and elasticity, which is necessary for a smooth and even gliding joint surface. HA is commonly injected in conjunction with a corticosteroid inside a joint and also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory and enhances the action of the steroid. HA can also be injected intravenously in conjunction with Pentosan.

Corticosteroids Put simply, joint injections are a veterinary procedure that involves a medication administered directly into the joint of concern (rather than administered intravenous, intramuscular, or by mouth).


Corticosteroids are the most potent anti-inflammatories available and are injected directly into a joint (termed ‘intra-articular’) to provide rapid pain relief. Furthermore, in controlled scientific studies, using ‘low doses’ of corticosteroids can improve the integrity of the cartilage. Despite common belief, no evidence supports therapeutic systemic corticosteroid administration is associated with induced laminitis in adult horses without underlying endocrine or severe systemic disease.

Sound training strategies

While a horse’s body is designed to manage the normal wear and tear to joints that comes with being a horse in its natural state, the increased demands of riding, training, and competition can put additional stress on a horse’s joints. However, there are a few management boxes you can tick to help. Regular farrier visits to ensure horses have well-balanced hooves is essential regardless of whether they are in or out of work. If hooves are not balanced, horses will land unevenly, placing stress and abnormal concussion on the joints. “Hoof balance is another key one to a sound horse. We recommend regular X-rays to determine and minimise stressors on horse's legs.” Given what we know about confirmation effect on joints, it stands to reason that different disciplines have stressors on specific joints. For jumpers, impact stressors will often be seen in fetlocks, knees, hocks and stifles. Dressage horses may have a higher incidence of injury to their hocks and stifle from the circle and lateral work. Warming up correctly and adequately and working on suitable surfaces while avoiding hard surfaces (which can cause extreme concussion) are good practices that can support joint health. Just like we wouldn’t expect a marathon runner to run a full race with little training,

we shouldn’t expect our horses to perform at their best without proper preconditioning. Slow and steady training is important for keeping horses sound. Starting with short, relaxed exercise periods that increase in length and intensity over several months gives a horse’s muscles, bones, heart and lungs time to adapt to performance demands. If a horse is out of work for more than a few weeks, back off on the level of training when riding resumes. Ligament and tendon strength comes with fitness. This helps keep the joints in alignment and avoid abnormal concussion. Also don’t work a horse harder than he really needs to be working. As they say, every horse only has so many jumps in it, and you want to avoid excess wear and tear.

equine care Farmassist's Antiseptic Healing Spray is your super easy, no stain everyday first aid essential for treating small wounds, flakey skin or suspicious scabs like Mud Fever or rain scald. Soothes and heals most common skin complaints particularly those that cause hair loss.

TOP TIPS FOR JOINT CARE Balanced nutrition Keep horses at an optimum weight Keep them fit and moving Look for low-impact exercises Consider your horse’s age when setting a training regime Regular farrier visits Feed a horse joint supplement


For the best innovation in

Watch for signs of joint issues and consult the vet as soon as you notice them

Arthroscopic exploration


The choice of treatment for any joint disease must be based on accurate understanding of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) the joint(s) involved, knowledge of underlying factors contributing to the joint disease together with the current severity of damage and clinical signs. Once this information is known an informed treatment plan can Injectable Pentosan be outlined and recommended. Often it is a case of trying the simplest form of management and medical intervention. If the disease progresses or the animal fails to respond to the current Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication an additional treatment medications is added to the treatment regime which is stronger and superior to the first. This way the ‘minimal’ mode of intervention is sought. Oral supplements / natural This is depicted in the treatment treatments / rest and or pyramid starting from the training changes bottom to the top. C

Easy and effective for all over equine care Farmassist Antibacterial Animal Wash is for treating bacteria or fungi on the skin (ie. Mud Fever). The wash is not only an effective treatment, but also a safe medical grade guard against cross-contamination between horses and their equipment. Add to the washing machine with towels and saddle blankets, disinfect all animal housing, and sterilise professional equine tools (stain free and non corrosive).

