ISSUE 57
AUGUST 2020
ANOTHER MILESTONE
FOR SIMONE PEARCE
CAROLYN LIEUTENANT
COURAGEOUS KIWI
HEATH RYAN &
THE FUTURE OF EA

PLUS: A showjumping mule, Lisa Martin’s recovery, 10 tips for riding the Novice test, horses on the silver screen, Will Enzinger and the next generation, Dr Kerry Mack, Brett Parbery and more!

AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
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ISSUE 57

CONTENTS

AUGUST 2020
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A few Words

FROM THE
CHAIRMAN

Opinion

EA ADMINISTRATION & HOPEFULLY A FUTURE

RYAN'S RAVE BY HEATH RYAN

Dressage

ANOTHER MILESTONE FOR SIMONE PEARCE

BY ADELE SEVERS

Dressage

LISA MARTIN’S LONG & WINDING ROAD

BY ADELE SEVERS

Special feature

COURAGEOUS KIWI BLAZES HER OWN TRAIL

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

EQ Families

MUTANT EQUINE NEUROSIS GENE OR LUCK OF THE DRAW?

BY MIM COLEMAN

Dressage

10 TIPS FOR RIDING THE NOVICE TEST

BY EQ LIFE / ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Special feature

HORSING AROUND ON THE BIG SCREEN

BY SUZY JARRATT

Special feature

BEACON OF HOPE FOR BRIGHTLIGHT BOY

BY EQ LIFE

Eventing

WILL ENZINGER FORGES THE NEXT GEN

BY EQ LIFE

Showjumping

WHO SAYS MULES
CAN’T JUMP?

BY EQ LIFE

Training

SUBMISSION OR STRESS? SOMETHING TO CHEW ON

BY DR KERRY MACK

Training

OPTIMISING YOUR LEARNING AS A RIDER

BY BRETT PARBERY

Health

WINTER’S SCOURGE, THE FOOT ABSCESS

BY DR MAXINE BRAIN

My Favourite Dish

BAKED GARLIC PARMESAN CHICKEN

WITH WILL ENZINGER
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Simone Pearce and Destano competing at Achleiten CDI4*. © CDI Achleiten / Michael Rzepa
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Dressage rider Simone Pearce made everyone sit up and take notice when she and Destano achieved Australian record scores at Achleiten CDI4* in Austria. For the 29-year-old Aussie, it was yet another milestone on the path to even bigger goals.

“I’ve been working really,
really hard to make my
way up the ranks.”

At Achleiten CDI4*, Simone Pearce and Hanoverian stallion Destano set Australian CDI records in the Grand Prix and Special, launching them into serious contention for the Tokyo Olympics next year. To some it may seem that Simone has made a sudden leap to the elite level, but the truth is her recent achievements on the world stage are anything but an overnight success story.

Simone has been based in Europe for the better part of a decade, training with and working alongside some of the world’s best — and success has come in various forms during that time. “Nothing really feels surreal to me because it has not been something that has happened overnight. I feel like I’ve been working my way up for such a long time; I’ve been living in Europe for over 10 years now, and I’ve been working really, really hard to make my way up the ranks. It’s been a very slow and continuous process,” explains Simone.

Based in Germany at Gestüt Sprehe since late 2018, Simone previously spent close to four years at Helgstrand Dressage in the far north of Denmark. She had success with their horses at a number of FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses, in addition to Grand Prix success with horses Wladimir OA and Scolari.

“I’ve been working for a really long time and I feel like I’ve been achieving goals along the way. Last year I was winning my first international CDI4* (with Scolari 4 at Achleiten CDI4*), and the year before that I was placing in my first international CDI4*, and before that I won at the FEI World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses (Simone won the Preliminary Test for six-year-olds with Feodoro in 2017 with 9.02, and has enjoyed high placings each year at this event since). So there have been lots of little milestones along the way that have led to this point.”

