Issue 55
JUNE 2020
CELEBRATING BROCKS
THE WONDER MARE
JAYDEN BROWN
ON A MISSION
AUSSIE SCOOP
AT ROYAL WINDSOR

PLUS: HEATH RYAN’S EVENTER HIT LIST, EMMA BOOTH ON TOKYO 2021, TRAVEL TO TUSCANY, KERRY MACK’S EQUINE LIBRARY, DEVELOPING THE DRESSAGE HORSE WITH TONY UYTENDAAL, HOW HORSES SEE & MORE

AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
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Issue 55

CONTENTS

JUNE 2020
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A few Words

FROM THE
CHAIRMAN

ROBERT MCKAY

Ryan's Rave

WHAT I LOOK FOR IN AN EVENTING HORSE

BY HEATH RYAN

Dressage

JAYDEN BROWN
ON A MISSION

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Para Equestrian

WHEN THE GOAL
POSTS CHANGE

BY EMMA BOOTH

Special feature

FROM SYDNEY
TO THE WORLD

BY DAWN GIBSON

EQ Journeys

DOING IT TOUGH
IN TUSCANY

BY JANET NORMAN

Eventing

BROCKS THE
WONDER MARE

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Showing

FROM RACECOURSE TO ROYAL WINDSOR

BY ADELE SEVERS

Special feature

A SOCIAL LICENCE FOR EQUESTRIAN SPORTS

BY EQ LIFE

Health

THROUGH A
HORSE’S EYES

BY KATE HERREN

Training

THE LITERATE
HORSE RIDER

BY DR KERRY MACK

Training

DEVELOPING
THE CORRECT DRESSAGE HORSE

BY TONY UYTENDAAL

Health

THE PRINCIPLES OF REHABILITATION

BY DR MAXINE BRAIN

Health

5 WINTER PROBLEMS

BY EQ LIFE

My Favourite Dish

CHICKEN WITH
TARRAGON & MUSHROOMS

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE
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PRE stallion, Engreido, ridden by the owner/founder/family member Cristina Libardi. © Lisa Dijk
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During dressage training in the Tuscan countryside pre-pandemic, Jan Norman discovers the joys of Italian hospitality — and an arena perched on the edge of a panorama. 

“The outrides are
simply spectacular.”

“Bravo! Bellissimo, Jan!” Delivered with so much sincerity and unbridled enthusiasm, I could feel my heart smile. Certainly enough motivation to move one to new heights or greater laterals as it turned out. While my dressage teachers were lavish in their warm approval of my moves, they were equally generous in their constructive corrections. I was to discover that Italian exuberance extended as much to the coaching as it did to hospitality and volumes of delectable food.

For one mountain-biker and one equestrienne, a duo of foodies with a love of all things Italian, this was the dream vacation.

A weeklong break at Il Paretaio can be made up of a combination of dressage, showjumping or basic riding lessons and outrides across vineyards, orchards and wide scenic expanses. While the outrides are simply spectacular, it is the passionate and intensive lessons that are the speciality. From beginner to experienced, there is a horse for all. Classes are kept to a maximum of two or three riders, but even in the high season I was lucky enough to find myself one-on-one a couple of times. The riders were beautifully paired to their mounts, taking into account more than just riding ability but also sensitivity and confidence.

Typically, riding holidays involve a week-long horse-human match, which often develops into a happy love affair that grows until that tearful kiss-on-the-muzzle goodbye. At Il Paretaio, firm fidelity was not the state of affairs and this proved to be an incredibly positive experience. While it is often easier to find a favourite and stick with him or her for the rest of the time, this kick out of the comfort zone is decidedly better for honing your riding skills. It also meant that I met two new (to me) breeds.

Typically, riding holidays involve a week-long horse-human match, which often develops into a happy love affair that grows until that tearful kiss-on-the-muzzle goodbye. At Il Paretaio, firm fidelity was not the state of affairs and this proved to be an incredibly positive experience. While it is often easier to find a favourite and stick with him or her for the rest of the time, this kick out of the comfort zone is decidedly better for honing your riding skills. It also meant that I met two new (to me) breeds.

Vagabond was the polar opposite of his name. The kindest and most willing dark-eyed soul who aimed to please in everything he did, this stocky and pony-sized equine is a “Cheval de Mérens”, a relatively uncommon and very ancient native breed of France. Known for their sure-footedness, docility, natural inquisitiveness and bravery, it seems that they are also versatile. Vagabond could turn a hoof at a few more disciplines than his looks would suggest. He was known to pop neatly over jumps and cross more than his furry fetlocks. His leg yield was the real thing and we glided smoothly across that arena in the Tuscan sky.

Nina the Holsteiner oozed class and style. Tall, elegant and full of scope, she was responsive and forward-going. Nina’s canter ate up the ground and I quickly understood the popularity of this breed. Squib, the Anglo-Arab, was more familiar territory for me. Full of impulsion and easy to ride, he had a huge fan club among the riders for good reason. Little squeaks of joy came from the teenagers when the daily roster appeared and they found they’d been matched with the fun-loving Squib. Well cared-for and carefully trained, the horses of Il Paretaio are warm-hearted and big on personality. If you could take just one home, the choice would be almost impossible.

Holidaying at Il Paretaio is an equestrian’s dream come to life layered with all the best that Tuscany has to offer. The accommodation makes you feel as if you have wandered into a postcard or an Italian art movie. Humans are stabled in the dreamy villa that oozes character and no doubt a colourful history. The meals are authentic Tuscan cuisine with an intense focus on seasonal quality ingredients and there is a real live granny in the kitchen. You can even sign up for cooking classes with “Granny Elide” if you find the time between all the horse-riding, pool-time, eating, exploring, wine-tasting and downtime.

Dinners at Il Paretaio will remain an all-time highlight. Everyone seated at the huge 20-something-seater table in the villa’s atmospheric dining room was on a horse high. An abundance of Chianti wine fuelled the animated conversation about the day’s equestrian highlights and the next day’s possibilities. The commonality of cavaliers transcended borders, age groups and languages with vigorous swapping of photographs and email addresses. Hungry horsemen and women demolished plate after platter of pizza slices, bruschetta, pasta pomodoro, veal, gratinated tomatoes, and parmesan zucchini followed by tiramisu and baked peaches. As Granny Elide waved goodnight, the table burst into tumultuous applause. Much later, luxurious rooms and giant beds hailed us to restorative slumbers after the day’s physical, culinary and vinicultural adventure. EQ

“Hungry horsemen
and women demolished
plate after platter.”

TOP TIPS

Il Paretaio is perfect for non-riding partners too. The chilled can max out on pool time while the energetic can walk, drive to nearby villages or hire mountain bikes. This is essentially a year-round destination as Tuscan winters are famously mild. The instructors are fluent in many languages. Beginners and even first-timers are welcome. Make a booking or enquiry through their website

www.ilparetaio.it/en

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