ISSUE 64
MARCH 2021

WORLD CLASS

DRESSAGE BY THE SEA
EVENTING SUMMER CLASSIC
BRINGS OUT THE BEST
HEATH RYAN’S HEADS UP
FOR BRISBANE 2032

PLUS: TRISTAN TUCKER’S RUNAWAY SUCCESS, FROM HRH TO TOTAL DIVA FOR MAREE TOMKINSON, CAROLYN LIEUTENANT SMELLS THE ROSES, KAREN MILLER FULFILS FANTASY, BRETT PARBERY’S TRUE CALLING, PERCY THE OTT STAR, KERRY MACK & POLYVAGAL THEORY, MAXINE BRAIN & TOXIC METALS, & A HEART-THROB SAVES HIDALGO

AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
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ISSUE 64

CONTENTS

MARCH 2021
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A few Words

FROM THE CHAIRMAN

ROBERT MCKAY

Ryan's Rave

START PLANNNG FOR BRISBANE 2032

BY HEATH RYAN

Dressage

WORLD-CLASS DRESSAGE AT WILLINGA PARK

BY ELLIE JOLLEY & ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Eventing

SURPRISES AND SUCCESS AT SIEC

BY ELLIE JOLLEY

Special feature

COURAGEOUS KIWI BLAZES HER OWN TRAIL (Part 8)

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Lifestyle

VIGGO MORTENSEN SAVES THE DAY!

BY SUZY JARRATT

Dressage

BRETT PARBERY FINDS HIS TRUE CALLING

BY ADELE SEVERS & AMANDA YOUNG

Property

FANTASY WRITER FULFILS HER OWN FANTASY

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Training

TRISTAN TUCKER’S QUEST FOR KNOWLEDGE

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Training

UNDERSTANDING YOUR HORSE’S INNER THOUGHTS

BY KERRY MACK

Dressage

FROM HER HIGHNESS TO TOTAL DIVA

BY EQ LIFE

Health

HEAVY METAL TOXICITIES

BY DR MAXINE BRAIN

Off the Track

PERCY MAKES HIS PRESENCE FELT

BY AMANDA YOUNG

My Favourite Dish

ORANGE POPPY SEED SYRUP CAKE

WITH KAREN MILLER
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The promise of exquisite riding and equestrian culture lives on at Willinga Park’s Dressage by the Sea, which delivered two dressage shows of high-quality riding and competition across a fairytale-perfect 10 days in late February.

“He let you be your own person
and then helped with another layer.”

The well-established champions such as Mary Hanna and New Zealander John Thompson reminded Willinga Park why they are the best, while younger riders emerged to carve out a name for themselves in the dressage world. Among them is the newest exciting team member to join the ranks of founder Terry Snow’s dressage program, Jayden Brown.

Jayden Brown is now a name synonymous with dressage at Willinga Park. A quiet and unassuming, tall and wiry young man, at 32 he has an empathetic passion to ride dressage to the very highest level. His attention to detail and compassionate yet determined and positive manner has every one of his horses on his side; honest and willing, enjoying their work.

Jayden has had plenty of international success and experience and has worked and trained in some illustrious stables, none more so than the famous Mt St John in England where he rode, competed and trained with Emile Faurie. “Emile was a great mentor and trainer and simply said it how it was,” says Jayden. “He would tell you what needed to get better and let you get on with it. If you were having trouble doing so, he was only too willing to offer exercises and advice on ways around it. He let you be your own person and then helped with another layer.

“I liked his way a lot, as it wasn’t always black and white, and it was so good to have the chance to do things a little in your own way – and now, here at Willinga, I can implement this strategy. Jenny Gehrke has been a friend, mentor and coach since the earliest days and now she comes here and stays, and we work together for a few weeks at a time and then we go and do our own thing.”

Jayden’s hard work paid off handsomely at the two shows at Dressage by the Sea, with Jayden and WillingaPark Emotion (imp) coming 1st and 3rd in the Medium classes at Event 2, and with WillingaPark Fangio (imp), winning both the Medium classes at Event 1 and the Six-Year-Old class. WillingaPark Quincy B (imp) won every class he was in, and in his first-ever Prix St Georges with over 70%, and the Seven-Year-Old classes in the high 80% range! WillingaPark Fusion (imp), a wonderful chestnut gelding, who is sensitive and volatile but a serious international big tour prospect, placed 3rd in the Prix St Georges. Willinga Park’s Sky Diamond won the Intermediate II with a big score indeed for his first crack at a big tour test, and is super talented. Then riding the five-year-old Totilas x Florencio son, WillingaPark Tito, Jayden placed highly with big scores in the Five-Year-Old classes.

With quite a line-up of talent at his fingertips, Jayden has now been at Willinga Park riding for the centre’s owner and founder Terry Snow for just over 13 months. He was working for 18 months at Mt St John before returning to his parents’ property in Queensland, where he kept and trained all his and his owners’ horses. He then applied for the position at Willinga Park when Brett Parbery chose not to renew his contract there.

“I can’t believe in my lifetime
I’ve been able to see this,
let alone be a part of it.”

Jayden says that of all the places he has worked there is none that can compare to Willinga Park and Terry makes sure that the horses have everything they need. With the wonderfully surfaced indoor and outdoor surfaces, the big airy stables with all the mod cons, a horse walker and treadmill as well as a water walking pool, it truly is an international-standard venue. There are wonderful riding trails, fabulous safe and roomy day paddocks for all the horses and a full-time vet who is not only working in the breeding side but also always around if any horse gets any injury. He has two fantastic grooms in Maddie and Lillie, although Jayden is always willing to pick up a box or plait a competition horse whenever needed, and the team at Willinga Park all work together no matter what area they are in. From the tradesmen to the gardeners and the office staff!

