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!
AUSTRALIA`S BEST EQUINE MAGAZINE
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A Few Words
FROM THE PUBLISHER
EXCITING TIMES FOR ALL OF US
BY HEATH RYAN
SHANE & VIRGIL, TWO OF A KIND
BY ADELE SEVERS
SIMONE’S WORLD CUP DANCE
BY ADELE SEVERS
DIAMOND B VIVIENNE’S SPARKLING CAREER
BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE
EXCITING START TO PARIS CAMPAIGN
BY BRIDGET MURPHY
MEGAN BRYANT’S HOMEGROWN FORMULA
BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE
A SMARTER WAY TO COMPETE
BY DR KERRY MACK
EDWINA LOOKS TOWARDS PARIS 2024
BY DAWN GIBSON-FAWCETT
ELLIE SHINES ON THE ‘DARK SIDE’
BY ADELE SEVERS
RUG UP FOR WINTER
BY ADELE SEVERS
ALL THE PRETTY HORSES
BY SUZY JARRATT
THE CHALLENGE OF TREATING HPSD
BY DR MAXINE BRAIN
FIVE STARS TO SOPHIA HILL
BY ADELE SEVERS
Shane Rose and Virgil, winners of the five-star at the 2023 Adelaide Equestrian Festival. Image by Michelle Terlato Photography.
To those watching on at Adelaide Equestrian Festival, the elite eventing combination of Shane Rose and Virgil appeared telepathic on their way to victory in the major class. Having competed at FEI level together for well over a decade – contesting an Olympic Games, two World Championships and five CCI5*L events – they are the very definition of partnership.
Shane Rose and Virgil on their victory lap at Adelaide Equstrian Festival. Image by Michelle Terlato Photography.
Shane Rose and Virgil have an incredible 15 FEI wins to their name, however, their most recent at Adelaide Equestrian Festival was a career milestone. Fourth after the dressage, their near-perfect cross country round saw them add just 0.4 of a time penalty to their score to end the second phase at the top of the leaderboard.
On the final day, they had a rail in hand – but true to Virgil’s track record as a super showjumper, they didn’t need it. Jumping clear, they finished on an impressive 28.5 penalties. It was the combination’s fifth CCI5*L start and completion and although they’d come close to victory before – having come second at Adelaide in 2015 and third at Pau in 2019 – it was the first time Shane had raised the trophy at that level in conjunction with his long-time partner.
A THREE-PEAT FOR SHANE
“It means everything to come back and compete in Adelaide after Covid, it’s amazing and I realise that there’s nowhere like this in the world to gallop through a city, and the crowd and the weather are just second to none,” says Shane of returning to the first edition of the Adelaide CCI5*L since the pandemic. Shane has now won the headline class at Adelaide (formerly the Australian International Three-Day Event, now renamed Adelaide Equestrian Festival) three times, a feat only achieved by one other rider in Hazel Shannon.
Shane’s first victory was back 2004, riding Pam and the late Ron Slade’s Beauford Miss Dior. Ron and Pam were known in the eventing world as the supportive parents of their son, Robert, who was long listed for the Sydney Olympics with Beauford Miss Dior, before he was tragically killed in an eventing accident while based in the UK in 1999. Following Robert’s death, Ron and Pam supported Shane with the ride and their 2004 win at Adelaide was undoubtedly a special one.
“It means everything to come back and compete in Adelaide after Covid.”
In 2015, Shane filled the first two placings at Adelaide with CP Qualified – a horse that would take him to the 2016 Rio Olympics – and Virgil. He says it’s hard to say which win has meant the most. “They’re all different. Riding Beauford Miss Dior in 2004 was an amazing first five-star. To run one and two in 2015 with two awesome horses was good. Virgil is a freak… it’s hard to beat this one,” he says.
AN AMAZING HORSE
“(Virgil) is an amazing horse. His dressage test on the Friday, sub-30, and then to finish on a sub-30 at potentially his last five-star is pretty amazing. He’s some horse and I’m very, very lucky to have him,” says Shane.
Virgil was bred by Michelle Hasibar, who still part-owns the horse in conjunction with Shane and his wife Niki. Michelle purchased Virgil’s dam, a thoroughbred mare named North Pole (Distinctly North x Rose Gold), off the track as a four-year-old. Appearing a little sore from racing, Michelle decided to give the mare three months off to readjust. It was during that period that Michelle dreamt of breeding an Olympic eventer; the Chuggs’ stallion Vivant was chosen as a sire and the resulting foal was named after Virgil Tracy, a character from the Thunderbirds Are Go! television series.
