The loss of Carolyn’s husband, John Lieutenant, was a sad time and to this day Carolyn misses him dearly. John was an inspiration to her and always hugely encouraged her riding and competitive career. Carolyn, true to her strengths, continued to the best of her ability and threw herself into judging for the following year, travelling around the east coast. She judged at major three-day events, the Warmbloods at Sydney Royal Show, the hacks at Canberra Show and at dressage competitions in Sydney and in the country in between. Of course, her love of coaching continued and seeing the improvement in her pupils and their horses was always a driving force for her.
Carolyn did not have a horse at this time to compete on and took the opportunity to go to England to see the European Championships at Goodwood where Australian Judy Mackay was competing on her Stock Horse cross bay gelding, Debonair. Carolyn always looks at the big picture and seeing the best of the best was inspiring for her to bring back the knowledge of what Aussies needed to do better to step up to the block.
Carolyn was one of the best when it came to test riding. She had an uncanny knack of just knowing each horse’s strong and weak points and how to make certain that every movement in the test was ridden with the view to getting the most marks possible. There’s probably a whole chapter that could be written on her ringcraft and test riding and how to promote your horse in the warm-up and the competition arena. Carolyn’s experience as a competitor in the hack ring was for sure an added bonus here. It’s not only about riding the test; it’s about being honest about your horse and his weaknesses and strengths. It’s about the shape, the symmetry, the balance and the overall look; winning a Garryowen was no mean feat and shows attention to all the facets of horsemanship, mindset and ability. I guess that’s a dressage rider!
The following year, Carolyn decided it was time to settle in and find a horse of her own. It wasn’t long before she found one at Clemens Dierks’ — Temuchin, a raced Thoroughbred that Carolyn described as a charming horse with a trainable and willing demeanour. He was found by a student of Clemens in a paddock in Scone where he was retired and not doing well. Carolyn took him home despite her feeling he was quite heavy-shouldered. Clemens’ property was close by, but she didn’t ride this one home! Tim, as he was known, started his schooling with Carolyn and they got on famously, but it was a few years before she would compete him. He did not have a highly expansive trot and took time to develop the strength to hold the cadence, but he was a trier and always the thinker.
At this time, she also acquired a black horse from a friend and pupil called ET, with whom she competed at Elementary and Medium. There was Lochinvar CDI at Rozzie and Heath’s establishment where the best came together. The New Zealanders used to fly horses over for the competition and stay with Carolyn and with Clemens, as he was also coaching them in NZ. It was always a lot of fun, says Carolyn, who loved to keep in touch with her Kiwi roots. That year also saw Carolyn go on a rose tour of England. Roses are a passion of hers, despite a constant war with the possums, first at Wasseiges and now at her current property in the Southern Highlands. Her house is always adorned with the most fragrant and fabulous blooms. Following the rose tour, she made time to travel around America as well, staying a while with old friends from Australia, Libby and Jock Anderson. Libby and her daughter competed a lot in Australia before moving to the US. On returning home it was time to celebrate her 50th birthday, which was a great affair hosted by her fabulous friend and standard poodle breeder, Philip Warburton.