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NEW ZEALAND’S ULTIMATE EQUESTRIAN MAGAZINE

SHOWCIRCUIT FEBRUARY/MARCH 2021

PERFECT

POSTURE OVERCOMING COMMON PROBLEMS

COOPER OBORN

EXPLAINS LATERAL MOVEMENTS

MOTIVATING INTERVIEWS

REBECCA WILLIAMSON CHARLOTTE TRENEARY CHRISTINE WEAL MONICA OAKLEY LAUREN ENRIGHT HELOISE TOLO LISA KENNEDY MANDY ILLSTON NATALYA WYATT LUCINDA ASKIN

EARS

PRICKED

THE INSIDE STORY

Jess Land

Selling the dream


Be as one

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B1 Cool Mix is a complete vitamin & mineral supplement that may help calm nervous or excitable horses.

Proud Sponsors of Team McKee “We’re loving Turmericle! It keeps the dressage and showjumping horses freer and looser in their movement, with less fill in their legs after travel and being stabled. They warm up quickly and are more forward from the start at training and home. All our horses now get Turmericle.” Rebecca, McKee Equestrian

• Can be fed with Equilibrium • Contains two varieties of turmeric • Contains powdered coconut oil • Contains black pepper • Easy to use ready-made formula • No mess, no fuss! See us at Stand E11 HOY 2021 View the whole range at www.stanceequitec.com.au and www.equiaustralia.com.au Stance Equitec & Equilibrium supplements are scientifically formulated, natural and ethical products.


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Remain vigilant against parasites!

PROTECT YOUR HORSE FOR OPTIMUM HEALTH AND PERFORMANCE . Ascarid worms/large roundworms, (Parascaris species) can cause severe and permanent lung and liver damage in foals. Research by Dr David Leathwick et al.1 recommends that the best treatment regime for Parascaris species is two doses of an effective wormer such as Strategy-T速: one at two months and one at five months of age. A New Zealand study by Dr Lee Morris et al.2 found that the resistance of Parascaris to mectin based wormers is now so prevalent that the most effective treatment for use in foals is now a BZ / Pyrantel combination. Currently, the only product formulated with this combination is Strategy-T速. Strategy-T速 is a broad spectrum, flavoured wormer that is safe for use in pregnant mares. One tube has enough paste to treat up to 700 kg.

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WELCOME Happy New Year!

We’re galloping towards the business end of the season, and the pinnacle event on the calendar, the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show. We hope you enjoyed a relaxing time with friends and family over the holiday season and managed to overindulge on some summer adventures with your four-legged friends. In this jam-packed issue we feature many talented riders, bring you educational training clinics, and have photo essays from the National Young Horse Jumping Championships and the Bates National Dressage Championships. Eagle-eyed readers may notice a name change of our editor. We haven’t got a new editor, Rebecca Harper has now decided to write under her married name, Rebecca Greaves. On the cover is Jess Land, who most know through her ability to train youngstock off the track and take them through the show jumping levels in preparation to sell to them to the perfect home. Rider profiles include Ashburton show jumper, Lucinda Askin, who is jumping in the World Cups with her special horse, Portofino. She tells us about why she’s having a crack at riding full-time and her plans to grow an equine business. We also feature Wellington show jumper Heloise Tolo and discover her affinity for hot, fiery mares, young dressage star, Becki Williamson, who is keen to follow in her mum Wendi’s footsteps, as well as accomplished rider, dressage trainer and Dressage Performance & Development representative; Christine Weal. Lisa Kennedy runs a racing stable for Kevin Myers in Rangitikei and was recognised for her talent and hard work with the Stablehand of the Year award at the New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards. She’s also making a name for herself on the showing circuit with her two off-the-track Thoroughbreds. Eventers Lauren Enright and Charlotte Treneary talk about their passion for eventing, and we get the low-down on Puhinui CC1 4* Three-Day-Event winner Monica Oakley. It was a delight to interview Wairarapa show jumper, Mandy Illston. Juggling life as a veterinarian and mum and competing, Mandy finds time to give back to the sport, chairing ESNZ Jumping. Our first clinic features Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer, Cooper Oborn, who takes us through a lateral masterclass. This clinic is possibly one of the most comprehensive clinics we have undertaken. Cooper coaches us through the lateral movements and how they help develop collection and the paces through the training. In our second training clinic, discover the secret to perfect posture. How aware are you of your position in the saddle? This clinic addresses common issues with riders’ posture and how to correct them. We hope you find some time to sit back, relax and enjoy the read and all the best for the remainder of the season. Whether you aspire to jump World Cups or make it to your local Pony Club ribbon day, we hope there is something within our pages to inspire and motivate you. Until our next issue, happy riding.

Sheryll x

WAIATA PUBLISHING LTD PO Box 1245, Pukekohe, Auckland 2340

EDITOR

Rebecca Greaves editor@showcircuit.co.nz

SENIOR WRITER Cheyenne Nicholson

SUB EDITING Lisa Potter

DESIGN

Sheryll Davies

CONTRIBUTORS

Ashleigh Kendall Caitlin Benzie Photography Capturing Mouri Cornege Photography Denise Flay Photography Gabi Knipe kampic.com Libby Law Photography Michelle Clarke Photography  Petapix Richard Sutcliffe Russell Guire Samantha Jaquiery Take the Moment Photography Travis Gamble

ADVERTISING

Sheryll Davies sheryll@showcircuit.co.nz

MAGAZINE ENQUIRIES enquiries@showcircuit.co.nz

WEBSITE

www.showcircuitmagazine.com

ABOUT SHOWCIRCUIT COVER IMAGE Jess Land & EMILIO MSH IMAGE Michelle Clarke Photography

Our magazine is published bi-monthly. Articles reflect the personal opinion of the author and not necessarily the view of Waiata Publishing Ltd. This publication cannot be reproduced in whole or in part in any way without the publisher’s express written permission. All contributions are submitted at the sender’s risk. Waiata Publishing Ltd accepts no responsibility for loss or damage. © SHOWCIRCUIT Magazine 2021

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All rights reserved.


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IN THIS ISSUE FEBRUARY | MARCH 2021

14

22

30

38

OUR PEOPLE 14 22 30 38 46 52 60 66 72 78 84

Jess Land | Selling The Dream Christine Weal | Success Comes in Many Forms Monica Oakley | Making Her Own Luck Lucinda Askin | The Right Perspective Rebecca Williamson | It Takes A Team Lauren Enright | An Eventer At Heart Heloise Tolo | Some Like It Hot Charlotte Treneary | There Are No Limits Mandy Illston | Eye On The Prize Lisa Kennedy | Racing To The Top Natalya Wyatt | A Twist Of Fate

46

EVENTS 94 98

52

Bates National Dressage Champs National Young Horse Jumping

FEATURES

TRAINING

126 Ears Pricked | The Inside Story

110 Cooper Oborn | Laterals Masterclass 120 Perfect Posture | Are You Riding Balanced?

60

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66

72


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S ream D ON THE COVER

elling the Jess Land

WORDS - Samantha Jaquiery IMAGES - Michelle Clarke Photography

Moments of stupidity have led to a professional riding career for twenty-five year old Jess Land. The Canterbury based lass has stepped up to FEI 1* 1.40m on her main man Emilio MSH this season. Tripping around the countryside for shows while continuing to operate her successful horse sale business, she turns over around 125 horses per year.

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I DON’T KNOW

W H AT I WA S T H I N K I N G , I DON’T KNOW HOW I

THOUGHT I WAS GOING

TO RIDE HIM, BUT

HE TURNED OUT TO BE THE

BEST HORSE

I ’ V E E V E R B O U G H T.

SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -

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This page Jess with her constant companions Ollie (left) and Casper (right)

I

n 2017 Jess took a punt and bought a horse sight unseen, without a vet check, knowing it had only jumped crossbars and was likely to throw her off even if he was lunged before she got on. That ten-year-old problem horse has turned out to be a talented horse with a quirky personality that keeps her entertained. Emilio MSH is one of the few competition horses she owns and competes, the rest in her stable are mostly being sold on behalf.

Jess is based in Rangiora and has made a career of

professional show jumping, schooling and selling horses on behalf. She started her riding career at Kowhai Riding School in Canterbury when her friend dragged her along in 2007. She was 11 at the time and had immigrated to New Zealand from England with her parents in 2003. “The first time I rode I really didn’t enjoy it, it wasn’t till the second time I caught the bug,” says Jess. “In the early days I spent every school holidays and any other time I could at Kowhai from about 2008 till 2012.” Then she bought her first horse, Fred, who was a 16hh inexperienced Thoroughbred. The first moment of stupidity. “He was a green Thoroughbred, I couldn’t ride to save myself, and I didn’t come from a horsey family. Basically, it was everything I advise people not to do,” she says.

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Right hand page Jess and EMILIO MSH in the Mini Prix class at SCNO SJ, Waimate Fortunately, she got to work alongside Katie Meredith, a professional show jumper and instructor based in Kaiapoi. She was grooming and working for Katie for about 18 months which ignited her passion for show jumping. Gleaning knowledge from Katie, Jess learnt the ins and outs of jumping, including how to train a horse for the bigger classes, how to turn them out and what to do at shows. “I had the basics from Kowhai, and Katie fine-tuned everything else. I also did a short stint at the Steiner Sport Horses stable where I learnt a bit more before starting my business in 2014.” She bought her first show jumper from Katie, a small Thoroughbred that had come from Australia, Depardieu. Katie had got him back up and running after his mixed career before passing him onto Jess who jumped him to Junior Rider level before he retired. She spent some time eventing before she bought the problem child Emilio MSH (Emillion VDL x Vibrant SL). “I don’t know what I was thinking, I don’t know how I thought I was going to ride him, but he turned out to be the best horse I’ve ever bought.” He arrived in May, and she had a great time getting him going through winter. She had him jumping up to 1.10m but had a nasty crash off another horse, breaking her collarbone and missing the entire show season. Luckily Harry Feast took Emilio MSH for the season and got him jumping 1.20m.


SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -

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Above - Jess and EMILIO MSH in the Mini Prix class at Labour Weekend Show Jumping in Canterbury.

The following season Harry coached Jess

while she jumped amateurs on him, placing third in the amateur series and they won the amateur title at Nationals. “It was great Harry got him out for me, he did a super job on him, but if I injured myself now the horse would sit in the paddock,” Jess says with a laugh. “I don’t think I could share him now.”

The rest of her competition team gets

filled by client horses. Her business has grown exponentially, she has been selling around 125 horses a year and loves what she does. “I fell into it by accident, I hadn’t considered getting into selling, but I found it easy. And I guess it’s not something many people actually want to do, but I’m really enjoying it.” She takes the odd schooler or horse to jump at shows for people, but most of her work is selling on behalf. She operates with a weekly fee and takes a commission on the sale price, handling everything throughout the process, and she tries to work with people as best as she can if they have restricted budgets. “I get everything, from off the track Thoroughbreds to horses jumping 1.20m or 1.30m, but I try to make it affordable for everyone, I’d rather see a good outcome than worry about how much money I’m going to make,” she says. Jess estimates ninety per cent of the horses take less than a month to sell, and some people will put a cap on how long they are prepared to spend trying. But the most significant barrier to selling a horse can be the owners’ expectations on price. “If they’re priced right it doesn’t take long. I try guide sellers where I can, but they set the price, and they’ve got to be realistic about what they’re wanting.”

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Jess holding a favourite; MISS VELETA (ORLANDO X SIROCCO STORM), a 6-year-old Warmblood, sadly sat out last season because of a small injury Some of the higher value horses make it onto her competition team, getting good exposure at shows. All of her horses go on her Facebook page, and some days she can be fielding up to 60 inquiries. She gets sellers to complete an information sheet on their horse so she can paint a clear picture for buyers. Jess tries hard to match the horses to the buyers and won’t sell anything she feels is unsafe or not suitable to rehome.

All horses come to their eight-hectare family property in

Rangiora where they have all the facilities she needs. Her mum works from home and helps manage the horses when Jess is on the road competing. She travels to shows as far south as Dunedin and north to Cambridge, mostly on her own or with a groom, and photographer Michelle Clarke is a regular travel companion. They do deals trading photos for travel.


I GET EVERYTHING,

FROM OFF THE TRACK

THOROUGHBREDS

TO HORSES JUMPING 1.20M

OR 1.30M, BUT I TRY TO MAKE IT

AFFORDABLE F O R

E V E RY O N E , I ’ D R AT H E R S E E A

GOOD OUTCOME THAN WORRY ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY I’M GOING TO MAKE.

SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -

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Jess aspires to jump in the Lady Rider at Horse of the

GO AND FIND

Year, but she loves what she’s doing and helping others along the road. “I’m certainly not making millions, and I have to work my butt off, but I love it, and when you love it, it’s not really a job.” Her biggest advice for other riders would be to find someone to learn from and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. “I learned heaps being a working pupil, go and find someone to watch and learn from, and don’t quit! “It’s a challenging game, and I think all of us think about walking away at some point, but it’s a sport that needs mental toughness. “Set goals and make a game plan, and be prepared to give up a few things along the way to get there.”

S O M E O N E T O WAT C H A N D LEARN FROM, AND

DON’T QUIT!

Jess’s selling top tips Number one - send them tidy! It doesn’t take long to give them a decent tidy up and can change the whole selling process. Decent pictures are a must! Technology has come a long way, and you can do a lot from screenshots now. Prices - do your research on the price you’re asking and be

prepared to meet the market even if it’s not the amount you wanted. And be realistic with what they’re doing and where they are at, how much work they are doing at the time of sale will have an influence.

Try to get it right from the start. A big mistake people make

is not marketing them well the first time, once they start sitting on the market, they get harder to sell. The first few weeks you advertise is the best time to sell them, you’re better to take a few extra weeks to get it right.

If you’re struggling to sell a horse, seek help. Get feedback on the advertisement and how you are pitching your horses. C

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RIDER spotlight

Success comes in many

forms Christine Weal WORDS - Ashleigh Kendall IMAGES - Christine Cornege Photography

Christine Weal is a quiet achiever doing big things in New Zealand dressage. Through her commitment to her sport and support of other riders, she is helping transform the face of dressage, leading the sport to a brighter future.

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The cool thing about Felix is

he just has an

incredible attitude and work ethic...

Currently, Christine has the most exciting team of horses

she has had to date. Her top horse 12-year-old Schindlers Liszt has recently stepped up to Medium Tour and despite being green and sensitive, already won Reserve Champion at Waitemata Premier League in December. Liszt, who is by the late Vollrath Lessing, has a huge future ahead of him under Christine's guidance. The pair have been together for three years, and when he first arrived, he was very spooky, making Christine have to think on her feet when riding him in big environments. A challenge she is still working through. “Louis Schindler owned and produced him before me, he had done a great job, but Liszt was spooky and a bit tricky at the shows, but when I did get on his side he became more and more confident, then he started to give me the most amazing feeling”, she says. “He taught me a lot because you can't just get out there and fire him around, you have to help him and gain his trust. If you kick him or put pressure on him at the wrong time, he just goes into himself, but now I know him better, and we are a strong partnership he is rideable for me which I love. He does need to get stronger and braver, but he really tries, has a big heart and wants to do the job for me, which is really special.” At Nationals this year Christine was a bit disappointed. “He got in the arena and was terrified of people moving in the stands which was costly on the scoreboard.” Still, they went away from that experience and changed his training at home to overcome that,

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which paid off when they went to Waitemata. A highlight for Christine was taking him to the Sydney CDI in 2019. They competed at Prix St George level and came home with fantastic results, including fourth in the Prix St George and eight in the musical behind European imported horses. “He went better than I expected and hoped over there as it was a big environment for him to cope with and he really went out there and focused, trying really hard for me”, she says. She explains it is good to take them over to Australia for experience at Prix St George level to see how they will react in those more significant environments and build confidence before getting through to the Grand Prix. The pressure is on more. “That trip to Australia was great because all of the New Zealand riders' horses bar one were New Zealand bred, and we were all up against costly European imported horses, and they really held their own. I want to take him back overseas again as a Grand Prix horse when we can all travel again safely”, she says. Her seven-year-old Fürstenball gelding Stoneylea Felicio (Felix) is also showing great promise. “He is just perfect”, she says of her very tall teammate, “a real professional in the ring, and he has a nice looseness about him.” Due to being such a tall horse, Christine has been very patient with him and careful not to push him too hard, despite that he has still progressed very quickly. “The cool thing about Felix is he just has an incredible attitude and work ethic, you


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Above and left hand page - Christine and STONEYLEA FELICIO. Right - Christine credits Dunstan Feeds for keeping her horses in perfect condition all year round.

could put a 12-year-old kid on him, and they would still be able to do a half pass. He is really balanced and great to ride out at the shows.” She moved him up to Medium level from Novice as she felt all the 10m circles required in Elementary were too demanding on a big, young horse, so this is his second season at Medium after a short first season last year. “He should move up the levels well, I have started some half steps with him and the changes, and he's showing he has got it all there, with all the right responses to the hard questions without having to push and pressure him too much.” As with Liszt, she plans to compete him in Australia before he gets to Grand Prix, so he too has a chance to experience that

environment with less pressure. “Felix is really cool cos he is so natural and tries so hard, but Liszt gives the most amazing feeling when you get him up off the ground. He's not a conformationally perfect horse, but he has the biggest heart, and he wants to do it.” FIS Santo, by Sandreo, is another promising prospect in her stable who she bought as a rising two-year-old. Together, with her partner Zoie Gray, they broke him in as a colt but says he was a bit backwards thinking initially. “We have learned a lot from him as we have gone along”, she explains. “He has been a bit tricky, and he got a fright at some of his first shows from the music which made going out hard, but he has come a long way and is also trying hard.

M: 021 627 082 E: sandij@xtra.co.nz www.classicequestrian.co.nz F: classic.equestrian SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -

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I love how you can produce

them and change their paces and way of going through balance and strength. It is

so good because it is hard, and it’s challenging.

