ISSUE 62
JANUARY 2021
SAMMI &
GIZMO

FIND THEIR GROOVE
HAPPY DAYS
FOR HAYLEY
BERESFORD

JAMES PATERSON
-ROBINSON’S
FULL CIRCLE

PLUS: BLACK BEAUTY RIDES AGAIN, KERRY MACK, KELLY LAYNE, THE BILLY STUD, CAROLYN LIEUTENANT, DREAM BEACH ESCAPE, OTT TRANSFORMATION, HOW TO BEAT HEAT STRESS, THE POWER OF LIGHT & MORE!

AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
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ISSUE 62

CONTENTS

JANUARY 2021
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A few Words

FROM THE CHAIRMAN

ROBERT MCKAY

Opinion

BACK TO THE FUTURE

RYAN’S RAVE BY HEATH RYAN

Eventing

SAMMI BIRCH & GIZMO FIND THEIR GROOVE

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Dressage

HAPPY DAYS FOR HAYLEY BERESFORD

BY ADELE SEVERS

Showjumping

FULL CIRCLE FOR JAMES PATERSON-ROBINSON

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Lifestyle

BLACK BEAUTY RIDES AGAIN

BY SUZY JARRATT

Dressage

KELLY LAYNE & SAMHITAS MAKE A SPLASH IN FLORIDA

BY ADELE SEVERS

Special feature

‘MAIZY’ LANDS ON HER FEET IN NEW ROLE

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Special feature

COURAGEOUS KIWI BLAZES HER OWN TRAIL (Part 6)

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Training

BUILDING BETTER RELATIONSHIPS

DR KERRY MACK

Health

THE POWER OF LIGHT

BY EQUILUME

Showjumping

EVERYONE NEEDS A BILLY!

BY ELLI BIRCH

Health

HOW TO BEAT HEAT STRESS

BY DR MAXINE BRAIN

EQ Journeys

HIDDEN TREASURE OF DIAMOND BEACH

BY MELISSA RIMAC

My Favourite Dish

SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE

WITH JAMES PATERSON-ROBINSON
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Taking on the role of national coach of the Australian para-equestrian team not only proved to be yet another surprise turn in the adventures of Carolyn Lieutenant, but also was to be a most inspiring and life-fulfilling role for her.

“This was the most
inspiring time of my life.”

Carolyn Lieutenant’s good friend Judy Cubitt had persuaded Carolyn in 1997 to take on the job as the coach of the fledgling Australian para equestrian team. With an eye on the coming Sydney 2000 Olympics, Australia needed to build up a strong para equestrian team for the Paralympics, and Judy knew Carolyn had all the discipline and attributes required.

Carolyn was hesitant at first, but after a whirlwind tour of overseas para equestrian competitions, she agreed to take on the role. “This was the most inspiring time of my life,” says Carolyn. “I was always coaching, judging and riding and competing in my own able-bodied world, never thinking that there was a group of such talented people and riders as I came across in the para equestrian movement. It was a new world of dressage for me. The riders, with their will and attitude and exceptional courage, all took it on with positivity and enthusiasm that made me feel somewhat humble, lucky and proud all at the same time. It was a real insight into elite riders.”

As well as Carolyn and Judy, Sue Cusack was a prime mover behind the development of the para movement in Australia. She was the national coaching coordinator for international competition and vice-president of the International Para Equestrian Committee. Their mission was to form a solid team for the 2000 Paralympics from scratch, as we did not have any qualified riders. It was full steam ahead as only Carolyn can do. It was trips to all the states around Australia sourcing riders for the Paralympics, and it was quite a time with Carolyn finding several riders with potential. They then needed to go through the strict assessment to become graded at a level 1 to 4 (these days there is also Grade 5).

A squad was formed and started regular clinics at Kurrajong Equestrian Centre, owned by Gill Rickard and Pat Bakarich in the Blue Mountains out of Sydney. The centre was ideal with an indoor and outdoor arena and plenty of accommodation for horses as well as riders. Gill, herself an international rider having represented Australia at the WEG in Stockholm, knew the pressure of riding at that level and the mental strength required. It was here that Gill also became keenly interested in the para coaching and the Paralympic push, and was later to actually take over Carolyn’s role. Before the Paralympics, Gill was named assistant coach, and between Carolyn and Gill what an amazing duo.

