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
click here to start reading

ISSUE 63

CONTENTS

FEBRUARY 2021
click on left side to read the previous article
click on right side to read the next article
scroll down or click icon to read article

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
content placeholder
Bretty Parbery and Victory Salute, aka Sam.
Previous
Next

Having achieved great success as a coach of Australia’s para equestrians at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics, Carolyn Lieutenant decided to pursue another great love — Victory Salute.

“Sam was very important
in everyone’s lives.”

Carolyn Lieutenant stood down as coach of the para equestrian team after Sydney 2000 and passed the reins to her good friend, Gill Rickard. She made sure the transition was smooth and remained very much involved with the para riders, their horses and training and was always around to help Gill develop the squad in readiness for the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games.

But with more time on her hands, she turned her attention to her pride and joy, Victory Salute, a gelding known as “Sam” that she had bred herself from her mare that she was not totally happy with, Esprit. “When I think about it, he was a fluke foal as I had the mare that I didn’t want to continue riding and looked for the best-looking stallion that was close by and that was Salute,” Carolyn recalls. “The result was Sam, and what a story!”

Sam was being ridden in 2003 being by Rodney Martin. They were enjoying great success at Elementary to Advanced, and Carolyn was very impressed with Sam’s basic training under Rodney. With Sam developing into a very competitive dressage horse, the ride was handed over to Matthew Dowsley to take to the higher levels. Matthew was more experienced at the FEI work and competition at that level, while Rodney was still there to give a hand from the ground. Carolyn took great delight in being able to watch and help, as Matthew and Rodney were then based at Maroota, not far from her Galston home north-west of Sydney. Matthew debuted with Sam in Melbourne at Dressage with the Stars, missing a position in the final round only by a point.

Carolyn was still involved in the lead up to the 2004 Athens Paralympics, as she was a selector, and much time was put in to finding the right horses for the riders to send a strong team to the Games. The team proved very competitive and most outstanding was Jan Pike in the Grade 1 class aboard the imported bay gelding Dr Doolittle. They won a silver and a bronze medal, a tremendous achievement for not only Jan but for the whole para movement within Australia.

Back home, Carolyn was forging ahead on several fronts. She was busy judging in both New Zealand and Australia, and spending time in Western Australia teaching as well as judging. She was in great demand presenting judging seminars, as her knowledge wasn’t just judge-based, it came from her experiences as a coach and FEI rider, and it gave her a fantastic understanding of how to come up with a well-rounded mark for every movement.

There was also no shortage of students knocking on her door and Carolyn continued to coach many through to Grand Prix. At this time she decided it was opportune to cut her ties with New Zealand as far as property was concerned, and she sold the family farm. Carolyn was very happy to stay in Galston in her fabulous house with its rose gardens and horse facilities. Her brother, David, moved from New Zealand to join her at Galston.

Always up for an overseas jaunt, Carolyn was coaching a para rider in Rob Oakley and the topic of seeing some overseas riders was raised. So, in the blink of an eye, as always with Carolyn, it was with Rob that they travelled to Hartpury in England to watch the British Para Dressage Championships and the able-bodied British Dressage Championships. Rob was so inspired he went on and pursued a dream to compete at the London Olympics — another rider inspired by Carolyn’s positivity to follow his heart. The thing is that Carolyn, I’m sure, doesn’t believe in good luck so much as believing that you make your own luck!

It was in 2005 when Ulla Salzgeber was in Australia giving clinics for the squad riders that Sam and Matthew caught her eye. The training was looking good and now that the piaffe and the passage had come together, Sam was looking like a real Grand Prix hope. The most amazing thing with Sam was that even though he wasn’t an extravagant, super mover, his delightful attitude and willingness to give it a go saw him flourish into a seriously good horse.

“Victory Salute continued forging
ahead into the Grand Prix ranks.”

Matthew was leaving for Germany with Cinderella, a talented chestnut mare owned by Claudia Harper, to train there, and he also wanted to take Sam. Carolyn did not think for too long before telling Matthew that Sam wasn’t travelling. She wanted to enjoy the road to Grand Prix with her horse here in Australia where she could be a part of it. As luck would have it, Brett Parbery was in Germany training at Ulla’s at the time. He was about to return home to no really top horse, so when Ulla heard that Sam was not travelling she suggested that Brett could obtain the ride on Victory Salute. Brett arrived home and went to ride Sam with Matthew and Carolyn. The decision was to give Brett the ride and so he continued under their guidance until Matthew left for overseas.

