“He is dressage bred. A dressage lady bought him freshly broken when he was three. She had him professionally schooled by all the best dressage riders in the state. But he is just really spooky… like, really, really spooky. And it got to a point where he dumped someone in Centennial Park and galloped around the place for 45 minutes. And that wasn’t even the worst thing he did, but it was a bit of the last straw for her. So, she took him out to George Sanna’s and said, ‘sell it as a jumping horse, I just I can’t deal with it anymore!’.
“So George jumped him a little bit and then they called my husband and they said, ‘look, we’ve got this horse here. We think it will event. It really moves. It can jump but it’s not quite careful enough for a straight showjumper. But we think it will make a nice eventer’. We were definitely not looking for a horse at the time, but I had just sold one so I had the money in my pocket! We went over thinking maybe we’ll find a client for it but Nick saw me trotting it around and said we have to buy this horse.
“The old owner still stays in touch. She loves that he’s gone eventing. And she loves that he has a life because he was always just a spooky idiot, essentially. And he is still a spook. I have to be very careful. Every day I ride him at home in the arena and if something is different he disappears from underneath me. It’s not changed at all, it’s just that when he’s competing, he concentrates on me more than the things that are scary.
“Although on cross country [at SIEC], he did nearly spit me and nearly ran into a tree spooking at an 80cm log! He definitely was never going to be a dressage horse. He couldn’t stand being in a 20×60 every day. He’s a quirky, funny horse but he’s going to go a long way.”
Being challenged on the ground or in the saddle is something Katie Taliana has had plenty of experience with after working for British eventer and royal family member Zara Phillips (Tindall). “I worked for Sharmayne Spencer for a couple of years straight out of school. Her cousin is quite good friends with Zara. So, I said to Sharmayne that I wanted to go overseas and do some travelling. She helped me set up what was supposed to be a short-term job with Zara while I was sort of travelling. Well, I ended up staying there for three years and didn’t do any travelling other than to horse events. But I loved it. It was really good fun. She’s really good to work for. It was a good team. I competed a few horses for her, which was very generous of her. And then I found Trevalgar II over there and competed him while I was there.
“Trevalgar was six when I got him over there. I got him very cheap. I intended to stay over there, and I was supposed to groom for Zara at London 2012, but I then I met my husband on the internet. So, I came home, brought the horse with me, and I’ve been here ever since.”
Now, Katie is turning her attention to Revelwood Wynston Street’s future; one which she hopes will be extremely bright after the Warmblood won only his second three-star event at SIEC. “I don’t plan to take him out too much now, so he won’t go to Tamworth. He’ll go to Wallaby Hill and do the short format. And then he’s going to do Sydney in the long format. And then probably after that, he’ll upgrade. So, we’re not going to spend long at three-star. That’s sort of my plan and then do a four-star long at the end of the year, sort of hoping to get in the eye of the selectors for the year after for WEG. We all have those hopes and thoughts.
“It’s been a real advantage being a part of the High Performance NEXT Gen squad through the NSW Institute of Sport. The lessons with Rod Brown and Prue Barret have really benefited Wynston’s progress through the grades.”
Following close behind Katie and Wynston in the Eventing Summer Classic at SIEC in second place was Carlene Barton riding APH Henrik on 36.30 penalties. Placing in both third and fifth place was Gemma Tinney on Be My Daisy and Dalenna Daydream. And Junior Rider Charlie Richardson held his own in fourth place on Bellbirds Sandpiper.
In the Randwick Equine Centre CCN4*-S, Sam Lyle took out the win on the 11-year-old gelding BF Valour after a good run on cross country placed him into first. “I thought the cross country course was perfect for this time of year, and for the first event of the year. It had some interesting questions, but it wasn’t crazy tough,” says Sam. “I didn’t push him super-fast on cross country. I just let him run at the speed he wanted to go, and he jumped really well.”
Close behind Sam and BF Valour on 51.20 penalties was Emma Mason and Warrego Marco Polo. Olympian Heath Ryan finished in third place riding the nine-year-old gelding Bronze Boy R. In fourth place was Rachael Lee and Chicobello, with Tara Rogers rounding out the top five riders with Denison Park Smooth.
Leading from start to finish, NSW rider Andrew Barnett and the rising 10-year-old gelding Go Tosca dominated the Horseland CCN3*-S with an impressive score of 26.00 penalties.
Andrew says the grounds were perfect for the event due to rain in the days leading up to the weekend.
“The venue was fantastic. By the time we got there, everything had settled, so it was very unusual to have such lovely, green grass at this time of the year at SIEC,” says Andrew.
“The committee did a great job. I think it’s such a tough gig, especially with all the Covid restrictions and things they had to fill out. It was really exciting to be back in a slightly more normal atmosphere.