Essential healing + hygiene for every equine environment. 121


Too Hot to Trot

WORDS Ashleigh Kendall IMAGE Shelley Paulson

Summer is a wonderful time to be riding and showing - the days are long, the weather is hot, and the sun is bright. However, it is during these beautiful days that you need to be aware and able to prevent your body from becoming dehydrated. A line-up of beautiful horses and riders makes for a stunning picture. However, on closer inspection, you might notice sweat dripping from under the rider’s helmet, and you wonder how comfortable are they out there exposed to the harsh New Zealand sun. Hydration seems really simple - just drink water when you’re thirsty, right? But the problem with proper hydration is that most people, especially those of us who ride regularly, are already dehydrated before they even start. When we ride in warmer weather, our blood isn’t just shared between the heart and the muscles; it also has to be shared with the skin for the process of sweating. So you have less blood to carry oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, to get rid of waste products in your heart, and to maintain your cardiac output and keep your heart rate down, because a vast amount of that blood is now dedicated to helping you cool yourself. If you wait to drink until you’re thirsty to rehydrate, you’re already too late. Thirst kicks in when you’re about two percent dehydrated, but dehydration decreases performance independently of thirst.


Commonly confused for being the same affliction, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are separate. Heat exhaustion usually occurs when you are exposed to hot temperatures and strenuous activity without being adequately hydrated. Other causes include alcohol, which affects your body’s ability to regulate temperature as it usually would and overdressing - particularly in non-technical clothes that don’t allow the body to cool. Fortunately, it is preventable!



• Cool, moist skin with goosebumps when in the heat • Heavy sweating • Faintness • Dizziness • Fatigue • Weak, rapid pulse • Low blood pressure upon standing • Muscle cramps • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea • Headache • Dark coloured dehydration




• Pale skin When heat exhaustion is not treated in time, it can then escalate to heat stroke, which is far more severe and requires swift medical attention. Typically your body’s core temperature remains steady at 37°C and is regulated in hot weather by sweating. However, when exercising strenuously, too long in the hot sun or humid weather, it becomes more difficult for your body to regulate and cool itself. If your body’s core reaches 40°C, then your condition becomes critical. If you think you are beginning to experience heat exhaustion, don’t hesitate in taking action to recover quickly. When you can act swiftly, then you should be feeling back to normal very quickly.

IF YOU THINK YOU’RE EXPERIENCING HEAT EXHAUSTION OR DEHYDRATION • Stop all activity and rest • Move to a cooler place • Rehydrating as soon as possible is vital. But it’s important to note that oral rehydration involves more than simply drinking water. Since we lose water and electrolytes, it’s optimal to replace both of these when managing clinical symptoms. An electrolyte-infused drink mix to your water bottle when things get tough can go a long way in bringing your fluid and electrolyte levels back to normal. If your heart rate is abnormally high, decrease your energy output until it calms down. Set a stopwatch and monitor the time. If you don’t feel like you are making noticeable improvement and feeling much better after an hour, or if you are with someone showing symptoms and they become confused, agitated or lose consciousness then seek immediate medical attention.


It is essential to know what you are looking for when you or someone else is starting to suffer from heatrelated problems. Also, recognise that everyone is susceptible. • Wear loose-fitting and lightweight clothing that is appropriate for your activity and weather conditions. This will assist your body in cooling effectively. • Protect yourself from the sun. Sunglasses and a hat helps immensely. Apply sunscreen (at least SPF15) generously and often. • Try to avoid being in the direct sun during the hottest parts of the day. It is not always possible when you are competing but training at home, it is a good idea to schedule your workout in the cooler parts of the day. Good for you and better for your horse too! • Cooling areas where the main blood vessels run helps cool the body quickly. If you can get ice packs, it is beneficial to place them in the armpits, groin and around the neck. • The key is acclimating yourself, drinking hydrating fluids, avoiding dense food and alcohol, and wearing appropriate clothing. Whenever possible, stay out of the sun, especially during the hottest hours. If you do have to ride in the heat of the day, take it slow and watch for signs of heat exhaustion. Know your personal sensitivities and make sure no medications or lotions you use will make you more sensitive to the sun. In the end, you will be a safer, more productive athlete. If you are not suffering from a severe case of heat exhaustion, but get sunburned, anything with green tea or aloe will help minimise redness and inflammation. Remember, it takes longer to recover once you are dehydrated and burned than the time it takes to prevent these things from happening in the first place. Stay cool! C



SUMMER HORSE CARE TIPS Longer days and warmer weather - just what the equestrian ordered! As we approach summer, the cold and dark winter days seem a distant memory, and we settle into a more friendly routine that is somewhat more relaxed than the hectic and grueling one of yesterday. But with summer comes its own set of challenges, here is our quick guide to summer horse care!


