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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Quincy B and Jayden Brown. © Roger Fitzhardinge
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To see Jayden Brown at work in the stables or on a horse, there is something about his determination and classical grace that makes you realise that this fit young man is on a mission.

“Jayden admits he showed
no talent for jumping so his
only option was dressage.”

Quietly spoken and not easily distracted from his equestrian pursuits, Jayden Brown, 31, takes every day as it comes — but be assured that at the end of every day he has taken another step towards being the best rider he could possibly be.

Talk to Jayden about the mechanics behind his riding or the principles of training, his mental approach to his horses or the feelings he gets and wants to emulate, and you discover what an inspired, unassuming, diligent and gifted dressage rider he is.

Set his mind into gear and engage in conversation, he is simply passionate, stimulating and articulate. With these assets, and with a great physique and a mind that is grounded and a talent that is natural, easy and in no way complicated, Jayden is one of the most skilful riders around.

Born in Brisbane where his mother worked in banking and his father in construction, he grew up on their small property in Bellbowrie, in the western suburbs of Brisbane. With three older sisters who all rode ponies and attended Pony Club, Jayden went with the flow. Jayden admits he showed no talent for jumping, so his only option was dressage — and he has never looked back!

A good student at school, he was keen to go on to university, but the dressage bug had bitten and he decided to have a go! He purchased the horse Fairbanks Gangster as a five-year-old, and with the help of lifetime friend, mentor and coach Jenny Gehrke, he was successful to Prix St Georges on Fairbanks Gangster, his first real horse.

Driven by an urge to always look ahead and remain single-minded to attain the best education and experience he could, he sold Gangster. The next horse he bought was Widelo, a seven-year-old by Weltmeyer from a Rocadero mare. As the breeding would suggest, Widelo was a powerhouse with a brain, a horse that under no circumstances would lose focus and tact along the training pathway. Jayden loved the horse especially for his mind; where some may have seen belligerence, Jayden saw intelligence and trainability.

Widelo was a horse that needed to be shown carefully, without pressure, to keep him on Jayden’s side and then he was fantastic. He taught Jayden a lot as did Jayden him, and together they won the Young Rider finals here in Australia at PSG and travelled to Frankfurt to compete at the World Young Rider dressage final. They finished first in the small final with an outstanding 70%, and so his international career started with the cool, calm and collected Jayden taking it all as another day at the office. Again, to move on, cover expenses and continue to gain experience, Widelo was sold to America.

Jayden trained with the Canadian Olympian Leonie Bramall when she came to Australia and based himself with her in Europe as a working pupil before the Young Rider finals, and then stayed on to ride and train. Jayden rode up to eight horses a day over the next 12 months and competed on young horses right through to Small Tour. During this time, he purchased the chestnut gelding by Furst Piccolo, Furst Fredreich. It was a horse he liked and was also in his price range and ticked all the boxes. Jayden admits that he wasn’t so keen on Germany and the lifestyle in Europe, so he packed himself and Furst Fredreich up and flew home.

He returned to the family property and started riding and training other people’s dressage horses very successfully. Furst Fredreich made it to Grand Prix for Jayden. He wasn’t the easiest ride but he taught Jayden a lot about getting the basics established well first, then to keep working at the suppleness and the competition movements. This horse was quite successful before, once again for financial reasons, Jayden sold him on.

During this time the Dowsett family had Jayden train the talented but not uncomplicated San Andreas. They won with outstanding scores and performances in Australia and Jayden certainly made heads turn. San Andreas was taken to the World Young Horse Championships where they finished 14th at Verden, an outstanding success. Again, it was just another ride on a very big competition day for Jayden and he talks of it as another learned ride. His calm, decisive and focused riding comes to the fore in the competition arena and he never seems stressed, but simply determined get the best he can with each horse on the day.

Jayden believed that he really needed to be in Europe again to further his dressage endeavours and it was at an Equitana that he met the breeding manager from the English stud, Mount St John. Obviously that conversation and having seen him ride made quite the impression on the manager and Jayden was offered the position as the head rider at the stud. Jayden calmly wound up his work and moved to England where for the next year he would ride 12 horses a day, from four-year-olds through to Grand Prix horses. He never rode Charlotte Dujardin’s mare Mount St John Freestyle, but did ride several of the progeny from that horse’s dam.

Over the next 18 months, he worked incredibly hard showing, riding and training the young horses and the stallions as well as the Big Tour horses, and he also did a lot of competitions. On returning home to get his visa sorted, he realised it was too complicated for him to get a working visa that would allow him to work for himself in the UK, so he decided to not return and again hoed himself back into the Aussie base at his parents’ property.

