ISSUE 63
FEBRUARY 2021
BONEO
BIG TOUR

DRESSAGE STARS THRILL
VALE DI SCHAEFFER
EVENTING LEGEND
EMILY STIRLING
SETS THE EXAMPLE

PLUS: ASSERT YOUR SENIORITY WITH KERRY MACK, RACHAEL CLARKE’S TARCOOLA EQUESTRIAN CENTRE, THE MAKING OF ‘PHAR LAP’, MEGAN BRYANT’S LESSON WITH LYNDAL, CAROLYN LIEUTENANT’S VICTORY SALUTE, OUR BLACK SUMMER HEROES, AUSTRIA’S GOLDEN HORSES, IRELAND’S CONNEMARAS, FEEDING OMEGA-3s & A VET’S TAKE ON EUTHANASIA

AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
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ISSUE 63

CONTENTS

FEBRUARY 2021
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A few Words

FROM THE CHAIRMAN

ROBERT MCKAY

Opinion

VALE DI SCHAEFFER WARRIOR OF AUSTRALIAN EVENTING

RYAN’S RAVE BY HEATH RYAN

Dressage

BONEO BIG TOUR LEAVES PLENTY TO BE EXCITED ABOUT

BY ADELE SEVERS

Showjumping

YOUNG EMILY SETS A STIRLING EXAMPLE

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Training

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SENIORITY

BY DR KERRY MACK

Lifestyle

MEET PHAR LAP’S DOUBLE — TOWERING INFERNO

BY SUZY JARRATT

Dressage

MEGAN BRYANT ZOOMS IN TO VIRTUAL VICTORY

BY EDWINA BADGERY

Health

NEW EO-3 PASSES THE TASTE TEST

BY KENTUCKY EQUINE RESEARCH STAFF

EQ Journeys

A GODSEND FOR THE CONNEMARA

BY EQ LIFE

Health

EUTHANASIA, THE TOUGHEST DECISION

BY DR MAXINE BRAIN

Special feature

COURAGEOUS KIWI BLAZES HER OWN TRAIL (Part 7)

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Breeding

FROM AUSTRIA WITH LOVE, THE GOLDEN HORSE

BY ELLIE JOLLEY

Special feature

THE ORPHAN HORSES OF PAYNES CROSSING

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Property

RACHAEL CLARKE’S MAGIC TOUCH AT TARCOOLA

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

My Favourite Dish

VEGETARIAN LASAGNE

WITH RACHAEL CLARKE
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Mary Hanna and Syriana. © Derek O'Leary
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The Homes & Acreage Boneo Summer Dressage Championships heralded the first major dressage event at Boneo Park since the pandemic, and it did not disappoint. Four winners across four Big Tour CDN classes, and performances that got all spectators — on the ground and online — talking.

“It’s really good having
another horse there that’s
really pushing us.”

INTERMEDIATE II — GEORGIA WIDDUP & BALLENTINES

The Big Tour at Boneo began with the Intermediate II; a small class but nonetheless an impressive win to Georgia Widdup and Ballentines on a score of 69.265%.

Formerly ridden by Germany’s Christoph Koschel, the 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion was imported to Australia and is now owned by Susan Clifford. The partnership between Georgia and Ballentines is very much in its infancy, but no doubt they are an exciting combination to watch for the future.

“It’s very early days in our partnership,” says Georgia. “I’ve only been competing Ballentines for the past eight weeks. It has been a very steep learning curve for me, but the horse is really super and I am thrilled with him.”

GRAND PRIX  — MARY HANNA & SYRIANA

The Grand Prix class had many great performances, particularly from the two Olympians in the field: Mary Hanna and Lone Joergensen. Last to go in the draw, Mary and the stunning Syriana scored 74.384% to take first place, just ahead of Lone and Corinna on 74.094%. It was that close, and anyone following the live scoring or Equestrian Life’s live stream — with Heath Ryan putting his hat in the ring for race call of the century — were no doubt on the edge of their seats. Who said dressage isn’t exciting?

