And as Heath Ryan observes, overseas is also where the action is just now. It’s do-or-die for our eventers in Ireland, Maree Tomkinson pulls off a coup in Germany, and our Virtus Global Games team is in France, thanks to the support of our equestrian community. Bravo! Heath also runs his discerning eye over our new national selectors.
Of course, you don’t have to leave the country to prove your mettle. Adele checks in on Rohan Luxmoore and his latest project, six-year-old LH Valentino, with whom he hopes to bring up through the eventing grades as he did with his five-star horse Bells N Whistles. And we meet Molly Lines who has won her first start at four-star eventing with an OTT she has partnered with since she was 13.
In Training, Dr Kerry Mack examines common issues we all experience and reminds us to “think about simple things first” instead of blaming the horse. Great advice for all of us across all disciplines. In Health, our other inhouse doctor, veterinarian Maxine Brain, enlightens us on the various causes of choking in horses and the appropriate treatments.
One sport that you can’t learn overseas is campdrafting. Far removed from the classic Olympic disciplines, it still showcases uniquely Australian skills – and it now shares the same platform, the illustrious grounds of Willinga Park. Roger Fitzhardinge was there for the sport’s richest campdraft, and talks to the legendary Pete Comiskey after his extraordinary performance.
Speaking of Roger, the veteran photojournalist, commentator, judge, competitor, physio (you name it!) retired from riding when his enthusiasm to be in the saddle waned. Roger says he turned to “sailing, swimming, enjoying great food and drinking champagne, and it was… like heaven”. Then a stranger walked into his life! I’m sure you will enjoy meeting Roger’s new friend as much as he is!
Also in our Lifestyle section, Suzy Jarratt amuses us as usual in her Horses in the Movies series, this time on Ladyhawke, a fantasy film that not only put Rutger Hauer and his riding skills on the map, but revived interest in the elegant Friesian horse. One Dutch Friesian breeder was so grateful to Rutger for promoting the breed that he presented him with one!
From one fantasy to another, our Property feature showcases the dreamy five-star equine resort of Al Shaqab in Doha, Qatar. Dawn Gibson-Fawcett recommends it as the ideal stopover for horse lovers and takes us on a tour. Set on almost 100 hectares, this horseshoe-shaped paradise features facilities, stables and horses that have to be seen to be believed. “It’s a hard job, but some horses have to do it,” notes Dawn as she meets some pampered Arabians munching on premium hay flown in from Kentucky.
Happy riding and enjoy this winter reading,