Brett Davey has some really interesting qualifications to be the first Australian Dressage High Performance Manager, being Australian born and bred and having grown up with horses on the Australian scene.
At the young age of 14, Brett rode his first Prix St Georges test in 1998. That year also saw Brett become involved with the Sydney Royal Show stewarding. (He must have been the youngest steward ever at the Sydney Royal. Brett still follows this passion today, however, he is now Chief Steward in charge of all the Showjumping at the Sydney Royal.)
In 2000, Brett at 16 rode his first Grand Prix dressage test. He then went on to produce a number of FEI and Grand Prix dressage horses at a very young age. He was also an avid eventer and competed at Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide Three-Day Events.
In 2014, Brett and his New Zealand fiancé, Andrea, made the big move to Germany where they based for three years. Andrea had a very promising Grand Prix dressage stallion and an outstanding young dressage horse, which they took with them. Both Brett and Andrea were based with Jonny Hilberath, who has been the national German Olympic dressage coach since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In 2018, Brett and Andrea returned to Australia to live and train horses and riders full-time. Well, almost full-time. Brett is now the managing director of the company Flaneur Equine, which specialises in importing great horse products from Germany that are not here in Australia. Their product range includes stables and stable fit-outs, showjumps, arena harrows, waterers, rubber matting, giant wheelbarrows, tack lockers on wheels and more, all of which are designed and made in Germany.
THE GERMAN EXPERIENCE
So, I caught up with Brett recently and asked him about his time in Germany with the German Olympic coach Jonny Hilberath, especially with a view to the high performance ambitions of we Australians. Brett says that he went to Germany expecting to see what the Germans really did to perform such outstanding dressage in the Grand Prix arena. He says that, in all honesty, he had expected to observe German training techniques that were a little different to what we in Australia pursued; he expected to see things that were not common knowledge.
After three years there, Brett says that in terms of doing things differently to us here in Australia, there was nothing. Just nothing. Jonny Hilberath, at the top of German coaching with the best riders in the world, did nothing other than just plain, correct training. Jonny Hilberath says: “There is no substitute for correct training,” end of story!
Brett went on to say that watching the best German riders and the best German horses in the world being coached was a wonderful experience. He feels that the Germans are very professional in the way they conduct themselves and the way they do their day-to-day training and the way they prepare themselves for competitions. They are very professional.
Brett says his experiences with Jonny Hilberath also gave him a broad understanding of the equestrian industry in Germany from the breeding aspect, to the sales aspect, to the auction aspect, to the local shows and competitions, right up to the big German shows which are the biggest in the world. This German awareness of excellence in all things horses, including the coaching and training, is what produces Olympic gold medals.