Following the event, we caught up with Mary to talk about how she felt her mare went, the return of competitions post-COVID, where to next for the year ahead — and the importance of finding a way to run CDIs in Australia during the global pandemic.

The past year has obviously been quite different to most with fewer events, however, Mary says she enjoyed being able to concentrate on training without thinking about competition. “I think that’s actually good for the horses and good for everybody for a little while… just not for too long! It was quite interesting when I came back from the enforced competition break; it did feel very strange. In fact, I had to really think very hard to make sure that I had all my gear ready and that everything was right. I had kind of lost track of my normal competition routine, and I think quite a few people felt like that.” Mary explains that even the seemingly little automatic things that you do before a competition had to be consciously considered.

“That feeling re-entering the competition arena for my first competition (the Drysdale Dressage Day at Statene Park in December, 2020) was a little bit rusty. Even though we’d done all the training, actually riding in a competition is different. And so I think it takes a little while to get back into the routine again.” Mary and Syriana won the Grand Prix CDN at Statene Park with 71.196%, and then capped off 2020 with second placings to Lone and Corinna at the Victorian Dressage Festival in both the Grand Prix CDN and Special, showing an improvement with scores of 72.464% and 72.482% respectively.

Mary’s first show of 2021 has revealed further improvement, with an impressive 74.384% to win the Grand Prix and 74.220% in the Special (where she was a narrow second behind Lone). “I’m really happy,” says Mary of her results at Boneo. “Of course, there are still things I’m working on. There were still some small things in the Grand Prix, but generally there were fewer mistakes. I thought Syriana was really a lot more with me. Movements like the zigzag, some of those difficult things… the pirouettes she found quite easy. She was good in the one tempi changes, they were a bit of a highlight; I was very happy with them. And the passage, I felt like she was a little bit more underneath herself and a bit better with the hindlegs.”

Mary was delighted to again be up against another highly competitive combination in Lone and Corinna. “It’s really good having another horse there that’s really pushing us. It’s very healthy to have somebody pushing you along all the time. You can’t just sit there and be complacent; you have to actually really concentrate for every last point. One mistake and you’re done, so you have to be careful – but I like that focus and I think it’s very good for the sport.”

In terms of next events for Mary, there is Willinga Park’s Dressage by the Sea in February, where she plans to take both Syriana and Calanta — the mare with whom she holds the Australian CDI Grand Prix Freestyle record. Following Willinga, it’s back to Victoria for Dressage with the Stars in March, and the proposed CDI at her own Statene Park in April. Speaking of the latter, Mary says it’s absolutely still on the cards and she and her team are working hard to make that CDI happen. “We have invited three top international judges from Europe. We know that they won’t physically be able to come here but we’re hoping to find a way around it.”

At present, all major dressage events in Australia have had to run as CDNs rather than CDIs, as Covid has made it impossible to get the necessary international judges into the country to have an event granted CDI status. In the past, qualification and selection events for Olympics and World Equestrian Games have been at CDI3* level or above.

“We’ve got an application into the FEI to try and find another way to run a CDI other than bringing the judges here. Perhaps we can do it with some international judges on video. That’s what we’re working on at this moment. We have a long way to go to negotiate something there, but they’ll have to do something otherwise there can’t be any CDIs in Australia, and we can’t have that situation.”

Tokyo is, of course, a goal for Mary — if the Olympics go ahead. “I personally think the Olympics are very much up in the air. I’m not convinced it’s going to happen,” she muses. However, there is always a bigger picture and longer-term view — and as Mary points out, the new-look World Equestrian Games are next year. They won’t run in the previous WEG format with all disciplines at the one location; instead, it will be called the FEI World Championships and the dressage will take place alongside para dressage, jumping and vaulting in Herning, Denmark, during August 2022.