Bring your horse in each day, pick out his hooves, take off his rug and check him all over for anything untoward like cuts, blemishes, bumps and any other problems. This is a perfect time for bonding and enjoying their company without the pressures and stresses of working. In the wild, an injured or sick horse is a vulnerable horse and a target for predators, so by nature, they are very stoic when it comes to exhibiting any vulnerabilities. The more time you spend with him, the better you know your horse so, the more you will be aware of him when he is not feeling well or like his usual self.


Summer can be troublesome for sensitive equines, especially those who suffer from allergies, laminitis and have white skin. Bringing your horse in from the sun during the day can help keep him comfortable and healthy throughout the harsh heat of the day.


One unwelcome part of summer has got to be the flies! Keeping your horse's eyes clean makes them less inviting for flies and bugs to irritate in turn, free from eye infections and other eyerelated health issues. Fly masks/ veils can help keep those pests at bay and keep your horse comfortable.



It is no secret that the New Zealand sun can be very punishing at best. It doesn't take long for humans and horses to become burnt. Constant daily exposure to the sun not only leaves your horse at risk of cancer but will leave him in a lot of pain with sunburn! Make sure you have appropriate sunscreen at the ready, nose shades are great for pink noses too. It is important to note that if you are using a sunscreen, then be sure to wash the areas a few times a week to avoid unwanted build-up.


As mentioned, flies and critters are one of the worst parts of the sunny season. Adequate fly protection is going to improve your horse’s quality of life throughout this period hugely! Ensuring you have a good supply of fly spray at the ready will help. Good tack shops have many options to choose from for a reasonable price. Also, did you know that you can keep flies away with a simple garlic supplement? Garlic has fly repelling properties as well as other benefits such as supporting a healthy coat and is excellent for the cardiovascular system. Again, visit your preferred tack shop for options. There are also several excellent flysheet and masks available that will keep your horse at his most cool, comfortable and fly free.


With the dry ground comes the risk of dry and cracked hooves. A good, complete diet and correct hoof care management will keep them in good condition. As always, prevention is better than cure as although oils and supplements are great, they can take several weeks to start working. Stay on top of any issues that pop up with the season to ensure your horse’s continued soundness.


Avoid working your horse in the heat of the day, and if you must then limit the work, so he isn't overheating. It is unfair to expect him to work for long and hard sessions in the heat of the day. Once you have finished your ride, be sure to cool him off properly. When hosing, it is best to start with warm water similar to his current body temperature and cool him off slowly. Another helpful tip is to make sure you scrape all the excess water off, and towel dry him as any remaining water that sits on his coat will heat up and make him hot again!


It is essential to ensure your feeding regime is updated throughout the year to cater for the workload and change in seasons. When it is hot, and your horse is sweating more, it is vital to add in electrolytes to substitute for what is lost in sweat. Making sure your horse always has access to clean drinking water is essential all year round, but especially during the summer heat, he will become dehydrated very quickly if his needs are not met. It is also useful and beneficial to have your vet take routine blood tests to make sure everything is as it should be as each season changes. C


EQUINE LAW with Megan Gundesen

Unfortunately, sometimes you buy a horse and it is a different creature to the horse you trialled. What can you do? When all else fails, it’s the Disputes Tribunal. Here’s a brief walk through a real live case and what this purchaser did… In 2019, a 9-year-old show horse, BB, from Orari was advertised by XN on Trademe for $6000.00. BB was represented as having no vices, being easy to ride, and great with other horses. CN (the purchaser) rode BB 3 times over six weeks and bought him. Within a few days, BB would not tie up, bucked, reared, kicked out, was not easy to ride, was not great with other horses, was described as “being spooked with ghosts in his head” and as For more i nforma tion vi siDisputes t www.justice.go “being schizophrenic”. ** vt. The poor owners, I thought. Tnz/tribunals ribunal For more i nforma tion vi si t www.justice.go vt. nz/tribunals For more i nforma tion vi si t www.justice.go vt. nz/tribunals

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What did CN, the purchaser, have to prove? CN had to show she was induced to enter the contract by a misrepresentation and that she had suffered damage as a result. Notably, BB was vet checked and sound prior to sale. XN, the owner, showed videos of her riding BB and also made it clear that once he left her property, she would not be held accountable for him because of the difficulty some horses have transitioning to a new home and bonding with a new rider.

