Autumn Update

It has been another incredibly busy month, to the point that I am struggling to remember what I’ve done! The first weekend of April we headed to Albury Horse Trial with a very big team of 5 horses competing and one extra along for the outing! As well as my own two mares Geisha and Annie, I was competing three of Vanessa Hawkins’ ESB Irish Sport Horses. It was a successful weekend, ESB Irish Autumn jumped double clear in the Pre Novice to finish in 9th place, a solid result which I was very happy with for our first start together. “Naughty Auti who’s not so naughty” as we call him gave me a great feel in all phases, being very rideable cross country and I am excited for his future. ESB Golden Geisha did her first prelim and was an absolute machine in the jumping phases, going double clear. There is still a lot to work on with her dressage, but definite improvements showing all the time although not yet reflected by her scores. Annie (ESB Irish One) was a gem in the Intro, coping well with about 10 kangaroos hopping right through the middle of the dressage warm up arena, and as usual jumped double clear and was a heap of fun – definitely the best pony out! I also competed ESB Irish Flight and ESB Golden Account in their first ever event in the EvA 60. Flight was super with a double clear performance to finish 7th, and Count made a couple of green mistakes but still … Read More

New heights and unexpected lows

The first weekend of March we drove all the way down to Lang Lang for the PPSJC Sam Williams Equestrian Grand Prix Show, where I was set to have my first Grand Prix 1.40m start! From our new location at Euroa it is now over 3 hours driving instead of 10 minutes to get to Lang Lang, but as always it was a great show and the surface was amazing to jump on making it well worth the drive. We stayed at Tooradin Estate on Friday and Saturday night, where I used to live and work, so it was lovely to be back there for a quick visit! I was very happy with how both my horses performed. Geisha stepped up, and jumped around her first 110cm and 115cm tracks very confidently. There were a few green mistakes and rails here and there but I am really happy with how she is jumping! Zone was amazing, jumping clear in the 125cm Futurity class to get into the jump off. We were early to go in the jump off and with a very speedy clear round it looked as though we would win, but two other riders managed to sneak in ahead of us by less than 0.3 of a second so we had to settle for 3rd place instead! All the same I was thrilled with the result and ready to tackle my first Grand Prix track! Zone was amazing, and showed how far we have come together to successfully complete our first 1.40m track together. It started really well, … Read More

Gippsland SJ Festival

Last weekend we dragged ourselves away from the farm and the beach for a weekend of show jumping at the Gippsland Show Jumping Festival with Zone, Geisha and also my groom Ruby’s pony Missy. We had a great three days away competing with successful results from all horses. On Friday we had a great start to the show, with Zone jumping a super round in the 1.25m Speed Class to place 2nd. I was thrilled with how confidently and carefully he jumped. Geisha then jumped two great rounds, dropping a green rail in the 95cm but then proceeding to jump clear around her first ever 1.04m! Not bad for a horse that had never jumped until about 6 months ago! That night was the Speed Derby class, and despite the steady rain it was set to be a great evening of entertainment, with a course set up incorporating a bank, jumps on a slope, and also leaping off your horse, donning a dress and grabbing a handbag to then run and jump the last fence on foot! I was quite late in the draw, and standing in the rain watching rider after rider speed around the course flat out was exciting but also quite intimidating with each rider just going faster and faster than the last and the crowd being a bit on the wild side! However Zone and I held our own, jumping a very fast and clean round to place 5th, a great result in such a competitive speed class! On Saturday we paid the price for doing … Read More

Summer at the Farm

After a busy 2016, I have really enjoyed spending the first few weeks of 2017 away with just my horses at my grand-parents farm where I grew up riding. Bell Point farm is one of the southern-most farms in mainland Australia, and with a view over the water with Wilson Promontory in the background, it is simply stunning. ..Read More

Equitana

Arriving home from Adelaide we had two weeks to recover, get the young horses back in work and prepare for the next event; Equitana and then Avenal HT. There was a very close call one morning, about 3 days after getting home from Adelaide. With the weather getting warmer and the 3DE behind us, I decided to stop stabling Zone at night. It was time for him to be a horse again! This particular morning, I was running a little late getting my morning chores done before picking Ruby, my groom, up from the bus stop. I put Zone’s feed in his paddock and called him over but he didn’t come. At the time I thought it was because he was talking to the other horses over the fence, so seeing as I was running late I didn’t wait for him to come over, but rather drove off to collect Ruby. Returning to the Estate, I rode two horses and was about to get on the third when I thought that I still hadn’t seen Zone go to eat his breakfast, and that he mustn’t know it was there. Zone however, was in his element; a jump off against the clock with cross jumps and show jumps. He was fantastic, jumping one of the fastest rounds of the day, being really honest over the tricky cross country lines and showing lots of air over the 1.40m Joker fence. Our efforts moved us all the way up to 3rd place! I am thrilled with this result which marks the end of … Read More