Christine and SCHINDLERS LISZT

We can even put the working students on him now, and he jumps, so he is awesome. Zoie has done a fantastic job of producing him. “The standard in dressage in New Zealand has got so much stronger, we are breeding top horses here, and if you want to do top-level sport then you really need to have a purpose-bred, good quality horse with a great temperament", she says. “We don't have lots of money to spare, so we buy them young and then produce them.” At the moment, Christine feels she could do with some more horses to ride. Still, she is confident in the young horses they have growing in the paddocks for the future, including a few with Fürstenball bloodlines from Angela Smith, which seems to suit Christine and her riding and training style. “Zoie has also just bred a Fürstenball which I like the look of too!”

Being brought up

in an equestrian family, she was accustomed early on to the sport's highs and lows. “Mum was always a level headed person, one day you are up and the next you are down, and you just have to see it through", she says. “Take the good with the

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bad. I'm happy to go to a show and just ride, I'm not too worried about what happens that day as long as I am happy the horses are going the way I want, I am committed to that. “I wasn't naturally talented as a lot of riders are, and I have had to work really hard at it, but because my family have always been involved with racehorses and eventers, the horsemanship was always there for me.” She loves the technical side of dressage, “I love how you can produce them and change their paces and way of going through balance and strength. It is so good because it is hard, and it's challenging." She explains she kind of just “fell into the sport” when she was about 14 when she was selected for a Pony Club dressage team, and she didn't know any of the movements, so she got lessons from Marcia Bailey. “I just fell into it and then kept going. I went to Australia to work for Dr Ricky McMillian when I was 17; then I went to England, then Belgium and then Germany.” Bianca Kasselman and Ulf Möller saw how dedicated she was to learning as much as she could, especially when she showed up on her days off to see if they needed help, so they took her under their wing. "They were


Top - Christine rides SCHINDLERS LISZT during the Lion Foundation Future Star Dressage Championships at the National Equestrian Center, Taupo, 2019. Image - Libby Law Photography Above - Christine is grateful to South Canterbury Saddlery for their continued sponsorship. Left - Beautifully clean bridles hang in the tack room.

always keen to help me. Ulf is a fantastic producer of horses.” Christine feels strongly about having experience riding and training top quality horses. It motivated her to spend 12 winters in Europe in top stables, including the famous Hof Kasselmann. "It isn't something I think you can do once or twice and get full benefit from. You need to be going over there regularly and learning their system and way of doing things; I think it is important we are always keeping up with them and what they are doing. I am always watching videos of how they are training horses and what they are doing, then I see something they are doing, and I want to try it with horses I am training or riders I am teaching. Teaching is great because it keeps me thinking, motivated and trying new techniques, so I am always learning."

Sometimes Christine reflects on her time in Germany, she was offered some tremendous opportunities over there, but the time came that she needed to choose between staying over there and keeping the farm here. “I do always wonder how that might

have ended up if I did stay, but I am fortunate here with the farm and how it has all turned out with the horses and my business", she says. “I think I'm quite lucky here at home and the South Island, I have great people to teach on quality horses, and my students want to train them properly through the grades. Not just teaching tricks", she says. Finding the balance is something Christine is always juggling as she needs to be home enough to train her competition horses and also travel to teach in order to pay for her riding and horses. She will often be teaching around ten lessons at home on the weekends and most other days five or six riders alongside her riding. She teaches in Christchurch every month and tries to get to Invercargill every six or eight weeks. It hasn't always been smooth sailing; there was a darker time when Christine wondered if she would ever be able to ride again when she injured her back. “Things seemed to be going along well, and then suddenly I couldn't walk down the hallway, let alone ride. It was a real struggle because I needed to earn an income, but I couldn't stand or cope with teaching. I would get bad migraines SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -

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Now, in happier times,

she is firmly focused on her vision for the future. Producing her young horses, breeding more, and looking forward to seeing her riders coming through the grades and hopefully training their own Grand Prix horses. “That would be awesome, I care about my students, and I want to see them doing well, that is a huge motivator for me”, she says. Success for Christine is firmly based around training the horses through the levels, so they are confident; she enjoys the challenge that high-performance coaching brings. “It is a lot more stressful, but I do enjoy coaching those higher levels.” She considers the work she has done with training Jody Hartstone’s Lusitano stallion Ali Baba, one of her proudest achievements to date. “He is so different from anything else I have trained before, and his way of going is completely different from anything else here, but he has the most amazing work ethic. To have him competing and getting good percentages in the Grand Prix is amazing.” She still has plenty of goals she is working on. However, a big one is to compete at Aachen and a World Cup. “Aachen is such a huge show there, with the best riders and horses. Producing Under Discussion to Prix St George level and then watching Chris Burton win Aachen International on him, in eventing and still being an owner was a thrill. Now, I want to do it riding my horse.”

Christine is admired among her students and other riders,

having a reputation for always giving back and supporting them whenever she can. It isn't unusual to see her at a show helping riders in the pouring down rain, or on her days off. Sometimes both and often refusing to take payment for her efforts. In 2020, she was appointed to the Dressage New Zealand board as the Performance and Development Chair. A role where she focuses on the development of the squads and training incentives for the squad and non-squad riders. Rewarding riders for training their horses properly and seeking greater knowledge in the sport. “It is quite a big portfolio that is continuing to develop and evolve”, she explains. “I am trying to push to get a dressage team to the World Equestrian Games; we need to be getting riders to the big events so they can further lift the standard through experience back home. It is a realistic goal.” She also has a significant influence in helping her local group, Dressage Waikato. “We do a development squad every year, and I

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The indoor arena built not long ago has improved the ease of lessons and training at home.

He is so different from anything

else I have trained before, and his

way of going is completely different from anything else here, but he has the most amazing work ethic. To have him competing

from the pain in my back and the constant struggle of living with it”, she reflects. “The only horse I could attempt to ride was Stoneylea Lord Locksley, he was amazing, he tried so hard to help me, but there was no way I could have ridden the bigger horses.”

and getting good percentages in the Grand Prix is amazing.

give back by giving the selected members lessons. My parents taught me to keep putting back into the sport; it isn't about trying to make lots of money out of people for me”, she says. “I don't think it's right that we have lots of older members doing most of the work, people who have put years and years into the sport and they are still doing the bulk of it all.” She is motivated to keep pushing on, “the sport is in a really good place. We have good horses at every level; it's in a strong position now to keep going forward as long as we look after it. We have good riders, good horses and good breeders.” Her most important word of advice to other riders is not to cut corners, get the horses mentally and physically strong at their own pace. “You don't want to be pushing them too quickly, adding collection when they aren't ready, making the horse better with every year not stiffer and smaller. It takes time. It is a real discipline. There are lots of ups and downs, but you just have to keep seeing it through.” Christine is extremely grateful to her sponsors; South Canterbury Saddlery, BetaVet, Dunstan Horse Feeds, Celeris Boots, Custom Saddles and Kingsland NZ. C


RIDER spotlight

working hard and

making

her own luck Monica Oakley WORDS - Diana Dobson IMAGES - Christine Cornege Photography COMPETITION IMAGES - Take the Moment Photography

Eventer Monica Oakley lives by a simple ethos, and it seems to be working just fine. “I don’t believe in luck,” she says. “The harder I work, the ‘luckier’ I get!” And there has been plenty of hard work going down. “Every day I work hard to be better than the day before, although it doesn’t really feel like work because I have a great passion for horses and eventing.”

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““

When it all comes together like that it is something to celebrate. I am very proud of Max (Artist) and how he stepped up.

Monica and ARTIST

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Everything came together for Monica in December when she and Artist won the Puhinui International Three-Day Event’s Veterinary Associates CCI4*-L. They won on their 25.5 penalty point dressage score, with Olympian and World Champs representative Clarke Johnstone having to settle for second after an uncharacteristic rail in the show jumping. The two had been one and two the year before, with Monica second. “It was just magic,” she says. “When it all comes together like that it is something to celebrate. I am very proud of Max (Artist) and how he stepped up. It is definitely the most special win of my career. It was a personal best dressage score, and I was thrilled to finish on it. I wasn’t expecting Clarke to have a rail – a rare occurrence from a genius rider.” True to her very grounded style, Monica says it is a “privilege” to be on the podium with her idols, rivals and friends. “This time, it was me on top.”

Monica grew up on

a lifestyle block in the Reikiorangi Valley on the Kapiti Coast. “Mum had us on ponies from a young age, carting us off to Pony Club and shows.” She has many happy memories of pony adventures during those younger years, particularly her days at Waikanae Pony Club. “My pony and (our neighbour) Rebecca’s pony would be loaded into the float while (my sister) Hayley’s pony would go in the back of the van, it was a grassroots beginning.” It instilled in her a grounding and work ethic that has stood her well over the years. “We produced our ponies as kids, and that’s where my passion for producing young horses began. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to make a career out of it.” But it hasn’t been without its challenges. “The journey is hard, and there are lots of lows in our sport, but it makes the highs so much more special,” says Monica. After leaving school, she spent a few years starting racehorses and riding trackwork, which led to her first gem of a horse. She had ridden Fontain at the track and adored him, and when it was time for the horse to bow out of racing, Otaki trainer Craig Jackson called her. “He was my first horse off ponies, and together we went from Pony Club Champs to winning Puhinui two day to Adelaide 5*.” The horse has now retired to the warmer climes of Queensland, Australia, where he “carts” Monica’s niece Olivia around introductory level.

Monica and ARTIST, during the cross-country phase and winners of the Veterinary Associates CCI4*-L at Puhinui International Three Day Event 2020

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I very much enjoy

training the horses,

“I have evented some lovely Thoroughbreds over the years including Fontain (Anziyan x Regalana), Saltador (Indian Danehill x Cotton Cane), Snow Leopard (His Royal Highness x Local Knowledge), Capital (Minstrel Court x Andari Flyer) and Man of Honour (Postponed x Big Soiree). I have also ridden some great Warmbloods, including L.A.X (Midnight Hour x Omnicorp mare), Illustrious (Euro Sport Centavos x Azaria), Festival (L.A.X x TB mare) and Acrobat (Euro Sport Centavos x a TB mare). If a horse has the talent and is trainable, I will ride it!” Monica has a long list of great qualities found in Thoroughbreds that make them so good for eventing. “As a rule, I find they have great stamina, are trainable and brave. Find one with good movement and a good jump, and they are a pleasure to produce. I have always enjoyed working with Thoroughbreds.” She was balancing work and riding for a while, but when her older brother tragically died three years ago, she decided it was time for a leap of faith. “It was a real ‘this is your life’ moment for me. That is what prompted my move to Auckland and my decision to give eventing a real crack.” It wasn’t all roses. She headed north to Auckland with six horses – three of which she had to sell in the first year just to get by, followed by another the year after. “Despite the initial struggle, I gained a lot from my time in the big smoke, some fabulous owners, clients, sponsors, friends and a whole lot of perspective.” Trainers and mentors Jock Paget and Erik Duvander have had a significant impact on her riding and self-belief over recent years. “I have gained a lot of training and support through the Equestrian

competing and teaching,

Monica and CAROUSEL

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Above - Monica and ARTIST, winners of the Veterinary Associates CCI4*-L at Puhinui International Three Day Event 2020 Sports New Zealand High Performance Programme too.” Her sponsors have been solid backers of the 33-year-old. “Maddox Equestrian have my team kitted out in Butet saddles, breastplates and bridles and my horses are all very well fed on Fiber Fresh and Dunstan – who are New Zealand owned and operated. The Equine Herb Company are long-time supporters of mine, and I wouldn’t be without their range.” As well as time in the saddle, Monica is a huge believer in her own fitness, and

she works closely with Jason Hill from Equestrifit. “He has made a huge difference to my core strength and independent limb control,” she says.

Monica and her partner

Andrew Spencer have recently moved to Taupo to establish a 33-acre equestrian base. “Spence is a lawyer for an Auckland firm and has fortunately been able to do most of his work from home, heading to the city a few days every fortnight.”

Monica with ARTIST (L) and ACROBAT (R) SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -

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I taught him to ride, and he is an absolute natural. When people ask him if he rides, he says, ‘only in emergencies’, I am not sure what emergency would involve him riding, but I guess you never know!

He’s not at all horsey either. “I taught him to ride, and he is an absolute natural. When people ask him if he rides, he says, ‘only in emergencies’, I am not sure what emergency would involve him riding, but I guess you never know!” He is, however, a huge supporter of his very talented partner. “He enjoys watching the horses progress and get results. Max (Artist) is his favourite, and he is very proud of his latest win.” Monica has a real mixture in her team at the moment but is excited to see what the future holds for each of them. Acrobat (Gerry) competes at 4* level and was the winner of last year’s super league series. “He is an absolute talent and my pride and joy.” Then there is Artist (Max), a nine-year-old by Guillotine, out of a Voltradd mare who competes at 4* level. She and Spence own both. There is also a clutch of others coming through including Pilot (Ego x Dane Image) who they co-own with Jason Hill; Chasing Great (Postponed x Big To Do) who is owned by Chris and Tina Barlow; Carousal (Grass Hopper x His Royal

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Monica appreciates her sponsorship with Maddox Equestrian who provide her with Butet saddles. Highness), who they co-own with breeder Kate Wood; Off the Cuff (Colombia x Cufflink), who is owned by Sonya Mason and some exciting babies too. “I very much enjoy training the horses, competing and teaching,” says Monica, “it brings me a lot of joy helping my students succeed.” In the next five years, her ultimate goal is to wear the silver fern at World Championship and Olympic level. “My targets keep me on track with my training and personal bests at key events – that is what I focus on.” She is inspired by champions and makes no secret that she is driven to become one. “I find events are a way of testing where we are at with our training, and I enjoy that process.” Monica is always looking to better what she does, how she does it and how she can turn her dreams into reality. C


I find events are a way of testing where we are at with our training, and I enjoy that process.”

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RIDER spotlight

When I was little and went

to HOY I would look at

that main ring and think, I'm going to be in there.

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R

the

ight

perspective Lucinda Askin Ashburton show jumper Lucinda Askin admits she’s quick to fall in love with a horse, but she knew Portofino was something extra special the first time she sat on him. The combination has gone on to jump World Cups and place in their first Olympic Cup start.

WORDS - Rebecca Greaves IMAGES - Michelle Clarke Photography

Left - Lucinda with PORTOFINO (Snip) SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -

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W

ith a horse-mad family, it was inevitable Lucinda (Luci) Askin would follow in the footsteps of her parents and older siblings. In 2020 she realised a long-held dream of jumping in her first Olympic Cup at Horse of the Year Show, placing eighth, as well as picking up sixth in the Norwood Gold Cup on Portofino, making it a show to remember. "When I was little and went to Horse of the Year, I would look at that main ring and think, I'm going to be in there." The 24-year-old is having a crack at riding full-time for the first time this season and is enjoying being able to focus on her team of horses, as well as giving lessons. Her goal is to set up a small equestrian business, and eventually take a horse of her own offshore to compete. Based on the family farm at Ashburton, Luci has previously spent winters riding offshore gaining experience and worked on the farm in-between times. COVID-19 meant overseas was off the cards this winter, and she decided to focus on her team at home instead. "This is the first year I've aimed to do it (riding) full-time. It was a good opportunity for me to see what it would be like by myself, and get my team going over winter. I've also enjoyed taking lessons this season." As well as her horses and coaching, Luci usually takes on a few schoolers over winter. "I'm lucky to have so much support from mum and dad. We have stables and an arena here, as well as land for riding and hacking out. I'm looking to build from there and see how far I can take it as a business."

Family teamwork is the key to Luci's success, and she credits her

parents as being the most significant influence on her riding. As well as her mum being her main trainer over the years, both parents are very supportive of her riding – to the point where she has returned from overseas to find they have purchased nice youngsters for the future. Luci's mother and sister both evented, her dad played polo, and her brothers followed in his footsteps. Luci deviated from that path somewhat, choosing show jumping as her preferred discipline. "Being the youngest, I got hand-me-down ponies, and I got some pretty cool ponies. Everyone chose their sport, and it was always cool to go on family holidays, all on horseback." Being around horses all her life, Luci can't recall exactly when she began riding, but she knows she was always keen. "I'm sure; even when I was little, they would have sat me in front of them when they went riding. When I was too young to compete my sister would go eventing, and I'd clean all her gear, which she thought was great. I was dead keen on helping, wherever I could, I loved everything about it." Luci likes working with horses and creating a partnership with an animal. "Training them and getting them to do what you want them to do, working with them. I also like the management side, working out what's best for them and how we can get the best out of them, making a team of it." Ever since finishing school, she's wanted to give horses a go as her career, with the aim of eventually riding overseas. "Mum and dad always said 'you might as well make the most of it while you can', and that's definitely what I'm trying to do." Starting in the show ring, Luci had a great little show pony. "I won a lot of ribbons – I sat on top, and he made me look good! I did a bit of Show Hunter, and eventing then went show jumping, and never looked back." Luci produced six ponies through to Pony Grand Prix level, having a lot of fun along the way and placing second in Pony of the Year on Totem. "I learned a lot and stayed on ponies as long as I could. I enjoyed the challenge of producing them – that's what mum and dad did, produce horses and make a business selling them, that's what I would like to do. Ponies were really fun for me, watching them progress and building them up the grades."

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I did a bit of

Show Hunter, and eventing then went

show jumping, and never

looked back.

Left hand page Lucinda riding Flying Dutchman DHU (Fly) Molly the rebel goat This page - Lucinda with her trusty dog, Archie

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He’s got the biggest

heart of any horse.

Opposite page - FEDERER NZPH (Freddy) Below - PORTOFINO (Snip)

Luci then progressed through the Junior, and Young Rider ranks and has been on several New Zealand and South Island Young Rider teams, in Australia and New Zealand. She also represented New Zealand as a Junior in South Africa on an Under 15 team. It wasn't until she got Portofino (known as Snip at home) that she had a remarkable hack. "He's the most special one." She got the Thoroughbred gelding about five years ago from Australia. "I had been in America working, and on my way back, I went to Ross and Mel Smith's place. Ross said he had found the perfect horse for me. I wasn't necessarily looking, but I went and had a ride and absolutely loved him – he's definitely the best horse ever. "It tends to happen with me, I fall in love very quickly, but he was a beautiful looking horse, big, and I liked the fact he was full Thoroughbred. He was tall and elegant and light over the ground." At 16-years-old, Snip is on the mature side, and Luci is careful with him. "I'm quite picky about what shows I do and careful about how I use him while trying to get the best results each time." Snip, by Clang out of Queens Birthday, had done some Junior and Young Rider classes in Australia. The pair started at Young Rider level, winning the Young Rider title at Nationals, before progressing to Grand Prix. Two seasons ago they had their first World Cup start at Hawke's Bay, placing sixth. "I knew he could be a Grand Prix horse and I guess you aspire to and dream of World Cup. I hoped but didn't quite expect to do it so soon. It was pretty exciting." Being based in the South Island and having a large team of horses makes it tricky to contest the World Cup Series, and she has aimed for a World Cup start or two at the beginning of the season before returning home. Plans to base herself in the North Island this season for a serious crack at the World Cup Series were dashed when Snip sustained a minor injury at the start of the season. "As annoying as it was, I've been lucky to have a decent team of other horses to focus on." Snip is back in work and will be out again in the New Year. "He's got a pretty cool personality, he's like part of the family, and he's my best pal. He completely trusts me, and as soon as he goes through the flags, he knows he's got a job to do. He's got the biggest heart of any horse."