What is this form for? Us e this form to make a claim to the Tribunal. CIV CIV: What is this form for? Us e this form to make a claim to the Tribunal. OFFICE USE ONLY CIV: What is this form for? Use this form to make a claim to the Tribunal. CIV: Completing and 1. F ill in all s ections belo w. submitting this form Completing and 2. Print CAPITAL LE TTERS. 1. F ill ininall s ections belo w. What is thisand form for? Completing Use form to makebelow. a claim to the Tribunal. 1. this Fill in all sections submitting this form 3. Check submitting 2. Print inbefore CAPITAL LE TTERS.this form, that you have answered all questions, it is signed and dated, submitting this form Print in CAPITAL LETTERS. 1. Fill in all sections and print in2. capital letters. and the filingtosubmitting fee is included. 3. Check before this form, that you have answered all questions, it is signed and dated, What is this form for? Us e this form make a to the Tribunal. 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Submit 3 copi of thisform by post or in person to t he District Court closes to your physical address Part Applicant (you,submitted the individual or organisation making theare claim) IfDistrict claiming as a trustee of a trust, state that Note: you live in Auckland, there five Courts: North Shore,Waitakere, Auckland City, What 1: happens after you have thisIf form Note: in there are five Courts: North Manukau andlive Papakura. Full address details for all District Courts can be found at Auckland Note: IfIf you you live in Auckland, Auckland, there five IfDistrict District Courts: North Shore,Waitakere, Shore,Waitakere, Auckland City, City, Part 1:1:Applicant (you, the individual or organisation making theare claim) claiming aCourts trustee of ares trust, that Manukau and Full address details for all District can be found (you, the individual orPapakura. organisation/company making theas claim) If claiming asstate a at trustee a trust, andwill name allaother trustees (if any)asof the Part Applicant T heTribunal s end copy of this form, sthe upplied applicant, to all other parties (to all the pondent(s )) toof im. the cla Manukau and Manukau and Papakura. Papakura. Full Full address address details details for for all all District District Courts Courts can can be be found found at at What happens after you have submitted this form state that and name all other trustees (if any) of the trust. and name all other trustees (if any) of the trust. T heTribunal will s end a copy of this form, as s upplied by the applicant, to all other parties (to all the res pondent(s )) to im. the cla Part 1: Applicant (you, the individual or organisation making the claim) If claiming as a trustee of a trust, state that Individual’s family What happens aftername(s): you have submitted this form Individual’s family name(s): What happens after you have submitted this form and name all other trustees (if any) of the trust. happens after you have submitted this form TWhat heTribunal will s end a copy of this form, as s upplied by the applicant, to all other parties (to all the res pondent(s )) to im. the cla Individual’s family name(s): Part 1: Applicant (you, the individual or organisation making the claim) If claiming as a trustee of a trust, state that What happens after you have submitted this form first Individual’s first name(s): TT Individual’s heTribunal will ssname(s): end aa copy of this form, as s upplied by the applicant, to all other parties (to all the res pondent(s )) to im. the cla heTribunal will copy of as upplied by applicant, the TOrganisation’s heTribunal will send end copytrustees of this this form, form, asofssthe upplied by the the applicant, to to all all other other parties parties (to (to all all the the res respondent(s pondent(s)) )) to to im. im. the cla cla andfirst name all aother (if trust.body name (if a corporation orany) unincorporated of persons, for example, an individual’s employer): Individual’s name(s): Organis ation ’s name (if (you, a corporation or unincorporated of pers ons , for example,asan individual ’s of employer): Part 1: Applicant the individual or organisationbody making the claim) If claiming a trustee a trust, state that Individual’s family name(s): Part 1: Applicant (you, the individual or organisation making the claim) If claiming as a trustee of a trust, state that Part 1: Applicant (you, the individual or organisation making the claim) If claiming as a trustee of a trust, state that Organisation /Company name (if aindividual corporation or unincorporated of persons, for example, an individual’s employer): and name all other trustees (if any) of trust. Part 1: Applicant (you, the orthe organisation makingbody the claim) If claiming as a trustee of a trust, state that Attention (organisation’s contact): Individual’s name(s): andfirst name all other other trustees (if (if any) of of the