ISSUE 70
SEP 2021

PARAS WIN HEARTS
AT TOKYO
KEVIN McNAB & DON
STRIKE SILVER
OLYMPIC BLOODLINES
WITH HEATH RYAN

PLUS: LUCINDA GREEN, AMY GRAHAM, EMMA WEINERT O’ROURKE, DIAMOND B’S SECRETS, THOROUGHBRED REHAB, WALERS TO THE RESCUE, SET GOALS WITH KERRY MACK, THE BLACK STALLION, BUILDING AN ARENA, FEEDING & FOALING

AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
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ISSUE 70

CONTENTS

SEP 2021
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A few Words

FROM THE CHAIRMAN

ROBERT MCKAY

Opinion

BREEDING FOR BRISBANE: WHAT TOKYO TAUGHT US

RYAN'S RAVE BY HEATH RYAN

Para Equestrian

PARA EQUESTRIAN FAB FOUR WIN HEARTS AT TOKYO

BY ADELE SEVERS

Dressage

EMMA BRINGS IT ALL BACK HOME

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Off the Track

A THOROUGH BELIEF IN THOROUGHBREDS

BY AMANDA YOUNG

Showjumping

AUSSIE AMY GRAHAM’S JUMPING LIFE IN EUROPE

BY BERNARD BALE

Training

SO YOU WANT TO GO TO THE GAMES?

BY DR KERRY MACK

Health

HOLD YOUR HORSES: FEEDING FOR COOLNESS

BY ELLIE JOLLEY

Lifestyle

THE MAGIC OF THE BLACK STALLION

BY SUZY JARRATT

Property

DESIGN BY VISION

BY ADELE SEVERS

Eventing

KEVIN McNAB’S SILVER DEBUT

BY ELLI BIRCH

Lifestyle

THE HORSE AS THE HEALER

BY ELLIE JOLLEY

Showjumping

HOW DIAMOND B PRODUCES ITS GEMS

BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE

Health

SEPSIS IN FOALS

BY DR MAXINE BRAIN

Eventing

LUCINDA GREEN’S JOINT VENTURE

BY ADELE SEVERS
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Reaching the Paralympics is always an immense achievement. For the Australian team competing at Tokyo, this year’s belated Games brought debuts and farewells — and with them, myriad emotions.

Australia’s Para Equestrian team has completed their final tests in Tokyo, and after what must have seemed like a marathon campaign, they are now heading home. Emma Booth, Amelia White, Sharon Jarvis and Victoria Davies produced stunning performances throughout the Games, and although there were no medals, we couldn’t be more proud of them and their equine partners. Here, we reflect on four special moments from the Games.

FINAL CURTAIN CALL FOR ZIDANE THE WONDER HORSE

For Emma Booth and Zidane, the final halt in the Grade III Freestyle marked the end of a wonderful career; the 19-year-old Dutch Warmblood has been a mainstay of the Australian para equestrian scene for many years, and together he and Emma have achieved some extraordinary results.

The pair are the only Australian combination to have competed at two Paralympic Games — first Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and now Tokyo. At Rio, their best result came in the Individual Test where they finished in fifth place, less than 1% off a bronze medal. Following Rio, Emma had her sights set on the 2018 World Equestrian Games and 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, however, the road to these Championships was anything but straightforward.

In June 2017, Zidane without warning experienced a serious bought of colic caused by a benign tumour that had wrapped around his small intestines; major surgery followed.

“He had three months off confined to his box immediately post-surgery, with some in-hand walking only in the last few weeks of this time,” recalled Emma when she discussed the surgery with Equestrian Life in 2018. “He was then walked under saddle for small periods for the next three months, gradually increasing each session to slowly build his base level fitness again, as this was completely lost after surgery. It was rather scary to see how much his body changed initially. He had gone from being a fit competition horse that took me to the Paralympics in Rio, to then what looked like a retired old paddock pony with absolutely no muscle and zero topline. It took a full six months to get to a point of being able to start with some more collected work.”

Zidane survived, and by September 2018 he was in Tryon with Emma competing at WEG. The pair finished fourth in the Individual Test and fifth in the Freestyle — missing out on a medal by less than 1% on both occasions. Emma next set about qualifying for Tokyo, with the view to retiring Zidane at the end of that campaign; the Games were then postponed.