Australian International 3 Day Event – Wrap Up

The following day was trot up day, and so after I had ridden Zone in the morning, my groom Ruby set to work with washing and plaiting, and getting Zone’s tail as white as possible. She did a fantastic job and Zone looked ‘pretty as a picture’ by the time she was finished. The trot up was held alongside the grandstand and main arena, making it much more grand than any trot up I have done before. Zone trotted beautifully and was accepted through the first Horse Inspection (trot up). Dressage Day dawned and being quite late in the draw I was not scheduled to ride until 3.20pm. With a lot of time to pass I set out on my trusty fold up Aldi push bike to get my first glimpse of the Adelaide cross country course. As an Adelaide first timer it was rather confusing trying to work out where to go. There where white posts and jumps everywhere, but without the white rope creating a pathway (it hadn’t been put out yet) it was rather like a game of join the dots. Luckily for me Sam Lyle caught up with me on his bike and very kindly showed me the way around the course. This was one of many instances this weekend that one of the more experienced riders went out of their way to help me, offer suggestions, advice and encouragement. I feel very lucky to be a part of such a supportive community! By the time I got on Zone to warm up for my dressage … Read More

Australian International 3 Day Event – Preperation

We leave for the Australian International 3 Day Event in Adelaide on Monday and I could not be more excited! This is my first time competing at the AI3DE, and having heard so much about it I cannot wait to see for myself! I will be competing in the CCI 2** and Young Rider class on my horse ESB Golden Zone. In the lead up, all the recent wet weather has caused so many events in South Easter Victoria to be cancelled, and so it has been difficult to get a run, however what we have done has gone very well! Candlebark HT became a Combined Training Day but I decided to go nonetheless and Zone came away with a 4th place in the 2**. The following weekend I went to Ayr Hill Show Jumping, where Zone was super and won the 1.10m class, making it 4 wins from his last 4 show jumping shows! He won the 1.10m at Geelong SJ Championships, the 1.15m at Sale Show, the 1.25m at the Australian Show Jumping Championships, and now this 1.10m class at Ayr Hill too. He is becoming quite the show jumper! Our final pre-Adelaide event was the Tooradin HT. This is always a special event for me given it is held at Tooradin Estate, the wonderful property where I live and train. The weather was unbelievably bad with the property being wetter than I have ever seen it before, but thankfully our sandy soils meant we were able to run the event regardless. It was the perfect pre-Adelaide run … Read More

Show Jumping Success

With the season well underway I couldn’t be happier with the way my horses are going. After Zone’s win in the 1.10m class at Geelong SJ Championships the next event on the calender was Friends of Werribee Horse Trials. I had three horse competing, all grey and all ESB Irish Sport Horses! Zone in the 2**, ESB Irish Hobbit in his first Pre Novice and ESB Irish Cowgirl (aka Yeeha) in the intro; her first ever event! She took it all in her stride, remaining relaxed and putting in a good, but green performance in each phase to finish midfield. Hobbit’s dressage was rather disastrous, which was somewhat expected considering his anxiety issues. It was like he hit crisis mode and went into meltdown the moment he entered the arena and began zigzagging his way up the centre line! He did make up for it though by jumping a stellar double clear in the jumping phases. I was very impressed by how rideable he was cross country, he ate up the course like it was nothing and despite it being his first pre novice he feels ready to tackle a much bigger course! Zone had a typical Zone spook in the dressage but got through it alright, and then proceeded to jump clear in the show jumping, and clear with a bit of time in the cross country to finish in 5th place in the CNC 2** class – a fantastic start to his eventing season! The following weekend we headed to a local Freshmans SJ Day on Saturday where … Read More

Off Season Update

Despite it being the off season, this past month has been as busy as ever, filled with young horses and coaching! Most of the horses I have in work are Irish Sport Horses sent to me from the ESB (Equine Sports Breeding) stud in Euroa for training and campaigning, and they range from green broken to FEI horses, so it is rewarding and interesting work with some super and talented horses. I have been to a few freshmans show jumping days so they can get out and about and I can get to know them in a relaxed atmosphere before the start of the season and they are all jumping very well which is exciting. My own horse, Zone had a month off after MI3DE before being brought back into work, making it a total of nine horses in work! Luckily I have a fantastic groom (Thanks Ruby!) who makes it possible! After being named as one of the Top 10 Young Eventing Riders of the Year, Zone and I headed off to Werribee for the training and selection day which was a great experience. I enjoyed getting to know riders from other disciplines and benefited from Nina Clarke’s expert instruction. Having only just come back into work Zone was a good boy! Then it was off to my dressage coach Manolo Mendez’s place ‘La Mancha’ in Sunbury for a week with Zone. As always this was such an amazing and helpful opportunity. Not only did it really help Zone and I get started better than where we left off, … Read More

Melbourne International Three Day Event

Competing in a 3DE is quite a drawn out process, with numerous horse inspections, a horse i.d. check, rider briefings and arena familiarisation all before the actual competition gets underway. Having been accepted through first horse inspection and walked past the scary judge boxes time and time again during arena familiarisation it was time for dressage. Zone and I did what I thought was our best test to date. He can be quite a spooky horse, who is horse shy in the warm-up and tricky to ride in the ring, so I was very happy to produce a rideable and energetic test. Unfortunately it still lacked the engagement needed to score really well at 2** level, and so we were placed midfield after dressage scoring 60.63%. After walking the cross country course a total of 4 times, I was ready to tackle the biggest course of my career to date at 12.18pm on Sunday. Having not had a great warm up (horse shy issues again!) we had a bit of a hairy moment at fence 3 with an awkward jump, however we quickly got ourselves together and were soon eating up the rest of the course. I was thrilled with how honest Zone was, locking onto all the skinnies and challenging turning lines which have previously been quite an issue for him. Unfortunately we had a stop at 12a, the rails of a sunken road combination. This was mainly caused by me underestimating the difficulty and technicality of the combination and coming in too fast. In hindsight I think he … Read More