The return of EQUITANA to Melbourne features heavily in this issue. Adele Severs introduces us to two of the standout stars of this four-day extravaganza, both of whom were following in the footsteps of their heroes. Izabella Stone took out the Jumping Grand Prix on her grey gelding, Oaks Ventriloquist, their first GP victory. It was made all the sweeter by finishing ahead of her coach and mentor, Tom McDermott – who only a week before had pipped her at the Australian Jumping Championships!
Skye Liikanen also got to emulate her idols at EQUITANA. The young Queenslander tells Adele that she has a photo of her meeting Dan Steers and Dan James at EQUITANA in 2011 – and here she is in 2022 taking out The Way Of The Horse, drawing on skills inspired by the Double Dans. What Skye achieved with an untrained three-year-old in just an hour a day over four days is a fascinating skill behind a fascinating event.
Elsewhere in this issue, regular contributor Kerry Mack catches up with a good friend of hers from her Pony Club days – Scott Keach, who is now based in Florida. Kerry gets the dual Australian Olympian to share his thoughts on how to make it the top in equestrian sports, and how to stay there. There’s a bit of luck involved, says Scott, but that’s not all.
Speaking of Olympians, Heath Ryan gives a heads up to young riders to plan for the Brisbane 2032 Games. That’s 10 years – plenty of time – to get yourself and a young horse up to Olympic level, says Heath, so long as you start now.
With the spring racing season now behind us, it’s a good time to appreciate how well Thoroughbreds can be retrained and how far racing bodies have advanced in rehoming them. Eventer Murray Lamperd has long had successes with ex-racehorses, yet he didn’t want to put his hand up to become a Racing Victoria Acknowledged Retrainer until he was convinced it was fair dinkum quality-driven. “From what I’ve seen it absolutely is,” he tells us as he relates his own wonderful successes with OTTs and his plans for current Off The Track Eventer of the Year, Secret Mojo.
For those planning their next holiday, Phoebe Oliver chats to solo traveller Kim Bassett about her favourite travel destination, Vista Verde – a Colorado ranch that’s 40km from the nearest traffic lights and the perfect place to escape the rat race.
It all makes for great festive season reading, along with Dr Maxine Brain’s latest advice on foals, Suzy Jarratt’s insights into the making of Dances With Wolves starring Kevin Costner, and Bernard Bale’s interview with Tom Cruise. There you go, ladies! Two hunks who can really ride, all in the one issue.
A happy Christmas from all of us at EQL!
Robert McKay AM