ISSUE 66
MAY 2021
SANTIAGO
SINGS

FOR MATTHEW DOWSLEY
SAM JEFFREE
MAN ON A MISSION
SHARON JARVIS FINDS
HER UNICORN

PLUS: GRACE KAY, THE HORSES OF GILI, CELEBRITY CUTTING CHALLENGE, PIGGY MARCH, WILLINGA PARK’S GOLD BUCKLE, ROGER’S TIPS FOR THE MEDIUM TOUR, KERRY MACK’S DRESSAGE FOR JUMPERS, THE INS AND OUTS OF BUYING A HORSE, A NEW APPROACH TO LAMENESS DETECTION & MY FRIEND FLICKA

AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
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ISSUE 66

CONTENTS

MAY 2021
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A few Words

FROM THE CHAIRMAN

ROBERT MCKAY

Ryan's Rave

SELECTION DIFFICULTIES FOR AUSSIE DRESSAGE RIDERS

BY HEATH RYAN

Dressage

MATTHEW DOWSLEY & SANTIAGO NAIL IT

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Campdrafting

BUCKLE UP FOR A WILD TIME AT WILLINGA PARK

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Dressage

GRACE KAY GOES HER OWN WAY

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Special feature

THE INS & OUTS OF BUYING A HORSE

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Cutting

SPARKS FLY WHEN CUTTING MEETS RACING

BY AMANDA YOUNG

EQ Journeys

HELPING THE HORSES OF GILI

BY ELLIE JOLLEY

Eventing

SAM JEFFREE, MAN ON A MISSION

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Dressage

10 TIPS FOR RIDING THE MEDIUM TOUR TESTS

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE / EQ LIFE

Eventing

PIGGY’S SUCCESS KEEPS MARCHING ON

BY ELLI BIRCH

Health

THE RIDDEN HORSE PAIN ETHOGRAM

BY DR MAXINE BRAIN

Lifestyle

MY FRIEND FLICKA

BY SUZY JARRATT

Para Equestrian

SHARON JARVIS FINDS HER UNICORN

BY ADELE SEVERS

Training

DRESSAGE FOR SHOWJUMPERS

BY DR KERRY MACK
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Matthew Dowsley never thought he would find another horse as great as his beloved San Jose — until he found Santiago, a horse he initially declined to ride.

“It was inevitable that he was
a very sought-after horse.”

Matthew Dowsley needs little introduction in the sport of dressage, not only in Australia but internationally. He has trained many horses to National Grand Prix Champion status. There was Gullit, who was reserve for the Rome WEG and who was sold to a client of Carl Hester’s; Carl rode him to represent Britain at the Sydney Olympics. There was Cinderella, who competed at the WEG at Aachen. And there was Prestige a few years ago, who scored over 70% at his few Grand Prix starts… now the one to beat them all is Santiago!

Matthew was in Europe and was offered a two-year-old colt by Sandro Hit x Rubinstein x Weltmeyer by the breeder Sylvia Johannsen from Hanover and it was connection at first sight. This stallion was San Jose, and he was imported and broken in and trained to Advanced by the age of six. Matthew was simply crazy about this stallion and his amazing temperament and rideability. He was saying that it was as if he had been here before. There was never a day in training when he went back to the stables that his work and understanding wasn’t better than the previous day! He was the most exciting horse that Matthew had ever sat on.

To his dismay, San Jose died after a serving accident that led to two colic surgeries before his battle for life was ended. Matthew to this day is still shattered at the loss and lost enthusiasm until one day a friend who had bred a Sandro Hit x Florestan colt called and said he must come and have a look to see if he may suit, as he was similar to San Jose. Matthew decided to have a look and it again was immediate attachment and he purchased the colt to be named Santiago!

The mother of Santiago, Fashionista, was owned by friend and student Sally Keen (nee Latona, originally from Hobart) and was imported as a broodmare from Kasselmann’s at PSI. The mare also is the mother of the very successful MI Sirtainly Sir. After Matthew had Santiago at home, two of his foreign students, one from France and Stefano Chessa from Italy, broke him in and started to work him as a three-year-old. He qualified in the young horse classes and was the winner of the five-year-old class at Dressage & Jumping with the Stars in 2016 and went on to be Champion of Champions; the following year he again qualified well and finish third in the six-year-olds. As a seven-year-old he was Medium and Advanced Champion at the NSW State Championships and was working on all the FEI movements. San Jose was also a former DJWTS Champion of Champions, winning with Matthew in 2010.