After Snip, Luci's top horse is 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood

gelding Flying Dutchman DHU, by Larino KWPN out of a Matterhorn mare, Waola. The horse has been with the Askins since he was a twoyear-old and recently stepped up to Grand Prix. "I've had him a long time and feel like we're just getting everything right now. He's so scopey and rarely takes rails. He's coming into his own and, if I have him next season, I'll be aiming him at World Cups as well." Then there are two eight-year-olds, both jumping at 1.30m and aiming to step up to Mini Prix with an eye to Grand Prix this season or next. The first is Double J Cyclone, a gelding by Centrico out of Double J Breeze. The second is Cascade, the only mare on the team, who is by Cassini out of a Warmblood/Thoroughbred mare. Federer NZPH is a six-year-old by Orlando out of Brilliance NZPH. "He's a nice horse - hopefully he'll be as good as the tennis player," Luci jokes. A late starter, he is jumping at 1.15m, and she isn't too concerned about the age group series, though the plan is to start him in six-yearSHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -

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olds by the end of the season. Finally, Gatsby NZPH is a five-year-old gelding by Kannan out of Ultimate Blue NZPH. He has recently started jumping in the five-year-old classes and already notched a win. "He's very cool. He's dad's favourite horse and is part of the family already." As well, Luci's mum has made a foray into breeding and has a great eye for a horse. The oldest progeny are now three-year-olds and will soon be joining the team, an exciting new chapter for the family. "I'm learning to start and back them. Mum and dad help me, and it's another skill I have learned. Mum is very good, in particular, at choosing the breeding." Although she has a team of lovely horses, Luci is conscious it's a business, and that will necessitate selling horses. "If someone offers the right price, I will sell any of them. Most of the horses I share ownership of with mum and dad. Some need to be sold, I'm looking at it as a business, and you can't keep them forever." She tries to focus on working hard and staying disciplined. "A lot of the time it's just mum and me. As much as sometimes, I don't listen to her, we do work well as a team. We keep to ourselves a lot, but I feel we work hard behind the scenes. "There's a lot of work that comes with riding horses; it's very time consuming, and you have to take the good with the bad, staying disciplined with the horse management, fitness and training. I can be casual, I enjoy the shows, but if something goes wrong I can brush it off – there's always another day. "It's a sport that puts a lot of pressure on people, and I try not to take it too seriously. I enjoy training the horses, getting to do this job and making the most of the opportunities I have, and the ones that will come in the future. I just take every day as it comes." Luci is grateful to be sponsored by Mitavite, Dynavyte and Hinterland. C

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This page - CASCADE (Sassy), who is the only mare on the team and is out of a Warmblood/ Thoroughbred mare. Opposite page - PORTOFINO (Snip)


I knew he could be a Grand Prix horse and I guess you

aspire to and dream of World Cup. I hoped but didn't quite expect to do it so soon.

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T T

RIDER spotlight

it akes a eam

Rebecca Williamson WORDS & IMAGES - Caitlin Benzie

With New Zealand dressage royalty for a mother, Rebecca Williamson was always destined to be a rider; however, this incredibly talented young rider is truly carving her path in the dressage world and has the sashes and titles to prove it.

Right - Rebecca riding DON TOBIO

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Above - Rebecca rides DON TOBIO for second place in the Advanced Medium Musical Freestyle title at Land Rover Horse of the Year 2020.

Based at the beautiful

Waitekauri Farm in Waimauku in North-West Auckland, with mum and dad, Wendi and Jonnie, and brother Benji, Becki can’t remember when she wasn’t riding. “I’m not really sure when I began riding, I feel like I always have; it’s an integral part of who I am. Growing up with my mum being who she is, riding was just part of everyday life – you could say that to not ride would be more unusual,” she laughs. “The first pony I remember riding was a full-sized flea-bitten grey called Blue, he belonged to Vicky Kenny who grazed at our place at the time, and she very kindly helped me learn about looking after and riding a pony. He very sadly died of colic; because of the old age of most of the ponies I rode growing up, over the years three ended up having to be put down due to severe colic in their 20s. That said, they all had wonderful lives and were very well looked after, in particular Teddy, who was one of my favourite ponies, living to the ripe age of 30!” Throughout Becki’s earlier years she spent time competing across multiple disciplines; this meant less time in the dressage arena than she does now, and more time in the jumping ring - even winning a title at Horse of the Year. “I had a unique snow-leopard pony called Pepper (Sir Pepper) who I had a lot of fun show jumping on, and who I took to HOY in 2015 and did the Level 2 Pony of the Year. Chubby (Hes Pryceless) was my dream pony though, who unfortunately came almost too late really. He was an incredibly cheeky palomino, and I had an epic season competing in Show Hunter on him which we finished at HOY in 2017 by winning the Category C Show Hunter Pony of the Year. I’m really proud of that result because I was still able to go out there and ride as well as I did even though Wendi wasn’t there (just Jonnie and I) as she’d just left for the World Cup Final in Omaha, USA with Deja Vu MH.

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“Schnapps MH was my first jumping horse that we got from Matthews Hanoverians as a four-year-old. He was jumping bred and had a huge jump; I’m proud of the training I gave him in dressage and jumping. I decided to specialise in dressage this year, which meant selling Schnapps; he is now competing in eventing with a young rider which is so cool to watch. I learnt a lot about stability and the importance of keeping a connection between the hand and leg; Schnapps had a superb jump which I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience.”

With the sale of

Schnapps MH, Becki’s move to specialise in dressage was complete. Luckily for her, she had a beautiful partner in Don Tobio to continue on her dressage journey with and is now working to build a small team of her own. “Don Tobio (Toby) is my main man at the moment; he is an eightyear-old black Warmblood gelding by Donnerubin out of Gala MH (Gymnastic Star). Wendi and Jonnie bought Toby as freshly backed three year old for Wendi initially, however, after a week she decided he was too small for her and passed him on to me. I’m very proud that I have trained him myself from a youngster to where he is now, as he is my first hack. We have won young rider and open titles at many of the main shows. We have also been the Preliminary, Medium and Advanced Medium Champions at the National U25 Championships for the past three year successive years – plus we were the Advanced Medium Reserve Champion at Horse of the Year 2019 as well. “Disney MH is my recently backed three-year-old. He is a chestnut Hanoverian gelding by Dancier out of Harmony MH (His Highness), bred by Matthews Hanoverians. I can’t wait to begin his schooling after the Christmas break, and am very grateful to Judith for letting me pay him off – it’s exhilarating to be buying my horse to train up! I have also been given the ultimate privilege of training on New Zealand Grand Prix champion Don Amour MH, with the opportunity to compete together later in the season. Donny is a 13-year-old chestnut Hanoverian gelding by Don Frederico out of Adelheid (Anamour), and has been trained successfully from a foal to Grand Prix by mum.”


DON TOBIO (TOBY) IS

MY MAIN MAN A T

T H E M O M E N T; H E I S A N E I G H T- Y E A R - O L D B L A C K WARMBLOOD GELDING BY DONNERUBIN O U T O F G A L A M H ( G Y M N A S T I C S T A R ).

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EXPERIENCING THE

FEI WORLD CUP FINAL IN OMAHA USA, 2017 IS ONE OF

THE BEST HORSE MEMORIES I HAVE - THE AT M O S P H E R E WA S S O U T T E R LY D I F F E R E N T T O T H AT AT N E W Z E A L A N D SHOWS IN A GOOD

W A Y, A N D S I N C E T H E N C O M P E T I N G AT T H E

WORLD CUP HAS BEEN A B I G G O A L O F M I N E.

Rebecca rides DON TOBIO for second place in the Advanced Medium Musical Freestyle title at Land Rover Horse of the Year 2020 . Image - Libby Law Photography Right hand page - Rebecca with DON TOBIO

Although she has a massive talent as a rider,

education has always been incredibly important to Becki and the rest of her family too. Wendi and Jonnie own and run Williamson Water & Land Advisory with Wendi being a contaminated land specialist and Jonnie a hydrogeologist. Not only this, but Becki is also an incredibly talented artist – just to add that to the mix too! “I have just finished my final year of high school via correspondence and will be beginning my tertiary education in early January. I have chosen to start my Bachelor of Science (majoring in Earth Science) early by taking a statistics paper during summer school. I will be studying at the University of Auckland, allowing me to continue to live on the farm and train my horses. After taking art every year in High School, I completed my first commission in July of 2020. It was an awesome process, through which my technique and eye-fordetail improved significantly. I am currently working on a small painting of Deja Vu MH for the centre of Wendi’s framed collection of the best ribbons DJ won throughout his lifetime. At this time, I have no plans to pursue an art career but am interested in continuing to paint commissions as a side job. “I plan to continue my riding career with the three horses; although many people have told me I’ll be too busy to regularly

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train and compete three horses, work part-time and study - I am determined to do my best to make it all work though! In terms of riding and competing, COVID has pretty much killed travel for the foreseeable future. Still, my focus continues to be on improving and learning to train Toby and my young horse up the levels, aiming for international competition.”

With no doubt

, Becki’s future looks incredibly bright, and with huge plans, a sensible head on her shoulders and with a supportive family, her dreams do all appear to attainable. “Experiencing the FEI World Cup Final in Omaha US, 2017 is one of the best horse memories I have - the atmosphere was so utterly different to that at New Zealand shows in a good way, and since then competing at the World Cup has been a big goal of mine. Seeing Wendi and Deja Vu MH qualifying and competing overseas hit home for me. It is a realistic goal for upcoming young riders and established riders to aim to compete at shows like the World Cup and international shows in Australia. “I’ve learned from Wendi and Deja Vu MH that a very special horse may not often come along. By continuing to improve my skills whilst getting some education behind me, I’m hoping I can take advantage of the opportunity that such a horse can provide me, if and when it comes along.” C


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Eat heart

RIDER spotlight

an venter Lauren Enright

A

South Islander through and through, Lauren grew up on a hill country property near Outram, west of Dunedin. “We lived at Deep Stream near Outram until I was ten years old. I’ve been riding for as long as I can remember, and I was always fortunate my parents brought me experienced ponies. That was until my last one who was a real handful, having run wild until we got him as a sixyear-old, he used to jump the fences into different paddocks as soon as he saw a human coming! My father and I worked away at him though, and he then went on to be a fantastic pony, giving so many riders confidence in eventing, including Lizzie Green. “My first hack was an off-the-track Thoroughbred, which was to be the first of many Thoroughbreds. They are by far my favourite breed, 99% of them will never say no to anything, they are so generous and just want to run and jump. When I was 14, I funded my riding by getting horses off the track, or horses that needed re-educating, and producing them to sell on. After leaving school, I worked for Brian Anderton and had a couple of seasons as a jump jockey, before riding in Japan with breakers and pre-training.”

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WORDS - Caitlin Benzie IMAGES -Michelle Clarke Photography

Having sourced and produced horses for some of the country’s best eventers, Lauren Enright is well aware of the heartbreak of selling horses. Now having built up an excellent new team, she’s reaping the rewards of her hard work, and loving every moment of it.


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Unfortunately, as is often

the case in the horse world, Lauren has frequently been in the position where she has had to sell her favourite horses to continue to fund her eventing. Through this, as well as injury, she’s had her fair share of bad luck over the years. However, she remains as optimistic as ever about the future. “I purchased a lovely big gelding from Margaret and Neil Ridley, who we ended up naming Ridley (Roman Empire x Cobila). He was an absolute cross-country machine, and we both enjoyed flying around the cross country a lot more than doing dressage,” she laughs. “He was sold on to a young rider after going to old 2*. When I came home from working in Japan, I returned to riding Hiawatha Too (Icelandic x Mini Ha Ha), one of the best jumpers I have ever sat on. Together we went through to the old 3*, leading the super league before his feet let him down and he went sore – something that was, unfortunately, an ongoing issue for him and he never made it through a whole season of eventing. I then sourced Sugoi (Coral Reef x Smart Lady), who I took through to 2*; he, of course, went to the Olympics with Heelan Tompkins in 2008. Foxy Sox (Kings Gambit x House Party) was another who went to the UK after being successful up to 3* and I also sourced Incognito who was sold to Clarke Johnstone and jumped double clear around Burghley. “Puss ‘N’ Boots (Personal Escourt x In Flight) was probably the most interesting find I’ve made though, I was looking to purchase a horse to steeplechase, and he had been wasting away on a farm in a somewhat feral state. When we saw him, he was meant to be a sixyear-old, but when we got him home and clipped him, he magically became an eight-year-old! In the end, he showed absolutely no promise as a racehorse, but tremendous promise as an eventer, so we purchased him for two dozen oysters and a bottle of whiskey. He was an incredibly cheeky monkey, could definitely be likened to a naughty pony at times, but he loved to show off, and he was outstanding on the flat – he was like magic, and we rocketed through the grades. He, unfortunately, went blind, so was another horse where our time together was cut short; Puss n Boots and Hiawatha are definitely my favourite horses of all time though.”

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Top image - Lauren and KEEPSAKE, CCI 3* - L, Puhinui 2020. Image: Take the Moment


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Above - Lauren leading (L-R) TYGRA, KEEPSAKE AND BEAUMONT CASH Opposite page - Lauren and KEEPSAKE during the show jumping phase at Christmas Cracker, McLeans Island in December 2020 With Lauren’s sale of her horse Aqua (Istidaad x Rogal Reflection) to Steve Montgomery, another horse that ended up with Clarke before then going to Australia, she was in the situation that she needed to regroup and build up her team of horses again. “Selling Aqua put me in a position where I only had a team of youngsters for a bit, and unfortunately one of them left me with a pretty significant head injury. It has genuinely been the most challenging injury to come back from and was so incredibly scary at the time. I’m still not functioning as I did before, and the injury itself was five years ago now. I was fortunate to have such a sweet horse like Raisin The Bar, a Thoroughbred by Istdaad and out of Westminster, to get me going again. In the end, he was another horse I ended up selling though; he was at 2* level, but I was really struggling to event, so choose to go pure showjumping. “I then got Keepsake off-the-track, mainly because he was very quiet, which was of course incredibly important at the time. He was smaller than I’m used to, and to be fair I only really bought him as Tygra was still three, so I needed a stand-in. I then purchased my only non-Thoroughbred, Beaumont Cash, on the advice of legend Ngaire Lamb. He does have a lot of Thoroughbred in him though, including Cautious Style, which is super old fashioned tough jumping blood - my real reason for buying him!”

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In the end, Lauren couldn’t stay away from her eventing roots,

and with her current team of horses, she made a move back onto the circuit. “Having purchased Tygra and Beaumont Cash as potential show jumpers, I decided after a season of show jumping that I was missing eventing, and so it all began again! I had a hugely successful couple of seasons with Tygra and Beaumont Cash, winning most of their events and little Keepsake kept battling away until he won the South Island Championships at 2*. He has stepped up to 3* this season and is proving to be incredibly brave, he just doesn’t know how to say no - not bad for a fill-in pony!” In February 2020, Lauren and her husband Andrew moved from Mosgiel to Canterbury and purchased their 10-acre block. Working full time for AVSEC (Aviation Security Service) Christchurch Airport can sometimes make it a bit difficult with the horses, but Lauren’s husband Andrew, or Tagz as he’s known, is incredibly supportive of all of Lauren’s ambitions. “We made a move from Mosgiel, where I was lucky to have my horses based with Sue and Denis Hayde (Christen Lane’s parents), to West Melton in February last year. The property was an olive grove with absolutely no clear paddocks, so we had to do some


WHEN I CAME HOME FROM

WORKING IN JAPAN, I RETURNED TO RIDING

H I A W A T H A T O O, O N E OF THE BEST

JUMPERS I HAVE E V E R S AT O N .

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SELLING AQUA PUT ME IN

major excavating to remove trees and get fencing in very quickly to make paddocks for our horses. We have since built a barn and put an arena in as well. Andrew works in IT from home - I’m fortunate he helps look after the horses when I’m at work. He has been hugely supportive since we got together in 2004, and is from a well-respected Thoroughbred racing family in Christchurch, having grown up with his parents training horses, he was also a jockey before going to university to study IT.” Lauren’s team is now made up of four horses; Tygra, Beaumont Cash, Keepsake and Age of Fire, and to have three of them ready to run around 3* means that it’s exciting times for her. “Tygra is an eight-year-old, Thoroughbred by Tiger Prawn out of Strike Diamonds, currently competing at 2* and aiming for 3* at Land Rover Horse of the Year, he’s a lot like Puss n Boots, so I have my fingers very firmly crossed for him! Beaumont Cash is a seven-year-old Holsteiner x Thoroughbred by Pedro out of Cautious Style, currently at 2*, and I think he might be a possibility for the 3* at Land Rover Horse of the Year as well. My little guy Keepsake is a ten-year-old Thoroughbred by Keeper out of Centaine, who’s currently competing 3* and will be aimed at HOY as well at the three day at Taupo in May. Last on the team, and a recent acquisition is Age of Fire, who’s a six-year-old Thoroughbred (of course!) by Fastnet Rock out of Dragon’s Tail, and has just come off the track. I’m really proud of the team I have at the moment and can’t wait to see where we go in the future!” C

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Above - Lauren and BEAUMONT CASH, CCI2*-S, Taupo Horse Trials, November 2020 - Image: Take the Moment Right hand page - Lauren leading BEAUMONT CASH who she describes as a saint.

