Andrew is joined by Chris Burton and Shane Rose on the eventing team, while Mary, Simone Pearce and Kelly Layne make up the dressage team. Andrew tells us in this issue that his mount, Vassily de Lassos, is one of the best he has ever had, so, who knows, this triple gold medallist at 62 could have a few more Games still in the tank.
Mary, at 66, is also the most senior Australian athlete to ever don the green and gold for the Olympics. Riding Calanta, she is joined by first-timers Kelly Layne on Samhitas and Simone Pearce on Destano. Simone – at 29 the junior of the team – tells us she’s been dreaming of this ever since she was a three-year-old at Pony Club.
Enjoy reading our extensive interviews with Andrew and Simone as we count down to the Covid-delayed Tokyo Games beginning on 23 July, and check in with Heath Ryan in Ryan’s Rave for an expert run-down of our team’s chances.
Without harping on too much about seniority, if you’ve ever wondered whether it’s too late to get back in the saddle, take a leaf out of Lynda de Gruchy’s book. Roger Fitzhardinge retraces Lynda’s adventurous life and how, after a 20-year absence from riding, she is now happily back working two ponies up through the ranks of NSW dressage at the comeback age of 65.
Roger also writes in this issue about what makes a good Grand Prix horse. Check his 10-point list to see whether you think your young horse has what it takes to go all the way to GP level.
In showjumping, a move to Europe for Hunter Valley native Jake Hunter is paying off, with his inclusion on the Longines Global Champions Tour. He shares with us his nerves in moving overseas when he was 18, but also how he now has his eyes on the World Equestrian Games in Denmark next year.
Another rising star in jumping, Sally Simmonds, is making the most of competition in Australia after Covid stalled her European move; instead of moping about what might have been, she tells how she is determined to work her young horses with the aim of a World Cup start.
Similar to the Australian Brumby, the wild American Mustang has its supporters and detractors. Star American eventer Elisa Wallace is a dedicated advocate and she explains how she wants to train one to Advanced level “to prove how amazing the Mustangs are and that they are worth saving”.
Horses and environmental sensitivity are often a point of discussion, but any responsible horse owner naturally wants the best environment for their horse. In our Lifestyle feature this issue, we learn that there are many positive actions you can take to limit environmental degradation and promote horse health… from good grass management to composting or breeding dung beetles!
Kerry Mack also looks at horse welfare by assessing scientific studies on bitless bridles. Her conclusions are eye-opening but come with the proviso that “any piece of equipment is only as good as the person using it!”
When a Queensland Waler breeder first met Tony Hodges claiming to be a knight who wanted a horse for a jousting contest, she wondered if a was just a “twit in tinfoil”. But he soon won her over with his sincerity and commitment to horse safety, and the two are now a couple and regular fixtures on the global jousting circuit. We jest you not … enjoy this Special Feature.
Suzy Jarratt continues her entertaining series on Horse & the Movies with a look at Fury, the black stallion that instructed a whole generation on morality. She says that while not all viewers grew up to be squeaky clean, they were all in awe of this beautiful black American Saddlebred.
In our important Health section, veterinarian Maxine Brain explores Equine Shivers, a mysterious neuromuscular disease, while the researchers at Equilume explain the benefits of blue-light technology and how it can produce shiny coats even in the depths of winter.
Enjoy your riding and good luck to our team at the Olympics! EQ
Robert McKay AM