ISSUE 65
APRIL 2021
A BRIGHT
FUTURE

YOUNG STARS SHINE
HELL OR HIGH WATER
IN THE HUNTER
LYNDAL OATLEY’S
NEW SOULMATE

PLUS: HEATH’S ROAD TO DRESSAGE GOLD, ROHAN LUXMOORE LOOKS TO THE FUTURE, KERRY MACK’S 23 SHOULDER-IN EXERCISES, WAYNE COPPING & NARACOORTE HORSE TRIALS, LIFE-SIZE HORSE ART, JAPPELOUP ON THE SILVER SCREEN, AMY STOVOLD AIMS HIGH, GENETIC TESTING, DIGESTIVE HEALTH & MORE

AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
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ISSUE 65

CONTENTS

APRIL 2021
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A few Words

FROM THE CHAIRMAN

ROBERT MCKAY

Ryan's Rave

TAKE #2: BRISBANE OLYMPICS 2032 DRESSAGE

BY HEATH RYAN

Special feature

THROUGH HELL OR HIGH WATER

BY ELLIE JOLLEY

Showjumping

BILLY RAYMONT GETS THE CHOCOLATES

BY ADELE SEVERS

Dressage

VIVA ELVIVE! LYNDAL’S NEW SOULMATE

BY ELLIE JOLLEY

Training

23 SHOULDER-IN EXERCISES TO IMPROVE YOUR HORSE

BY DR KERRY MACK

Lifestyle

THE LITTLE HORSE THAT COULD

BY SUZY JARRATT

Lifestyle

THE ART OF HORSES IS UNFINISHED BUSINESS

BY ADELE SEVERS

Health

EQUINE DIGESTIVE HEALTH: OMEPRAZOLE & THE MICROBIOME

BY KENTUCKY EQUINE RESEARCH

Health

THE BENEFITS OF GENETIC TESTING

BY DR MAXINE BRAIN

Eventing

ROHAN LUXMOORE LOOKS TO THE FUTURE

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Eventing

THE GOING IS ALWAYS GOOD AT NARACOORTE

BY ADELE SEVERS

Dressage

THE STARS SHINE AT DJWTS

BY DANA KRAUSE

Dressage

A YOUNG RIDER SEIZES THE MOMENT

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Dressage

AMY STOVOLD IS AIMING HIGH AGAIN

BY PHOEBE OLIVER
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Lyndal Oatley’s Elvive has triumphantly burst onto the Grand Prix circuit, collecting a new personal best score for the European-based Australian at a national dressage show in Germany.

“This mare’s my heart and soul
and I’ve put everything into her.”

Lyndal Oatley’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare showed her outstanding potential for high-level competition scoring a massive 76.2 per cent to win her Grand Prix debut in Germany. If that performance is anything to indicate what Lyndal and Elvive are capable of achieving, the world may have just caught its first real glimpse of the Australian rider’s future Olympic champion.

Now home with husband, Swedish dressage rider Patrik Kittel, at their spectacular property, Eulenhof, in north-western Germany, Lyndal has had time for the extraordinary test sink in. “I was super thrilled and excited,” she says. “It’s really hard to get good scores nationally in Grand Prix in Germany. I don’t think even Patrik’s had 76 per cent in a national GP, particularly as a debut. But I wasn’t really thinking about the score… this mare’s my heart and soul and I’ve put everything into her.”

Lyndal and Patrik set out for the FEI Grand Prix at the Sportshorse Scholz Dressage Day at the start of March. Due to restrictions on numbers, this was the first time the couple had gone to a show on their own. “Patrik was groom, husband, and trainer which all the home team found hysterical!”

For some riders, this was the first time they had been able to compete since the pandemic gripped Europe one year ago. For Lyndal, it was her opportunity to finally unleash Elvive’s Grand Prix talent after the mare’s debut was delayed last year. “Ellie was ready for Grand Prix quite some time ago, but corona has made that difficult,” explains Lyndal. “Her strength is in Grand Prix and upwards — that’s what she does best.”

While warming up for their test, Lyndal was told the rider before her had pulled out and she was given the option of going in then or waiting. Eager to show what her little mare could do, Lyndal chose to enter the arena early. “Patrik said, ‘do you want to take the whip?’” Lyndal recalls. “I said ‘no, she doesn’t need a whip; she feels great. Let me trust her and she trusts me’. And in we went.”