trust. trust. Individual’s family name(s): and and name name all all other trustees trustees (if any) any) of the the trust. Attentionation (organisation ’s acontact): Organis ’s name (if corporation or unincorporated body of pers ons , for example, an individual ’s employer): Individual’s first name(s): Individual’s(organisation family name(s): Attention ’s contact): Please keep my details confidential for my safety and/or the safety of my family. (Select the details you want to keep Individual’s family name(s): Individual’s family name(s): Organis ation ’s name (iforder a corporation unincorporated bodyfor ofconfidentiality, pers ons , for example, ’s employer): Individual’s family name(s): Physical address (AIn physical address required) confidential below. for us toisor consider your request we needan to individual understand your safety concerns. Individual’s first name(s): Physical address (Aphysical address required) Individual’s first name(s): You must tell us your reasons in partisis7.) Physical address (A physical address required) . Attention (organisation ’s contact): Individual’s first name(s): Individual’s first name(s): or road (number and name): Street Keep my address confidential. Organis ationto ’s remove name (if any a corporation or unincorporated body of pers ons , for example, an individual ’syou employer): Remember confidential personal information from supporting documents give us. We will send a Organis ’s name aa corporation or unincorporated body of pers onsfrom , forthe example, an individual employer): Please fill out page (if 5’sand and give us a different address (for documents respondent) in’s Postal Address section below. Street oration road name): Organis ’s’s(number name or unincorporated ’s’sthe employer): Attention (organisation contact): copy of ation all supporting documents to all parties. body Organis ation name (if (if a corporation corporation orother unincorporated body of of pers persons ons,, for for example, example, an an individual individual employer): Rural delivery Physica l addressnumber: (A physical address is required) Street or road (number and name): Rural delivery number: I want to keep my physical address confidential. Suburb: Attention (organisation ’sand contact): Street road (number name): Physica lor address physical address required) (Give usnumber: your(A physical address forisour use and a different address for the other party to use to send you their documents). Rural delivery Attention (organisation ’s Suburb: Attention (organisation ’s’s contact): contact): Attention (organisation contact):address confidential. City, town or district: I want to keep my Rural Streetdelivery or road number: (number andemail name): Suburb: Physica l address (A physical address is required) City, town or district: I want to keep my phone numbers confidential. Postcode: Physical address (A physical address is required) Suburb: Physica l address (A address Rural al delivery number: Physic (A physical physical address is is required) required) City, or district: Streettown oraddress road (number and name): Postcode: Physical address City, town or district: Street or road (number and name): Suburb: Street or road (number and name): Postal address (if di Postcode: Rural delivery number: Street or roadnumber: (number and name): Postal address (if di Postcode: Rural delivery City, or district: Ruraltown delivery number: and name): Street or road (number Suburb: Postal address Rural delivery number:and name): Street or road (number Suburb: Postcode: Suburb: Rural delivery number: City, town or district: Postal address (if di and name): Street or road (number Suburb: Rural deliverydistrict: number: City, City, town town or or district: Suburb: Postcode: Street or road number: (number Rural delivery Postal address (if di and name): City, town or district: Suburb: Postcode: Postcode: or district: City, Ruraltown, delivery Suburb: Street or road number: (number and name): Postcode: Postal address (if di City, town, or district: Postcode: Postal address (if di Suburb: Postal address (if City, or district: Ruraltown, delivery number: Postal address (if di di Postal address Postcode: Street or road (number and name): City, town, or district: Street or Postcode: Suburb: Street or road road (number and name): Street road(number (numberand andname): name): Rural delivery delivery number: number: Postcode: Rural Page 1 town, For more information visit DT 07/11 - 1 City, or district: Rural delivery number: Rural delivery number: Page 1 For more information visit DT 07/11 - 1 Suburb: Suburb: Page 1 For more information visit DT 07/11 - 1 Postcode: Suburb: Suburb: City, town, or district: City, town, or Cit town or district: City, or district: Page 1y, town, For more information visit DT 07/11 - 1 Postcode: Postcode: Postcode: Postcode: Page 1 For more information visit DT 07/11 - 1

