Under Helen Chugg’s guidance, Diamond B has established a well-worn road to Grand Prix and international careers, a path trodden by the likes of Vivant, Conquistador, Sky High, Scandal, Colthaga, Kayak van het Gravenhof, Baluga, Alondra, Vigo, and now Diamond B Vivienne, to name a few. The successes are due to a combination of Helen’s experience, Amanda Madigan’s skills, and now Craig Weeding’s magic touch at breaking in the babies.
Chris and Helen Chugg enjoyed a very successful career in show jumping after they established Diamond B at Freemans Reach in the Hawkesbury area in 1985. Chris’s exploits on the world stage are legendary, many on their own bred horses. Helen’s breeding successes have proved equally legendary, beginning with off-the-track thoroughbreds and moving into warmbloods. With all her trips to World Cups, Olympics and World Equestrian Games, Helen quietly became an international expert in breeding top sport horses, especially showjumpers.
Enter another member of the Diamond B team in Amanda Madigan. Amanda’s rounded horsewoman skills and inner strength to succeed make her the ideal rider to complement Helen’s breeding and rearing expertise. From breaking to dressage, eventing and show jumping — and having had help along the way from people such as Fiona John, Nadine Merewether, Ann Battley, and her idol George Morris — Amanda’s empathy for horses and their ability to perform has proved indispensable.
“What Amanda has that sets her apart from so many is passion,” says Helen. “She is always prepared to do the hard yards. Her work ethic is one in a million and she remains always focused on the end goal — to win at Grand Prix. She leaves no stone unturned.”
You can read more about the history of Diamond B Farm, as well as Helen and Amanda’s equestrian backgrounds, in the November 2020 issue of Equestrian Life.
I ask Helen and Amanda what is it about the philosophy and techniques at Diamond B farm that sees them produce so many good horses. Is it the training that really makes the horse?
HELEN: “We know the bloodlines really well. We know what stallions produce what traits and we know all the mares that we breed to. It is certainly not whimsical and I research so much and watch videos and listen to international breeders. I always look at the breeding and ability and traits of mare and stallion bloodlines so that when I match a mare to a stallion it is with a lot of thought and research before doing this.
“I also realise that not every foal is going to be a world beater in jumping. I have to have in mind to be able to outsource the progeny to other disciplines if they are not super-talented showjumpers. So then, movement, type and temperament are of a high priority.”