Incredibly, at 19 years young, Femme de Renaissance is Cathryn’s other current four-star horse. “We knew nothing when we got her, it’s just lucky that she’s gone with me all the way through to four-star.”
Six years ago when she finished university, Cathryn opted for a change of scenery. “I didn’t want to do the West Australian mining life. I wanted to see if I could have a shot at eventing and see what I could do with that. My coach in Western Australia was Ann Taylor – she was a top-level eventer back in the day – and she knew Heath and Rozzie Ryan, so she put me in contact with them. I travelled to NSW for a trial and absolutely hated it… then went home and decided to come back! I was with Heath and Rozzie for five years.
“I had a great time there and learnt heaps; it’s made me the rider I am today,” she says of her time working with the Ryans. “Learning the basics of riding, horsemanship, breeding, sales… it was an all-round experience, it’s hard to pick any one thing more than anything else,” she says when asked about the main lessons she learnt. “I also discovered that it’s amazing what you can fit in in a day… and how to type to dictation,” she adds. (Cathryn was a long-suffering Ryan’s Rave typist for many years.) “I also discovered the ability to dream – Heath’s a bit of a dreamer. He’s always got these big goals and big stories… you can’t help but get caught up in it.”
Taking over the reins of Constable 18 months ago and fuelled by Heath’s belief in the horse, Cathryn began competing him at two-star with second placings at Quirindi and Camden. They then had success at three-star when they won the CCI3*L at Quirindi last April, and now four-star success has followed.
A NEW VENTURE
Recently graduating from Ryans Horses, Cathryn has begun an exciting venture with partner and fellow Ryans alumni, Breanna Tillitzki. “Breanna’s parents have a really beautiful property in the Hunter Valley and we work out of here. She does her dressage – she’s got two horses at Grand Prix now – and I do my eventing. I have a few clients’ horses, there’s a few of my own, we breed a few, break in a few. We do a little bit of everything; we work together and have a bit of fun.”
Cathryn explains that their day begins with feeding horses at 5.30am before heading down the road to ride racehorses until lunchtime. “We do about five or six in the morning each. We school on the flat in a dressage arena, for a Sydney trainer (Matthew Smith) who’s got a property up here. He’s just trying something a little different for his stables and has us doing a bit of dressage work with the horses to get them going a little nicer for the track riders and more balanced and smooth on the track. There are some really nice horses that we get to ride… it’s usually the ones that are really good racehorses that we really like… a good horse is a good horse! It’s definitely a bit of fun and something a little bit different.”
After riding the racehorses, it’s then back home to work their own horses in the evening. When it comes to her eventing team, Cathryn has a number of other horses alongside Wimborne Constable and Femme de Renaissance.
“I have two young ones of mine that I’m quite excited about. CH Don Quixote, aka ‘Donut’, I got as a two-year-old off Sappho Ransan-Elliott, who also used to work for Heath and Rozzie. She wasn’t really doing anything with him and just wanted to sell him; I was short a horse, so I thought I’d give him a go. He’s now seven and is going two-star. I don’t know if he’s the next champion or not, it’s really hard to say, but he’s a cool little horse.
“Then I have CH Colette, aka ‘Micah’, she’s six and at one-star. She’s the one I’m really excited about. She was bought by my parents for me as a two-year-old from WA; her mum, Early Days, went around Adelaide five-star with Makayla Wood. She looks to be pretty talented and has had a few wins already. In terms of her future it’s looking very positive. And then there’s always lots of young ones coming through as well – whether I keep them or sell them is still to be decided.”
A “double duty” stallion, Wimborne Constable has always competed through the breeding season without issue. “I’ve got a two-year-old by him here that I’m quite excited about, and a mare that’s just about to foal that I’m desperately waiting to see what it’s going be like!” You can find out more about breeding with Constable via Mallyon Hills Warmblood Stud.