A POSITION WHERE I O N LY H A D A T E A M O F

YOUNGSTERS FOR A BIT


THE MOST

CHALLENGING

I T H A S G E N U I N E LY B E E N

INJURY TO COME BACK FROM A N D W A S S O I N C R E D I B LY S C A R Y AT T H E T I M E .

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S RIDER spotlight

ome like it

HOT Heloise Tolo

WORDS - Rebecca Greaves IMAGES - Christine Cornege Photography

Wellington show jumper Heloise Tolo has earned herself a reputation for producing young horses, but she also has an affinity for hot, fiery mares. This season she has stepped up to jump her first World Cup aboard Kiwi Bird.

L

iving in a central city Wellington apartment doesn't lend itself naturally to having a team of show jumpers, but Heloise Tolo makes it work. Her horses live 20 minutes away at her parent's Ohariu Valley property, and she travels there each day after work. "I'm lucky, mum does the morning feed and puts the horses out from the stables. I've worked as a programme co-ordinator on contract for New Zealand Police for the last four years, based at the national headquarters."

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Not every horse wants to be a

show jumper right, so I try never to force a horse to be something

it’s not, which I think you see a bit too often. It’s a massive lottery buying young horses, they can be

100% bred for it, but it’s not guaranteed.

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Heloise got the horse

bug at about six when her mum took her on a horse trek. "I bet she wishes that never happened. Ever since then it's been all in." Starting with lessons, Heloise progressed through the Pony Club ranks until she was 18, passing her B certificate and attending pony club champs for eventing and show jumping. The most notable of her ponies were Peanuckle and Glenwood Spring Fair. "Peanuckle was amazing. He consolidated me at that height, and we were sixth in Pony of the Year." She also placed second in Pony of the Year on Glenwood Spring Fair, who went on to have great success with Lucy Olphert. "He was a bit of a superstar and progressed up the ranks quickly." Moving on to hacks, she did the Young Rider classes with Fling before getting Vamoose, a top-level eventer who had one World Cup start, piloted by none other than Tim Price. He was her first step up to Horse Grand Prix level. "I took a year off after finishing school and went to the States to spend time in a show jumping barn. Then dad rang and told me to come home and go to university. Otherwise, he'd sell my horses!" Heloise completed her Bachelor of Commerce at Victoria, majoring in marketing and human resources and industrial relations. Trying to do horses while at university, and make ends meet was a challenge. "I did all sorts of random jobs that started at 2 am, like

Then I had a bad fall and broke my femur on my 25th birthday. It took a long time to heal and for my walking to come right. I had a few slow seasons after that. I’ve still got a rod in my leg.

She finds contracting suits her well, as it gives the flexibility to attend shows. "When I was permanent, I spent my whole life owning leave with horse shows. Now I have heaps of flexibility; if I don't work I don't get paid, as long as I get the job done. "There's no way I could do it without mum and dad; they pretty much run the show – I just turn up!"

working for courier companies and Turners and Growers doing early morning auctions for things like flowers. I tried to work before uni, ride after and somehow survive. I've had great support from mum and dad, but it's not endless." She began studying towards her honours, but was offered a full-time job and quickly decided to have an income was the preferable option.

When Vamoose died suddenly

in a paddock accident, Heloise found she was left with only young horses on her team. "Then I had a bad fall and broke my femur on my 25th birthday. It took a long time to heal and for my walking to come right. I had a few slow seasons after that. I've still got a rod in my leg." It wasn't necessarily a bad thing having a team of babies, given the thing she loves the most about show jumping is producing young horses.

Heloise riding HEARTLINE during the 7 Year Old Championship (right) at the ECPH National Young Horse Jumping Championships 2020

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"I like starting with a blank canvas and moulding it into something you like and want to ride. I also enjoy selling them and seeing them go on with other riders." The key is variety in their work, she says, and being careful not to overdo it – make it fun for the horse. "I'm conscious of how I'm feeling. If I'm having a bad day, I won't necessarily go out and do what I had planned." Heloise's horses do a lot of hacking and road riding. Young horses will attend shows but not compete to teach them; it's not a stressful experience. "It's important never to push young horses. Keep everything relaxed around them all the time. Repeat things, but don't overdo it. The biggest thing is never to get frustrated with the horse. The horse is always trying, so if it's not working, change it up or do something different." What does she look for in a horse? "I like a bit of blood and something quite forward. The horses I have at the moment love their job. They can be hot and difficult on the flat, but they love to jump. "Not every horse wants to be a show jumper right, so I try never to force a horse to be something it's not, which I think you see a bit too often. It's a massive lottery buying young horses, they can be 100% bred for it, but it's not guaranteed."

Number one in the stable is 14-year

old Thoroughbred, Kiwi Bird (Kiwi Frisbee NZ x Kiwi Deming NZ) known as Brenda or Big Bird, bred by Fernhill Stud, who has been with Heloise for 18 months. Previously campaigned to World Cup level by Helen McNaught-McFarlane, Heloise jumped at the chance to take the ride on the horse. "When Helen sent me a message and said she might have something of interest I was pretty curious. She asked if I would like to take a half share in Brenda and take the ride. Helen did a few World Cups and Kirk Myers had done a few big classes on her. I was stoked as she was a horse I loved when Kirk had her. "She can be fiery and quite tricky – some days we don't even canter when the wind is blowing the wrong way! She's highly strung, and some days we just go for a walk up the hill. You never know what you'll get, but she loves to jump." The Tolos bought her out fully last Christmas, and Heloise says she's still testing the waters over bigger tracks. "I'd done a little bit of Grand Prix over the last four years, but not consistently. She got me back to those classes." A trip down South for the 2020 South Island Champs was memorable as the combination placed second in the Premier Grand Prix. "That was the biggest track I'd ever jumped in my life;

Heloise riding CAN’T TOUCH THIS NZPH during the Matthews Hanoverians 7 Year Old Breeder Series at Hawke’s Bay A&P Show 2020

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exciting. I've had her since she was five and I feel like I have made her. "She's probably a forever horse because she's crazy, to be honest. The day I won the Wanganui Grand Prix, her full brother was born, and I thought that was a sign, so I bought him!" Heloise says Fidget is hot, bucks a lot, and has been known to clear a practice ring. "When people see me coming they're like 'oh God'. She's like a Tasmanian Devil. At home sometimes, I have to wear spurs on her for flatwork, but when she gets to a show, she leaves a trail of destruction. "Once she gets in the ring she's the toughest, such a fighter. She has a terrible, unconventional jumping technique but gets the job done. She's loose in front but kind of jumps a bit higher to make up for it. She has a massive heart, and that's why I love her. She's quite small, and I'll make sure not to over-face her and break her heart." Finally, the third horse is the team is the ridiculously handsome seven-year-old gelding Heartline (Euro Sport Heartbreaker x Euro Sport Centavos mare) known as Smidget at home. He was bred by Daniel and Chrissy Webb and Heloise purchased him as a five-year-old. Despite Heloise having time out of the saddle with her broken foot, he showed his

She’s probably a forever horse because she’s crazy, to be honest. The day I won the Wanganui Grand Prix...

I'd never had that next level horse. She gives me heaps of confidence. I'm not that brave but I know she'll get me through the finish flags – she always tries. She's awesome." The goal this season was to complete a couple of World Cups, a box she can tick. The aim is to jump a few big classes at Land Rover Horse of the Year. But it hasn't all be smooth sailing. Heloise is just coming back to full fitness after foot surgery. "I broke my foot in October two years ago; it just broke in the stirrup on landing after a jump. I thought I would vomit, then I saw Maurice (Beatson), who I train with, at the gate. I knew if I pulled up halfway through the round, he'd yell at me, so I carried on!" The break took three months to heal. It happened again in February 2020, this time, all she did was step backwards while unpacking the horse truck. Surgery in June, involving a bone graft and plate, was followed by six weeks in plaster then six weeks in a moon boot. After Brenda, Helosie's top mount is 'crazy fish' nine-year-old mare Can't Touch This NZPH (Untouchable M x Questions NZPH /Fetiche du Pas), known as Fidget at home. "Having Brenda at the higher level has given me the confidence to step her up. We've done two Grand Prix classes, which is

class, placing sixth overall in the six-year-old series and third at the Young Horse Show last season. He recently picked up second in the seven-year-old class at the Young Horse Show and won the style prize. "He's the good looking one of the family. I feel like I ask him questions and he just answers, he's just a good guy. You look at him and swoon a little bit." Three horses is a relatively small team for Heloise, after the recent sale of Doris NZPH (Kannan x Violet NZPH) and Dangermouse NZPH (Kannan x Times Right NZPH). "With my foot, I kind of pulled it back a bit." Funding the sport means selling nice horses is a reality, too. She does have two five-year-olds at home that have been on the backburner and are pottering around.

Training with Maurice

is hilarious, she says, and he has given her a lot of confidence to do things she wouldn't do off her own bat. "He says 'just go do it'. It's great because he's always at shows and is very generous with his time and knowledge. He's been very good for me." She also paid tribute to Rae Monk (nee Pullan), who was influential in her early riding days. "She helped me develop my basics and stride control well. She was quite technical for the time, and my age, she was brilliant." Horses have a firm hold on her heart, but she has no intention of making them her career. "I don't want to lose my love for it, and the horses. I like coming in to work and doing something different. Going to the horses after work is quite cathartic after a busy day. I do have to earn money to pay for the horses. "I had always hoped to do World Cups but never had the horsepower or ability to go out and buy it. I'm so grateful the opportunity with Kiwi Bird came along. It was when I least expected it, and I couldn't do it without the support of my family. My parents own the horses, and we have friends and family that have bought in to some horses. It does take a village." Heloise is grateful to be sponsored by Equestrio, Vitruvian Horse and EquineAmerica NZ. C

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He’s the good looking one of the family. I feel like I ask him questions and he just answers, he’s just a good guy.

Heloise riding HEARTLINE during the Six Year Old Final at Takapoto Showjumping 2020

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RIDER spotlight

There are no Limits Charlotte Treneary WORDS & IMAGES - Caitlin Benzie MAIN IMAGE - Travis Gamble

Seventeen-year-old Charlotte Treneary is one talented teen that knows precisely where she’s going in life. After a successful start to eventing on pocket rocket Kabo Pongo, she’s now re-created her eventing team and has big dreams that she’s determined to achieve.

Right - Charlotte riding KABO PONGO during the 1.10m-1.15 Speed class at Brookby Showjumping Summer Show to place 2nd


““

When I was little, I loved eventing and would

always watch the three-

day events and look up to

““

our top riders; especially the likes of Mark Todd and Jonathan Paget.

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Charlotte was horse-mad from a young age,

making it almost impossible for her mum, Krista, to keep her out of the saddle. “When I was younger, my mum had horses, and I fell in love with them immediately. At four years old, I started at the local riding school and rode an adorable little pony named Poppy. Soon after turning five, I got my first pony, Taty, a 10hh, grey, miniature pony. We didn't have a float at that stage, so my dad was super creative and made a mini stable that got forklifted into our transit van. We would head off like this every week for Redhills Pony Club – it was certainly an interesting way for Taty to get around!” Growing up on a 12-acre lifestyle block in Kumeu, Charlotte started with a mix of all disciplines, and was quite successful in the dressage arena, winning the Reserve Champion Pony at the Waitemata Dressage Championships and the Cushionride Series at Auckland Dressage with Betty's Boy. From there, she moved into the show jumping and Show Hunter ring, but it was always the eventing circuit that was Charlotte's true calling. With the purchase of Kabo Pongo (by Kabo Tonto) off of Briar Burnett-Grant, Charlotte began making her eventing dream come true. “When I was little, I loved eventing and would always watch the three-day events and look up to our top riders; especially the likes of Mark Todd and Jonathan Paget. Kabo Pongo, my recently sold pony, was the one who started me off eventing properly. He's by Kabo Tonto out of Kabo Wheraponga, and we purchased him as a five-year-old. Pongo is now nine, and we competed up to 2* level, also coming second in the junior rider series last season.” Charlotte is rather gracious about her time with Pongo, and these two were a force to be reckoned with. They placed third in the 2* at Puhinui (finishing in the time – no mean feat for a pony!), and had 1* wins at Northland and Taupo.

With the season ending, Charlotte was faced

with a dilemma; continue down the pathway she was with a mixture of show jumping and eventing, or commit to one discipline entirely. In the end, Charlotte's eventing dream won through, her current team of horses were sold, and the hunt was on for a new equine partner. “My current team of competition horses is relatively new, with only getting them both a month post lockdown. CHS Royal Genie is the first; she's a tenyear-old Hanoverian by Royal Blend out of Dynamic Genie V (Dynamit). We did our first 2* in November at Wairarapa, where we would've come second if the rider had remembered a compulsory passage," Charlotte laughs. "We're aiming to compete in our first 3* at Land Rover Horse of the Year, which I'm very excited about. Next up is chestnut, Waitangi Zoom. Smurf is a 16.3hh, six-year-old gelding by Cartel GNZ out of Latasha (Lansing). He's had a couple of starts at 80 and one at 95, but we're planning on just taking him slowly through the levels – our goal is to finish the season at 105. “Next up, we have Archie, yet another chestnut, which was partially responsible for getting my current apprenticeship; breaking in horses. The final chestnut (yes another one!) of the team is MC Levitate, a ten-

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year-old gelding by Vollrath Chagall and out of Portofino – Levi's actually for sale at the moment, and I think he's going to make an outstanding junior or amateur rider showjumper!”

“The reason I love eventing

so much is that it allows me to do all three disciplines. There is a huge amount of training and hard work involved behind the scenes, but that of course only makes it even more rewarding once you've made it to the event. The cross country is my favourite, but I'm pretty sure it's like that for every eventer," she laughs. “You get to cross country morning, and nothing else matters at that point, you go out there and just give it everything you've got. I think my biggest strength of the three phases would be cross country, mostly because I can walk a course and remember every line

and jump in my head. If I had to say a weakness, it would be the show jumping phase, just because sometimes the nerves manage to get the better of me and it's very easy to get a rail down like that. “One of the greatest difficulties for me at competitions would be managing stress levels while I'm there. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best I can be at every event, as well as in training. There's such a huge amount of work that gets put into getting prepared for an event, and I don't like the thought of letting down not only myself and my horses but also everyone else who puts effort into my career. Mum and I have a rule that we never look at my dressage score until after I've show jumped, just one of the ways we try to make the weekend the least stressful it can be!” Striving for the top of any discipline


There is a huge amount of training and hard

work involved behind

the scenes, but that of

course only makes it

even more rewarding.

WAITANGI ZOOM (Smurf) is a 16.3hh, six-year-old gelding by CARTEL GNZ out of LATASHA (LANSING) SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -

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My mum always believed that lessons were key for my improvement as a rider from an early age.

means that you have to have a fantastic coach behind you, but with three disciplines in eventing, it means triple the talent is required. Charlotte is lucky enough to have found the perfect combination in Dani Maurer, Sharlene Royal and Donna Smith, and credits them for her current successes. “My mum always believed that lessons were key for my improvement as a rider from an early age. Dani is my show jumping coach, and ever since the first lesson with her, I knew that she would help me a lot. She seems to be able to just look at a horse and understand the best ride you can give it, then to top it off she’s always able to explain whatever needs to be done in a way that makes perfect sense to the rider. I found this also with Sharlene’s help in our dressage training - both are top riders in their respective disciplines. They can relate to most circumstances and have lived through virtually any situation that can be thrown at you in the ring. We also go down to Te Kauwhata so that I can have cross country lessons with Donna – she’s helped me so much as well.”

Charlotte knew from early on

that a life as a professional rider was the direction she wanted to go. In early 2020 she decided to start at correspondence school, Te Aho O Te Kura Pounamu but when the opportunity of a lifetime came up, she knew she couldn't turn it down. “At the beginning of 2020, I started correspondence school so that I could complete my NCEA levels; however, an incredible opportunity came up. Just over a year ago, we sent my threeyear-old Archie for starting with Mark Weedon, who at the time was based in Glorit. When we went and picked Archie up, I said that if he ever wanted some help that I would love to, and I was then lucky enough to be offered an apprenticeship position with Mark, or MW Equestrian as he's known.

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Above - Muriwai Beach riding is one way to get the team fit and to keep them fresh and happy. Right - Charlotte and KABO PONGO, in the CCN1* -L Championship class at New Zealand Three Day Event Championships Taupo 2019

Since then, Mark has relocated, very conveniently, only two minutes down the road from where I live in Kumeu – I've had an amazing time working with him so far. I am very grateful for the opportunity.” Looking to the future, Charlotte has some big plans that she's looking to achieve with her current team of gingers, and in the future. “In the near future I'd like to be competitive at 3* on CHS Royal Genie, our short term aim is also to be selected onto the ESNZ Development squad when I turn 18 next year. Long term, like any young rider wanting to be a professional event rider, I would love to compete on the world stage; Badminton, Burghley, Kentucky and the Olympics. Hopefully, one day, with a lot of hard work and commitment, that dream will come true!” C


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Prize

RIDER spotlight

Eye

on the

Mandy Illston

They say if you want something done, ask a busy person. Wairarapa’s Mandy Illston epitomises this saying. She balances her highly pressured career as an equine veterinarian with being a mum, competing on the show jumping circuit, and acting as chairperson of ESNZ Jumping. WORDS - Rebecca Greaves AT HOME IMAGES - Denise Flay Photography COMPETITION IMAGES - kampic.com

Mandy Illston is passionate about horses, notably, show jumping. Put simply; horses have been her life. A friendly face around the shows, Mandy is always quick with a smile and is having the time of her life with her current home-bred star mare, Iguazu, who she describes as the best horse she’s ever owned. She and her husband Bernie, himself an accomplished rider, along with their son Keegan, 8, live on the outskirts of Masterton. Mandy heads up the Wairarapa EquivetsNZ team, a branch of Southern Rangitikei Vet Services Ltd, that is based in Bulls.

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Four years ago, the Illston family moved to the Wairarapa, as the business had a significant amount of equine work in the region. “As a result, we re-branded as EquivetsNZ, but we’re still part of the Southern Rangitikei group. It’s great, I’m 100% horses down here but have the backing of the people, equipment and support from Bulls, which is important. “I tell people I left school, not knowing what I wanted to do. I did know - I wanted to ride horses – but that wasn’t really acceptable. I did ride horses for seven years, and then at 25 I went to vet school, I was a bit of a late starter, to be able to afford the horses.”