“I was beyond devastated,” said Emma when reflecting on the announcement last year. “I felt that Zidane and I were right where we needed to be five to six months out from the Games, both physically and mentally. I am disappointed for many reasons… but mainly because Zidane isn’t getting any younger and my plan was to retire him at the end of 2020.” Emma explained that pushing on for Tokyo in 2021 was only ever going to happen if Zidane was up to it; he was fit, sound and healthy in the lead up, however, his wellbeing was always front and centre in Emma’s mind and she would have had no hesitations withdrawing him from contention if he wasn’t up to the task.

Emma needn’t have worried; Zidane not only made it to Tokyo, but also produced three great tests to round out his career. The pair scored 70.059% in the Individual Test to finish eighth, 68% (despite a minor error of course) in the Team Test, and 73.807% to finish fifth in the Freestyle. What incredible consistency at three major championships across five years, and what an amazing journey these two have been on up until making that final halt.

The final centreline in the Freestyle was an emotional moment for Emma: “He was with me the whole time; he was listening, he is a very special horse and I was really glad that he remained relaxed and we hit all of our music and it was just a really solid performance and end to our career together,” said Emma from Tokyo.

Of course, behind every successful combination is a great team; for Emma and Zidane, that has included groom Shahira Ameen, coach Lone Joergensen (who was also the coach for the Australia Para Equestrian Team at Tokyo), and of course family, friends, and other behind-the-scenes support from professionals such as veterinarian Mike Tweedie.

Following colic surgery and prior to WEG, Emma explained to Equestrian Life what this amazing horse meant to her, and this no doubt still rings true as the curtain closes on a wonderful career: “We invest so much emotion into our partnerships with our horses on a daily basis; there are highs and lows, but the highs can feel like extreme highs and make it all worthwhile. Zidane has done so much for me, particularly after my accident. He played an enormous role in getting my life back on track, helping me come to terms with my accident and injuries, but overall, giving me the ability to find a purpose and meaning for my new life.”

With Emma in the saddle, Zidane has undoubtedly left his mark on Australian para equestrian history. Events back here in Australia won’t be the same without him, however we have been so privileged to watch this combination’s journey and see them more than hold their own on the world stage on three occasions. Here’s to a well-earned retirement, Mogelvangs Zidane!

“I have absolutely loved
riding this horse.”

THREE-TIME PARALYMPIAN SHARON JARVIS EYES NEW ROLE

Sharon Jarvis has been synonymous with para equestrian sport in Australia for many years, and at Tokyo she became the first Australian para equestrian athlete to contest three Games.

First introduced to the world of para dressage in 2006, it wasn’t long before Sharon debuted for Australia at the 2007 World Para Equestrian Dressage Championships in Gloustershire, England, where competitors rode borrowed horses. It was during her time in Europe for these World Championships that she found her next para star, Applewood Odorado.

Sharon had only been partnered with the horse for a few months when she made her Paralympic debut in 2008 at Beijing, where together she and ‘Odie’ achieved fourth place in the Mixed Dressage – Championship Grade III (the para dressage grading system and championship tests have since changed). Next came the 2010 WEG in Lexington, USA, where they achieved two bronze medals in the Individual and Freestyle tests.

Sharon’s next appearance at a Paralympics came at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. With Odie retiring midway through their London 2012 selection campaign, a new horse by the name of Ceasy accompanied Sharon to Brazil. The KWPN mare was found through the help of Equestrian Australia and the Winning Edge Program, and Sharon gained the ride through syndication at the beginning of 2015 — just over a year out from the Games. A talented but tricky mare, they scored well and placed in the top 10 in the Individual Test.

“Rio presented an interesting situation for us with gunfire going off in the background before our test and me just being lucky to make it into the arena, so to come home with a top 10 placing in the Individual Championship Test, I was very happy with that,” recalled Sharon following those Games.

The road to Tokyo wasn’t without its setbacks; the horse she initially hoped to qualify on, Lord Larmarque, was unfortunately sidelined due to injury. With encouragement from coach Rozzie Ryan, Sharon found Donnella Merrett’s Romanos; Sharon and her new “unicorn” hit the ground running. For Sharon, in many ways the postponement of the Games was a blessing, and despite only having two years with Romanos, they made the team.

