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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Lisa Martin and First Famous competing at Willinga Park. © Roger Fitzhardinge
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Australian dressage mainstay Lisa Martin is no stranger to overcoming adversity. When she was 28, a riding accident led to 20 operations over two years, with a fused ankle the result. It didn’t stop her love of horses or her will to succeed — and neither has her recent setback.

Based just out of Maitland in the Lower Hunter Valley of NSW, Lisa Martin grew up with horses and has built her life around the animals she loves. Her ankle injury in 2000 was never going to hold her back; Lisa not only got back in the saddle, but returned to Grand Prix level dressage with great success.

With less than 15 per cent movement in her ankle joint, she was invited to compete at Grade V para dressage in 2007 — however, it was not until she was approached by Equestrian Australia six months out from the Rio Olympics that she took up the opportunity. She went on to represent Australia with her mare First Famous, finishing fourth individually in the Team Test, Individual Test, and Freestyle final. In 2018, the pair also achieved over 70% in the Grand Prix arena back home in Australia.

Last year, First Famous had seven months off due to a niggling injury. Lisa spent time riding her young horse, Juicy Wiggle — a four-year-old by Jive Magic, who is half-sister to another horse of hers, In Time, and also closely related to a mare she rode in the early days, Just Elegant. Bringing First Famous back into work later in 2019, she was going well in early December after four months back under saddle.

“I was just getting First Famous ready for her first competition,” recalls Lisa. “I’m usually riding here on the property on my own, 99% of the time; I have a phone on me, but my husband still works an hour away in Scone and my daughter Jess is at boarding school.

“I was just on the long side of the arena, and I’ve stopped and I just wanted to practise a rein-back a couple of times with her because sometimes she can get a little bit sticky in that movement. As I’ve gone backwards, she’s bitten down on her tongue and frightened herself, causing her to go back really quickly. There’s a gully where the water drains away down the side and then there’s quite a steep bank on the other side of that… so she’s put a back leg over the arena kick board, tumbled sideways and collapsed back over herself. We landed between the drain and the bank, with her on top of me. Because she’s so big she couldn’t get up straight away; she was stuck on top of me scrambling.”

As fate would have it, a family was moving into the little cottage on Lisa’s property that day. “I had opened my cottage to a horsey family who’d lost their house in a fire. They were actually moving in, and they heard me screaming. They’ve come down to the arena at 100 miles an hour and called an ambulance. First Famous had taken off by this stage and the gardener, who had never touched a horse in his life, caught her and tied her up with the double bridle to a tree. He still raves about it!”

Lisa was rushed to John Hunter Hospital with severe internal injuries, and spent three weeks in the trauma ward. “Both sides of my pelvis were smashed. My sacrum and sacroiliac joint were smashed. I’d taken all the points of my spine off down one side and crushed that. I couldn’t feel my legs for quite a while… that was probably the scariest part, not knowing if I would ever walk again.”

Lisa underwent major surgery and had “a heap of steel” inserted, however, the surgeons couldn’t do the work they wanted to initially, because the nerve running through her spine into the sacrum area meant it was too dangerous. “They didn’t tell me that at the time, because they only tell you so much.”

The weeks that followed were a bit of a blur. Lisa remembers having many visitors in the trauma ward — something she greatly appreciated. “I can’t tell you how much people visiting helped me — during those early days and then later throughout the recovery process.”

Lisa was transferred to Maitland Private two weeks before Christmas for rehabilitation. She remained there for three months, learning how to walk again. A lot of her early recovery was spent in the hydrotherapy pool, where she was able to learn to walk without the weight down through her back and hips.

Lisa spent Christmas in rehab, as well as Jess’ eighteenth birthday. “My room became my life. It was decorated for Christmas. I was in lockdown three months before everyone else was! I had really, really tough days in there because 90% of the other rehab patients were elderly. It felt like I was in a retirement village; it was actually quite difficult to deal with. I’m only in my 40s and here I was feeling very old.

“Coming home was the most exciting experience. To come home and have your animals around you again… I remember the first time I could touch my horses, it was really emotional.

“I thought to myself, ‘I’m not going to let this beat me. There are people out there in worse situations than me, and I refuse to let this beat me’. I started my own rehab at home and it was going well… and then I went backwards. I thought it was just normal pain I was going through, but it turned out when I went back to the surgeon, that where he put the steel through to hold my pelvis and sacrum together — because I’m not in alignment, one hip is now a lot higher than the other hip — there was too much movement and the bone wasn’t healing.”

“I remember the first time
I could touch my horses,
it was really emotional.”

By this point, Covid-19 had made its way to Australian shores, meaning non-essential surgeries were out the door. The surgeons quickly realised that her case was an emergency, and Lisa spent eight hours on the operating table, including two blood transfusions, and then seven hours in recovery.