Her end goal was to be a horse vet. “I wanted to be outside and have variety, and it certainly does that for me. However, vet life and earning enough money to do horses does encroach a bit on working horses and getting to shows! We’re not always best prepared, but if you’re motivated enough, you make time.” The couple’s son Keegan was an unexpected surprise – but the best kind of surprise. “I had him at 44, so I was a late starter there too,” she laughs. If she wasn’t busy enough, Mandy also fits in her role as chairperson of ESNZ Jumping. This is her third year in the role and her second time on the board.


“I tell people I left school, not knowing what I wanted to do. I did know - I wanted to ride horses – but that wasn’t really acceptable.”

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“I have a huge history in the sport, both my parents rode well – dad (Geoff Nutting) won the first-ever World Cup we had in New Zealand on a horse called Silver Script.

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“I felt I had something to contribute and show jumping is absolutely my passion. I love the sport and want to put something back in. I like to think I’m on the board for the best interests of everyone, not just myself. “I have a huge history in the sport, both my parents rode well – dad (Geoff Nutting) won the first-ever World Cup we had in New Zealand on a horse called Silver Script.” Mandy points out that jumping is still a relatively affordable sport in New Zealand, while primarily run by volunteers, and would love to see more acknowledgement of that. “Probably 90% of people going to shows go for sport and competition, but ultimately to have fun. The top riders are the pinnacle of our sport, and we need to look after them, but sometimes there is a disconnect between people’s expectations and reality. “In terms of ground conditions and the money that’s available, versus what people are willing to spend, it would great if people remembered there are a lot of volunteers out there trying their best with limited means. We should thank and applaud these people. Things have improved a lot in terms of grounds and facilities, largely through the passion of individuals.”

Both Mandy’s parents

, Pam and Geoff Nutting rode and enjoyed success at

the top level. Her mother’s chosen discipline was dressage, while her father show jumped, and most weekends were spent as a family at shows. “In those days we went to all the sports and pony club gymkhanas too, and they all had graded show jumping classes. Dad was joint master, and then master of the Wairarapa Hunt, and they were very involved in running shows. My parents were instrumental in setting up the Labour Weekend Show in Wairarapa.” Mandy’s mother, Pam, who was Australian, won Champion Hack at Melbourne Royal on Jalna and brought that horse with her to New Zealand when she married Mandy’s father. “The buzz for me is a horse jumping a good fence, feeling really good over a fence. I worked for some of the best riders in Australia for their time, Olympians Rod Brown and George Sanna, and learned a lot about training and developing horses. And I like the competitiveness of it – we all like winning! “I also love the camaraderie of shows, catching up with my friends and blending social life with competition life. Most of my best friends are in the equestrian world.” Looking back, she recalls she and her sister Sally were never pushed to ride. “We both still ride, and I always think that is one of the reasons. Mum and dad supported us, but

we didn’t compete at shows until we could do it all ourselves. Mum used to say ‘go off and have fun’, and that was what it was all about. We did it because we wanted to. “As a little kid, I used to plait my pony and fluff around but didn’t compete. I probably just annoyed everyone by galloping around!” Her first competitive pony was 13hh Puzzle. “He was what ponies of that vintage were – he won Supreme Champion on the flat at Hawke’s Bay Royal, was a C grade show jumper, I would hunt him all winter, and he evented. He was a super pony, and in those days that’s what we did. Flat classes in the morning, show jumping in the afternoon and rolled from one season to the next.” Several Grand Prix show jumping ponies followed before Mandy left school and went to work for other people riding horses, mainly as a training rider. “Once I got to uni I spent a lot of time trying to make silk purses out of sow’s ears, mostly Thoroughbreds off the track because I couldn’t afford much else.” She decided warmbloods were the way to go, but couldn’t afford to buy one. “I thought I have the technology; I’ll breed one. I watched Corofino jump the World Cup at Feilding with Katie McVean (now Laurie), and he made them look like cavalettis. I thought, my God, I have to breed from that stallion.” In a twist of fate, within a matter of days, Amandainrides Mandy rides IGUAZU the Iguazu in the Seven Year Old class at Land Seven Year Old Horse of the Year, Rover Horse of the Land Rover Horse of the Year 2019Year 2019

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Mandy was approached by someone wanting to sell a Voltaire broodmare, did she know of anyone who would be interested. “I said yes – me!”

“Merran Hain and I instigated that class. They traditionally had led classes when the show was held at Taupo, but the best looking mare doesn’t necessarily produce the best show jumping horse.” her first foal Back then, the show ran at a significant loss was Iguazu (Corofino II x Volenta who was by and was underwritten by ESNZ. Eventually, Voltaire II), born on Christmas Day in 2011. they said enough and put the show out “She was the best Christmas present ever. for tender. All she’s done from day one is be a little “Merran and I got talking and decided to professional, she ticks all the boxes and tries have a crack at holding it in Dannevirke, her heart out.” and we won the tender. It was a committee The mare was called Nollaig as a paddock of two, but luckily we had very nice friends name, which means Christmas in Gaelic. step up to help us as volunteers, which is “At the time we had an Irish vet called what our sport is all about.” Nollaig working for us too. We thought no The second year in Mandy found herself announcer would be able unexpectedly pregnant “She was the best to pronounce that in the and due to give birth ring, hence Iguazu.” around the time of the Christmas present ever. show. Luckily, Keegan Now nine-years-old, Mandy says the mare has an early appearance. All she’s done from made always been a stand-out “Merran said ‘don’t worry, with her personality and day one is be a little put him in a backpack and presence. keep going, you’ll be fine!’” As a four-year-old, professional, she ticks They ran the Merran and Nollaig was second in Mandy show and gave all the boxes and tries out packets of M&Ms the championship class at the Young Horse Show to the prize winners. her heart out.” and won the style prize. Importantly, they proved “She’s gone on every the show could stand on year and is so consistent, genuine, careful its own two feet and not make a loss. and brave. Completely, for me, she is “Hawke’s Bay area then put their hand up a dream horse and forgives me for my to hold it, and it’s grown from there. It’s a mistakes because I’m not perfect, by a huge show now; it’s fantastic.” long way!” After a fabulous season as a seven-year-old, ending with a bang by winning a Pro-Am passion for horses, riding to World Cup class and placing second in the seven-yearlevel and working as huntsman of Rangitikei old class at series finals, Mandy and Nollaig Hunt for about ten years. “He also broke in were on a high. and dealt with naughty horses. “I expected to step her up as an eight-yearHe always had a forte for sorting out the old and do some smaller Grand Prix classes. tricky ones. He’s only recently stopped Instead, I broke my ankle in early October. riding; his body is a bit broken now – too I thought I’d be back after Christmas, but I much rugby and naughty horses!” wasn’t prepared for the pain.” Mandy finds being able to get out and ride Realising last season was off the cards, after a busy day at work is cathartic. “It’s Mandy offered the ride to Jesse Linton after fantastic for mental health, especially if Christmas. “I thought he would work with you’ve had a stressful day.” her, she’s quite a sassy little mare, and you Despite the juggle, any thoughts of giving have to work with her – but she’s worth up riding are always fleeting. “Honestly, the working with.” times I’ve thought I shouldn’t do it are brief; Jesse had a great run, winning several it lasts about an hour. Even now, winning a classes including the Mini Prix at Takapoto class, that’s the greatest motivator to get out and the 1.35m championship at Land Rover there and have another go.” Horse of the Year. Her goal with Iguazu is to step up and be This season, after intense physio and consistent at Grand Prix level in the next two rehab, Mandy finally felt the pain was years. “I’d like to be comfortable at that level tolerable enough to ride competitively. The and do it well, repeatedly, that’s the key.” combination has notched some excellent The Illstons have bred more horses, but results, consolidating to be very competitive none that quite measures up to Iguazu, at 1.35m. They won the Mini Prix at yet. “We bred a nice Cassiano filly, and I Carterton and took out the 1.30m mare class thought I would compete her this year, but at the Young Horse Show, a win that was she’s quite quirky, and I gave her to Jesse, particularly special for Mandy. she’s his.”

Broodmare purchased,

Husband Bernie shares her

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Mandy heads up the Wairarapa EquivetsNZ team, a branch of Southern Rangitikei Vet Services Ltd, that is based in Bulls. That meant a sudden gap in the team. Enter six-year-old Thoroughbred Arizona Park (Andy), who is by shuttle stallion Azamour. “I did his teeth for the girl who owned him and thought he was cute. Next thing, he’s on Trade Me. I thought if he felt like he could jump, I’d buy him.” Sure enough, he did, and he came home with Mandy. “He’s seriously ticking all the boxes; I love him. He’s very straight forward, brave, careful, moves well and is very trainable. He’s proved to be a bit of a find and is a nice second horse to Iguazu. “We’ve done a bit of everything, Show Hunter because I think it’s nice to canter around nice tracks with nice distances and have a happy time, and he’s show jumping to 1.10m already and having double clears. For shits and giggles, I put him in the flat classes at Carterton, and he won Reserve Champion Open Hack. I think I could hunt him in winter because he’s got a great temperament, and he’d probably do a nice dressage test. He’s very versatile and easy to have around, perfect for me.” Life can be hectic, but she says it’s all about blending everything as best she can and, as a vet, she expects the unexpected. “You can be about to get on a horse and get a call out to a colic case. You learn to accept that, and that’s life. In amongst all that I try to do things with Keegan, that’s important to me. He was a surprise, but a fantastic surprise.” C


“She’s gone on every year and is so consistent, genuine, careful and brave. Completely, for me, she is a dream horse and forgives me for my mistakes because I’m not perfect, by a long way!”

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RIDER spotlight

I definitely wasn’t natural at it at all, and it was like learning

how to ride again going from sporthorses to racing.

Retired from the track, Lisa’s other passion includes jumping Donald & George

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Rthe top acing to

Lisa Kennedy WORDS - Samantha Jaquiery AT HOME IMAGES - Capturing Mouri

From farm hacks to retired racehorses, Lisa Kennedy has a knack for taking whatever horse she has available and giving it a new lease on life. Running a racing stable for Kevin Myers in Rangitikei she’s loving having so many shows and training days on her back doorstep.

After a couple of coffees and a quick breakfast, Lisa is out the door by 5am every day. She has anywhere from 20 to 30 horses to ride and feed before most people have flicked on the jug. She’s based in Bulls, Rangitikei, running Kevin Myers racing stable and at 2019/20 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards Lisa took out the Majestic Horse Floats Stablehand of the Year title. “It was pretty cool to be recognised, and I just feel like I’m doing my job, doing what I love, working with horses,” Lisa says.

It was a chance encounter that led her to catch the racing bug. She grew up on sheep and beef farms in Central Otago and always had a horse to ride. But through friends, she connected with Southland racehorse trainers, Emma and Greg Wright, and going to the races and seeing the action left her wanting more. The Wrights arranged some work experience for Lisa at Kevin’s stable when former jockey Jo Rathbone ran it. It was an opportunity to learn in a bigger stable with a lot of horses and action. “I definitely wasn’t natural at it at all, and it was like

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Right image - Lisa riding MY HUGO BY HARADASUN out of EMMYLOU MARIE at Castlepoint Beach races 2020. Image - Petapix Opposite page - MATARO by Road to Rock x Our Shiraz during track training at home learning how to ride again going from sporthorses to racing,” Lisa says. “I was naive and had no idea what was going on or how to ride correctly and ended up breaking my collarbone. “So I went back home to heal and decided I wanted to return and give it another go. I wanted to learn how to ride trackwork and learn about racing,” she says. “Riding is part of it, but there’s also the racing side to learn. How racing goes, how to ride and how to read a race, but working for Kevin, I wasn’t short of opportunities.” It was a steep learning curve, but she aspired to be a jump jockey and was willing to put in the work. She worked for Jo and Kevin for around eighteen months before she had her first amateur race in winter 2014. To gain a ticket to become a jumps jockey riders must prove their riding ability and experience to ensure they won’t put anyone in danger during racing. “It’s like driving a car; you need to learn the rules and learn how to drive safely before you can gain your licence, it’s much the same with racing, safety is really important. “With a trainer like Kevin, he’ll put you on seasoned jumpers to start, ones he knows will go around quietly and give you a good experience.” She was finally getting her head around racing and having a few good rides and was working hard outside of riding to increase her fitness. The season kicked off well, and she had a good win and a few placings, but it ended in a hurry with a decent fall at a point to point. “I landed on my head and broke two vertebrae. Riding racehorses was off the cards for a while, so I went back home to camp at my mum and step dad’s place in Ranfurly while I healed.” While at the stables Lisa had acquired Slievenamore (Donald) who is by Don Eduardo x Erin Marie and is a gem of a horse who didn’t have the heart for racing. “I’m a sucker for a misfit, I’ve always made do with whatever was available, dragging farm hacks out to shows or the odd hunt. Donald was super cute and decided he’d rather be a pet than race,” she laughs. She took him home when she was healing, and Jo sent her another

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couple of retired Thoroughbred horses, Rough Ruler and George (Iffraaj x Goldsumware). Rough Ruler (Viking Ruler x Ruvida) found a home reasonably quick, and George joined Lisa’s competition team. “Donald and George were a good distraction to play with even though I couldn’t ride, and I was getting really bored with house arrest.” When she was back up and running, she weighed her options and decided to give farming a crack again. Before the stint racing she had been dairy farming, but this time she wanted to get into dry stock. “I struggled to find a job; people weren’t keen to give me a go after such a significant injury. “It was pretty disheartening because most people wouldn’t meet me face to face to realise it wasn’t stopping me from doing anything.” Through family connections, she managed to get some work helping on a nearby farm owned by Simon and Gemma Hore. When one of their junior team members moved on, she slotted into the role full time. “They were really cool people to learn from, and I was grateful they gave me a chance,” she says.

Donald and George were earning their stripes on the

local circuit, but local commonly meant driving three to four hours to get to a show. “Down south it was always a big day to get to anything, that’s a big reason I like the North Island, everything is so close, and there’s always something on. And because it’s so close, I can get some work done in the morning, head out with my boys, then be back to feed out if I need to.” In 2018, George won the wild card entry to Beyond the Barriers at Equidays, and they made the hike from Otago to Waikato with a few stops along the way. “I had been to Horse of the Year once to try out show jumping when I was younger, and I thought that was a big trip, but this was massive.” She was worried about George holding condition, but thanks to her thorough planning, he arrived in great condition and even won the best presented and condition class.


I struggled to find a job; people weren’t keen to give me

a go after such a

significant injury.

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Beyond the Barriers exceeded my

expectations, we had

such a good time and met some incredible people. Above - Lisa and KRASE winning his race at Egmont Races 2015. Image - Race Images Right - STEELFIX (George) Champion Working Hunter at Waverley A&P 2020. Image - Petapix Bottom image - SLIEVENAMORE (Donald) competing the Hunter Jumping at Fielding A&P 2020. Image - Hyphen Photography

“Beyond the Barriers exceeded my expectations, we had such a good time and met some incredible people.”

After a couple of years

dry stock farming, she was getting ready to look for her next step, and she wanted something with more responsibility and opportunities to learn when Kevin rang out of the blue. “The timing was uncanny, he needed someone to look after the Santoft farm and stable and was asking if I would be interested,” she says. “We had kept in touch since my injury. It came round at the right time, and I had nothing to lose.” She packed up the team, her spaniel Heidi and a couple of her work dogs and shifted north again. “Kevin helped me transition, but now he mostly leaves me to it. If he needs something you know about it, but he likes to keep things simple,” she says. Every day entails working and feeding horses, teaching them to jump, maintain, or build their fitness, so they are ready for the races and general farm maintenance. “There’s always something coming or going, and although he doesn’t say a lot, Kevin always has a plan.” She is the only one working full time at the stable and a few helpers give her a hand to work the horses. There are usually 20 to 25 in work, with a max of 30 at any time. And when she’s finished the racehorses each day, she manages to keep Donald and George in work and hit as many shows as she can. “Riding racehorses helps me practice, I’ve got plenty of horses to help me work on my riding. “A lot of riding is about recognising your faults and being willing to work on them. I get regular lessons and take home simple things to work on.” Both of the boys have qualified for Horse of the Year for Working Hunter and Round the Ring and it’s all down to Lisa’s attitude. “Put the work in, watch the better riders and horses and how they do things, and if you really want something you need to make it happen. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and lessons go a long way.” Pretty good advice from a top stable hand. C

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t

RIDER spotlight

a

wist

of fate

WORDS & IMAGES Caitlin Benzie

Natalya Wyatt In 2012 Natalya Wyatt’s favourite horse had a freak paddock accident, this moment of bad luck would prove to be the catalyst for her to make a career change that would develop into a true equine passion.

G

rowing up on an idyllic lifestyle block in Ararimu and with an incredibly horsey mum, it was only natural that Natalya would follow in her riding footsteps. “I got into riding when I was five years old, and mum purchased my first pony. Mum has ridden since she was a kid and has always had horses since, so she was very open to the idea of me riding. At ten years old, I started Hunua Pony Club with my second and third pony before moving on to hacks. I always took part in Pony Club Teams events; Timberlands, Dressage Champs, you name it I was keen! I also evented to Pre Novice in my teens. The biggest thing I’ve always enjoyed though is having and making fun allrounder type horses - nothing would be spooky or silly by the time I had put them at almost every discipline! “Mum always hunted during winter too, so nearly every horse I’ve owned has been taken out on the hunt field at some stage. I usually take them slowly and gate them first to teach them the ropes of being sensible everywhere in

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the field before I start pushing them more and enjoying the mad rush of the runs and wire jumping”.