Supported by groom Ashleigh Campton and coach Rozzie Ryan, Sharon contested a record third Games in Tokyo, scoring 68.366% in the Grade IV Individual Test and 67.9% in the Team Test. Reflecting on Romanos following her final salute, she said: “I absolutely love that horse for what he went and did for me. He is 19 years old and he has never ever been in anything like that ever before. We have had two years together and he tried his absolute little heart out for me, and that is all I can ask of him. He was brave, he listened to me and I’m just so lucky and grateful to be on a horse like him.”

Sharon had always planned to retire from the sport post-Tokyo, and therefore the moment was bittersweet: “I have had a wonderful two years (with Romanos) improving my skills, learning so much more, and the part that makes it a lot harder is that I made a choice before Tokyo that this would be my last Games. It is incredible, it is emotional. You know I was really lucky to get to one Games and to make it to three is just, for me, unbelievable for what it has taken to get here.

“I am 100% sad at the same time, because it was my last ride on this horse. He gets returned to his owners when he returns from Tokyo and it just makes me so emotional because I have absolutely loved riding this horse.”

A new chapter now beckons for Sharon following her retirement — and of course, it still involves the sport she loves. At the beginning of this year, she was appointed Equestrian Australia’s new Para Equestrian Pathways Co-ordinator.

Speaking to Equestrian Life prior to the Games, Sharon was excited about her new role: “It’s really exciting, because it’s not a role that has been available previously. I also think it’s quite exciting being the first person with a disability to be employed by our national sporting organisation to be involved with the actual sport. I think that produces a really incredible opportunity to make a difference within the sport.

“Para equestrian is definitely my passion, and to be able to work with my passion, I don’t think you can ask more of that out of the job!”

AMELIA WHITE A GENIUS ON DEBUT

Riding at your first major championships is a daunting task, but it’s one that Amelia White took in her stride with hers, Antje and Ian White’s beautiful horse Genius.

Supported by groom Anke Wilming, they had a very consistent Paralympic Games, improving each time they stepped out in the Grade V — scoring 69.238% in the Individual Test, 70.558% in the Team Test, and 72.660% in the Freestyle, where they finished in sixth. It was in incredible Games debut for the pair, who are based in Germany and marked only their sixth international (CPEDI) event at Tokyo.

“I am super, super happy. He has been taking everything in his stride and he has been going really well and I don’t think he could have given me any more. I am so incredibly happy with him, and I think for his first Games and for his first major championship, he has been amazing. I can’t say anything more about him other than he is a great horse,” said Amelia following her fifth placing in the Freestyle on the final day.

At just 10 years of age, the KWPN gelding by Romanov (Rubinstein lines) out of Comtesse (Blue Hors Don Schufro) is certainly an exciting one to watch for the future, with the World Championships next year in Herning and then the Paris Paralympics in three years’ time. Watch this space!

CELERE WINS HEARTS

Commentator John Kyle said it all when he pronounced during Victoria Davies’ Individual Test that many at Baji Koen Equestrian Park wanted to steal her Lusitano stallion, Celere, and take him home in their suitcases.

Victoria and Celere made their major championship debut with groom Shae Herwig as support, scoring 65.618% in the Individual Test to narrowly miss out on a Freestyle berth. For Victoria, a Paralympic start with Celere has been seven years in the making.

“I went over to Portugal and that is pretty much where it started,” explained Victoria, who purchased Celere in 2014. “We were getting ready for Rio but I was diagnosed with a neurological and spinal condition and that put an end to that, so we brought him back to Australia.”

Speaking about her test in Tokyo, Victoria said: “(Celere) felt brilliant in the warm-up and he was so relaxed but as soon as we went out there (the main arena) he just worried a bit, but you know, next time he will be better. He kept me safe and he is a good boy.”

Celere’s performance on the world stage is all the more remarkable considering he’s also a breeding stallion for Victoria’s Tora V Stud. “As a rider with disabilities and owning a breeding stallion, temperament is so important. One of the greatest compliments you can receive is admiration about your stallion’s temperament. Wherever Celere has gone, he’s won over many friends and warmed the hearts of many.”

Although they’ve had many years together, Celere is just 14 years of age and has only four international (CPEDI) competitions under his belt. A terrific debut in Tokyo now paves the way for Herning and perhaps even Paris. And just to set everyone’s minds at ease, according to Victoria the beautiful buckskin is coming home: “For the record, no one is hiding Celere in their suitcase and taking him home… he’s all mine!” EQ

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