“The surgeon put some massive big steel plates across my sacrum, spine and pelvis to hold everything stronger together. It was a bigger operation than the first one and set me back a long time.” The steel will now remain in place permanently.

Lisa explains that compared to her ankle injury, the recovery this time around has been harder. “I’m older; I don’t bounce like I used to. And mentally it has been a bit tougher this time. I’ve definitely had to dig a lot deeper with this recovery.”

Lisa credits the positivity of those around her as helping drive her recovery, especially her husband, Jason, and daughter Jess. “That was a big thing…. I had positive people all the way through my recovery and still do. When I was in hospital and rehab, Jason would come in every day. Every single day. He gave up time at work, and he would come in and sit with me and would get whatever I needed. Jess used to bring my dog Humphrey to visit in rehab; I would actually break down in tears when he left me. I was just so attached to him.

“Recovering at home, Jason became my nurse as well as my best friend and shoulder to cry on. Jess looked after the horses and kept everything together. Everyone had a job…. it was a massive, massive thing to do.”

Lisa was thankful to have many friends visit during her recovery process, particularly Mandy and Rod Bloomfield, who were an incredible support the whole way through. “They came and watched me do my hydrotherapy and pushed me through; they spoke with staff and helped with organising. They kept me strong.”

Hearing the question, ‘Do you think you’ll ever ride again?’ during various parts of her recovery was tough. “I didn’t want to put it out there that I wanted everything fluffy and everyone happy. But I didn’t want anyone to come into the room and be negative. It’s tough enough. My mind-set was always ‘I am going to ride, I am going to walk, I am going to be right. That was where I said, ‘I will never lose focus.’”

Lisa is now walking again, and recently returned to coaching — something she hadn’t done for a while due to lack of time and family commitments. “I have found that getting back to teaching, mentally, has been a good thing to do because it’s something I really enjoy.

“I love being social, and especially with Covid-19 you don’t get to go out to a weekend competition like you normally would and see everyone. Even if you’re injured, you’d go out, say hello to everyone…. Or you might say to a local club, ‘if you need a bit of a hand yell out!’ Covid has taken that social aspect away, but coaching has given some of it back.

“At the moment, I can just get around walking but I’m still not allowed to ride — it’s been eight months since I’ve been on a horse! I’ve got another couple of weeks to go. I ask my surgeon every time, ‘when can I ride?’ and he laughs at me. But they all laugh at us equestrian people… they all think we’re all nuts. We probably are!” she laughs.

Looking to the remainder of the year, Lisa’s goals are to keep getting stronger — and of course make a return to the saddle. “I plan to ride in a couple of weeks. Rod and Mandy, and another friend Tina Bridge, they’ve organised a 20-year-old retired stock horse mare for me to get on first. They’re all worried about me getting on First Famous because she’s so big — she’s 18 hands. I said, ‘I’ll be right’ but they want me on something really old and really quiet, so if something happens they can grab me!

“By the end of the year or by January, hopefully competitions will be back in full swing and I can look at competing… bit it’s literally one step at a time!”

As for her plans with First Famous, Lisa was hopeful pre-accident that she might be able to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics — and with it being rescheduled, that’s now still on her mind. “She (First Famous) sits on the fence… she can do the Grand Prix without any problems now, or she could go to the para classes.”

After coming so close to a medal in Rio, Lisa feels she has unfinished business. “I left Rio with the thought that I wanted to finish the mare’s para dressage career on a better note and do Tokyo with her, so that was the aim. I felt we could have performed a lot better at Rio; she was very capable of medalling and to be so, so close. It’s that unfinished business that I want to do that once more, and then do probably a CDI-W Grand Prix with her.”

The past eight months have been a tremendous challenge for Lisa, but with her drive to succeed and the positivity of those close to her, goals that may have seemed wild to some are now firmly back within grasp. “I do believe to be a stronger competitor, and to be successful at any level, you actually have to be tough and stubborn and never, ever lose focus.”

4CYTE’S FORESIGHT

Lisa is thankful to all who have supported her during the recovery process, including her sponsors at Interpath. “Scone vets put me in touch with Interpath seven years ago. I don’t have a lot of sponsors and the ones I have I truly believe in, because there’s no use having a sponsor if you don’t believe in them, right? I’ve travelled around the world with First Famous on Interpath’s 4CYTE joint health product.”

Lisa currently has six horses on it, and has seen some great results. “Recently, I asked them whether I could take the horse product myself — they said, ‘You can’t, but we have got a human grade product!’ It took a couple of months to get into the system, but it’s helped; it won’t take the pain away from me, because that’s the way I am and my injuries have been so severe, but it’s certainly helped and I love it.” EQ

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