Now 26, Natalya has only one horse on her

team; Smitten, a grey ten-year-old Holsteiner X mare, by Colato and Turbo. “I purchased Smitten nearly three years ago; she had no eventing experience when I got her and also had very minimal flatwork buttons. She was the sensible purchase that would allow me to be busy working and growing a business, but would still let me enjoy a bit of lower-level eventing if I had the time without the worry of riding her seven times a week to keep her sane,” she laughs. “We’ve showjumped 1.05-1.10m, evented to training level and she’s turning out to be a fabulous full wire hunter with Pakuranga and Maramarua Hunt, which she really loves. “I do have a giggle to myself when the eventing season runs into the beginning of the hunting season in March. Due to not having the time, nor do I want to strive up the higher levels of eventing anymore, I often find myself


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popping from Puhinui’s March event one weekend to a hunt the next weekend and vice versa on the same horse. “I don’t think it’s the usual thing for many eventers to do, but it’s the variety of work my horses seem to enjoy. Plus I’ve found young ones benefit from gaining confidence and forwardness on the hunt field and feel so much more positive back out on cross country especially considering I’m usually riding some kind of crossbred that isn’t a natural galloper!”

In 2012, one of Natalya’s

favourite eventing mares, TSH Poppy, injured herself in the paddock. While devastating at the time, this injury would end up being the catalyst that would lead Natalya down a road to a career that she truly loves. “I currently work as a United Kingdom qualified Equine Sports Massage Therapist, commonly known and seen as ‘Equine Bodywork by Natalya’. I have always used physiotherapists and bodyworkers on my eventers, so I am well aware of the benefits and importance. My horse Poppy, a blingy warmblood-cross, injured herself quite badly in the paddock. Although I had great support from vets and people around me, I just really felt there was a lacking for someone who was easily accessible and could almost guide me more with her rehabilitation. Poppy

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made a full recovery in the injured joint but suffered a few secondary based complications later in her career, that I know now, with hindsight and my current knowledge, could have been prevented with ongoing support. “At the time of Poppy’s injury, my bodyworker could see my interest in doing my best by this mare and noticed I always had an eye for when something was ‘off ’, so she pushed me to look further into the industry. After a few more years working hard as a groom, I finally decided to take the plunge and threw myself at the UK based diploma in 2016 and 2017. Poppy would jump to the moon and back for me, despite her many unlucky injuries, and I feel like I’ve really dedicated my career to her in return.”

Now in practise for almost

three years, Natalya has begun to make an exceptional name for herself in the Auckland area and beyond – something that is highly likely due to her calm, quiet and hardworking nature. “I’ve always been a more cautious and empathetic rider, both of which have turned out to be great traits to have as an Equine Bodyworker. I always assess horses thoroughly and take the time to understand their background and the type of work they’re facing. I’m also always very proactive about working with vets


“

I love working

with horse owners who are just as

willing as I am to get their horse as comfortable

“

as possible, and performing well at their most

optimum level.

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I’ve always been a

more cautious and

empathetic rider, both

of which have turned out to be great traits

to have as an Equine Bodyworker.

Above - Natalya holding SMITTEN and during the Hunua 2DE 95cm or suggesting that a horse is seen by one when I think it’s necessary. This, of course, also goes with ensuring horses have an excellent fitting saddle by a qualified fitter, correct dental work, and well-balanced hooves. I think this ‘whole body’ team approach is something that needs to grow and be enforced more in New Zealand. “Consistent bodywork helps detect or find the cause of any stress on the horse’s muscular or skeletal system - often before it can prove to be a massive problem, such as an injury. By working on the soft tissue over the whole horses body and incorporating stretches, tight muscles are relieved, muscle tone, posture, range of motion, flexibility and circulation are all improved, and there are just so many extra benefits involved. Due to being a pretty calm person, I think most

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horses enjoy my treatments – I’ll often get a few warning messages from new clients about their aggressive horses, or that they may not stand still, but the horses generally prove their owners wrong when they’re standing there enjoying themselves or asleep when I treat them!”

With clients that range

from happy-hackers through to members of the New Zealand squad, Natalya has built up a successful business entirely on her own back. “As a new business in the equine industry, the feedback has been brilliant in the past few years. It’s an incredibly small world in the horse circuit, so to be lucky enough to hear so much constant praise and kind words spread about me is a truly amazing feeling. Through the tough year of 2020 I

was so grateful to see how consistent my work stayed, and to have the end of the year booked out was pretty overwhelming, in a good way of course,” she laughs. “I love working with horse owners who are just as willing as I am to get their horse as comfortable as possible, and performing well at their most optimum level. Seeing horses excel in their work after my treatments is always so rewarding, and I love getting messages from owners beaming that they’ve had a breakthrough. Whether it’s for hacking, dressage, or top-level jumping, any horse that is being ridden is worthy of bodywork treatments in my eyes. Their welfare is what is the most important thing at the end of the day; they have to be happy for us no matter what the circumstance.” C


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HOUGHTON ALL PURPOSE SADDLE Black | 17" & 17.5" WAS $899

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FIND YOUR LOCAL STOCKIST NORTH ISLAND STORES AMS SADDLERY 82A Spartan Road, Takanini, 2105 Phone: 09 298 7094 Visit: www.amssaddlery.co.nz CANTERBURY EQUESTRIAN AUCKLAND 49 Main Road, Kumeu, Auckland Phone: 022 585 1144 Visit: www.canterburyequestrian.co.nz

CHAMPIONS EQUESTRIAN SUPPLIES 18 Old Taupo Road, Rotorua Phone: 07 349 3530 Visit: www.championsequestrian.co.nz

HR FISKEN & SONS 295 Tuakau Road, Pukekohe Phone: 09 238 9414 Visit: www.hrfisken.co.nz

PREBBLE EQUESTRIAN 422 Gillespies Line, Palmerston North Phone: 06 353 8822

HORSELANDS DRURY 236 Great South Road (300m from Drury off ramp) Drury, South Auckland Phone: 09 294 6391

SUMMIT GRAINS & SADDLERY 16 Oliver Street, Cambridge Phone: 07 827 6091 Fax: 07 827 3881 Visit: www.summitsaddlery.co.nz

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EAST’S OUTDOOR WORK & LEISURE 109 Main Road, Makaraka Gisborne, 4010 Phone: 06 868 8479 Visit: www.eastoutdoors.co.nz

HORSESPORTS SADDLERY Unit 2/84 Spartan Road, Takanini, Auckland Phone: 09 269 6518 Visit: www.horsesports.co.nz

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CANTERBURY SADDLERY Cnr Racecourse & Yaldhurst Road, Riccarton, Christchurch Phone: 03 342 9260 Visit: www.canterburysaddlery.co.nz MARLBOROUGH EQUESTRIAN BARN 95 Battys Road, Blenheim Phone: 03 578 8914 Visit: www.marlboroughequestrianbarn.com RANGIORA EQUESTRIAN SUPPLIES 623 Lineside Road, Rangiora, Christchurch Phone: 03 313 1674 Visit: www.rangioraequestrian.co.nz RICHMOND SADDLERY 430 Paton Road, Hope, 7081 Phone: 03 544 4177 Visit: www.richmondsaddlery.co.nz SADDLERY BARN LTD 731A Main South Road, Islington, Christchurch Phone: 03 349 8806 Visit: www.saddlerybarn.co.nz SOUTH CANTERBURY SADDLERY LTD Shop 2, 300 Hilton Highway, Washdyke, Timaru Phone: 03 688 2555 Visit: www.scsaddlery.co.nz

Terms & Conditions: 1. Prices excluding specials indicated in this publication are recommended retail stock held by us on order at time of going to print. 2. Prices shown are recommended retail only. 3. Every item listed may not be available in all stores and stock is available only while stock lasts. 4. All items have been included in good faith on the basis that products, as described, will be available from our suppliers at the time of sale. Failure by our suppliers to deliver in accordance with sample or description or at all, or unintended delay with the supply to us of stock may result in some lines being unavailable or delay in availability or delivery. 5. Display accessories and props shown are not included in the price shown unless specified. 6. Prices on our saddles do not include mounts unless specified. 7. Prices on our bridles do not include bits unless specified. 8. Prices effective until 31st January 2021. Equestrian Connection reserves the right to alter or correct pricing or printing errors.

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EVENT coverage

NATIONAL DRESSAGE CHAMPIONSHIPS 2020 IMAGES - Caitlin Benzie Photography

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1. Wendi Williamson - DON VITO MH, Medium Tour winner

2. Melissa Galloway - WINDERMERE JOBÈI W, Open Grand Prix Championship winner

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“I throughly enjoyed our trip to the Bates Saddles Dressage Championships, and to come away with the Grand Prix win on WINDERMERE JOBÈI W was such a thrill.”

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Melissa Galloway

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1. Angela Lloyd - RUANUKU R, Open Medium Tour Championship Round 1, 6th 2. Anya Noble - GERONIMO STAR, Open Medium Tour Championship Round 1, 5th 3. Debbie Barke - RM SUZIE Q, Advanced Medium Super 5 League -Test 5B, 7th 4. Bill Millar - RAUKURA SATORI MH - Martin Collins NZ Bates Open Grand Prix Championship Round 2, 2nd 5. Cooper Oborn - REVELWOOD SHOWTIME , Cpack Ltd Bates Open Grand Prix Championship Round 1 -Test GP MFS 7th 6. Haydee Wells-Parmenter - FOXLEIGH MR DARCY, Advanced Medium - Bates Open Championship, 2nd

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1. Kathryn Brough - TWIST IT NZPH during the Elite Frozen Foals NZ Amateur Advanced Medium Championship, Round 2 2. Jen Sim - STONEYLEA LANCELET during the Martin Collins NZ Bates Open Grand Prix Championship Round 2 3. Kim Cochlan - LUMINATE SH, Bates Open Advanced Championship Round 2 4. Sarah Morgan - REUBEN CHS during the Flight Centre Bates Open Advanced Medium Championship Round 1 -Test 5A 5. Lucy Cochrane - GYMANJI, The Flight Centre Bates Open Advanced Medium Championship Round 1 -Test 5A, 3rd 6. Reece Downham-Smith - RUBY TUESDAY T, Medium Fiber Fresh Amateur Championship, 2nd 7. Sharlene Royal - SONIC SPIRIT, Bates Open Advanced Championship Round 2 8. Julie Brougham - VOM FEINSTEIN, Cpack Ltd Bates Open Grand Prix Championship Round 1, 2nd 9. Tannah Johnson MINOBIE, Fiber Fresh Amateur Medium Championship Round 2, 3rd 10. Tayla McDonald - RAMSBURY, BV Contracting Young Rider Championship Round 2 - Test YR Indiv, 3rd 11. Casey Burton - FANFARE MH, Bates Open Advanced Medium Winner SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -

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EVENT coverage

NATIONAL YOUNG HORSE JUMPING CHAMPIONSHIPS IMAGES - Christine Cornege Photography

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“From the moment I sat on Poppet (COROCAT XTREME) I knew she had something special. She has an amazing heart and is super careful. We both clicked from the start and I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.” Jaime Campbell

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Previous page -1. Brooke Edgecombe- LT HOLST HELEN, NZPH Year Old Style Prize 2. Jaime Campbell - COROCAT XTREME, winner of the NZPH Ultramox 6yo Breeders Series 1.20-1.30m Championship Final These pages - 3. Peita Milne- GLOBAL PH CASSA LENA 1st equal in the NZPH Ultramox 6Yo Breeders Series with Style Prize, 1.201.30m 4. Laura Knight - SENTOSA, 1st Dunstan Fiber Fresh 4yo 95-1.10m Championship 5. Hannah Bodle - HAUPOURI GALILEO NZPH, 1st equal in the ECPH East Coast Performance Horses 5yo Breeders Series, 1.10m-1.20m 6. Sophia Blackbourn- LT ZALATO BLUE, 3rd in the NZPH Ultramox 6yo Breeders Series, 1.20-1.30m Championship Final

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“Blue jumped out of his skin at Young Horse Show. I couldn’t have been more proud after he produced 4 clear rounds and did his first jump off against the clock.” Sophia Blackbourn

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7 8 1. Bailey Marshall - HAUPOURI EVANDRO NZPH winners of the Dunstan Fibre Fresh/Matthews Hanoverians 7yo Breeder Series 1.30-1.40m Championship 2. Oliver Croucher - TAKAPOTO MANGO LASSI, 4th equal in the Dunstan Fiber Fresh 4Yo Championship .95-1.10m 3. Emelia Forsyth - HENTON FABERGE winner of the Isaccs Electrical FMG Young Rider Series 4. Jesse Linton- FIRST CLASS NZPH- in the NZPH Ultramox 6yo Breeders Series,1.20m-1.30m 5. Rachel Malcolm - ONESSA MVNZ, 2nd equal in the Dunstan Fibre Fresh/Matthews Hanoverians 7yo Breeder Series 1.30-1.40m Championship Final 6. Sam Whale - FLEUR DELACOUR, 2nd equal in the Dunstan Fibre Fresh/ Matthews Hanoverians 7yo Breeder Series 1.30-1.40m Championship Final 7. Oliver Croucher - TAKAPOTO CHINA, 2nd in the ECPH East Coast Performance Horses 5yo Breeders Series 1.10m-1.20m Championship Final 8. Melody Matheson - CORTAFLEX GIULIA MH. winner of the ECPH East Coast Performance Horses 5yo Breeders Series 1.10m-1.20m Championship Final

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1. Annabel Francis- CHIC XTREME 5th equal in the Dunstan Fibre Fresh/Matthews Hanoverians 7yo Breeder Series 1.30-1.40m 2. Amanda Illston - IGUAZU winner of the Matthews Hanoverians Open Mare 1.30m 3. Tim Wilson - MCMILLANS CHUCK winners of the Vicki Wilson/Mainland Coachwork Junior Rider Series 4. Daniel Blundell- ATHENA NZPH winner of the FEI 1.40m class 5. Alexa Dodson - CORVETTE ECPH 3rd in the Dunstan Fibre Fresh 4yo 95-1.10m Championship Final 6. Jaime Campbell- CALICO XTREME winners of the NZPH 4yo Style Prize 7. Julie Davey - LT HOLST FREDA 4th in the NZPH Ultramox 6yo Breeders Series 1.20-1.30m Championship Final

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“Freda stayed very focused over the three days and tried hard for me.” Julie Davey

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Shopping guide Our

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1. Cavallo Linus Slim Bling + Nubuk - Slim fit jump boot with YKK vision zip, padded heel protection, grip panel inside calf for close contact with the horse.

Comes with a two position spur protector and available in four colourways: black, brown, grey and blue shown. RRP $680.00. www.classicequestrian.co.nz 2. Equifit Ear Bonnet - Maintain a professional and polished look while keeping flies at bay. The EquiFit Ear Bonnet keeps the ears, poll and head cool and dry with its multi-dimensional air-mesh. Ears fit comfortably and unbothered under a spandex mesh. Available in black with black, black-ostrich, navy, brown, red and green EverLeather trim. $179.00. www.maddoxequestrian.co.nz 3. Renaissance F2 S - The new evolution for Renaissance by Prestige presents the latest technology and performance with even more comfort and stability. This saddle cannot be easily rivaled! Available in a flaps projection to suit each individual riders leg length in a choice of colours. Prestige Equestrian Ltd e: sales@prestigeequestrian.co.nz 4. Enzo Pro Sheepskin Hunt Pad - This square cut hunt pad features sheepskin lining under the saddle area which wicks away moisture and sheepskin rolling over the front and back. It is made from a quality cotton drill with contoured spine, and clear channel for better fit. You can adjust to your horses back as needed with the four velcro pockets and felt shims. The two pockets on either side are handy to store items when you are out on trails. $139.99. Visit Saddlery Warehouse stores or shop online: www.saddlerywarehouse.co.nz 5. Antarès Reference Black/Black Helmet - This helmet has a black matte shell with brown leather black and chin strap. The strip and triangle are removable and can be customized. Maximum ventilation keeps air flowing (4 vents in the front and 2 in the back). Inner liner is removable and washable. The Antares helmet is fully approved to NZ safety standards. $679.00. www.maddoxequestrian.co.nz

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6. Shires AirMotion XC Boots (Front and Hind) - These highly breathable cross country boots allow the legs maximum protection with a cooling air flow. The compression resistant Air Motion fabric is cushioning and shock absorbent to support the legs and brings air movement that keeps moisture levels low. Fibreglass polymer tendon shields protect both digital flexor tendons and the suspensory ligament from over extension of the hind legs and tough ARMORTEX strike pads deflect blows. Adjustable touch close straps. $79.99 pair. Exclusive to Saddlery Warehouse 7. Elite Equine Gastro Go - The gastric solution that works three ways to support improved comfort and healing. Gastro Go is incredible value at only $2 or less for a loading dose and $1 or less for maintenance! Gastro Go is available in 1kg foil packets, and 3kg tubs. www.eliteequine.co.nz 8. Wintec Pro Wide Dressage Saddle - Made on a tree that is designed to go around wide, short coupled horses. Comes with a 2XW Gullet as standard and can be changed up to a 4XW and down to a standard Wide. Made with an Equisuede seat and knee roll for superior comfort and stability. Available in black. Sizes 17” and 17.5” ex-stock. Available by special order in black 16” and 18” and brown 16” through to 18”. RRP $1799.00 Wintec-saddles.com 9. Dublin Rapture Jodhpur Boots - Made from quality European full grain leather with a leather and breathable mesh lining. Features the RCS Memory footbed system for ultimate comfort and support. High arch and in-built shank designed outsole for improved lateral stability. Available in black & brown in ladies 5 to 11 and childs 13 to 3. Childs RRP $109.99. Ladies RRP $119.99. dublinclothing.co.nz 10. Estate Dressage Saddlecloth - Featuring man made, skin friendly luxurious fleece with anti-bacterial properties. Also available in white, claret, ink or petrol (pictured). RRP$144.90. www.zilco.net 11. Harcour Miguel Halter & Lead - Available in black & navy with rose gold fittings. This Halter features a soft synthetic sheepskin padding and buckles on the noseband and headpiece for the perfect fit. www.scsaddlery.co.nz SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -

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TRAINING clinic

LATERAL

MASTERCLASS WITH COOPER OBORN

In this masterclass, Cooper coaches us through the lateral movements and how they help develop collection and the paces through the training.

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Straightness STRAIGHTNESS IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE HORSE TO CARRY HIS WEIGHT EQUALLY ON BOTH SIDES.

