Caroline is a rider who made her way through the showing ranks with great success and is now taking on the world of dressage, while Peter is an exquisitely skilled saddler and showjumping rider. Caro, as she is known, comes from a family who are involved in fashion and design; Pete was one of the last to complete a saddler’s apprenticeship under Harry Downs and Bruce Smith. Pete has now hung up his riding boots, and his focus is on the highly successful Wagners Saddlery, internationally known for its top-end custom saddles, equestrian equipment and clothing, and based at Somerville, near Western Port Bay, Victoria.
Pete and Caro make a formidable team, so much so they are like Yin and Yang — interdependent upon each other to the extent that the definition of one requires the definition of the other to be complete. Yin/Yang is not static; it flows and changes with time. There is no better description of the two!
Caroline is not one to sit back and take the easy road, nor one to beat her own drum. She gathers momentum as she feels competent and confident in her ability. She quietly assesses the needs of life and sets about making the most of every experience and opportunity. She is always prepared to step outside her comfort zone to better her future in equestrian sports. Her focus now is to diligently, conscientiously and meticulously leave no stone unturned on her trajectory towards Grand Prix dressage.
Born in Melbourne, her parents were both involved in the fashion industry — her father being a shoe designer and her mother working in fashion retail. Caro’s mother rode as a child and always had a keen interest in horses. When Caro was seven her mother took her to a riding school near their East Ivanhoe home for a few lessons and that was that! She would pay for one lesson every weekend and then work helping get the horses saddled and ready for the trail rides and eventually conducted the trail rides. For her work she would get rides and lessons in return.
Her parents bought her a pony when she was 11, a galloway palomino mare called Kinara. Caro took her to Pony Club and jumped her and evented and showed her at gymkhanas. Kinara was kept at an agistment centre on the banks of the Yarra and every spare moment Caro had was spent riding and attending to her beloved palomino!
It was three years on when, through Malcolm Ansell and Craig Rawson, Tudor Park Charisse, a 14.1 hand galloway, was purchased and Caro competed on her at her first Royal Melbourne Show. Whilst at Pony Club, Caro attributes her good grounding to two great European instructors that the North Eastern Pony Club had helping in Joe Stadelmann and Arnold Veide.
Her interest in showing came from her friends’ interests at the riding school coupled with a good dressage basis — and no doubt her background in fashion. Not one to jump in at the deep end, Caro took her time establishing the basics and doing the hard yards and working her way up. It was time to find agistment where there were stables as she realised conditioning, coat care and presentation were of the utmost importance. She moved to Jane Beasley who also had a Tudor Park hack, Cognac, and her association with Malcolm and Craig continued as Caro continued to have lessons with Craig. It was then another Tudor Park hack in Dickens. Caro had become too tall for the galloway and a friend, Judy Wright, who was a very suitable size for her, continued to show her and was super successful.