By 2006, it was the end of one era and the beginning of another. Temuchin, who was his usual healthy self, started to canter off around his paddock. It was with a frantic whinny that he collapsed and died from an aneurysm. It was a sad day indeed as Carolyn remembered all that they had done together. He had taken her to Europe to compete and had competed for Australia at many CDIs as well as the Paralympics. Considering he was an off-the-track thoroughbred, Carolyn proved how plausible it was to mould his ethics and turn him into an international dressage athlete. He was quite a horse, to say the least.

Victory Salute continued forging ahead into the Grand Prix ranks. In 2007, when Brett was leasing Suntori Park just around the corner from Galston, they competed at Inter II at the NSW State Dressage Championships before Sam had his first Grand Prix start. It was in 2007 that equine influenza (EI) hit and horse competitions and travelling — really all horse-related activities — came under quarantine lockdown. It was just as Sam was raring to get out and compete at Grand Prix, but instead it was a period when training and consolidation took place. In hindsight, it was probably timely; with no pressure to compete, the work gradually became stronger and more consistent and easier. It was just before the EI outbreak in August that Carolyn had taken a tour to Aachen for the World Equestrian Games and no doubt was having a good look and a reality check about Sam back in Australia and the plausibility of his future on the international circuit. EI certainly put paid to the rest of the year.

Next year, 2008, was looking to be a big one. It was an Olympic and Paralympic year, this time in Hong Kong. As Brett and Sam were preparing to depart overseas to train with Hubertus Schmidt, with the aim to make the Australian Olympic team, Carolyn hatched a second plan to potentially use Sam as a Paralympic horse while he was already overseas. This idea was put to para rider Georgia Bruce; the selectors were made aware of this plan, and asked to see Georgia ride him and perform the required para equestrian tests. After three days practice on Sam at Brett’s indoor arena in Penrose, both tests were ridden satisfactorily and Georgia was placed on the reserve list.

Brett and Sam travelled overseas, and during this time they competed at three shows including Hagen, and at the end of the Olympic selection period they were placed as second reserve for the Australian team for Hong Kong. Carolyn was really pleased with Sam’s progress, despite not placing on the Olympic team.

With the Olympics off the table, Carolyn put her Paralympic plan into action. Brett returned home and the para selectors agreed that Georgia could ride Sam for Australia at the Paralympics in Hong Kong. Carolyn knew the ins and outs of the para movement from her coaching experience and realised that for equestrian sports to get funding it was paramount to win medals. She really believed that Georgia and Sam were in with a chance to do just that.

“Carolyn’s plans all came to fruition
and Sam was well and truly getting the
chance to become a seasoned,
internationally travelled horse.”

Georgia flew to Germany where Sam and Carolyn were now staying with the Hufendiek family; they trained there for four weeks. Carolyn says that if it was not for the amazing help and friendship shown to her and her horse through the likes of the Hufendieks, they could not have achieved what they did.

Carolyn remembers the days training in the dressage competition arena in Aachen where they quarantined, and how eerie it was with empty stands and no decorations, having seen it in all its grandeur during the show. She so remembers Sam competing there with Brett earlier, and it was sort of surreal now in comparison.

The Paralympics were quite amazing — albeit hot and humid — and Sam took it all in his stride. The Grade 4, which then was the grade for the least disabled, was a seriously competitive state of affairs (about Prix St Georges level), and Georgia being small and Sam being so large (18hh) they looked amazing, says Carolyn. Georgia — with Carolyn’s attention and professional attitude, being that seriously competitive person — steered Sam into the best possible form in the few weeks they had. Georgia won bronze medals in the Championship test and the Freestyle, and was only 1% away from a gold medal in the latter.

Carolyn’s plans all came to fruition and Sam was well and truly getting the chance to become a seasoned, internationally travelled horse without too much pressure. The para sport for Australia was becoming a force to reckon with and that was not through luck but dedication and foresight and, of course, a talented team of coaches, mentors and committees!

“I still pinch myself when
I think where we went and
how well he performed.”

When Sam flew home, he went back to Brett’s in the Southern Highlands. After a short stint there they went to the CDI at the 2009 Dressage with the Stars and scored an amazing 74% in the Freestyle. Carolyn was travelling down each week to watch and help Brett and Sam in the Highlands and would stay overnight. It was a huge year of competition during 2009 for Sam and Brett. With Carolyn at the helm, it was an amazing combination and they did a lot of consolidating the Grand Prix, going from strength to strength with many good scores and wins.