Moving to Gestüt Sprehe, a performance horse stud owned by the father and uncle of German Olympian Kristina Bröring-Sprehe, Simone started with a new stable of horses. Having had extensive experience working with stallions and young horses previously, Simone now rides a number of Sprehe’s breeding stallions, as well as their youngsters — 15 in total! One of those stallions is Destano, a 13-year-old by the late Desperados, Kristina’s Olympic gold medal-winning stallion who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year.

Bred and owned by Gestüt Sprehe, Destano made his international Grand Prix debut in June 2019 under Swede Michelle Hagman-Hassink. Hagman and Destano had competed at CDIs with upper 60 and lower 70 percentage scores. At the end of 2019, it was decided that Destano would move back to the stud — with Simone gaining the ride. In January this year, the horse’s ownership was changed so that Simone is listed as a part-owner, meaning Destano is eligible to represent Australia at a World Championship or Olympic Games.

When Equestrian Life spoke to Simone in January, she had been riding Destano for two or three weeks and explained that the Olympics were a “distant dream”, with her main focus being to build a positive partnership with the horse. “No matter how the season unravels I’m so grateful for the chance to work with such an amazing horse!” she said at the time. Well, six months down the track the Tokyo Olympic Games have been pushed back a year and Simone has two Australian record scores to her name…

“He’s really developed over
the last six months and now I’ve really
found my way with him.”

“Yes, for sure it is funny to re-read that quote,” says Simone. “When we spoke last time I had only been riding him for two or three weeks and at that time he really wasn’t in my style of riding, the training was not in my style of riding. I wasn’t sure how it was working, and how we were fitting… at that point, I have to be honest, I didn’t have the best feeling with him! But it’s amazing, he’s really developed over the last six months and now I’ve really found my way with him; I have a really good feeling with him. I think the training is really reflecting my style now and I think that shows in the competition arena. I’m super, super thrilled to have had such great shows post-Covid and hopefully we will keep working on everything and improving towards Tokyo… for sure Tokyo is what we’re now aiming for! I’m really lucky to have the full support of the owners and Destano is in really good shape, so fingers crossed we will give it our best try.”

The pair have certainly gelled quite quickly. Simone and Destano’s first international competition was in March this year at Dortmund CDI4* in Germany, where they scored 68.288% in the Grand Prix. A break due to Covid-19 followed, and then it was on to a CDN in Germany in June where they scored 75.167% — it wasn’t an international competition (CDI), but certainly a sign of things to come! Mariakalnok CDI3* in Hungary followed, where they scored 71.239% in the Grand Prix and 73.106% in the Special.

At Achleiten CDI4* in Austria, they improved yet again and set Australian records in both classes in the process. They scored 74.152% in the Grand Prix and 74.617% in the Special, just eclipsing Kristy Oatley and Du Soleil’s previous record scores of 73.913% and 74.605%. Kristy also held the record for the Grand Prix Freestyle, until Mary Hanna and Calanta set a new top score on Australian soil earlier this year.

With only four shows (three CDIs) to their name, the future is certainly exciting for Simone and Destano.

“Over the past six months I’ve really been working a lot on the basic gaits, the connection, and to get him more over the back, round, supple and quick. I like to have my horses very soft and easy; that they give a very elegant picture. It’s definitely taken a while for him to find his way in my style but now he’s feeling really comfortable and I’m super, super happy with his development.”

“The extended walk
is really exceptional.”

Simone has ridden a lot of horses over the past decade in Europe, and for her what stands out about Destano is his consistency across all paces. “I think what Destano has, which a lot of the top sport horses don’t have, is very consistent, good paces. He has a very good canter, a very good trot, and a very, very good walk… which is also quite rare for Grand Prix horses, he’s walking for a nine. The extended walk is really exceptional. And he also has a really nice piaffe. I think what you see across the scores, is he’s getting consistently over 7.5, and towards 8, and I think that’s the sort of horse that in the end is getting up there in the points. He has really consistent tests all the way around.”

The pair have come a long way in six months, however, as Simone explains there is always something to work on. “In the next six months I’m just really hoping to continue to develop his thoroughness and his expression in the test. I felt like in Austria we came a really long way already since the three weeks previous in Hungary. He’s really starting to be much more with me and much more round, and I really want to continue to develop that over the next six months. I want to get everything as expressive, but as accurate, as it possibly can be. That’s the aim with every horse, and that’s what we’re trying to fine-tune at the moment.”

