ROGER: What do you miss about Australia?
TAYLA: I definitely miss the people at home and of course my family. It is very different living on the other side of the world on your own. Naturally, you definitely miss the comforts of home and the ability to communicate effectively in certain situations because of the language barrier.
ROGER: Do you think it is possible to succeed on the world stage in dressage from Australia, or do you think you need to be based internationally to gain the recognition?
TAYLA: I don’t believe that there is a right or wrong way to do it. This is very much a personal decision based on individual goals and the sacrifices willing to be made. For sure it is possible to get on an Australian team from home. Being in Europe definitely gives you an advantage to learn and compete against the best riders in the world. Naturally, this increases the opportunity to succeed on the world stage just like in any other sport. However, we definitely have some fantastic horses at home and great competition grounds like Willinga Park and Boneo Park.
ROGER: Can you outline your journey with Maus from the beginning to winning at Hagen?
TAYLA: We purchased Zaubermaus in 2016 as a four-year-old from the P.S.I. auction; Maree Tomkinson rode her in the trialling session and recognised her talent. Maus was definitely very challenging in the beginning and there were many times where it was difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel! However, there was always something incredibly special about her, a feeling that was definitely worth fighting for.
For a very long time I had a dream to train in Germany. In 2019, it really felt like the right time for both Zaubermaus and myself. I had finished two years of my university degree and decided to defer for one year while I made the big move. I spent my first year in Hagen. For three of these months I was very lucky to experience the season in Wellington, USA. This was a lot of fun and something I will never forget! Following this, I moved to Aachen with Ton de Ridder. Last year was extremely challenging with the coronavirus and also EHV, which meant limited competitions. However, it did give us the opportunity to concentrate on our training at home.
Due to the pandemic, I have also luckily been able to continue my degree online from Germany. I now have one semester left before I graduate with a Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Media Communication.
Currently, Maus and I are competing at Small Tour and training the Grand Prix at home. The last few weeks have been very exciting with three international wins! However, there have definitely been many competitions and lessons learned in the lead-up to this. It is a very long road but the journey with Maus has been very special, exciting, challenging and rewarding.