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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The picturesque outlook at Eiserner Hof. © Eiserner Hof - Hayley Beresford & Jule Fehl
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West Australian born Hayley Beresford has been no stranger to adversity over the years. However, now settled at beautiful Eiserner Hof in Germany with partner Jule Fehl, she’s the healthiest and happiest she’s ever been.

“Scared but at the same time excited,
Hayley and Jule jumped at the chance.”

For Hayley Beresford, 2020 started out as a cracking year. Before Covid-19 put a halt to competitions, she and partner Jule had enjoyed success at numerous competitions with multiple horses. “I had a fantastic run,” recalls Hayley. “Friedolin, Rebana, Fayani, Fraser Island and Sambucca all had wins. And then later in the (northern) summer, Sambucca kept the candle burning with a couple of personal records.

“However, Covid makes for strange times, and I do look at the world a little differently. We focused a lot more on our business goals in 2020 and sold quite a few horses.” Covid-19 may have shifted her focus, but Hayley has faced far greater challenges in the past, so the ‘different’ year that was 2020 was little more than a twist in the road.

Hayley and Jule run their riding, training and coaching business out of Eiserner Hof, a stunning six-hectare property at Bissingen an der Teck, just over half an hour southeast of Stuttgart. Hayley’s road to Eiserner Hof has been many years in the making. She first travelled to Europe in 2005 to work for Isabell Werth, after Isabell offered her a job some years earlier when she saw her riding as a 21-year-old student in Australia. At the time, Hayley turned the offer down and wasn’t sure that horses would be her career; however, five years later at the age of 26, the reality set in that horses were her passion, and off to Europe she went.

Hayley stayed with Isabell until 2010, during which time she rode Brazilian-bred Lusitano stallion Relampago de Retino for Australia at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. After a stint with Otto Hofer in Switzerland, Hayley ended up renting stables at Eiserner Hof in 2014.

“Jule had already been managing the stable and working for the owners for some time,” explains Hayley. She and Jule didn’t intend to merge their businesses, but in the end it was a natural progression. “I helped Jule with her horses, and in that first year she not only won her first S class (similar to Small Tour in Australia) on Freckle (2005 gelding, Future x Gribaldi), but also rode her first Grand Prix on a horse named Clifford (2002 gelding, Caccomo x Ricadero),” says Hayley. Her connection with Jule and Clifford predates Eiserner Hof, as Hayley helped the pair back when she worked for Isabell Werth; Jule was located 15 minutes down the road at the time.

Hayley says the help went both ways, as Jule assisted her with many of her horses at Eiserner Hof, which was a welcome change for Hayley who had been surrounded only by students for a few years.

In 2018, the option to purchase Eiserner Hof arose; scared but at the same time excited, Hayley and Jule jumped at the chance. Eiserner Hof is a well-equipped equestrian facility, with a 20x40m indoor riding hall, a 20x60m outdoor arena, a gallop track with an undulating surface, stables with 26 boxes, a wash bay and solarium, five-horse walker, yards with a suitable surface for the winter months, and turnout fields. Besides Hayley and Jule’s main residence, there are two apartments for live-in staff.

“Hayley has produced
an incredible 26 horses to
Grand Prix level.”

Despite being based in Germany for more than a decade at that time, Hayley explains that it was still a big deal to actually commit to staying in Europe for the long haul — however, “it was time”.

“Eiserner Hof is a very special little bubble. It is the most settled I had ever felt anywhere. It’s the healthiest I have been in many, many years and most importantly, the happiest I have ever been. I didn’t love Germany to begin with; I loved my job and my work at Isabell’s, but I missed Australia terribly at the beginning. At Eiserner Hof, I still miss my family and friends from home, but I have fallen in love with Germany and the community here.

“It’s fairly central to international shows, we are very close to an international airport (Stuttgart), and I’m just a couple of hours away from my trainer Benni (Benjamin) Werndl now, which works super — plus, we live with our horses.”