Jayden again set about riding and training, with Jenny Gehrke giving him one of hers, and then Lauren George gave him Quincy to train. As always, when you drop a cat it always lands on its feet, and so it was with Jayden. It wasn’t long before he had an amazing team of horses and none better than the Lauren George team… namely Quincy B, Davinci and Bertone.

That team was amazing: Davinci scored over 75% at Small Tour repeatedly and was almost impossible to beat, as was Quincy B in the Young Horse classes. An imported gelding by Quarterback, Quincy is probably one of the most successful young horses Australia has seen and has been at the top of the field in the high 80% to mid 90% over the past two years.

Lauren George’s team and the way Jayden rode them was beautiful to watch. Jayden’s position is classical and always balanced. His aids are imperceptible and the horses are always expressive and forward and in a great frame. His riding is wonderful, and with all his experience in the competition arena, his tests are seamless. His quiet demeanour and tact, and his ring craft and preparations for every movement, make the judges take note. His modest, unassuming character completes the picture.

As they say, when one door closes, another one opens, and now another opportunity has opened up for Jayden. Brett Parbery, who had been working tirelessly for Terry Snow at Willinga Park, chose not to renew his contract this year and Jayden applied. Hey presto! Jayden stepped straight in with consummate ease to take up the reins where Brett had left off.

After only having ridden the horses there for a few weeks, it was into back-to-back CDI competitions where he rode Quincy (that had been bought by Willinga from Lauren George way before Jayden had thought to apply), who won every test he competed in — and scored a 93% in one with a 9.4 for trot and 9.6 for canter. In Medium Tour, Sky Diamond won Champion Medium Tour again with scores over 70%, and he had only had one previous test at this level. WillingaPark Emotion, a bay mare, won one Young Horse qualifier and was second to Quincy in the others. The nervous and outstandingly talented Fusion won all but one of his Advanced starts, with WillingaPark Fangio, a five-year-old, also winning.

What an amazing job Jayden is already doing with endless energy as he does his work and rides to his best every day. It is common to see him helping muck out a stable, sweep the alleyways and groom and plait before he competes. The number of tests he rode at Dressage by the Sea was staggering and he never showed any sign of fatigue or lack of interest. I am sure he is an asset to Willinga Park and he for sure appreciates that the property is one of the best places to be in the world.

“It was just another ride
on a very big competition
day for Jayden.”

Jayden is a special, well-rounded horseman and gentleman. He has a wry sense of humour and respect for everyone he meets and has dealings with. There is no question in his mind that there have been a lot of people who have offered him opportunities that he has made the most of and, for sure, he is ever grateful to all; I know Jenny Gehrke has been by his side and his rock in the dressage world.

Watch this space. Watch for the Willinga Park updates. Watch the results. Watch out for the modest, talented and gracious Jayden Brown. EQ

A LESSON FROM JENNY GEHRKE

Jenny Gehrke, one of Australia’s top riders and coaches, still has a good chuckle when recalling the first lessons she gave Jayden. She first met Jayden when he was 13 at a show where Jenny had excelled. Jayden’s Pony Club instructor introduced him to Jenny and she shook his hand. Jayden was so sweet and excited, she recalls, and his instructor later told Jenny that Jayden was so motivated to meet someone so famous. Jenny still dines out on that story.

It was not long before lessons were arranged with Jenny. Trying to organise his long, lanky body, and arms that were always pulling so backward to halt, she would not let him out of walk until he grasped the concept of halting from the seat. She was amazed that he came back — being a boy — and kept up the walking for the first three lessons!

When asked what sets Jayden apart in his rise to fame as a rider, Jenny says: “First and foremost is that he has a great natural position and he has a great feel and empathy for his horses. He has an unending thirst to gain knowledge and become the best rider he can. His work ethic on and off the horse is outstanding.

“There are a few other riders with the same talent, but where Jayden excels is in his mental approach… his amazing temperament for the sport, in that he is calm yet sharp, relaxed but switched on, quiet yet assertive. He is never anxious and he always puts his horses first and never hassles them, but chews through problems with methodology and tact. He is so competent, and with that comes great confidence. He is always modest and not a show pony in any way. I have to say that from the first lesson I gave him there was something about him that was strangely superstar talent.

“Jayden and I have remained close friends for nearly 20 years and he is the most genuine person you could ever want around. He is respectful and humble but so, so talented. It is so fabulous to have seen his progress. He has worked in some very, very tough environments and he is no quitter; he is a serious worker.

“We don’t have formal coaching sessions now but we are always having great in-depth conversations chewing over the problems and stumbling blocks we encounter. We have the greatest respect and trust for each other. He is a dear friend and to see him ride is quite something. He has worked hard; he has made his own career through guts and determination. He simply is the real deal and a fabulous person to boot.”

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