Virgil as a foal. Image supplied by Michelle Hasibar.
Virgil was a tall, leggy foal with a lot of presence, and was broken in at the age of three by Adam Sutton. It wasn’t long before Michelle was riding him with confidence and began competing him at the lower levels. He was an amazing jumper from the get-to, so much so that the show jumpers were showing interest in him – however, when the time came for Michelle to consider selling the gelding, she opted to take him to Shane, who had ridden horses for her in the past. A few rides in and Shane was smitten; he and Niki purchased Virgil, with Michelle retaining a share.
Following two years of competing successfully at FEI events in Australia, Virgil’s first overseas jaunt came in 2013 for the World Equestrian Games test event at Le Pin-au-Haras, followed by the FEI WBFSH Eventing World Championship for Young Horses in Blenheim, UK. Not long after, he suffered a minor injury playing the hero in the paddock and headed home to Australia for a spell.
Shane and Virgil at the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon. Image by Michelle Terlato.
“Virgil is a freak… it’s hard to beat this one.”
In 2015, Virgil competed at Adelaide and finished second on his dressage score where Shane won with CP Qualified. In 2016 Virgil was the travelling reserve for the Rio Olympics, before returning to England with Shane to base at Sam Griffiths’ yard where they stayed on for nearly a year and half. Shane and Virgil competed at Burghley CCI5*L where the going was spongy and for whatever reason, he started to over-jump fences a little and incurred 11 penalties on cross country for breaking a frangible pin; despite this, he and Shane finished a very credible 16th. It was then on to Luhmühlen CCI5*L, where they finished on their dressage score and came seventh, and a win at the Blair Castle leg of the Event Rider Masters series was another highlight. It was then time to head home.
Their next adventure was being selected for the 2018 World Equestrian Games team in Tryon, USA. The World Championships went well, except for a single mistake at a skinny fence that cost them the possibility of finishing as high as fourth… that’s eventing! The Australian team managed to qualify Australia for the Tokyo Olympics.
In 2019 – and with the Olympics in sight – it was off to Pau CCI5*L in France, where they finished third, gained the required qualification, and impressed selectors. Covid then brought a stop to competition and the Tokyo Olympics seemed like an impossibility, but Shane kept the fire burning and stayed positive with Virgil throughout the year. The Olympics were ultimately rescheduled for 2021, and Shane and Virgil were named on the squad; they made the final cut and it was off to Japan. As we know, the Tokyo Olympic Games was a huge success for Australia with the team bringing home a silver medal. Shane and Virgil finished 10th individually against the world’s best.
Shane and Virgil at the Tokyo Olympics. Image by Dirk Caremans - Hippo Foto.
Jumping to a team silver medal and individual top ten finish at the Tokyo Olympics. Image by FEI - Christophe Taniére.
Their latest team appearance came at the 2022 FEI World Championships in Pratoni, Italy, where unfortunately the Australian team did not have the event they had hoped for. However, showing the incredible consistency they’ve become known for, Shane and Virgil still finished the highest of the Aussies in a very credible 13th place.
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
The partnership between Shane and Virgil has now been going strong for well over a decade, and if Adelaide is anything to go by, they are looking better than ever.
“He’s older, he knows his job,” says Shane of the rising 18-year-old. “The plan was to come (to Adelaide) and do well, as that qualifies him for the Olympic Games. He’ll probably just do some show jumping shows between now and getting closer to Paris.”
On the way to victory in the five-star at Adelaide Equestrian Festival. Image supplied by Michelle Terlato Photography.
Their pair’s score does indeed tick off their first MER for the Paris Olympics, with only a confirmation result (which can be at CCI5*L, CCI4*L or CCI4*S) in 2024 now required to complete their qualification.
Shane says he’s fortunate to have incredible depth in his team, with three young mares coming up through the ranks – all of whom performed well at Adelaide. “I’ve got three amazing young horses that were (at Adelaide), three mares that I think will be really strong in 12 months’ time. Easy Turn, Be My Daisy – it was her first five-star and she really stepped up – and then my young horse Dotti coming through.
Shane and Virgil have a special partnership that spans well over a decade. Image by Michelle Terlato Photography.
“I’m really fortunate that I’ve got some lovely quality horses leading into Paris… and to have Virgil in my back pocket, it’s pretty satisfying. I can’t wait for the next 12 months to unfold and see what comes of it.” EQ