The name Eiserner Hof translates in English to “ironclad; unshakable and indefatigable”. The name has long been associated with the property, and Hayley and Jule had no plans to change it. It’s no secret that Hayley has overcome many hurdles in her life, from cancer in her 20s, to the injury and loss of beloved horses, and Australian team selection heartbreak. Not one to give up, the wonderful life she has now built is through hard work and determination. “We kept the property name because that kind of describes us; we have been through a lot and survived.”

Today at Eiserner Hof, Hayley typically works with the higher-level horses and Jule produces the young horses — however, this wasn’t always the case. “Initially, we’d each have our own projects, but as we have combined our businesses in more recent years, this has kind of happened. We work together with all the horses in training, nut out problems together and sometimes change horses. We each have our little things that we are better at and we put that to use when it’s appropriate, but the essence of our work together is basically to achieve our business, competition and sales goals.”

“Time will tell, and I will
let (Rebana W) tell me.”

In addition to riding and training, Hayley also coaches a lot — in fact, she runs about 30 lessons per week! This usually includes two afternoons and evenings with her local students, and then multiple mornings online with riders in Sydney, and some evenings online with riders in Brazil. She believes students need to be passionate regardless of what level they are riding, and when that passion is there she loves helping people achieve their goals.

EISERNER HOF’S RESIDENTS

There are many horses at Eiserner Hof at any one time; some being trained up to sell on, others in training for clients, and some permanent residents. As mentioned earlier, Friedolin 36 (2009 gelding, Fidertanz 2 x De Niro), Rebana W (2008 mare, Rosario x Ravallo), Fayani, Fraser Island (2015 gelding, Finest x Laurentino) and Sambucca S (2012 gelding, Scolari x Furst Heinrich) were all stars in the (limited) competition arena in 2020.

Grand Prix star Rebana W is not currently in work — she’s expecting her first self-carried foal this year. “She is not due until June next year, as I made the decision quite late to put her in foal,” says Hayley. “The father is the Zonic x Sir Donnerhall son, Zauberlehrling, who won the Rastede (Oldenburger) Landesturnier in 2020.” Rebana has had three embryo foals in the past; tragically, the first died in a paddock accident as a yearling, however two are now with Hayley. “We have her two rising three-year-olds now with us at Eiserner Hof. One is by For Romance and the other is by Don Olymbrio. They are very exciting to watch develop right now. We will see how they turn out.”

Whether Rebana W returns to the competition arena after her foal is born is yet to be decided. “Time will tell, and I will let her tell me. She is still stabled in the middle of everything, and is very happy right now. I miss riding her dreadfully but I also didn’t want to miss this opportunity with her.”

Even though Rebana is having time off, there are a number of other exciting horses under saddle at Eiserner Hof. “I have Du Ciel (2008 gelding, Don Diamond x Fabriano) who managed his first Inter II this (northern) summer, and Sambucca had a very successful summer winning Prix St Georges classes in strong fields with good scores in the 70s. I’m taking my time with him; he’s different to anything I’ve produced. More challenging and very big, but he’s doing some exciting work at home.

“I have some others in the pipeline; sometimes they are sold, sometimes the owners have different wishes, we just take it as it comes. All your ducks really need to line up to have a horse ready for the big sport at the right time. I was very lucky at the beginning of my time in Germany to have Isabell and Eduardo Fischer supporting me with Relampago and then I had some great Grand Prix horses in Belissimo (the stallion with whom Hayley narrowly missed out on team selection for the 2012 London Olympics) and Jaybee Alabaster (campaigned from 2012 to 2015 and owned by Bev Chugg), but as all professionals know, horses come and go. We are chipping away every day.”

If you look at Eiserner Hof’s Facebook page, you will soon see that this stunning property is not just home to horses; canine and feline residents almost outnumber their equine friends!