While the spotlight is on Destano, Simone has 14 other talented horses in work at Sprehe. “Besides Destano I have a lot of horses that are coming through the ranks now. I’ve been at Sprehe for one and a half years, and the horses I ride are really developing in my way of riding. It’s been so nice, because before I’ve always worked with sale horses; so you’re all the time changing horses, and the horses have to quickly come into your style. Everything is on a timeline.

“I’ve absolutely loved having the chance to breathe; to train the horses, look to the future and make plans and goals with every horse. I feel like the horses are really excelling with this mentality. I’m really proud of all the horses on my list and I think they’ve come into a really good shape. They are now allowing me to really show them to the best of my ability and I’m really excited.”

At Medium Tour is Amandori, a nine-year-old bay German Sport Horse stallion by Ampere. “He made his international debut in the Medium Tour at Achleiten CDI4*. He did a really, really good job and I was super happy with him. He would have scored about 73.7% in the Inter II, but unfortunately I mucked up the walk program and lost 2.5%… ouch! But I was happy with the feeling he gave. Two weeks ago he made his Grand Prix debut at a national show in Germany where he scored 73.8%. So I think he’s a really exciting one to look to the future with. Hopefully in the next month he’ll be going out in the international Grand Prix as well!”

Another horse that Simone is excited about is one of Sprehe’s beautiful black breeding stallions, Bernay (by Boston). The eight-year-old made his Big Tour debut a few weeks ago at national level and was winning with over 70%. “He’s also definitely an exciting horse for the future. He is very, very breathtaking, and big, black and beautiful! I’m really excited as I think within the next year he will also make his international Grand Prix debut.”

Simone has also enjoyed success in the Small Tour classes with a horse owned by Sabine Rüben, who manages sales and training at Sprehe. “Montevideo is fantastic… he is my absolute love! I also ride Millennium, his father, and I have two of his brothers; I really like this family. Montevideo has exceptional quality. He is also quite close to an Inter II debut, and probably next year he’ll be ready for the Grand Prix as well. But yeah, this horse has exceptional quality.”

“I have 15 horses on my
list right now and I really love
every single one of them.”

Simone and ‘Monty’ have had some great success at recent events, including personal best scores at Achleiten. The pair won the Prix St Georges with a score of 74.676%, beating German superstar Isabell Werth, and followed it up with a win in the Intermediate I on 75.736%.

Simone has also enjoyed success with a number of young horses, in particular Diamond First (by Diamond Hit) and Dancier Gold (by Dancier). “They are my two five-year-olds who have been doing really well in the competitions this year. Diamond First won in Austria with 8.94, which was absolutely amazing. And the other week Dancier Gold won the qualification for the Bundeschampionate, with 8.93. So these are two very exciting young horses that we are absolutely aiming for the World Young Horse Championships (this year’s championships have been deferred until December due to the coronavirus and will be held in Verden, German).

“To be honest, I’m really blessed. I have 15 horses on my list right now and I really love every single one of them, so I’m really excited to see where the future will lead and what horses will emerge from the list.”

When it comes to coaching, Simone has learnt from many over the past decade — and at the moment she is training with Oliver Oelrich. “It’s going really, really well. I think what works well with Oliver and myself and the team of horses is that Ollie and I are very like-minded in the way we’re training. We both like quite a classical way of riding, but with a modern, little bit more of an expressive twist.

“I think what really works is when you find a trainer that is on the same page as you, and Ollie is really fantastic. I’m a perfectionist and very hard on myself, and I really like everything to be good, and he’s very relaxed and takes it very easy… so at competitions we have a really good ‘yin and yang’ balance, which keeps everything really nice for the team.”

We look forward to following Simone’s journey as she aims for new heights with her exciting team of horses. “There have been lots of little milestones along the way that have led to this point now,” she says. “I hope that this point is another milestone on the way to an even bigger goal.” EQ

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