Terry Snow is always in the pursuit of excellence and is always passionate and enthusiastic to offer all the support needed yet allows everyone to do their job with diligence and respect, and with the view to excellence always in the forefront. Jayden is constantly in contact with Terry as to how each and every horse is going but is given the freedom to train and school the horses the way he feels he needs to.

Terry says he is immensely pleased with how Jayden is progressing with the Willinga Park team. “The quality of the horse is normally accentuated by the rider, so it’s a tribute to Jayden and all the riders, and the horses,” says Terry. “Of course, if you’ve got a really clever horse, that helps, but the riders are the people that make a difference and get the big scores. We’ve seen big scores here and that’s a tribute to the riders. You could put me on a brilliant horse, and it would look pretty average!”

The proof is indeed in the competition arena, and if there is one thing that the two Dressage By the Sea competitions have proven, it is that Jayden’s training is producing wonderfully competent dressage horses that are not only distinctive to watch but exude confidence. They are always getting stronger and better, mentally as well as physically, at each start and that look towards excellence is obvious.

Jayden is an extraordinary person on and off the horse. His single-mindedness towards his horses and the ladder they climb to get to the top is second to none. He never over-faces his horses, either in training or in competition, and waits for the brilliance to come to the horses, not the other way around. The comment that sums up Jayden’s training, empathy and edge towards a great competition horse is: “We go as fast as we can to reach the next level, but we always take as much time as each horse needs”.

Of course, Dressage by the Sea is only possible due to the incredible work done by Terry and Ginette Snow, and all the wonderful staff at Willinga Park. Terry says, “What a fantastic event it has been and what high-quality dressage we’ve all seen. The judging was brilliant and there was very little separation between the judges, which shows you that they were on the ball and well attuned to what was happening. It’s not only dressage, of course, it’s a day out on the (NSW) South Coast in our beautiful gardens and we’re very pleased that many people came here to enjoy the equestrian event but also enjoyed the day out at Willinga.”

With such an exciting start to Jayden Brown’s time at Willinga, the future of Willinga Park’s dressage team looks very bright in his young and capable hands.

QUEEN MARY RECLAIMS CROWN

Whenever five-time Olympian Dressage rider Mary Hanna is in Australia, Dressage by the Sea is always on her competition calendar. “Without any reservation, I can say that this is probably the best show I’ve been to in the world,” says Mary. “It’s just amazing. The horses love it, the people love it, we just have the best time here. Everything is set here for you to get the best score you can get.”

Helping Mary deliver an incredible clean sweep of all the Grand Prix classes were her two beautiful mares, Syriana and Calanta. The 15-year-old Syriana also achieved two almost identical 78% scores in her Freestyle tests across both events. Mary says Syriana has really shown just how powerful she can be. “This whole week, every time I’ve gone to do an extended trot, I just have to point on the diagonal and just sit and be still and she just goes ‘you just stay there and I’ll fix it for you’. I love that!”

“This is probably the best show
I’ve been to in the world.”

Mary’s other mare, Calanta, certainly held her own against her “sister” Syriana. In the Cox Architecture Grand Prix in the second show, Mary placed 1st and 2nd on Syri and Cali respectively with less than 1% between her two rides. “Calanta and Syri are very different people,” says Mary. “Syri’s very quirky, and she’s a little tricky on the ground. Calanta’s just the most delightful person. She’s a soft and beautiful person. My manager at home, Tori, says Calanta’s like the one that would always like to have a tea party, sit down with everyone and talk lovely things. She’s just a gorgeous person and she loves to work with you.”

After returning to Australia to escape Covid-19 lockdowns overseas, Mary says she has been using the time to perfect Syriana’s freestyle test. With help on the Australiana-themed music from Lyndal Oatley, Mary says she’s very proud of the test she worked so hard on. “I absolutely love freestyles. I love the fact that you get the chance to express yourself through your music and your choreography. I think that’s wonderful and dressage is supposed to be kind of like a ballet with the horse, so to be able to incorporate your own ideas of what you love in music and make a choreography that suits your horse is just a really lovely thing to do,” she says.

Casting her gaze ahead, Mary says she hopes she will be able to bring her Olympic representations to a full half-dozen! “We’re doing the best we can,” she says. “I don’t know if there’s going to be Olympics, but I hope there is. It’s very difficult here because we don’t have any CDIs at the moment. We’re applying to the FEI to find a way that we can have CDIs. It’s very complex now and tricky with selection. I just don’t know how it’s going to work. All you can do is just enjoy your horses and keep riding, going to competitions, and work hard to ride the best you can and let’s see what happens. Nobody knows what the future holds. But I’ve got no intention of giving up right now!”

Nipping at Mary’s heels throughout the Grand Prix classes was New Zealand rider John Thompson and nine-year-old stallion JHT Chemistry. The pair, who have already qualified for the Olympics, consistently scored well over 70% in most of their classes, no doubt keeping John well in the eyesight of New Zealand’s selectors.

The overall standard of competition at Willinga Park in 2021 blew away the spectators, judges, and organisers alike. If this competition is indicative that Dressage by the Sea will continue to get better each year, next year’s event should be even more breathtaking. EQ

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