Form 1: Claim Form

So, what did CN, the purchaser, do? With the horse value being under the $15,000 limit ($20,000 by agreement), CN downloaded the form from the Disputes Tribunal (‘DT’) website, paid the $180 fee, and the claim was heard within the usual 6 to 8 weeks. Note: you can’t claim this fee back even if you win. CN and her grandmother (the person who actually bought BB) were not permitted to be represented by a lawyer, and the hearing was run by a referee. The referee encouraged the two sides to reach an agreement, but this didn’t eventuate. So, a binding decision had to be given. The issue was whether BB was misrepresented by XN? The Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 (CGA) did not apply because this was an agreement between private individuals. Therefore, the CGA protections, such as fitness for purpose and goods having to match their description, did not apply. The Contractual Remedies Act 1979 did apply. This entitles a person to damages if they are induced to enter into a contract by a misrepresentation. Page 1 For more information visit Page 1 Page Page Page 111


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Here are some tips and tricks to prepare your DT claim, if you have a horse deal which has gone wrong. People often turn up for a hearing without being ready, and cases have to be dismissed or reconvened. There are several things you should do: • Collect the evidence. Invoices and receipts, the Sale Agreement, photographs, any official reports (such as the Vet Check or any subsequent vet reports), witness accounts (from the pony club Head Coach for example) – they’re all valuable. • Make sure any important witnesses can attend – if not, see if you can get a new date for the hearing or ask the court staff if it’s possible to attend by telephone. • Make notes for yourself on the problem and how you want it fixed. Isolate your central issues and arguments. It’s important to work out what you really want to say, so you can stay focused. • Put together a submission and send it to the Disputes Tribunal in advance of your hearing. This isn’t strictly necessary, but experienced referees say it’s definitely a good idea. Your submission should contain a summary of your case, with the key issues clearly stated, and copies of any key documents. • Practise your presentation with someone who can give you good advice.

DT 07/11 - 1 DT 07/11 DT DT 07/11--- 1 11- 1 DT07/11 07/11

Do you need expert witnesses? For issues about health, soundness, or horse behaviour, it will be very useful to have a report from a vet or experienced impartial equestrian expert. Remember that DT referees will be more used to dealing with inanimate objects that don’t do fight and flight, or have grass reactions, or react badly to certain humans. So, they may struggle to understand how a horse can behave quite differently from one owner to the next and one kind of pasture to the next. Help your referee out by having an expert explain this. What sort of decisions can a referee make? Referees can order that money be paid or repaid, the horse to be delivered

back or even the future cost of vet fees be paid to remedy a problem. They can order that a person is not liable for a debt or alter or cancel agreements. They can also dismiss a claim. That’s what happened in the ‘BB’ case. It is exciting to report that the new FairPlay Equine website full of Freebies on how to create happy horse/rider partnerships, is not far away. Making the right match and crunching some useful vet check and trial period conditions will all be part of the new FairPlay Equine experience. Meanwhile, may you spring into the new season with calm, happy horses. **Identifying information has been deleted from the published DT judge

* Whilst this article is accurate to the best of the author’s knowledge, it is written to provide general information only. FairPlay Legal Ltd does not accept any responsibility or liability for actions taken or damage resulting from use of the information. Readers are advised to seek their own legal advice in respect of their own situation and circumstances.