It was inevitable that he was a very sought-after horse and, as it happens, Emma Weel from Carrara in Queensland was looking and it was love at first sight when she saw Santiago! He was purchased and left Matthew’s property to be ridden by Emma and proved to be an absolute delight. Matthew would go to Nicole Tough’s, where Emma was training, to teach at the property and help with the further training of Santiago. Emma would always ask Matthew to get on and have a ride, but Matthew would always say it was Emma’s horse and, as much as he would love to ride him, he was going well and there was no need.

“It is a match made in heaven.”

MOMENT OF WEAKNESS

It was about a year ago that Matthew weakened one day and rode Santiago. Emma was quite emotional at the end of that ride and insisted that Santiago should be back with Matthew and continue training to Grand Prix. That is what has happened and Emma and her husband, Paul, could not spend happier times than watching their horse perform in training or competition with Matthew. It is a match made in heaven and Matthew has to agree that Santiago is a very, very special horse that really has struck a chord with him.

The two have gone from strength to strength. He competed at Prix St Georges to score well over 70% and then an Inter I for 76% when Matthew decided it was time they stepped up to Grand Prix. He had two starts at Inter II at Bowral and one at Clarendon for a 72%, and then a Grand Prix start at a competition at Clarendon before going straight in to the Sydney CD-Lite. The rest is history, with a win in the Inter II there with a score of 74.735%, then a 73.196% to be second to Syriana and Mary Hanna, who scored 73.913%. To be beaten by a mere 0.717% by a five-time Olympian in the Grand Prix! And then, in the Grand Prix Special, his first ever time riding this test, Matt and Santiago won, beating Mary Hanna and Calanta with a 74.383%!

At the final halt (not that many would know) Matthew was extremely emotional and was in fact overwhelmed with emotion as he saluted and hugged Santiago. It was a very special moment for all who witnessed this truly wonderful performance. Santiago is exceptional and you can’t say he has a special talent for a particular movement in the Grand Prix… he has a special talent for every movement! This talent is brought to the fore by the expertise of Matthew. He is still and empathetic in his riding and they make it all seem effortless and seamless as one movement moulds to the next with consummate ease. From beginning to end you could have heard a pin drop in the Indoor at Sydney – and this is his first competition at that level and with that atmosphere.

Matthew’s take on Santiago is nothing but praise for his talent and above all his fantastic work ethic where he always wants to try his heart out. “He is spoilt rotten and I work him at least five days a week. He spends half a day every day in the paddock next to the arena where I keep an eye on him the entire time. He is the most special horse in my life now, and to have the pleasure to ride for Emma and Paul, his owners, is a delight and has pushed me to get out there and compete. I do love being in my own arena, on my own fabulous surface and to train and train and enjoy every day without the pressure of percentages; they come along with good work and a degree of good luck and Santiago is really a star.”

“He is the most special
horse in my life now.”

MORE MARKS TO OFFER

“He is still green for me at the level and I know that he has more marks to offer the judges as he gains more physical strength and then confidence in the competition environment. He has had hardly any shows under his belt, but those he has done he has truly shone for me. Now I am so lucky to see the enjoyment that Santiago gives his owners, Emma and Paul, coming along with us for the ride. The wins make me feel proud for they own such a fabulous horse – and for me, the one who gets to train him, it couldn’t be better.

“The wins at Sydney CD-Lite were exciting for all who are associated in his training, especially Andreas Schöffner who has been such a help to me for the last 16 odd years, and with Covid we have missed him a lot. We have produced about six Grand Prix horses together. It is a team effort at home and Santiago is spoilt and loved by all.”

There is no question that we will see this combination at the big competitions in the coming months, and what a privilege to enjoy their performances. It is congratulations all round, to Emma and Paul for seeing Matthew’s passion and training coming to fruition, and to the dedication and training with another super Grand Prix horse for Matthew Dowsley. Aussie owned, bred and trained! International quality, for sure, and just the beginning! EQ

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