“Just call me Old McDonald,” laughs Hayley, referring to her and Jule’s five dogs and three cats. The dog squad includes 15-year-old Bella, who came from Gabrielle Pither’s family in Albany, WA, and has travelled the world with Hayley; sisters Franky and Milly, who are five and three-year-old Jack Russells; two-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback Max, who is supposed to guard the stables but “wishes he was a Jack Russell”; and Ted the 11-month-old Border Terrier who is “as funny as they come”. There is also Nele the Kelpie, who belongs to their head groom, Lucy. On the feline side of the family, there is 20-something Patsie, who came with the property, as well as two rescue kittens, Billy and Bob, “who have grown into stellar stable cats with big personalities”. A cat or a dog manages to find their way into just about every photo you will see at Eiserner Hof, and Hayley wouldn’t have it any other way!

“I still get so excited
when a horse really
learns something.”

THE GRAND PRIX HORSE

Hayley has produced an incredible 26 horses to Grand Prix level, starting with Relampago, and the latest being Friedolin. In the summer of 2019, Hayley found Friedolin for young Australian rider Stephanie McDonald; he was owned by Friedhelm and Sabine Henning and competed by Sabine Klenk at the time. “I had seen him around our competition region and always admired him,” recalls Hayley. She thought he’d be a great match for Steph, and her intuition proved correct.

“The McDonald family tasked me with polishing and preparing Friedolin for the big Grand Prix,” explains Hayley. It was a successful task, with the horse achieving scores just shy of 72% in his first Grand Prix and Special tests. “We were long-listed for the Australian Team for Tokyo and had a blast of a few months together!” says Hayley, speaking of her success with the horse in 2020. Hayley really enjoyed making lovely new connections with Friedolin’s previous owners, and had so much fun working for the McDonald family. “It was always the intention that he would come to Australia later in 2020 and Steph has already transitioned really well on him, winning Small Tour classes with great scores.”

Having produced so many horses to Grand Prix, Hayley has a strong idea of what attributes are required in a horse to be successful at the highest level — but that being said, it’s not always easy to tell who will make it, and who won’t. “I think the most important ingredients for making a Grand Prix horse are actually the heart, head and health of the horse. You can have a horse that has absolutely everything in the talent department that he needs, but no gumption or work ethic. These are heartbreakers.

“Every horse that I train teaches me something about what I want in the perfect horse. Having trained so many now, I have faced problems training every exercise and learnt to manage and find ways to bring the understanding through and also work with many different horses’ conformations. I still get so excited when a horse really learns something or comes to a new level.

“Relampago was my first and Isabell (Werth) believed in him and I together wholeheartedly. I was just making it all up; well that’s what it felt like. With every horse after, I adjusted my foundation to make the journey easier. I know what I want and need in the horse for later. For example, when I am teaching the flying changes, I’m not just thinking about a single lead change… I’m thinking about what I need in that flying change to later achieve 15 easy, adjustable, straight one-tempi changes.

“Sometimes I really don’t know if a horse will make it to Grand Prix. I remember riding a Prix St Georges on Belissimo, and he was really, really lazy. Although he was winning a lot in the Small Tour, I do remember as clear as yesterday coming out of a test and saying that he didn’t have a Grand Prix bone in his body! Then as we trained on, he just got better and better. He had weaknesses of course, as does every horse, but he went on to achieve 70% at Aachen and that was a horse that shouldn’t have, couldn’t, but did. It shows you, when you have a horse with heart and intelligence and he wants to work with you, you can achieve it all.”

As Hayley explains, when you are self-funded and running your own equestrian business, many of the horses that stay with you until Grand Prix are the ones that don’t sell — and that can often make for an interesting journey full of surprises. “There has been one problem or another (that prevented them being sold) so you just keep on training… then suddenly one day you are there. Some horses just have everything you need, but just not the health or toughness. I know what I like and don’t like, but even after this many horses I would never say, ‘he is going to make it’ or ‘he is not going to make it’. It’s a long journey!”

With Rebana in foal and Friedolin sold to Australia, Hayley has found herself without a Grand Prix horse in the competition arena for the first time in a very long time. However, with her record of producing horses to the highest level, no doubt the next one isn’t too far away. “Yes, I’m always chipping away at the next Grand Prix horse and hopefully I don’t have to sell them all. Let’s see what happens!” EQ

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