“We have to think long term towards the World Championships. Syriana has got what we’d need to develop her even further and I need to ride a completely mistake-free test. I get regular remote lessons from Patrik Kittel, my coach in Germany. You just have to keep in the competitive field and mindset for the moment until we know the outcome of the Olympics. And if it is cancelled, focus then switches to the World Championships and it’s a matter of just carrying on. Without overdoing things, we just continue on.”

Mary believes that regardless of what happens with Tokyo, being able to run CDIs in Australia is still very much a pressing issue. “All Australian-based riders need an opportunity to be able to get their MERs (minimum eligibility requirements) for the World Championships in Herning next year. So even if the Olympics are cancelled, it is incredibly important that we find a way to still run the CDIs. I won’t be giving up on that.”

“I’m totally happy with
the horse, she has developed
really, really well.”

GRAND PRIX SPECIAL — LONE JOERGENSEN & CORINNA

The Grand Prix Special at Boneo again saw Mary and Lone go head-to-head. This time, it was Lone and Corinna who emerged victorious, posting a huge score of 75.390% — with Mary in second on 74.220%. As mentioned earlier, Lone and the 13-year-old Danish warmblood mare posted 74.094% for second place in the Grand Prix.

Lone, who won both the Grand Prix and Special at the Victorian Dressage Festival in December 2020 with scores of 73.949% and 74.752% respectively, was thrilled that she and Corinna could better both of those scores at Boneo.

“I’m totally happy with the horse, she has developed really, really well,” says Lone. “Admittedly, the 10 months’ lockdown was actually very good,” she adds, in reference to the Victorian Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. “Finally, we had time to work on the fine-tuning and on the finesse. In 2019, everything had to go a bit quick and it was all a bit under pressure. So that was actually really good to just stay at home and work on everything you needed to do and try to improve the horse. And then it was actually more like, ‘I don’t really want to go to any shows, it’s better at home’!” she laughs.

Lone explains that the improvement in Corinna over the past few months has largely been the mare’s general rideability. “She’s easy to manoeuvre around and do the things which she has to do. It took a bit of time for her to get an understanding of all of that. She has become clearly better in the pirouettes and the piaffe.

“(At Boneo) she was a lot better in the transitions into the passage; it was more rideable and she found the rhythm quicker,” says Lone, explaining that it was just small things like that that saw her scores improve. “It’s of course a difference if you get a 7.5 instead of a 6.5. That 7.5 makes a difference at the end of the day.

“First of all, you need to get these things better at home… but then you also need to get these things good in the warm-up, and then you need to get it all in the test. And that, of course, is the biggest challenge!”

For Lone, pinpointing highlights of the Special at Boneo is difficult. “To be honest, I can’t really tell you the highlights because I’m really bad at assessing my own riding,” she laughs. “That’s why I’ve got my husband doing it! I hate to watch my own videos. I find so many things where I don’t think it’s good; I have to stop watching it because I get too critical.”

Corinna is owned by Frank and Pauline Carnovale, and Lone is thankful to be riding her. “It’s a great pleasure for me to ride the horse. Pauline could ride her herself if she wanted to, but at the moment they are enjoying the journey, no doubt about that! It’s really good fun and it’s really good to work together with them,” says Lone. Pauline is an accomplished Grand Prix rider in her own right; at Boneo she was fourth with Captain Cooks on 67.790% in the Grand Prix and second in the Freestyle on 73.483%. “(Pauline) is improving Captain Cooks all the time,” says Lone, who coaches the pair.

When asked where she will be heading next, Lone explains that she and Corinna won’t travel to Willinga Park. “I probably would have if it had been a CDI, but we don’t have any CDIs at the moment. And the thing is, the horse is working really good and she’s proven that she has improved,” says Lone, adding that her plan is instead to head home and keep training. The next time we are likely to see the pair competing is at Dressage with the Stars at Werribee in March.