The following year, 2010, was the year for WEG in Kentucky. With Sam going so well and having travelled and competed overseas, he was showing a wonderful attitude to everything from flying and new environments. He had proven cool as a competition horse, was honest in his training and work ethics, and generally was so easy to deal with, so it was decided to go for the WEG team. It was back overseas to represent Australia at the World Cup Final, which Sam had won the right to by winning the league final in Australia. The Final was in S’Hertogenbosch, in the Netherlands, where they finished in the top 10. From there it was making home base at Edward Gal’s while they were preparing for WEG.

“Edward was a wonderful friend to us and his training of Sam was exemplary,” recalls Carolyn. “Of course, we were unable to stay there all the time as Brett was making trips home to Australia, which meant that Edward would ride Sam in those times. He loved Sam as he did all his horses, and to think that we were privileged to see the training of all his horses in a completely transparent way was a credit to his horsemanship and riding. To be able to watch the famous Totilas in his daily work was just as any other horse in the barn. My time around Edward will always be close to me. He would help Brett warm up at all the competitions they went to, despite his busy schedule and having so much attention on himself and, of course, Totilas.

“I felt important when I
was with the gentleman.”

“He was a gentleman and an exceptional mentor, coach and rider. He was a wonderful man and a great friend, as was the same with his partner Hans Peter Minderhoud. Our time could not have been better or more positive. There was never a day when Totilas was not a very happy horse, as were all his horses and Sam. His partnership with all his horses was quite inspiring!”

Sam and Brett competed at Rotterdam and at the Hickstead CDI5* “World Dressage Masters” show for a second place to Carl Hester, and also at CHIO Aachen for a 10th place. Quite an incredible record for an Australian bred and trained horse. The team for WEG in Kentucky was Brett and Sam, Hayley Beresford and Relampago do Retiro, and Rachael Sanna riding Bev Edward’s stallion Jaybee Alabaster. WEG was quite the show for Brett and Victory Salute. From qualifying for the Freestyle and therefore getting into the top 15 in the world, they ended up ninth in the Freestyle — a placing that stands today as a record for an Australian at WEG.

In the lead up to WEG at Edward and Hans Peter’s, Sam was looked after by Bree Furze, who also went to the Games but as a general groom, and then took him to quarantine and flew home with him. “In the beginning of our relationship, we did have a few discussions as Sam was very important in everyone’s lives and he sort of set the pecking order,” explains Bree. “He made me realise he was a dressage horse, not an eventer that I was used to looking after! ‘There is a difference’, he said! It wasn’t long before we were the very best of mates and he was the gentlest giant ever.”

“To compete at WEG and finish in the top 10, achieve success at other international competitions, and also carry Georgia to two bronze medals at the Paralympics, simply tells you what an amazing horse he was. At Edward’s there was never a day when he didn’t compliment the big fellow for trying so hard! He was huge but he never doubted me when he had to squash under a low roof into a stable, float, truck or plane. He believed me and trusted me. I felt important when I was with the gentleman. He was honest and easy but with a big character. The nips he gave me when I wasn’t paying attention to grooming him… the nicker when my car would arrive and that expression when he saw the Allen’s Snakes Alive packet! Being his carer has been a highlight in my career and I so miss his beaming face that was always full of pleasure at being around. He was a candid and honest, wonderful horse who knew his importance and deservedly so. He was simply the BEST!” recalls Bree.

“He was the most
successful Australian-bred
horse of all time.”

It was an exciting time in so many respects. With the horse in the peak of health and fitness, and with all the Grand Prix movements truly established, it was time to return to Australia with a view to the London Olympics in two years. For Carolyn, it was business as usual teaching, judging and helping out with Victory Salute. It was always her plan to keep her eyes open for a young up-and-coming star to follow Sam, and at the nationals they inspected the bay gelding, Good as Gold. It was brought about through Mary Seefried, who told Carolyn she had noticed this horse in Queensland, as she knew she was after a second FEI horse.

Good as Gold was a striking bay horse and had a little more blood than Sam, being by Gymnastik Star and out of a thoroughbred mare. “Will”, as he was known, was purchased and was soon well and truly along the way to FEI with his changes and piaffe and passage. He competed for Brett at Prix St Georges late in the year and was establishing the work with no pressure. As talented as he was, he loved to get excited and could also be spooky.