OUR TRAINER IS SPONSORED BY

OUR TRAINER: Cooper is a Grand Prix rider originally hailing from Australia and is now based in Palmerston North. His current team of horses includes two Grand Prix horses Aphrodite (who stars in this masterclass) and Revelwood Showtime, CDS Donstar competing at Elementary and three young horses to come out this year Joniro, a six-year-old by Johnson, First Henri BHI, four-year-old by Finest and Balzane Du Trois DW, four-year-old old by Bordeaux. He has been a coach and professional rider for the last 11 years and has focused on producing young horses all the way to Grand Prix.

WORDS - Ashleigh Kendall IMAGES - Denise Flay Photography

Always check your basics Straightness, rhythm & balance Before even beginning to think about training your horse in lateral work, assess your basics. Is your horse straight between the rein and legs, travelling forward in rhythm and are they in balance? Straightness is also vertical straightness, is your horse upright? If he is not you will get uneven steps. This can lead to further problems. If you find your horse does a motorbike turn on the corner or circle leg yield will help get your horse more upright and become better balanced again. While lateral work improves these areas, if there is a lot of work to do then it’s best to address that before moving onto more challenging movements as your horse will physically and mentally struggle with the added challenge lateral work brings. Straightness seems deceivingly easy to achieve. However, it can be something riders struggle to achieve in their training and is one of the most critical fundamentals in developing the horse. Often misunderstood, straightness does not refer to the direction in which the horse is travelling, but how he is aligned through his body. His entire body from nose to tail should be in alignment, and the horse should sit between the rider’s leg and rein like a train on a track. It can be achieved on a straight line, but also on a curve such as a circle. The horse should also be supple and straight, not rigid like a plank. Aside from straightness, rhythm and balance are the two most important things, and you must have these fundamentals established before you can add lateral work. Adding the lateral exercises too soon does the horse no good if they are not in balance.

Rhythm & balance

A HORSE THAT IS WELL BALANCED MAINTAINS RHYTHM, AND THEREFORE, MAKES HIS TRAINING EASIER.

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Leg-yield is the foundation of lateral work. It teaches the horse to move sideways, flexed slightly in the direction of travel away from the inside leg pressure while still maintaining impulsion. Often, up until this point, the horse only understands the leg to mean “go forward”, so you should take your time in establishing the new sideways aid. In leg yield, the horse needs to travel both forward and sideways at the same moment. Unlike other lateral movements, leg yield requires the horse to be straight throughout the movement (whereas shoulder in, travers and half pass require some degree of bend). It is a fantastic exercise to get the horse sitting and accepting the outside rein better, which will improve the contact. Remember always to be thinking about how the lateral movements can enhance the rest of your work. Don’t just ride movements for the sake of riding movements - think of the bigger picture and of what you’re trying to achieve. Like all lateral movements, Leg-yield is a fantastic exercise for suppling, straightening and engagement that works the whole body, and it is the foundation for more advanced work. Leg yield is introduced early on in Dressage New Zealand tests, coming in at Novice level. Being soft and supple through the body and neck allows your horse to bend without stiffness and to work freely without excess tension through his back and muscles. He can then perform movements and transitions more smoothly and with better balance, which leads to the development of strength, power and muscle. It will become easier for him to engage his hind end and lift through his shoulders.

Leg-yield

RIDING A TRULY CORRECT LEG-YIELD REQUIRES THAT YOU KEEP YOUR HORSE STRAIGHT, PERPENDICULAR TO THE GROUND WHILE MOVING FORWARD AND SIDEWAYS.

INTRODUCING LEG-YIELD n

Half-halt on outside rein to keep shoulders straight Leg aid behind the girth

A great way to introduce leg yield to a green horse is to start by riding down the quarter line, keeping the horse’s body parallel to the wall, then asking your horse to move over to the track with your inside leg. Remember also to use your outside rein to keep the horse moving straight and across. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it straight away; it takes practice!

ADVANCED LEG-YIELD EXERCISE n

TOP TIP

Leg-yield is a movement where the horse moves forwards and sideways at the same time while keeping straight throughout his body. However, he is slightly flexed away from the direction of travel. If the horse is moving towards the right, he will be looking slightly to the left.

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When changing the rein on the diagonal, leg-yielding helps get the horse onto the new outside rein and inside leg and keeps him thinking. It’s an excellent movement for every horse, especially during the warm-up at events, no matter the level. When you practice riding leg-yield, you must give yourself a definite start and finish point. If you don’t have a target point, you’ll end up moving over more quickly on the rein your horse finds easiest, and you won’t even realise anything is different.


Shoulder-in SHOULDER-IN HELPS SUPPLE THE HORSE AND ENABLES THE RIDER TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE FOREHAND.

The movement The rider uses the inside leg on the girth to maintain bend and to get the horse to step across and under himself with the inside hind-leg while keeping their outside leg ready to stop the horse from swinging out too much. The outside rein should be nice and steady to guide the horse and make sure that he doesn’t just drop his shoulder and run through the movement. “I use my reins in two ways, one is to control flexion with bit pressure and the other is the pressure of the reins on the neck to control the placement of the shoulders”, Cooper explains. “So in shoulder-in the outside rein helps bring shoulders in and travers inside rein helps keep shoulders on the track and up right.” Inside rein creates flexion while the outside rein controls the bend Inside leg stays at the girth and the outside leg stops the horse swinging out

TOP TIP Remember, quality steps to begin are more valuable than quantity. If you get a few good ones, go straight and pat the horse before trying again.

HOW TO RIDE IT Ride a 10m circle, two or three times in the same place, at the beginning of a long side in the arena, following the rules above for flexion and bend. The circle line will help gain and maintain the correct bend and angle, and the rider is also positioned correctly in this moment with their shoulders and hips mirroring that of the horse to set up the exercise. n Start another circle, make the shape of shoulder in and move the shape up the long side. Sometimes it does help to ride the lateral work off the wall, say quarter line or inner track as the horses can get stuck on the wall. n Keep sufficient contact on both reins to maintain this ‘inside position’, and use a bit of extra inside leg to ask your horse to step sideways along the track. n After a few steps, straighten up and continue along the track. n Repeat this circle - shoulder-in - straight exercise several times around the school, then repeat it on the other rein. n Ride this exercise in the walk to ensure your horse learns to flex and bend both ways before doing it in trot or canter. n

Shoulder-in is the lateral movement and it is useful in helping your horse to become supple through his whole body. It also helps the horse collect and become more uphill and is a tool for straightening your horse. Shoulder-in promotes control of the horse’s inside hind leg, which is critical to the correct execution of several upper-level movements. The movement requires more than just bend as the horse is required to stretch the inside hind leg a little farther sideways than usual, which causes him to lower his inside hip in the collection. This movement is performed on three tracks. The horse should be slightly bent around the rider’s inside leg and look away from his travel direction. His inside foreleg passes and crosses in front of his outside leg, while his inside hind leg is placed in front of his outside leg with the ideal angle of the bend being 30 degrees. The goal is to have the neck supple, allowing the horse to willingly be put in a position without being forced.

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Travers

THE BEND SHOULD BE UNIFORM FROM THE POLL TO THE TAIL, AND THE HORSE SHOULD LOOK IN THE DIRECTION IN WHICH HE IS MOVING.

Travers, or haunches-in, is first introduced in New Zealand dressage tests at Elementary level. In this movement, the rider asks the horse to bring his hind legs in off the track, while the forelegs and shoulders stay on the track. “Travers to me is about bending in the middle, I like to make a point that a good travers is when the horse’s chest or face of its shoulders is facing straight up the long side towards the short side as opposed to facing out of the arena which is more like leg yield with neck bend”, Cooper explains. All this is essential for developing collection and uphill balance and advancing up the levels. For example, travers is the foundation movement for developing the half pass and canter pirouettes. If the horse’s shoulders are out of alignment, he can’t elevate his forehand and achieve the uphill balance he needs for collected, medium and extended gaits.

TRAVERS AIDS n n

n n n

Renvers RENVERS IS THE MIRROREXERCISE OF HAUNCHES-IN AND HAS THE EXACT SAME GYMNASTIC EFFECT.

Inside rein opens a little to indicate bend/ask for flexion Outside rein is kept close to the neck, controlling the energy, guarding against excess bend, and keeping the shoulders on the track Inside leg used on the girth to ask for bend and forward movement and to generate impulsion Outside leg used behind the girth to move the hindquarters over The rider should place a little more weight on the inside seat bone and keep her shoulders parallel to those of the horse, ie facing the direction of travel

Renvers, or haunches out, is essentially the same movement but with the horse’s hind legs coming off the track to the outside and is asked in competition at Advanced-Medium level. Although using the same bend and movement as travers, renvers is considered to be more difficult because horses naturally want to move with their haunches in rather than out. It is also trickier to convince a horse to move their hindquarters towards the wall, rather than away from it. “Renvers is great for straightness, especially if the horse likes to pop out through the outside shoulder”, he says.

RENVERS AIDS n n n n

The horse’s body is bent around the rider’s outside leg The horse looks in the direction of travel The horse’s inside hind leg steps underneath his weight The hindquarters step along the wall while the shoulders follow the inside track

Using these exercises to your advantage: Both of these movements are used to encourage collection, produce impulsion, supple the horse, and build strength. Travers is also the first step in teaching half pass, as the half pass is travers ridden on a diagonal line. In canter, travers is a building block for pirouettes, as a working pirouette essentially is travers on a circle.

Troubleshooting common problems: One thing to make sure of is that you have the correct bend! If you have no bend at all, you are leg yielding and not teaching the horse proper travers or renver. Another thing to be aware of when teaching lateral work is maintaining forward movement throughout. The horse shouldn’t change his rhythm at all when these movements are executed correctly.

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Half-pass BEFORE YOU BEGIN TRAINING THE HALF PASS, YOUR HORSE SHOULD ALREADY KNOW HOW TO GO FORWARD ON THE BIT WITH RHYTHM AND BALANCE. INSIDE HAND

Asks for slight flexion to the inside

OUTSIDE HAND

Provides steady contact to support his balance

As discussed earlier, the half-pass is travers ridden on a diagonal line. Unlike the leg yield, the horse is bent in the direction of travel around the rider’s inside leg. The half-pass can be an inspiring movement to ride and watch as the horse’s legs cross over, making for a spectacular picture. Half-pass is introduced in New Zealand Medium level dressage tests in trot and canter. It progresses through the grades to Grand Prix, where it is ridden in its most challenging state - as a canter zigzag, where the horse and rider canter half-pass a few strides across the arena, perform a flying change, then canter half pass across in the new direction. Half-pass is another excellent training tool as it requires the increased engagement of the hindquarters, increasing impulsion. Like the other lateral work, it also encourages suppleness and builds strength. Half-pass is usually introduced once the horse is confidently established in travers and renvers. Again, it is often introduced off a circle, taking advantage of the bend the circle provides. The outside hind leg must step well under the horse to push him forward and sideways in the desired motion.

OUTSIDE LEG

Moves behind the girth to ask for sideways movement

HOW TO RIDE IT First I ride the travers to refresh myself and horse. n Then I ride onto diagonal line with a marker at the end to help my vision. I put the marker between the horse’s ears and point my thumbs towards the marker also. n From there I ride travers towards the marker and that is my half-pass. I need to try and remember to sit more in the direction of travel as the horse will want to step under my weight to carry me. n If you are not 100% parallel with the long side of the arena do not worry as your horse builds more flexibility and suppleness this will improve. n

INSIDE LEG

Stays at the girth

Common problems: It is common when first learning to ride half-pass to sit crooked, but try your best to avoid this temptation, as it will only make the horse crooked as well. Only ask for a few quality steps to begin with and then ride straight out of the half-pass. If the horse loses the quality, becomes crooked, or loses impulsion or rhythm, ride straight out of the half-pass and try again.

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Quarter turns A BASIC MOVEMENT, IT IS AN IMPORTANT TRAINING TOOL FOR BOTH HORSE AND RIDER.

The purpose of quarter turns is to teach your horse to move willingly from the inside leg into the outside rein, keeping the inside foreleg nearly stationary. This inside foreleg, while remaining in almost the same spot, will continue stepping up and down in rhythm as the hind legs move sideways, creating a semicircle-with the inside hind leg crossing in front of the outside hind. Imagine your horse has halted square and you prepare to ask a turn on the forehand to the left. Using your left leg, your horse will begin to move his hindquarters away, yielding, to your requests. All the while, his front feet will remain in the same area as he moves his hindquarters around them. Your horse’s back should remain straight throughout the movement, so no curving or bending. However, he will have a slight flexion at the poll to the inside, which he will maintain throughout the movement. He will also step with all four feet, in sequence to walking, but with only the hind feet really covering any ground. The front feet will merely march or keep time on the spot for all of their steps.

HOW TO RIDE IT n n

n

n

n

n

At the walk, track to the left parallel to the long wall on the second track. Ask your horse to halt. You will be using the wall as a boundary to help your horse understand this new exercise. Make sure your weight is equal in both stirrups and you are sitting in an upright and correct position. Ask for a slight flexion to the right with your right rein. If you have previously ridden a leg yield, the amount of flexion is similar. Keep your left rein steady on your horse's neck. Sit square. Use your right calf on your horse's right side to ask him to move away from that leg and cross his hind legs toward the middle of the ring. Your left leg stays passive-soft and inviting. While continuing to use your leg, half halt with your left rein so the horse understands that he is to cross his legs, not walk forward.

Troubleshooting common problems: Sometimes, riders become stuck and forget to ride the walk and follow it with their seat and hands. They stiffen and block the horse. They pull on the outside rein as a habit and pull on the inside rein to try to create the bend instead of using their seat and legs to channel the horse and position him properly. This creates a neckin effect instead of a harmonious bend from ears to tail. They sit to the outside of the turn with their torso and shoulders turned to the outside of the turn.

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Canter

CANTER SHOULD BE BALANCED AND “THROUGH” WITH THE HORSE’S HIND LEG PLACED WELL UNDERNEATH HIM.

Praise

ALWAYS TAKE THE TIME TO PRAISE YOUR HORSE AFTER SCHOOLING.

Having a quality canter is super important for a dressage horse, particularly as they progress through the grades. It is much easier to develop a trot to be more powerful and expressive than it is to correct and improve a poor canter. That being said, there are some useful exercises for riders to improve their canter no matter how good the horse’s natural gait is. While we are specifically addressing the canter in the following exercises, you can apply this to the walk and trot also. Use half-halts to improve the quality and balance of the canter, closing the hand on the outside rein, inside rein maintaining flexion all while keeping your legs on and around the horse. “I try to ride my half halts like this; first slightly ride forward with my seat and leg then momentary on and off pressure with my rein while trying to sit still and feel the horse wait underneath me”, he says. “If your half halt is not working take a minute to go back to walk and do some walk halts, back to basic, if still not satisfactory you could try rein back. Then go back to trying your half halts with the forward and back within the gait. Making sure your horse is around your inside leg on the circle will also improve your half halts.” Riding transitions within the pace and also up and down between paces is really beneficial to any level horse. Trot to canter transitions on a circle can be really useful in a warm up for helping the horse loosen and let go of the back before moving on to harder work. You could move on from there to canter to walk transitions on a circle, beginning with one transition per circle and then increasing it to several transitions on a circle. Keeping the horse connected and straight on the circle line as you ride them, aiming for quality steps with the horse shifting his weight back. Use your half halts to prepare the horse. Another fantastic transition exercise to ride is medium to collected. Once the transitions from walk and trot are coming along nicely and in balance, you can try medium to collection. Using your half halt and seat to prepare and balance your horse. Starting these exercises are easier on the circle as the circle line helps you keep the flexion, connection and the inside hind leg stepping through but once you are building confidence in these then you can move onto the same exercise but on a straight line, either on the wall or quarter lines. The key here is to use your aids to maintain the hind end engagement.

Troubleshooting common problems: Make sure you take a good number of strides in each pace aiming for quality steps, if your horse jogs in the walk then take care of the walk before moving up a gear. These exercise will all help create power, elasticity, engagement and strength as you move into the harder exercises like the canter pirouettes and the flying changes. SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -

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Pirouettes

A GOOD PIROUETTE IS LIGHT, FLUID AND HARMONIOUS, IT REQUIRES SUPPLENESS, STRENGTH AND BALANCE.

TOP TIP

The quality of a pirouette is judged according to its suppleness, lightness and regularity, the precision and smoothness of the entrance and exit. This is a difficult movement in a high state of collection so keep your sessions short and sweet.

Outside rein controls the shoulder, inside rein maintains bend

The pirouette is the most challenging movement of the lateral work and can be ridden out of the walk, canter and, in the Grand Prix, piaffe. Half canter pirouettes are required at Advanced, and a highlight at Grand Prix level is double canter pirouettes. It is a two-track movement in which the horse makes a circle with his front end around a smaller circle made by his hind legs. They are two-track lateral movement where your horse’s forehand draws a circle around the hindquarters, with the outside hind stepping around the inside, which marches almost in place. The horse is moving around his inside hind leg throughout the entire movement. The horse needs to be super collected to perform the pirouette to the highest quality, with the poll always remaining at the highest point. A full pirouette can range from anywhere between six to eight strides.

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HOW TO RIDE IT n

n n

n

To ride a pirouette, if you are turning to the left, sit in the middle of the horse with your weight is slightly to the left, in the direction of travel, in the inside of the bend. In this direction, the horse’s pivot leg is his left hind leg. Keep the left leg closer to the girth to control the horse’s activity and bend. The right leg is slightly behind the girth to prevent his hindquarters from swinging out, encourage his outside hind leg to step in front and over the pivoting inside hind leg and to prevent his hindquarters from swinging out. Your upper body is very slightly turned at the waist to reflect the bend in the horse’s body. The outside hand is controlling how much bend in the neck the horse has while the inside right

n

n

Outside leg behind girth, inside leg at the girth

hand guides the horse in the direction of the turn with a light opening rein. Your arms follow the movement of the horse’s neck and head. The shoulders, arms and hands work together, and as the torso turns very slightly to accompany the turn of the horse’s shoulders, your own shoulders should mirror his. The outside rein is against the horse’s neck but it is not short or tight, the outside rein is leading him in the turn but it is not long or loose. Keep a soft, accompanying contact. Entering and exiting the pirouette is as important as the pirouette itself, especially exiting. It is important that I prepare my horse so that he goes from bend to straight without losing his rhythm, balance and activity.


