Charlotte Phillips, at 21, has earned a ticket to Omaha after she and CP Dresden posted a personal best of 74.275% in their CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle at Dressage by the Sea. Given it was the FEI World Cup Pacific League Final, Charlotte now has an invitation to the FEI World Cup Final. Roger Fitzhardinge was at Willinga Park and is thrilled to report on Charlotte’s great ride plus offer his views on Dresden, with whom he has worked with in the past.
Equally buoyant is David Shoobridge. Coming off big wins at the Victorian Dressage Festival at Boneo Park to close off 2022, what next for his young stars? In an extensive interview with Sunday McKay, David opens up not only about the personal satisfaction that his Hanoverian stallion Vittorio DS is the second generation in a line that he has bred – he is the third generation he has ridden! David discusses his breeding program, his young horses and how he found balance in his life, making sure he has time for the next generation Shoobridge – his daughter. It’s a great read with lessons for us all.
Back on home soil after her World Championship campaign, Mary Hanna is effusive about plans for her two new horses. She tells Adele Severs she usually prefers horses around the 17-hand mark, but “this time I’ve got one that’s 16.2 hands and one that’s nearly 18 hands!” Oh, and she has broken her rule about never riding stallions again.
Tasmania’s dressage community turned out in force for their first dressage masterclass with Gary Lung, where Mim Coleman reports that he wanted “real grassroots riders and real horses”, which proved a winning formula at the packed-out Coal Valley Equestrian Centre. With Dressage & Jumping With The Stars coming up, Roger Fitzhardinge takes us through the finer points of his top five exercises for young horses – reminding us that the most important thing is to have fun. On this subject, Kerry Mack was momentarily caught off guard by Roger when he asked her at Dressage by the Sea why she gets up early every morning to ride. Now happily back on her front foot, she explains ‘What Motivates Me’ in this issue, and fun has a lot to do with it.
Someone else who is having fun is James Arkins. The star show jumper is back home after a giddy year in Canada and the US and a World Championships badge, and had so much success with his two horses that he attracted offers he couldn’t refuse. The North Americans are so impressed with the quality of Australian horses, he tells Adele, that he has been tapped to scout for more. Fascinating prospects for Australian horses!
On that note, American-turned-Aussie Christan Trainor has the same faith. She firmly believes Australia can produce European quality horses, as she is proving at Glenhill Sporthorses. “I like putting these nice horses under Australian riders,” she says as she introduces us to her team.
Another team success story is Romsey Park, which has just a big day at the Barastoc HOTY. Christine Frost tells us that her black Thoroughbred Ink’s win in the Open Large Hack class is like a “dream”. Now in its 54th year, the HOTY is a prestigious fixture on the showing calendar, one that has been supported by Barastoc from its beginnings. What a great partnership!
In Health, vet Maxine Brain discusses the salivary glands of horses – nothing to worry about, but worth keeping an eye on. In Lifestyle, enjoy Suzy Jarratt’s ongoing series on Horses in the Movies, this time with a rock ‘n’ roll romp through medieval times. Yes, it involves Heath Ledger…
Finally, never argue with a judge and never write off a racehorse. Susie Hoevenaars – Olympic judge, no less – says her first dressage horses was a “cast-off”, yet they went places, and what she saw in the off-the-track classes at Boneo Park recently confirmed that Thoroughbreds will always have a role to play in dressage.
As always, have fun riding!
Robert McKay AM