The Australian Para Dressage Championships were staged in Queensland in 1998 to see how the riders would fare under competition pressure, and they showed much potential. Carolyn took two horses up for riders at the championships, including the wonderful Temuchin.

“Riders with physical disabilities and the will to triumph were so inspiring,” Carolyn recalls. “As a coach — after I overcame my intimidation in respect to being so careful with them — it was onwards and upwards. There was little difference between coaching them and the able-bodied riders. Sometimes it was a little frustrating, as it did not always go to plan due to so many reasons, from fatigue to lack of coordination. I had riders who could not see, could not walk well, riders who were in wheelchairs and riders that also had learning disabilities and concentration and memory lapses. It was confronting and challenging to say the least, but I have to say I loved the challenge and how I was able to find ways around communication of horse and rider, from aids that were allowed in competition, to harmonious riding.

“Horses and the ways of
communication with riders
were intriguing.”

“The horses never ceased to amaze me and to think that my off-the-track thoroughbred, Temuchin, who was sensitive and always very alive, actually carried a Grade 1 rider (the most compromised level) in a walk-only test, as well as a Grade 4 rider. The Grade 1 rider he carried at the Paralympics with consummate ease, in fact winning a medal; Tim was 20 years old at the time, and subsequently retired after that event. It was remarkable considering that with me, he was also competitive in the Grand Prix international test.”

From the training and the competitions, it was time to bite the bullet and head to Denmark in 1999 for the World Championships with six Australian riders. It was all a bit wild, as there were six horses to source for the Aussie riders. Carolyn and Gill travelled all over Denmark looking not only for horses that would suit the riders, but that also had the ability to gain qualifying scores for the Sydney 2000 Paralympics. There were not just riders and horses to worry about, but carers and grooms as well, so you can imagine the workload — Carolyn had a lot riding on her shoulders. They got the job done and between Denmark, Hartpury in England and a competition in Belgium, the qualifications for the Sydney Paralympics were achieved.

“It showed that it wasn’t
about strength; it was about
empathy and understanding
the horse.”

Australian riders had competed overseas before on borrowed horses. At the Sydney Paralympics, 100 good horses had to be found to create a pool for all para riders, due to Australia’s strict quarantine rules. It was a scramble, but more than 250 were sourced from all over the country. They needed to be put in four groups to suit the different levels, so Gill Rickard had to ride every one of them to select the best 100 for the riders who then drew horses from the pool and were allotted that horse for the event.

As if that wasn’t enough, Carolyn and Gill also had to keep the Aussie squad focused on their job toward a medal. The camps continued at Kurrajong Equestrian Centre where Carolyn became a serious figure in each para rider’s dream to achieve their goals. She was well known for her etiquette training, not only in the competition arena but also at the table! Carolyn treated the team no differently to any student and it was hard work for all of them. They soon came to the acknowledgement that it was hard working towards being a Paralympian, and if anyone wanted to make sure the team was set no matter what to get a medal, it was Carolyn. She was relentless in her attitude towards achieving their goals.

“Horses and the ways of communication with riders were intriguing,” says Carolyn. “It showed that it wasn’t about strength; it was about empathy and understanding the horse. It was about a feel, not a demand. There was extra intuitive understanding, something not written in any book. Sensitivity. As I said, it was the most inspiring years of my life. I have to thank Judy Cubitt for being the one that pushed me into the scene, and to all the riders I coached and helped. The time opened my eyes to so many amazing people, horses and an unwritten feeling that many of the para riders had. I am a better and wiser person for the times spent with these people.”

“The time opened
my eyes to so many
amazing people.”

At the Paralympics Carolyn had the team at heart and she also brought Temuchin as a loan horse. He was drawn by a Grade 1 rider from Norway and they went on to win a bronze medal. Another horse that Carloyn had recruited was a “coloured, small, wonderful character” named Kaleidoscope that she had seen previously at a competition. She approached the owners when she and Gill were looking for the pool horses, and the owners wholeheartedly agreed to loan him for the Sydney Paralympics. As luck would have it, Julie Higgins of Sydney managed to draw him in her section and they went on to win two gold medals. Marita Hird, an ex-jockey from Queensland, won a bronze on O.P. Fleur, as did Rosalie Fahey on Barastoc. Not a bad effort that really put our Australian para riders on the map. What an amazing effort from all involved in the sport and what a huge success and coup to pull off for Australia. Such a tiny, dedicated and talented group of officials to do just this, as well as a band of helpers that provided extra support for the riders and their horses.

