Next up was Central Riding School, owned by the Stricklands, where Cliff’s daughter Sue was a very successful competitor with Arabian and Arabian-bred horses. Roz was given Snoopy, a grey pony that she rode and trained. He was purchased for $80 and later sold for $450. Roz well remembers being bucked off Snoopy many times, but they would ride to the nearby Perth Pony Club to do novelties, hacking and showjumping there. She was now besotted with riding and worked in the stables before and after school, as well as at weekends, all year round.
She was heartbroken when Snoopy was sold, but there was another horse; Liebchen was difficult to ride, let alone catch as she was head shy and getting a halter on her was a trial. Needless to say, Roz persisted and took her to the shows and qualified her for Perth Royal, where, to her amazement, they finished in front of Kilwinning Moonglow, the star of the state, being by Sindh. Roz got to lead the grand parade!
A HORSE OF HER OWN
At 16, Roz asked her parents if she could get a dog since she was not allowed to have a horse. The answer was also no but her mother said they would consider a horse as it was obvious “this equestrian thing” was no fad! Roz being a Sagittarian – half-horse, half-human, always in a hurry, and always quick to speak their minds. Roz told her parents that they may not want to spend the money necessary to buy her the competitive horse she needed. Her mother was taken aback but she nevertheless called Sue Strickland to source a horse and a three-year-old thoroughbred was soon purchased. He was named Oedipus Rex, coming at a time when Roz was studying English literature!
Roz had harboured three wishes that until now were not on her parents’ agenda – a horse, a dog, and pierced ears – so tick off the horse! As the training stepped up, so did the injury count. First, Roz was knocked out when a showjumping horse slipped over and his head collided with hers. Then, playing hooky from school sport to go riding, more collateral damage. With the riding school arena next to a busy road, a trailer with a flapping tarp scared a horse that was being lunged, and panicked all the other horses. By the time it was sorted, Roz had a dislocated shoulder, a broken collarbone and a humerus fractured in two places. Several operations later, it was back on board. Then came the leading incident when the horse took fright at a plastic bag wrapped around a new saddlecloth. He kicked Roz as he ran past her, resulting in a ruptured spleen, eight fractured ribs and a bilateral pneumothorax. Despite a long time in hospital and numerous procedures, she was not deterred. This was all in the space of 12 months – and they say these things happen in threes!