PLUS: RYAN’S RAVE, EDWINA TOPS-ALEXANDER’S PLANS, SMART SELF-MANAGEMENT WITH KERRY MACK, ROGER FITZHARDINGE ON SPARKLING ‘VIV’, PARAS PARIS CAMPAIGN, WA EVENTER STEPS UP, OTT 5* STANDOUT, ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, MAXINE BRAIN & HINDLEG LAMENESS – AND RUGGING UP FOR WINTER!
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A Few Words
FROM THE PUBLISHER
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DIAMOND B VIVIENNE’S SPARKLING CAREER
BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE
EXCITING START TO PARIS CAMPAIGN
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MEGAN BRYANT’S HOMEGROWN FORMULA
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A SMARTER WAY TO COMPETE
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EDWINA LOOKS TOWARDS PARIS 2024
BY DAWN GIBSON-FAWCETT
ELLIE SHINES ON THE ‘DARK SIDE’
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RUG UP FOR WINTER
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ALL THE PRETTY HORSES
BY SUZY JARRATT
THE CHALLENGE OF TREATING HPSD
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Diamond B Vivienne and Amanda Madigan competing at Sydney Royal Easter Show. Image by Gallant Media.
Diamond B Vivienne has now come into her own, winning Champion Jumping Horse at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, an accolade earned through devotion, patience and dedication.
Helen Chugg and Amanda Madigan produced Diamond B Vivienne from conception. Diamond B bred her mother, Diamond B Conseal, as well. Amanda has been the only one to ride her, except for a short period of time when she was injured when James Paterson-Robinson took over the reins.
Two stallions were imported into Australia at the same time by ASB in collaboration with Diamond B Farm – the three-year-old Vivant (a Belgian Warmblood by Fuego du Prelet) and the yearling Conquistador (a Belgian Warmblood by Clinton). The mare Diamond B Conseal was one of the many wonderful Conquistador-bred horses and she was out of an Imperial Seal thoroughbred mare. She was brought on through the ranks and was sold as a 1.20-metre horse and is still competing successfully at the age of 17.
As with many of the Diamond B mares, she was broken in and started then put in foal as a three-year-old and given time to grow up. Helen chose to cover her with Vivant, who at that stage was showing every sign of being a serious international prospect. She liked the traits of both Vivant and Conquistador, and knew the horses as personalities and athletes, seeing them in action every day and at competitions, and the same with the mother. A bit of thoroughbred blood helps in the long run with that get up and go, that keen attitude and never give in trait. The thoroughbred stallion Imperial Seal had produced many good show jumpers back in that era, the likes of Mr Currency, Navy Seal and Smart Seal, to mention a few.
Vivienne was born in January 2011 and reared at Diamond B, where all horses are raised with great care, plenty of freedom and herd mentality. An unassuming bay mare, she accepted the rigors associated with being handled and familiarised but was certainly not over-protected. She grew up unscathed and respectful. She was broken in and started her early training with enthusiasm, albeit a little opinionated. They say, “tell a gelding, ask a mare and discuss it with a stallion”. Well, Viv was definitely one that needed asking, and none better to ask her than Amanda Madigan. The bond between them is strong and respected, especially by Amanda who has always been on her side. She could be quirky at times but is a very talented jumper who loves the work. Well, most of the time except that “why waste time making half-halts and transitions on circles and over cavalettis” which she saw as boring when it could be “let’s jump fences as that’s what I do the best!”
OPINIONATED TO RIDE
She was certainly an interesting mare with the kindest attitude on the ground but opinionated to ride – but that’s what comes with gutsy, talented show jumpers. Helen decided that she too could go in foal after her initial year’s work and was put in foal to another stallion she had imported, Baluga. Bob, as he is known, has a very amiable temperament and super athletic jumping technique and so the foal was the first carrying the three Diamond B blood stallion lines of Conquistador, Vivant and Baluga, and a solid tough foal in Beyonce was born.
Diamond B Vivienne as a foal. Image supplied.
Diamond B Beyonce, Vivienne's first foal, was rejected and needed to be bucket-raised. Image supplied.
Vivienne rejected her lovely filly at birth, the first mare Helen and Amanda had witnessed doing so. After the usual protocols, it was decided to simply bucket raise her instead. Like any baby, it was feeding around the clock for months – Helen said it felt like a year! Beyonce, who had a weaning pony to keep her company, happily took it all in her stride. Vivienne was given a couple of months off and was back to her show jumping career instead of a career in motherhood.
Amanda continued on with Viv’s training and started to compete her. Being very horse shy she did not enjoy the practice areas, so in the younger horse classes when there were so many in the warm-up, Amanda chose to keep away, with perhaps one or two fences jumped in the practice but her training was otherwise in the ring where she was confident, bold and feisty… and hated to touch a rail!
VivIenne did what you want every good young horse to do: take each task as it comes. She gained lots of bows from young horse classes, futurities and mini prix classes, usually by simply jumping clean rounds. The focus was always on trying to improve her travelling between fences, a task that is ongoing.