In terms of Tokyo, Lone hopes that the Olympics will go ahead. “I personally hope this is going to go on. I hope they’re going to do it. If they (the organising committee and IOC) really think they could do it, then they will have some really good plans in place; how to do it and make it safe.” Lone feels that Covid-19 is going to be around for quite some time, and her hope is that major events such the Olympics and World Championships will find a way to go ahead. Could we see Lone — who is Danish-born and has previously represented her country of birth at two Olympic Games — competing for Australia on a Danish-bred horse at the World Championships in Denmark next year (or Tokyo this year)? Time will tell!

“Astro absolutely powers
through this and always gives
an incredible feeling.”

GRAND PRIX FREESTYLE — LINDSEY WARE & ARISTEDE

Seventeen-year-old Lindsey Ware finished third behind two Olympians in the Grand Prix test with a score of 68.08%. With both Mary and Lone heading to the Special, Lindsey made the Freestyle class her own, scoring 74.408% to finish just ahead of Pauline Carnovale and Captain Cooks.

Lindsey purchased the now 15-year-old Aristede, aka Astro, just over two years ago from Shannan Goodwin, who had taken the horse from Preliminary through to Grand Prix — only narrowly missing out on 2018 WEG selection. Asked what it was like to take over the reins of a horse with this level of education, Lindsey describes it as “one of the most exciting things I’ve done”.

“I had been riding a Prix St Georges trained horse, but Astro was of a completely different calibre. Like all dressage horses he has his quirks, but ultimately Astro and I got along very well under saddle together, so the transition was surprisingly easy! Within the first few months of owning him, he had significantly improved my dressage skills, and continues to do so.”

Lindsey explains that the past two years have been a steady progression in terms of their partnership. “I look back at videos from when I first started in the Under 25 Grand Prix and I am shocked at how we have improved since in such a short time. I really thought there was not much room for improvement back then between us, but that is definitely not true; I cannot wait to see where we are together in another year!” she enthuses.

Lindsey has mostly focused her competitive efforts in the U-25 Grand Prix in recent times, although Boneo was not her first foray into open competition. “The Victorian Dressage Festival in 2019 was actually my first open Grand Prix,” she explains. “We did the Grand Prix CDN there (rather than the CDI-W). It was definitely not my best test on that occasion, as I really had no clue how to control Astro’s energy in a test that he knows and loves.

“Boneo was my second open Grand Prix. I was beyond thrilled to finish behind two absolutely incredible riders. I could not have asked for a better outcome. To win the Freestyle was also an amazing experience. It was our last time riding this particular Freestyle so I wanted to make it good. Astro definitely delivered, producing a really energetic test. It was definitely one of my best rides through that test so I am so thrilled with not only my score, but the ride itself!”

With Astro, Lindsey has scored 70%+ in each CDI Freestyle (Young Rider and U-25) she’s done with an improved score every time. At Boneo (although a CDN), 74.408% was a personal best; as Lindsey explains, Freestyles are definitely her favourite test of any competition.

“It gives me an opportunity to show the judges what we can really do whilst having plenty of fun! I love throwing some tricky lines in the Freestyle and really challenging ourselves. My favourite line would have to be my passage half-pass into a regular trot half-pass. Astro absolutely powers through this and always gives an incredible feeling,” she enthuses.

So what’s next for Astro and Lindsey? “For now, we take each day by day. We have some competition plans for this year including some interstate trips competing at Grand Prix, as well as a few large competitions locally in Victoria. For now we are focusing on larger competitions and really refining our work in between.

“Astro currently is in a very good place training-wise. In our everyday work, we are working on plenty of transitions within paces — something that is very beneficial for him. Otherwise there is no particular movement that we are working on, as through the transition work I tend to see improvement across all movements.

“I really hope to lift my scores at Grand Prix level and keep that score lift consistent. I definitely believe that the more experience I have at this level and the more we refine specific movements that need improvement, the more this goal becomes attainable.” EQ

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