It was a great beginning to 2015.
We took eight horses to BONEO CDI – four competed and four were on training. I rode DP Weltmieser, Good as Gold, Zeppelin and Glenn Fryer’s Longvue Florencio, and three from Mulawa – Furstin Friendship, Lorenzo and Aber Halo; and Kate Farrell rode Luxor 118.
A very productive time – Weltmieser won the Grand Prix Special; Good as Gold won the Intermediate A and Zeppelin was Small Tour champion. Kate, on Luxor 118 were 6th in the Grand Prix and 3rd in the Grand Prix Freestyle.
Boneo is a very well run show. I was able to train the Mulawa horses which we took down for the exposure. Fiona McNaught is very open about letting us train our other horses during the show. You’re there for a whole week so to be able to take the horses you have on training is a great bonus.
After Victoria we went to DRESSAGE WITH ALTITUDE in Orange, NSW. Zeppelin and Aber Halo placed first and second in the Intermediate A.’
Again, it was a very well run event. Then back down south to DRESSAGE WITH THE STARS in Melbourne. We just took Weltmieser who placed 4th in the Grand Prix and 2nd in the Grand Prix Freestyle; Kate and Luxor 118 placed 5th in the Grand Prix and 7th in the Grand Prix Freestyle. We didn’t want to do any Young Horse classes this year - we’ll possibly do those next year. And then the SYDNEY CDI where Weltmieser won both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special and Zeppelin won both the Intermediate A and Intermediate B. Good as Gold was 2nd in the Grand Prix National CDN class, and Longvue Florencio was 6th in both the Intermediate 1 and the Intermediate Freestyle. It was this horse’s first big show. Never before had he performed at such a big atmospheric event and he handled the indoor very well. Owner Glenn Fryer was very happy! It’s been a really busy half year at PPH. Thank you to all of our owners and supporters, you have been fantastic. You get behind us, trust my judgment and are realistic when it comes to your horses’ abilities and potential. You understand how I like to progress the horses through the levels and how I’m not keen about overly pushing them – I want to build them as I go. We are extremely fortunate to have owners who are knowledgeable horse people, who respect our place, the way the horses are managed and cared for and appreciate that I want to do a good, steady job. I cannot thank you enough for trusting us and letting us do our job. During the Sydney CDI I was approached by Chris Hector, editor of The Horse Magazine, and in coming issues I’ll be the subject of an extensive three-part feature. Weltmieser and I made the front page of the magazine’s June edition, I’m Rider of the Month for July and the feature will begin in August.
One major aspect I discuss is that to go forward, Equestrian sport in Australia needs an overhaul.
We are all aware of that but how do we do it? What should be the strategic direction for the sport?
To date, certainly in the past 4 years, micro-management issues have got in the way of more important proposals and initiatives. Of course these have to be addressed but they shouldn’t be hampering discussion at a national level regarding the formulation of enterprising strategies to propel the sport to a higher level.
I believe we should begin with a simple mission statement – equestrian needs to be embraced as "one sport".....one team - one sport. One industry working together in the same direction.....but how??
All this I’ll be talking about at length in The Horse Magazine.
At Penrose the goal has been to create a facility that gives us the best chance to train our horses in a safe, horse friendly environment with a primary focus on horse health. We have just had some wonderful mirrors put in place by Russell Jarrett. They are fantastic and will help in taking us to a new level in our training.
After the Sydney CDI I went to Bali to participate in EAT PRAY RIDE!
This was conceived by Nicole Long who used to run clinics for me years ago on the Central Coast. She contacted me 12 months ago and told me she was developing a retreat – “Eat Pray Live” based on the popular book/film “Eat Pray Love”. People could visit her in Bali, go sightseeing, have massages and visit medicine men.
Nicole had met a girl called Melissa Lynton-Lobato, a Western Australian ex pat and entrepreneur. She heads the Body and Soul clothing empire throughout Asia. Melissa owns the Bali Equestrian Centre and has imported some Spanish horses and she agreed to Nicole leasing some and bringing in an instructor - so she called on me.
Four of the girls who attended ‘Eat Pray Ride’ were from Centennial Park stables where they train with my good friends Michelle Baker and David Shoobridge , and one rider from Kilcoy in Queensland.
The programme for Bali was riding in the morning then massages and shopping in the afternoon.
They all enjoyed the lessons and appreciated the opportunity of having me on tap where they could ask about competing in Europe, being on teams, etc.
In the afternoons I had a chance to work with some of the instructors at the Bali Equestrian centre which was great. The horses are very good quality, very well cared for and are going well. The "Eat Pray Ride" concept is a very good one and hopefully we will be doing some more trips to Bali in 2016.
Our ‘Book Club’ is still going well in the Southern Highlands. Some people in the region initially got together socially last September. It was suggested ‘let’s work as a group and together we can solve various issues such as staffing and feed buying’ etc. None of us is a threat to the other as we all have plenty of work. After a few dinners it was proposed that we train together. There was a bit of resistance at first but it’s now going well. We work effectively and respect each other – there’ve been some great outcomes from having trained in this way.
On the competition front, right now things are quiet until the State Championships in early September, then Boneo at the end of September. We have the National Dressage Championships at the end of October and then the Pacific League World Cup Finals qualifier at the Dressage Festival in early December.
On the clinic front things continue to be busy. I absolutely love coaching and enjoy every single clinic I do. The second half of 2015 is full of clinics all over the eastern states.
Mel is working hard around our stable and running our family. Jake keeps her busy and when she gets a chance she works her horse Ettienne. Jake, who’s just turned 5, is at pre-school and playgroup and will be going to school next year. He is obsessed with Transformers at the moment so we spend a lot of time playing Transformers.
Mel and I would like to acknowledge all our friends, staff and support crew - we cannot do this without you at home and at the competitions – Zanna Northam, Ashley and Jill McDonald and Alicia Ryan at home and Annette Lowe, Danni Curry and Kristian Akehurst at Mulawa.
And to all our generous sponsors, Pryde's EasiFeed, Schockemoehle Sports, Kieffer, Rodd & Gunn, Technyflex, Casco Helmets, Equilibrium, Aitkens Saddlery and TuffRock. Without you we could not do our job. We believe in your products and thank you for choosing us to help promote them.
All the best for now,
Brett, Mel and Jake