It was the 2018 Sydney Royal Easter Show where Vivienne really stepped up. She jumped in the Section 3, her toughest task to date, revelling in the big arena and atmosphere and won and placed. They competed in their first World Cup in 2019 and were placed sixth with a double clear; it was all starting to evolve but then of course along came Covid! Just before this, they took Viv and the team to New Zealand to a huge show at Takapoto, where they came fourth in the Grand Prix. They were also winners as part of the Emcee team for the Australian Teams League series. The all-girl team finished third in the overall standings. At the 2021 Sydney Royal, they were one point off gaining leading horse at the show.
In her down time, Viv produced two more fillies by embryo transfer. One was a grey, Diamond B Crystal Clear by Clearway, a very athletic, quality jumper. The other by Emerald, Diamond B Ever After, was the 2021 HHSA highest awarded classified mare and is this year is starting the height classes, showing great talent and is a sweet mare. During Covid, it was a real shame as it was two years nearly when Viv was ready to really hit her straps. With no shows it was hard to stay focused on the future, but they managed and were ready and firing for the coming year.
A: Vivienne suffered a superficial eye ulcer that took a long time to heal. B: Eventually, Vivienne could get back to work with a little extra eye protection. Images supplied.
NEVER BY HALVES
All was going so well in the lead-up to the 2022 Sydney Royal and they planned to take the mare overseas for the big competitions. But Vivienne had other ideas. One afternoon her eye was slightly closed; it was, of course, during the Hawkesbury River floods and the bridges had just closed. It is normally a 20-minute drive to the vets but to divert and go over the mountains was a seven-hour turnaround. Of course, Vivienne doesn’t ever do things by halves, and it was months and months of treatment, a superficial ulcer that took a long time to get on top of. She had a tube inserted into her eyelid to administer drugs and Helen and Amanda diligently did so every four hours, day and night, for months.
Viv had three debridements and it was a very tough time for all involved, and of course Viv had clearly shown she was staying in Australia and not travelling. The ophthalmologist had said she was not to be stressed as with fungal infections stress can create a reoccurrence, so Viv was slowly brought back to work, which she was so pleased about. She is not one for being idle. She was the perfect patient despite the unpleasant eye lavages every four hours for months! Helen says this was when she realised she loved apples and they saved the day.
Her eye is now as good as new and so the competitions begin… At Willinga Park it was clear and placed in the Grand Prix. Waratah Show, fourth in the World Cup. Summer Classic, a second place. And then started a love/hate affair with travelling down the Hume. Off to Boneo for the Nationals and in the wet on the warm-up day a teeny boot turned into a bad cellulitis, so home with only a start the first day. Off to Melbourne Royal for a night and then back to Sydney as the show was cancelled. Back to Boneo and the GDP Classic, and a wasp bite caused an allergic reaction, so home again without a jump!
At last, all seemed well for 2023 Sydney Royal and a win in the EA Cup, a win in the Sydney Royal Grand Prix and then a third, fourth and fifth in the three other Section One classes – and to top it off, Champion Section One Horse and overall Champion Jumping Horse of the show. What a show and what a season of ups and downs, yet Helen and Amanda always seem to take the good with the bad. Logical and down to earth, they understand all the trials and tribulations that go with having horses.
TAKING AFTER MUM
Amanda thinks that Vivienne is extra good at Sydney and they get carrots for the placings! It was interesting as Viv had her daughter stabled next to her for some bonding and Beyonce, at her first big show, won a class in Section Three and is taking after her mother! Beyonce is now owned in partnership with Lindy and Guy Beynon and Grant and Wayne Tomkinson, as well as Amanda and Helen.
To Vivienne and Helen and Amanda, it has been an extraordinary journey thus far and Viv is very happy to stay in Australia with really good shows coming up. The prizemoney is improving, there are some wonderful shows run by enthusiastic committees who understand the importance of quality ground, course designers and equipment. Helen and Amanda are only too happy to see Viv now gain confidence and experience in the big classes and to have such a good Grand Prix mare it makes life at Diamond B a happy and positive experience where all the diligence, patience and TLC is worthwhile.
On asking Amanda what makes Vivienne that special mare, she says: “She is super talented and very keen to do her work. She has an innate way of reading the top rail and is very careful. I love her quirkiness and that keeps me on my toes and is what makes it all so interesting. I have to say that Helen has been a real inspiration and the best eyes on the ground ever. She has everything covered and her wealth of knowledge is outstanding. George Morris has also helped in her training and Colleen Brook and Rod Brown have always been admirers of our quirky talented Viv and have offered advice all through her career thus far.
“JPR (James Paterson-Robinson) has been training us for the last couple of years and having ridden her, knows her very well. She is a very special mare and she is also very affectionate to people and I’m not sure she thinks any other horses exist. Not even her daughter! She is special and what else can I say!?” EQ
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