On talking to Carolyn about what it was like to coach the team for the Paralympics, she says: “Firstly, I say again it was inspiring. We did have to get to know each rider’s strong and not so strong points. We had travelled overseas together and we all had a good understanding of the training programme, and the riders of my terminology and what I liked to see. When we got our horses, I was able to direct each of them along a positive way, some horses being a little more talented than others. We knew the ring-craft; we knew the way we all worked. We knew the riders’ needs in terms of warm-up and in confidence building before the tests. We knew the tests inside out and where to make up marks and where to be cautious. It was such a conglomerate of techniques and knowing each rider as an individual from our time together training and competing here and in Europe made my job a little easier.

“With the Sydney Paralympics over,
it was time to take a breather.”

“I did realise what riders needed and when was good to push and when was good to back off. Every rider was so different in the way that you instructed them and in what they needed. Some needed winding up and some needed winding down. Some needed confidence building and there were some that needed to come back down to earth. We all knew each other well and it was a very disciplined journey and well driven by the entire team.”

With the Sydney Paralympics over, it was time to take a breather. By this time Victory Salute, a horse that Carolyn had bred, was broken in by Jeremy Janjic and in training with Matthew Dowsley. He competed in the five-year-old class in Melbourne at Dressage with the Stars, missing out by one place in gaining a position in the final round. It was apparent from the lead up to that competition that he was not easy to get fit and was not super well. On returning to Galston and home, it was found that Sam, as he was known, had contracted the Ross River virus and he spent the next year in the paddock spelling to get rid of the virus.

At this time, Judy Cubitt had become increasingly unwell with Parkinson’s disease and Carolyn was spending time with her. There was still plenty of coaching with her students, both able-bodied and para. Carolyn also needed a second hip replacement, a procedure that she sailed through and it wasn’t so long before she was back in the saddle riding and competing. In addition, there was still the property to look after with her brother, and always time for an overseas trip to keep a keen eye on the competition scene at the top level.

“And so ended an era that Carolyn
was forever grateful for having
the chance to experience.”

One of the biggest changes for the paras for the following Paralympics in Athens in 2004 was that there were no longer to be borrowed horses in a pool situation; riders had to bring their own. It was not an easy task when you saw the quality and level of the horses competing overseas. Several trips to competitions to find horses for riders in Europe were undertaken and there was one super horse in Dr Doolittle that led to a bronze medal performance for Jan Pike at Athens. Other horses were sourced in Australia, including Berkeley Castle, Special Edition 68, and Voodoo — all from New South Wales.

In 2003 Carolyn handed the coaching reins over to Gill Rickard, and so ended an era that Carolyn was forever grateful for having the chance to experience. She was not lost in the system, as with her wealth of experience that was not going to happen. She became a selector, a role that she took on with ease, as she really knew what was required, especially mentally, in a para rider.

Carolyn was also a great promoter of the para movement and at the Sydney CDI she organised a small exhibition with two riders, one on Temuchin, who obligingly piaffed on command to the applause of the crowd! The two riders and horses were again amazing and stole the hearts of the crowd.

As always, Carolyn’s experience, keen eye and definite attitude as to right and wrong saw her much sought-after as a judge, which took her all over Australia. She was also in high demand as a coach and she gave many clinics from Western Australia to Victoria and up the east coast. In her spare time (whenever there was a day here or there) she loved to attend to her beloved garden and especially her roses.

Travel overseas was another highlight of every year and she liked to be able to keep in touch with trends and the best horses. An avid watcher, she simply loved to settle in for the day at a competition to watch every horse possible — something she still very much enjoys!

In the February issue of Equestrian Life, we reach the stage in Carolyn’s life where her homebred star Victory Salute takes to the world stage in what was yet another incredible chapter of her life with horses. EQ

Catch up on Part One of Carolyn’s story in our August issue here.

Catch up on Part Two of Carolyn’s story in our September issue here.

Catch up on Part Three of Carolyn’s story in our October issue here.

Catch up on Part Four of Carolyn’s story in our November issue here.

Catch up on Part Five of Carolyn’s story in our December issue here.

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