Horse racing and equestrian sports sometimes seem worlds apart, but there is something they always share, and that is a love of Thoroughbreds and their welfare.
Thousands of off-the-track Thoroughbreds are retrained year after year and given new careers in equestrian disciplines and pastimes with much success. However, did you know that after the United States, Australia is the world’s biggest breeder of horses, currently producing some 13,000 foals a year? With those numbers, a co-ordinated structure for the lifelong welfare of thoroughbreds is a no-brainer for all stakeholders.
Australia’s racing industry has come a long way in recent years in improving equine welfare, with Racing Victoria at the forefront. In this issue, Adele Severs reports that a dedicated team of seven women – yes, all women – make up RV’s Equine Welfare team, the force behind an overhaul of equine welfare in Victoria. Team members are inspired, not only by their mission, but because they are in their dream roles where they can follow their racing and equestrian interests — and improve animal welfare. No wonder they are making a difference, so much so it could be the model for the nation and beyond.
Heads up, dressage enthusiasts, this month is a bumper issue for you. First, Lyndal Oatley discusses her two best hopes to take her to the World Championships in Herning, Denmark, next year, as well as her thoughts on the state of dressage in Australia. Secondly, meet Aussie William Matthew, who is working with Isabell Werth – and still pinching himself! At 27, Will has eight horses in work with the German great and is successfully campaigning an international-level Grand Prix horse in Europe.
Catch up with Caroline Wagner – not only is she one dynamic half of Wagners Saddlery and has achieved so much with show horses, she has now turned her talents to dressage competition for new challenges. And finally in dressage, Roger Fitzhardinge puts on his judge’s cap and lifts the lid on how to create a great impression in those final moments before you enter the arena.