On returning from overseas, Sam appeared to find it hard to acclimatise to the coming summer and had a few issues changing coat from one hemisphere to the other. Needless to say, he remained in light work and was fit and happy. In April of 2011 he competed for the first time since his return from Kentucky at Bowral Dressage and won the Grand Prix with a 71%. This was a lead in to the Sydney CDI a few weeks later where he won the Grand Prix with 70.3% and came second in the Grand Prix Special. Sam was finding the going a little tough and fitness was a bit of an issue. He was clipped for the Sydney CDI as his coat was still out of kilter for the Aussie summer. This was unfortunately the last competition where anyone would see Sam.

In August Carolyn decided it was time for a lifestyle change and moved to the beautiful Southern Highlands in Bowral with her brother. The climate was cooler and the gardening was wonderful and she was closer to her horses in training with Brett. She would make regular trips to Penrose where the horses were and helped in their training. They were both going well and, when Brett was away, which was quite a lot, it was the talented working student of Brett’s, David McKinnon, who would ride. Good as Gold competed at the Nationals and won Advanced Champion and all was going well with the horses until a minor lameness affected Sam’s schedule.

It was thought to be an abscess but after much investigation it was found he had a mild laminitic episode. It was discovered that Sam was actually suffering from Cushings, which explained the issues he’d had with his coat. Now often referred to as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID), less was known about the disease at the time and diagnosis was not as common as it is today.

The laminitis became worse and the pedal bone rotation was out of control. Every effort imaginable was made to help him through this critical time. Of course, Carolyn was rational in this very distressing time. Brett’s wife, Mel, played a major part in looking after Sam and Carolyn speaks highly of her attention to Sam’s every need. “She would sit with him day and night and never a medication round was a second late. She did the most wonderful job that any one can imagine for which I am forever grateful.”

Sam’s demise was indeed upsetting and to have to make the final decision was heart-wrenching — but for his sake it was a decision that was not difficult. It was the kindest way for he was continuing to regress despite the best of treatment. What an end to an amazing era for Victory Salute. He was the most successful Australian-bred dressage horse of all time.

On asking Carolyn what were the characteristics that made this huge horse such an amazing athlete, and what were her fondest memories of Sam, she says: “I never held high expectations of Sam in the beginning. He was such an honest horse with the most wonderful attitude and temperament. Cheeky and wanting to show off in the paddock as a younger horse yet always a kind and gentle horse who, as he grew older, became very important in his own right. Many different riders enjoyed him… even me a couple of times when no one was looking!

“He was in fact very easy to deal with and was an absolute lover of sweet treats, especially jelly snakes! He gave me so much joy in all he did, but above all, to see the honest progression he made through the ranks to Grand Prix, simply taking it all in his stride and trying every day to do his best, is as I remember him.

“I still pinch myself when I think where we went and how well he performed. It was so sad in the end, as a chance to be at London Olympics would have really been timely and fantastic, but with horses, as I said in the beginning, you can’t have high expectations and you have to take it all day by day. He was very special.”

Brett Parbery also remembers Sam with the greatest affection. “As with every facet of Sam’s life, he was a champion to the very end,” he says. “He fought a brave and noble fight and showed incredible courage during all his treatment. His loss leaves a giant hole in our heart as he was not only a great dressage horse, but the most loved character of our stable. He will always be my number one!”

The rise to fame of Victory Salute did not come from natural causes! It came from a very generous horse with three clear paces and then from the very experienced and competitive horsewoman in Carolyn Lieutenant. His rise to a competitive Grand Prix career came from very methodical training from the beginning. He was given time to mature and was never pressured in any of his training, which was always under the eyes of Carolyn who directed his path to the nth degree. She always gave Sam the best riders and training that she could possibly find and this in hindsight is the only logical way to get a horse to the top. To keep Sam happy and sound, and to take the results from training as they improved, was always appreciated by Carolyn who was an expert at seeing a glitch and fixing it. There were never any expectations put upon him and his success in competition was the icing on the cake.

This is what dreams are made of, and for Carolyn it was all part of her great adventure — yet sort of like another day in the office. Carolyn Lieutenant surely had some great times in some amazing offices!

In the March issue of Equestrian Life, Roger Fitzhardinge chats with Carolyn about the decade post-Victory Salute and how horses are still a part of her life today. EQ

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE TO READ:

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.
Catch up on Part Six of Carolyn’s story in our January issue here.

×

Enter your name and email to view the content.



* By providing your email via this form, you agree to receiving emails from Equestrian Life. You can unsubscribe at any time.