Can DEFEAT be character building With Dr Amanda Jefferys Senior Clinical and Health Psychologist B. Psych (Hons). Doctorate in Clinical and in Health Psych. MAPS. FCCLP, FCHP, Psych Board App. Clinical Supervisor. Registered Fitness Professional

It’s interesting to contemplate whether defeat has any basis in building character. Numerous sports psychology features are emphasising the potential that loss and defeat may have in their ability to alter us in a beneficial way. I rather like the more recent impetus when discussing the building of character as it implies ‘defeat may reveal character’, as, in certain moments of loss and defeat, we have the potential to demonstrate our inner qualities, our humanness, and our humbleness, thus revealing our true self.


he construct of ‘winning at all cost’ or ‘winning is everything’ is often underpinned by an unhelpful driver, such as a ‘fear of failure’ mindset. A ‘fear of failure’ mindset is usually formulated in our

developmental years, where a ‘win at all costs’ mentality is


Often rejecting or diminishing the positive attributes and maintaining a negative belief of your performance.


formulated, developed, adopted, and sometimes reinforced

This is where you get caught up in a negative interpretation,

by influential figures such as parents or coaches. Yet, modern

even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support

psychological principles acknowledge that defeat and often

your conclusion.

failure is inevitable in life, and this learning has the potential


to develop skills such as personal growth, humility, and grace in times of winning or defeat. And, surely, if we have faced a worthy opponent and given our all, then we have performed our best work, and there can only be one winner! The ‘fear of failure’ mindset has numerous cognitive distortions or unhealthy thinking styles, which contribute and are listed here for you to evaluate whether they may be holding you back. They include the following:


This is believing that you ‘know’ why someone is responding to you in a certain way, without checking it out!


Your mind forecasts that you are performing poorly, and then, of course, this often continues due to a self-fulfilling prophecy where you align with that poor thinking!


This is when you are exaggerating or discounting the

This is where one often sees things in the context of black-and-

importance of your actions and how they are contributing to

white categories. As a result, if your performance falls short of

your performance.

perfect, you see yourself as a failure.



This is one of my favourites! All the things my mind says I ‘should’

This is where one sees a single negative event as a never-ending

or ‘shouldn’t’ or ‘must’ or ‘ought’ to have done! They often have

pattern of defeat, and is therefore not able to overcome it.

very poor outcomes of feeling frustrated or resentful or even


This is when you filter out the aspects that you performed well and only focus on the negative aspects of the event.


anger towards others.


Putting negative labels on ourselves or others often perpetuates

georgia worth

“Often challenges propel us forward to harness our energy, knowledge, equine dental and tenacity to improve.”


equine dental care

poor performance. For example, labelling yourself with ‘I’m a loser’ will result in feeling emotionally loaded.

On occasion, a loss event or defeat opens up the prospect for reflection to consider how to improve, what needs to change, whether


Seeing oneself as the causal issue when often that is not the case, but maybe just the circumstance on the day. So, if we are going to strive to emphasise the potential to ‘reveal character’ in the face of loss or defeat, are there any valid outcomes? Consider


there is potential to tweak our preparation, gear, and support, what causes I can be responsible for and learn from, and how I can minimise self-destructive tendencies and stay positive and focussed.


This is a quality of distinction in a world the




managing oneself during loss:


Sadly, life will and does provide us with loss events; for example, managing our horses’ health and our own is common, and these events are often difficult and add to our

where ego and self-regulation are not the learned skills. Congratulate others, offer sincere support, model whom you would like to be noted as being, be a worthy opponent, and embrace competitor’s achievements.


has been a real challenge, as the positive

and loss is real, and coming to terms with

feelings are amplified when we do win when

this inevitable aspect of life is essential in

we have competed with worthy opponents.


Available in the wider Waikato & Auckland Region’s. Other areas by arrangement.

Being a winner is valuable when the event

emotional load. And yet these events happen,

order to cope and for our personal growth.

Qualified Equine Dental Technician & Member of the IAED

I trust some of these tips or observations

021 152 9044

may be helpful when considering your reaction in competition. Of course, it’s

The world does not always respond to

fantastic when we are in the winner’s

our desires and goals, so often, we fail or

circle, but the flipside is to take personal

struggle. However, it is the development and

responsibility and do everything needed to

application of true resilience that is acquired

perform well, and if you did, relax and be

through the learning achieved to address

thankful; you are a winner.

the adversities in life. Often, we learn best through tough life lessons, and it remains

Happy riding everyone.

our personal challenge to dust off, learn, smile, and move forward (something I find riders are pretty darn good at).


Often, challenges propel us forward to harness our energy, knowledge, and tenacity

to improve. Challenges can lead to our personal growth and test our perseverance.





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