Flying change BALANCE AND STRENGTH ARE NECESSARY FACTORS FOR THE HORSE TO MANAGE A FLYING CHANGE

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Flying changes can be tricky to master and it is important that you do have someone experienced who can help when you are beginning. It is important to note that the basics are in check before even attempting to teach the changes- the horse should be straight (not swinging the haunches in transitions) and balanced with good forward impulsion and rhythm, supple through the back, established in the counter canter and able to collect and respond to the leg. It is also important that you don’t impose a deadline on your horse creating tension and anxiety, they all learn at their different pace. If your horse at any stage is confused or tense, go back to the simple changes.

THE AIDS n

Keep the aids simple and clear so the horse can understand and use the same aids that you would use in your walk to canter transitions. Your inside leg staying on the girth, outside leg initiating the change, keeping the connection with your outside rein but still allowing the forward, soft rein so the horse can go forward into the change.

Troubleshooting:

“Remember tension comes from confusion and so to clear this up you need to take a step back and focus on basics again”, he explains. “Does the horse understand the walk canter and if so does it understand which lead I am asking for? If you break it down you can solve your own problems. It is however very valuable to have someone on the ground that can watch and give feed back on what the horse is doing before he makes a mistake then you can correct accordingly.” Mistakes often fall under two categories; Quality of canter and the aid for the change. “Quality of canter is things like straightness, enough jump, impulsion, collection, suppleness, etc”, Cooper encourages. “The change aid includes, does the horse and or rider understand what the change aid is, the timing of the aid and is the rider over riding or under riding the aid.”

FINAL WORD Training lateral movements takes lots of time and patience. Don’t rush your horse before he is ready for it and be satisfied with a few reasonable steps to start with. Over time, as the horse understands lateral leg pressure, becomes stronger in the collection, more supple and elastic, he will become more confident and find the work much more comfortable to execute. Lateral work is a fantastic way to improve the quality of the horse’s paces and way of going, so don’t get stuck thinking that you just need to do the lateral work for the sake of riding movements. Use it in your training to improve the horse. Get creative as you get more confident and use different lateral positions together, for example, ride shoulder-in, then switch to travers and back again. Exercises like this keep the horse listening and sharp on your aids, making the work interesting. Most of all, remember your basics. Don’t become so focused on riding tricks that you sacrifice the basics. Some days you might spend most of the ride working on fundamental transitions and no lateral work, but if that’s what you need to do then do it. Never stop training the basics. Try to get expression from relaxation and lightness from engagement. “A wise coach once told me anybody can kick and pull and ride full gear but it takes skill to be measured so take your time”, he says. “Too much power results in a rigid stiff horse too much suppleness results in a super supple horse. I know which one I’d rather.” C

Country homes

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09 947 9178 021 722 578 laurad@harrisonlane.co.nz www.harrisonlane.co.nz

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TRAINING clinic

Whether you take part in dressage, show jumping, eventing or hacking, your position has a huge influence on your horse

MEET THE EXPERT RUSSELL GUIRE manages Centaur Biomechanics, which specialises in horse and rider performance analysis. Russell works with the BEF, offering performance analysis to horses and riders on both the World Class Programme and Team GB.

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Posture PERFECT How aware are you of your position in the saddle? Performance analyst Russell Guire reveals common issues with riders’ posture and how to correct them.

Your riding position has a massive impact on your horse. Whether you take part in dressage, show jumping, eventing or hacking, the way you sit in the saddle has a huge influence on multiple aspects, including your horse’s core strength, hoof and back health. It’s essential to refine your position in order to improve your horse’s carriage and correct asymmetries, and by working on his posture you will also improve his welfare and reduce the risk of injury. The effort that a horse puts in to carrying a rider is easily forgotten. But your horse can feel a single fly landing on his body, so he’s certainly aware of you on his back. Therefore, how straight and central you sit, your hands, your stirrup position, even the way you tilt your head, will all have an impact on your horse.

Are you sitting comfortably?

After noticing an imbalance and recognising we need to put it right — it’s too easy to just say we’re crooked — we need to figure out exactly what crooked means. This is where an assistant proves invaluable. When you’re on your horse it can be hard to tell whether or not you’re sitting correctly, although using a mirror or filming yourself on your phone/camera are useful methods of checking position. Be sure to wear tight clothes rather than baggy ones so that faults are easier to spot.

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Checking your position We’re interested in how straight the saddle is, and how straight you are to the saddle with your upper body and pelvis. ■ Your ear, shoulder, hip and ankle should all be in line. ■ Be aware that different paces will emphasise crookedness and you may ride differently on each rein. ■ Address the position of your seat first, and then the saddle before

looking at your upper body. ■ The aim is for you to be sitting in the centre of your horse in order to facilitate lateral work. ■ If your position is off, your horse will be off too — this has implications for jumping, dressage and so on. ■ Make sure that you have your saddle checked regularly by a professional fitter to try to reduce displacement.

HANDS ■ In line, not asymmetrical. ■ Thumbs on top, not ‘pushing a pram’. ■ Hands held forwards.

ARMS ■ Against your sides — no ‘chicken wings’.

KNEES ■ Against the side of the saddle, not sticking out.

IP TOP sT timate the

ere Don’t und our f walk in y o e c n ta r o ming imp mend war m o c re I . utes. warm up r 15-20 min tegy fo lk a w in up -up stra your warm ntines to f o t r a p s A pe lso use ser a ld u o h s you ppleness. improve su

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FEET ■ Heels down, toes up. ■ Not too far forward or too far back in the stirrup. ■ Not sticking out from your horse’s side. ■ Stirrups the same length — making one of your stirrups longer is not a cure for asymmetry; it actually increases loading on the limbs and can affect your spine.


Riding

without stirrups If you really want to improve your position, do five minutes each day without stirrups (if you feel safe to do so), or ride without stirrups on the lunge. Taking away the stability points (your reins and stirrups) makes you more aware of your seat.

SPINE ■ Neutral — not too far forward or back. ■ Front of pelvis tipped upwards. ■ Seat in contact with the saddle. ■ Shoulders pulled back.

The first area to work on is your pelvis.

1Go large in walk on the left rein.

2 3 4 5

Closing your eyes helps you to feel your horse and gets rid of distractions

6 7 8

Imagine your pelvis as a bowl of water. Where is the water tipping? Think about drawing the front of your pelvis up and tucking your tailbone and seat beneath you. This also helps to straighten your back. Another way to visualise it is don’t sit like a duck, sit like a Whippet. Now ride a 20m circle at either end of the arena, then turn up the centre line, get yourself straight and close your eyes. Closing your eyes helps you to feel your horse and removes distractions, so you’re more aware of his movement. (Have someone watch you and tell you when to reopen them!) Where do you end up? Have you stayed straight or veered off to one side? Repeat on the other rein and in trot. Sit deeper in the saddle so you don’t bounce. Taking away your stirrups will help you to rebalance your position naturally.

Knees up Still on a 20m circle and without stirrups, lift up your left leg and open up your hips as you push your knee out to the side and rotate it — as if you’re riding a bicycle. Then relax your left leg and repeat the exercise with your right leg. You may find it easier to do this with one leg than the other. Switch from left knee to right knee a few times, then change the rein and repeat. As well as opening up your hips, this will improve your awareness of your weight in the saddle.

You may find lifting your knee easier on one side than the other

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Taking away your reins

Taking away stability points, such as your reins, makes you more aware of your seat

Riding with your reins in one hand is another great exercise to get you focused and riding from your seat and leg rather than the rein. Neglecting these aids, or just relying on a stick, means that your horse doesn’t learn to use his core correctly.

1 2 3 4 5

Do this exercise without stirrups if you feel confident doing so. If not, you can also do it with stirrups. In walk or trot on a 20m circle, put your reins in one hand and lift your ‘spare’ hand straight up into the air.

Now hold your arm straight out in front of you.

Make sure you keep your head up and your eyes looking straight in front. Take your reins back while you change the rein, then repeat.

How effective is your seat? The ultimate goal is to control your horse with your seat, not your reins. Practising this in your transitions is key. Try riding on the inside track — trot-walk-trot. This will help you to feel where your horse wants to put his quarters. Does he wobble at all? Is he trying to grab the inside rein?

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1 2 3 4 5

Try the transitions again, this time really focusing on using your seat. Keep thinking about your position, pelvis tilted up, eyes looking up and ahead.

Stay sitting on your seat, keeping your horse inside leg to outside rein.

Swing through the seat to increase the hindleg action. Collect with your body by opening your knees.


Where your head goes, your weight goes

If you ride with your head tilted, correct it by putting your hand behind your back (the opposite side to the way your head tends to lean)

Your eyes are always trying to balance you, so another good exercise to try if you’re feeling crooked is moving your head. Take back your stirrups for this one.

1 2 3 4 5

On a circle, feel the pressure in your stirrups. Which side has more pressure? On a 20m circle in trot, visualise how much pressure you put in your stirrups.

Turn your head to the right — what changes? Now look across to your left.

You should notice that moving your head to look one way puts more weight into your opposite stirrup. Keep pushing forwards with your hands. You don’t want your horse getting behind the vertical — it will make him tense.

Stretching off Just as you warm up your horse, after training it’s important to let him stretch off. On a long rein, do a serpentine to warm down. Long rein is not just letting the reins go; it’s encouraging your horse to stretch down, so keep a contact as you lengthen them. Use your bodyweight instead of the reins when asking your horse to use his body around the bends of the serpentine. C

"Long rein is not just letting the reins go; it’s encouraging your horse to stretch down, so keep a contact as you lengthen them."

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EQUINE health

Pinna (outer ear)

Ear canal

Ear drum

Skull

Meet the expert Richard Sutcliffe Richard Sutcliffe BVM&S, MRCVS specialises in equine care at Bishopton Veterinary Group in Ripon, North Yorkshire – part of the XLVets group.

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Inner ear Middle ear


EARS PRICKED! The Inside Story

They hear, they move, they express emotion – your horse’s ears are an amazing feature, and here we answer your questions and explain how to ensure they stay in tip top condition Most of us know a great deal about our horse’s hooves, eyes, teeth, back and legs, but what do we really know about our horse’s ears? If your answer is very little, don’t worry – we’re here to answer your questions and discuss everything from aural plaques to clipping the ears with expert advice from vet Richard Sutcliffe.

The equine ear is split into three main areas, the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear.

The outer ear

ear canal

Just as in humans, the horse’s eardrum is a membrane, on which the soundwaves bounce creating vibrations. It’s connected to three small bones, the hammer, anvil and stirrup. These bones create a bridge between the eardrum and inner ear through which the vibrations are carried.

The inner ear

The horse’s inner ear contains the cochlea and three separate tubes that create the semi-circular canals. In this part of the ear, the soundwaves are collected in the tubes of the cochlea, picked up by nerve cells and converted into nerve impulses. Once received by the brain these nerve impulses are interpreted as audible sounds. This part of the ear is also responsible for maintaining the horse’s balance.

stirrup anvil hammer

auditory nerve leading to brain cochlea eardrum

eustachian tube

semi-circular canals

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Illustrations: Samantha J Elmhurst BA Hons, www.livingart.org.uk

The main outer structure of the horse’s ear, the part we’re all familiar with, is called the pinna. The pinna moves to collect sound which travels through the air in soundwaves. The pinna creates a funnel down into the horse’s head. Inside the head, the end of this funnel bends on an angle to meet the eardrum.

The middle ear

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Fortunately, as Richard explains, the good news is there’s not too much to be seriously concerned about when it comes to the equine ear. “In truth the horse’s ear is very well designed so generally there’s not a great deal to worry about,” he says. “However, I do find I receive a lot of calls from horse owners who are concerned about their horses being very sensitive around their ears.” The reason for which, as Richard explains, could be physical or behavioural so, to shed some light on potential problems linked to sensitivity and to offer advice on cleaning and clipping, Richard answers some questions.

Your Questions

Q

A

If a horse is sensitive around his ears does that always indicate a problem? “The answer is yes and no”, says

Richard. “Sensitivity could well be an indication of a problem but some horses are also just sensitive about having their ears touched.” If you’re concerned about your horse being sensitive around his ears, the sensible thing to do is call your vet, especially if your horse is showing signs of discomfort or if you can see something in the ear that doesn’t look normal. “More often than not sensitivity in the ears isn’t linked to anything sinister. However a quick check by your vet will give you peace of mind,” says Richard. “If there is something that needs to be treated, the problem is that your horse, if already sensitive about his ears, might become even more sensitive about having his ears touched as a result. “For that reason, sedation is often a very sensible option when treating ear problems. Without sedation, a very sensitive horse is likely to become more stressed and upset about having his ears touched.”

Q

I’ve heard about ‘scaly plaques’ building up in horses’ ears – if this happens, how do you recognise it, treat it and care for your horse’s ears in the long term?

A

“What you’ve described are aural plaques. These can develop in the horse’s ears (there is no known trigger) and most vets Aural plaques would say that it’s not a significant clinical issue. However, I receive numerous calls about it and have seen cases where horses are clearly in great discomfort as a result of aural plaques. In my mind this makes it significant.”

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Answered

The hair inside your horse’s ear is there to protect the ear cavity

In cases of aural plaques, white, crusty lesions develop inside the ears. Beneath the lesion is a large area of depigmented skin. While some cases may not cause horses any real bother, others can be very uncomfortable, with increased sensitivity on and around the ears. “Some horses will let you gently rub the plaques off while others won’t let you near them and unfortunately this condition doesn’t self-cure,” Richard explains. “Treatment under sedation, which involves cleaning and treating the affected areas, can hugely improve symptoms but unfortunately plaques will come back over time and treatment may be required again.”

A fly mask can offer protection from flies and insects

Q

Should you clip your horse’s ears inside and out – is it safe?

A

“I would discourage clipping inside the ears. If hair falls into the ear during clipping (which it is likely to do), it may cause irritation and discomfort. Plus it’s important to remember the hair inside your horse’s ear is there for a reason, to protect the ear cavity from foreign bodies and insects – clipping it away increases the risk of things getting into the ear cavity causing problems such as irritation, headshaking and infection.”

Q

My horse hates her ears being touched. They get bitten inside through the summer by flies, to the point where she won’t let me anywhere near them. I can’t keep fly masks on her for more than five minutes and she hates sprays near her face. What can I do?

A

“Biting flies in the ears are a huge problem. If your horse is adverse to sprays and masks really aren’t an option, you could try gently sponging fly repellant around and on the ears,” says Richard. “Using fly repellant of some form to stop the flies is your best bet and again leaving the hair in the ears to offer more protection from biting flies is a good idea.”

Q

How can I keep my horse’s ears clean?

A

“Unless there is something leaking out of your horse’s ears (which would indicate a problem as this is abnormal) you shouldn’t clean inside the ears,” says Richard. “It is ok to remove the little wax clumps that can form on the hair of the ear but only do this if it’s really necessary and don’t use any liquid that could dribble down into the ear cavity.”

QUIET PLEASE Your vet may put cotton wool in your horse’s ears during the sedation process. Noise is a major stimulus and cotton wool helps to muffle any sounds, which could potentially reduce the effect of sedation


MOOD & EXPRESSION

CONCHAL CYST

Your horse’s ears don’t just sit on his head listening, they also move, express mood and stay alert to potential dangers all around – they’re a fantastic indicator of what your horse is feeling.

t all of Conchal cysts presen the as ns sig l ca the same clini ver in we ho , st dentigerous cy tooth no is e er these cases th st cy e th d an fragment a m fro ps develo blind pouch

A sarcoid in the ear

His ears enable him to listen out for danger

What else can affect the ear? Ear mites

Rain Scald

Many horse owners call the vet thinking their horse might have ear mites due to sensitivity around the ears or because they’re head shy. However, as Richard explains, ear mites in horses are actually very rare. “In 22 years I’ve personally never identified a case of ear mites. Of course that’s not to say that it doesn’t happen,it is just quite rare.”

Dermatophilosis or ‘rain scald’ most commonly occurs when the bacteria Dermatophilosis congolensis (the bacteria that causes mud fever) gets into the skin and is aggravated by prolonged rain saturating the skin. The condition presents itself as crusty painful scabs. It usually occurs on the back and hindquarters but can also affect the sensitive skin of the face and ears.

Signs that your horse might have ear mites can include

Treatment includes

→ Irritation → Aural discharge → Rubbing or itching the ears → Headshaking If you think your horse might have ear mites contact your vet. Following diagnosis treatment can include application of a topical insecticide. Rain scald

→ Removal of the scabs → Application of a topical antibacterial agent to the ears The best way to protect your horse from rain scald is to try and prevent it in the first place by ensuring that your horse’s ears don’t stay wet for long periods of time. If he lives in, make sure his stable is well ventilated and dry. If he lives out, try to dry off his ears if they become very wet.

Sarcoids Sarcoids are the most common form of tumour on the equine ear and the requirement to treat them is equal to that of sarcoids anywhere else on the body. Unfortunately they are much more difficult to treat when on the ear. “Treatment can include surgery, laser removal or the use of Liverpool Cream, however it can be risky. If ear cartilage

becomes damaged by treatment it’s power of recovery is poor,” says Richard. “The ear cartilage can then become deformed and like all cartilage it does not heal as well as soft tissue.” Sarcoids can range in appearance from hairless patches to smooth or warty lumps and ulcerated masses. If you think your horse may have a sarcoid contact your vet as soon as possible. Following diagnosis, veterinary advice might be to start treatment or to wait and see if the sarcoid develops – some can remain unchanged for years or even life.

Dentigerous cysts These are a developmental problem that can present as a swelling on the side of the head just below the ear. “These might occur when a piece of tooth develops on the temporal bone (the area of the skull on which the ears are located), however they can also be located in soft tissues,” explains Richard. “In most cases, a drainage tract develops from the area of fragmented tooth material to the ear. This tract is lined with skin and drains a persistent sticky, pale milky or clear discharge from the swelling out through a hole in the ear at the end of the tract.” They are not painful and have no genetic predisposition but can be removed surgically for aesthetic purposes under general anaesthetic. C SHOWCIRCUIT MAGAZINE -

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Show Circuit Magazine - February/March 2021  

Join our discerning readers and discover an equestrian world that has compelling interviews, advice and training articles that both empower...

Show Circuit Magazine - February/March 2021  

Join our discerning readers and discover an equestrian world that has compelling interviews, advice and training articles that both empower...