“I just was so thrilled,” says Lyndal. “I finally got her out to Grand Prix, and she showed what she can do. And she did it so easily with no pressure, and so naturally, so focused and with me. The feeling was amazing. And then I came out and I was in the truck with her, and then Patrik told me the score. I had to ask twice because I couldn’t believe it. I just burst into tears. It was such an amazing moment. And to be there with Ellie at the time when I got the score was really special.”

In one way, dressage is like an iceberg. The world only sees the tip — a six-minute, well-ridden test — while underneath the surface lie years of dedication and careful training. For Lyndal and Ellie, their six minutes in the arena was a goal that they had been working towards for the past five years. “She was my focus while I was pregnant,” says Lyndal. “Every horse-related goal has been towards getting this mare out and she means the world to me.”

“That is [her normal standard] but she can also do a lot more. She’s just a natural freak that loves to move, loves to work and finds it all really quite easy which is enjoyable to ride but it puts all the focus on you as a rider to do your job well. She does everything with such elasticity and elegance and ease that you don’t see many horses that move like that. That was the reason why we bought her in the first place, because of her possible potential at Grand Prix, when she was seven.

“What was overwhelmingly humbling was the amount of support that I received once Ellie competed and realised the journey we’ve been on. I found it so inspiring that you don’t give up and you listen to your horse. It means that sometimes when things look a bit dark, things can always get better and you can reach new goals. The support that my family has had as well was really humbling from across the world. It just shows you what an amazing sport we have that it brings people together when things go well, and that’s a lovely thing.”

Now Lyndal is turning her attention to the future and her next move with Ellie’s career. “The next step is hopefully a CDI start,” says Lyndal. “Now, it’s a bit difficult with what’s going on over here [with Europe experiencing further equestrian event shutdowns due to an EHV-1 outbreak]. We should start up in the middle of April, hopefully, if everything goes okay. And then I’ve got to find shows that we can even get into because everybody’s in the same boat and no one’s competing over here, so there’s going to be a lot of riders for probably not enough shows. This is going to be the next challenge for us ahead.”

“I couldn’t believe it
— I just burst into tears.”

TOKYO… A FAMILY AFFAIR? 

After being postponed a year and set to proceed without international spectators, this year’s Tokyo Olympics will be like no other. And with the competition world grinding to a halt last year, riders are desperately searching for opportunities to qualify ahead of team selection. For the two-time Olympic rider, Lyndal says Toyko is certainly not off the table for her.

“Everything’s always a possibility,” she says. “I keep reminding myself that Sandro Boy hadn’t done his first Grand Prix internationally until April and he went to the London Olympics of that same year. You just have to give yourself the best chance and set everything up properly, while still keeping the horse’s best interests at heart.

“I’ve made a good show program I think fits very well for her, so long as corona and herpes [EHV-1] keep away. And there are not many horses in our [Australian] team possibilities that have achieved 76 either internationally or nationally. The only person has been Simone [Pearce] and she’s doing a spectacular job over here and I’m very proud of her. So, I think it’s definitely a possibility and to have horses achieving such big scores would be a great thing at the Olympics.”

However, the challenge facing many riders is how to qualify for the Olympics in time with competitions in Europe being affected by Covid-19 restrictions and, more recently, the EHV-1 outbreak. “It’s been over a year now since the World Cup was cancelled last year. There was a short period of time when a few national shows went along and a couple of internationals, but that was only for a brief period of time,” explains Lyndal. “Then you had to be lucky enough to enter the right shows during that period, which I wasn’t. I entered everything that was cancelled and then it was too late to enter other shows!”

However, Lyndal isn’t the only rider in the Eulenhof household who has Olympic aspirations this year. A three-time Olympic rider for Sweden, Patrik has also been preparing his team of horses for prospective dressage team selection.

“It’s very, very rare that a couple is married with a two-year-old child that wants to compete at the same Olympics,” says Lyndal. “And this year, especially with corona, it makes it very difficult because we can’t have extra people with us. And we can’t leave Emelia at home because it’s for two and a half weeks. In the very best-case scenario that both of us were able to go and qualify for the Olympics, then the logistical issues of having a two-year-old daughter and no close relatives in the same country becomes a big problem. I don’t quite know the answer to that yet.

