“(Cera Cadbury Z) is the
perfect horse for that event.”
“One thing that’s been 100%
from day dot is his quality of jump.”
“All four age class winners
were bred right here in Australia.”
Q&A WITH YOUNG HORSE GUEST RIDER AND JUDGE NICOLE BRUGGEMANN
Based in Gawler, South Australia, Nicole Bruggemann is one of Australia’s up and coming showjumping riders. She has ridden to World Cup level and produced many young horses through to Grand Prix. At 2021 DJWTS, Nicole was on the judging panel for the young horse classes — and a late call-up saw her jump in the saddle as the guest rider as well!
“We could have stood there and talked for
around 45 minutes trying to make
the decision, that’s how close they were.”
EQ LIFE: What made (six year old winner and overall young jumping horse Champion of Champions) Cera Cadbury Z a stand out horse for you?
NICOLE: He’s a very nice horse. What stood out to me was just the feel in his jump. To me, you can tell a lot about a horse through their consistency in the jump. When I rode him, the rideability to a jump and after a jump was there, and then jumping an 80cm cross rail, it felt like he was jumping a 1.30m vertical. Sometimes a horse might do that the first time… the second time around, I wasn’t expecting the same response, but he did everything exactly the same. His jump did not change at all; to me that was quite a good thing because he felt very nice over a jump!
EQ LIFE: This was the first year where there were no international guest judges at DJWTS, and instead you took up the reins. Was this the first time that you had done this type of judging where you get on and ride different horses?
N: Yes, it was indeed. I originally was not supposed to be the riding judge, but unfortunately the judge that was supposed to be riding had a back injury, so I got the call that I had to ride, which was slightly terrifying but exciting at the same time! I’d not done anything like that before, whereas both the other judges (James Patterson-Robinson and John McMillan) had had past experience at this sort of thing. So it was a little overwhelming to be asked to do that when it was very new to me, but at the same time I was excited to have that experience.
Normally I’m too busy riding at shows to be able to watch, so to be able to sit there and have a look at young horses and see how people train young horses, the differences in them and how they go was really interesting to be a part of. I enjoyed it. I thought it was a good experience; it was a great weekend!
EQ LIFE: Jumping on a four-year-old versus a seven-year-old and judging horses at different stages of training would be challenging… how did you find that aspect of it?
N: It’s hard because the horses didn’t get the opportunity to do a lot last year, so you have some horses in the six-year-old class that were still five-year-olds mentally. It just came down to experience in the ring. But then at the same time it’s hard because, for example, the seven-year-old is 12 months in front of a six-year-old, but you don’t know where that six-year-old would be if Covid didn’t happen last year. So it’s hard to really gauge where a horse should be at, depending on how much it did or didn’t do last year.
Having said that, the education from the four-year-old to the seven-year-old was fantastic. I had no doubt that was going to be the case because they are all ridden by fantastic riders, so the rideability of each horse was phenomenal regardless of the age of the horse.
Overall, myself and the other judges thought the six-year-old (Cera Cadbury Z) and the seven-year-old (Yalambi’s Jadore) were quite close together. When it came down to picking the overall winner, it was tough for us to make that decision. It was very hard to split them apart; we could have stood there and talked for around 45 minutes trying to decide between the two, that’s how close they were.
EQ LIFE: All four young horse winners were bred in Australia, which is very exciting. With this in mind, what are your thoughts on the future of showjumping horses in Australia?
N: Oh yes, absolutely. I made a comment about that when I was talking about the horses after I’d ridden them, in the sense that the future of the sport is bright and how great the breeding is in Australia now. There are a lot of nice homebred horses and people in Australia are putting in so much effort, pride and joy into the breeding of their horses — and they are seeing the results. There was so much homebred talent at DJWTS, and I think it’s only going to continue. It’s going to be exciting to watch the young horses we saw at the show and see them progress into the future.
I have no doubt that the sport is in fantastic hands. People are now trusting the process and really enjoying breeding homebred horses and getting the satisfaction of seeing them progress through the stages and seeing what they can do. So I definitely think the sport is heading in a great way. EQ