Thursday, December 16, 2010

Teaching Down Under and Analysis of the year that was.

Teaching country Queensland style Down Under.
After a long, successful year of competing and teaching I headed back to Australia for Christmas with my family and a bit of R and R. Of course that means I still teach, who doesn't on their holidays! As you can see it's a little different than the East Coast of America!

This is the time of the year also that I analyse each horses performance from the year and plan the coming one. I'll run thru a few of them, please bear in mind that the goals for myself and these horses are very personal and by sharing them my intention is to give you an insight into the emotional and physical commitment I make to each horse.

McCuan Mario

Mario had an excellent start to the year with a 3rd in the Aiken Mini Prix, one of only two eventers in the class and the only one to jump clear. This was on top of his other numerous placings. In the eventing he has made leaps and bounds, literally! Last year he his dressage and cross country were very fragile but this year he was able to consistently score in the 20's in the dressage and has the cross country figured out. Unfortunately he suffered an injury at Plantation Field in April which had him out for the rest of the year. He's back and in full work and as fit as a fiddle! His 2011 plans will see him starting with showjumping in Aiken in January then eventing with a goal of a 1 star mid year followed by a 2 star toward the end of the year. His show jumping career will also continue.

Collection Pass

Cole has been the surprise star of the year! He's an unassuming little horse that you would trust with your grandkids! He's quickly moved up from training level in March to now competing successfully at the intermediate level. His weaknesses are the dressage and showjumping, both of which we've worked extremely hard on. The show jumping was all about getting him a bit bolder and not so backed off. I did this by taking him to a couple of big jumper shows to where I could use the arena to school this area. Now he's got that figured out and is confidently jumping around 1.25m classes.The challenge with the dressage was to get and keep his head down! As simple as that! This has taken the most time and with the introduction of a double bridle are well on our way. Next year he will start with show jumping then straight into the eventing. He'll do a 2 star at Bromont then a 3 star late in the year.

Lola and Ti

Unfortunately my photo collection here doesn't contain any of either of these horses..... These two young horses are seriously exciting horses for the future. Similar in their build, they have different ways of going. Lola works on trust and her own intuition whereas Ti (I think) sees the whole thing as a video game! He gallops around thinking he's a character in Avatar taking on the evil human race by using his awesome athletic talents to be able to jump anything! He had a late start to the year with me and will start next year show jumping then head for a 1 star at Bromont. Lola sadly had about 6 months off competing with a pesky abscess and an annoying splint. She had several good places in eventing and a win in some show jumping. She will come out at training level and move up from there.

Thanks again for all the positive feedback through out the year. And congratulations to my students on their many and varied successes! MOST OF ALL, THANK YOU TO MY OWNERS AND SUPPORTERS FOR ENABLING TO CONTINUE MY QUEST TO ACHIEVE MY GOALS, MY SUCCESSES ARE AS MUCH YOURS AS MY OWN!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Zealand

The final resting place of Champion of Champions, Sir Tristram, Cambridge Stud, Hamilton, NZ.

After making the long flight (25 hours all up) home to Brisbane, Australia, I took the time to have a quick shower, peek at the new arrival (who's tentatively called Sophie until we finalise her name) then it was straight back to Brisbane International airport for the 3 and a half hour flight to Australia's closest neighbour, and little brother, New Zealand. The trip was not a holiday, way more exciting, a shopping trip to find the next superstar to take on the US horses! And what a group we saw, all beautifully presented, talented and well performed at varying levels. It also served as a reminder of just how tough these Down Under horses are, they have a whole other set of lungs and reinforced tendons! I can tell you it would be very difficult to turn down some of these guys, all potential superstars. In particular a little black fellow by the name of Blackie that will turn up on an Australian, American or British team in the future. Without giving away too much, hopefully we'll have a Kiwi speaking horse on our team soon enough!

Whilst there I also had to great fortune of running into not one, not two but three legends of the horse world. One being Mark Todd, greatest eventer/horseman of all time. I tried out 5 horses on the same arena he was teaching. Having the great Toddy in such proximity was a massive motivation to keep my heels down and not miss into anything! Then I was fortunate enough to be a guest at the world famous Cambridge stud with my host who has a mare at the farm. There I saw the mighty Zabeel, sire of multiple group one winners incl Melbourne Cup). I also visited the grave (the farms centre piece) of the mighty Sir Tristram, sire of many, many group one winners, sires and champion producing fillies. As much as he meant to the racing community he also means to us jumpers. His bloodlines can be found in the many of the most successful jumping horses to come out of Australia and NZ. So obviously this was a huge privilege and honour for me!

I'm now back in Australia as of this morning visiting my family for Christmas and enjoying some warmer weather!!!! Whereever you are, try to keep either warm or cool, depending on the hemisphere!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Now that competition season has finished I am analysing the year past and planning for the next as well as trying to keep warm. Whilst all this is going on approx 15 242 k's away (as the crow flies), 2015 5 Year Old Young Event Horse champions of America are being born! This filly was foaled about 48 hours ago on my mum's farm in Australia. The foal is out of Jerry's (readers would remember he came over from Australia a couple of months ago) mother and carries the world famous Sandro, Pik Bube and Ramiro Z bloodlines on his father's side. She'll spend the next couple of years growing up in Australia before coming over here to be broken in and campaigned.
My mum takes care of the mares and raises the foals making sure they grow up into the performance horses they are bred to be!!
The filly is currently unnamed. We'll take your suggestions and will use the best name as her show name!!! She's Australia born to an Australian mother with all German bloodlines. And as you'll all agree (Australian or American) she's about as pretty as you could get!!

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