“For now, it’s a matter of getting the horses all out. I’ve got my three. Patrik’s got four amazing up-and-coming Grand Prix horses that need to start getting out and be competed, plus his top two with Delaunay owned by my parents and also Wellie (Well Done De La Roche) so we then have a lot going on with us.”

“It’s very rare that a couple is
married with a two-year-old child that wants
to compete at the same Olympics!”

STABLE ROLL CALL 

Making up Lyndal’s dynamic and varied team is her newly GP-debuted mare Elvive, her 12-year-old gelding Eros, and Swedish Warmblood mare Diva.

“Eros is feeling fantastic,” says Lyndal. “He was always bought as a project to build up and develop, and also to get out and compete again, so it’s been a really fun journey with him and he just keeps getting better and better. He’s getting much more scope and self-balance and self-carriage. He’s a funny, quirky, overgrown pony with a lot of cheek and that’s a lot of fun to ride, especially in relation to Ellie who’s more the natural talent that’s sensitive and vibrant. They both feel fantastic and I’m really happy with where they’re at and where they’re heading.”

A change may soon be coming for Lyndal’s team though, as she decides the future of her mare Diva. “I’m currently at that crossroad where you decide ‘do you keep going and have her as a third Grand Prix horse?’  — which is a blessing, seriously, how often does that happen in your life? — or to find a lovely home for her with a young rider that can develop. I’m sort of torn at this moment which direction that will be. But if the right client would come along where I know she’d have a lovely home, I would consider that because I think it’s really nice to give younger riders an opportunity on a super horse for Small Tour or U25 as she finds it all so easy and has already placed at Grand Prix. She would give someone an amazing experience.”

Along with her three fur babies, Lyndal has also had her hands full with her daughter, Emelia. “With having a two-and-a-half-year-old child, I’ve always been adamant that I focus my morning on my horses and in the afternoon it’s about Emelia. And with the three horses, I want to do my job properly and right for those horses, so for me that’s the perfect number of horses to ride and train every day. It keeps me riding-fit, keeps my brain in it and I can give them the time and energy that they deserve.”

LIFE IN LOCKED-DOWN EUROPE

It’s been more than a year since Covid-19 changed the normal way of life for everyone. For many, it meant retreating to their homes and a complete halt in interaction with the outside world. But with Eulenhof being the home base for so many riders, Lyndal found herself cocooned within a bubble of equestrian-focused activity.

“It’s amazingly stimulating and
motivating to be around such good
riders and good horses.”

“I’ve never seen the stable stronger,” says Lyndal. “We have an amazing team here and we’re very fortunate to have so many Grand Prix riders in this stable, and Grand Prix horses, and up-and-coming horses. It’s amazingly stimulating and motivating to be around such good riders and good horses so then we’ve managed to really stimulate each other and bounce off each other when we’ve had so much isolation now for so long. But we’re all missing home. Our team’s mostly Swedish so they haven’t been home either. For them it’s hard and for me it’s extremely hard.”

“I’m desperately missing my family. I’ve missed my sister’s pregnancy and her baby being born. I’ve missed a lot and that’s very confronting for me when I’m very close to my family. Emelia’s growing up and I want my parents to be a part of that. But I’m not the only person in this boat. All of us are from everywhere, but especially our Aussie mates over here are struggling with the same thing so we’ve created a great support network where we all look after each other. I think that’s been a way that we’ve all come closer together, from the showjumping and eventing and dressage world, and para as well. It’s been quite a nice experience in that respect to be close together and rely on one another.”

To keep herself sane during lockdown, Lyndal says she threw herself into the smaller things in life. “You have to look after your health and your mental sanity,” she says. “For me that meant working out every day, keeping myself occupied. I spent a lot of time in the garden, spent a lot of time grooming my horses, spent a lot of time involving Emelia and making sure I can help her develop as a little person as best she can because she’s missed out a lot not being able to go to kindergarten and meet other children and socialise.

“I’m sick of cooking,” she laughs. “I love cooking but I’m sick of cooking! I miss going out to dinner. I miss seeing friends. It has just been a matter of staying strong and taking one day at a time and keeping yourself entertained. Thankfully we have our horses.” EQ

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