PLUS: JODIE MCKEONE'S, ALL EYES ON THE EUROS, TRAINING FOR SUPPLENESS WITH KERRY MACK, SCONE POLO INTERNATIONAL, WHAT MAKES MARY NITSCHKE TICK, PARA DRESSAGE AT HARTPURY, ROLEX II SHINES IN THE SHOW RING, A VET’S LOOK AT OVARIAN TUMOURS, A NEW APPROACH TO FEEDING & SUZY JARRATT ON ‘THE MIRACLES OF THE WHITE STALLIONS’.
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A Few Words
FROM THE PUBLISHER
TRACKING OUR PARIS CONTENDERS
BY HEATH RYAN
SIMONE PEARCE’S SOLID SILVER SERVICE
BY ADELE SEVERS
SCONE SCORES ON THE WORLD STAGE
BY ADELE SEVERS
ALL EYES ON THE EUROS
BY ROGER FITZHARDINGE
WHAT MAKES MARY NITSCHKE TICK
BY ADELE SEVERS
THE SUBTLE ART OF SUPPLENESS
BY DR KERRY MACK
HARTPURY TAKES US TO ANOTHER LEVEL
BY BRIDGET MURPHY
MIRACLE OF THE WHITE STALLIONS
BY SUZY JARRATT
DAVID SHOOBRIDGE’S MATING GAME
BY SUNDAY MCKAY
GRANULOSA CELL TUMOURS
BY DR MAXINE BRAIN
PERFECT FEED IS IN THE BAG
BY SUNDAY MCKAY
ROLEX II TICKS OVER NICELY FOR KAITLIN
BY ADELE SEVERS
THE SEASON FOR FUTURE STARS
BY EQ LIFE
JODIE MCKEONE: MISSION POSSIBLE
BY ADELE SEVERS
Simone Pearce and No Limit, silver medallists at the FEI/WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championship for Young Horses. Image by LL Foto.
Australia had never before won a medal at an international championship-level dressage event. Simone Pearce has now made history by partnering with No Limit to claim the silver medal in the Five-Year-Old Final at the 2023 FEI/WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championship for Young Horses in Ermelo, the Netherlands.
At just 32 years of age, Australian Simone Pearce is somewhat of a veteran when it comes to the FEI/WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championship for Young Horses. She’s competed at seven championships since 2015, often with multiple horses, and made a total of nine finals. That in itself is an incredible record.
Simone Pearce and No Limit scored 88.6% in the 5YO Final to secure a silver medal in Ermelo. Image by LL Foto.
At this year’s Championship, Simone rode five-year-old No Limit to second place and a silver medal – a first for Simone, and in fact the first medal won by any Australian at a major international dressage championship. “The feeling when I realised I’d won a medal was absolutely amazing,” says Simone. “I’ve been doing this show for many years now and I really love to ride the young horses. I’ve been in nine finals, and I think I’ve been fourth three or four times – so to win a medal really was a dream come true!”
No Limit, a Westfalen gelding by Geniaal (Vivaldi) out of Florina (Florestan I), was bred by Marcel Roerdink in the Netherlands and is owned by the Ritzinger family. In the final at Ermelo he received 9.5 for the trot, 8.8 for the walk, 9 for the canter, 7.8 for submission and 9.2 for perspective, for a total of 88.6%.
In June this year, Simone made the move from her former base at Gestüt Bonhomme near Berlin to work with Thomas and Monika Ritzinger and their daughter, Sophia, down south in Bavaria. As she explains, she was riding No Limit for a short time prior to the move: “[No Limit’s former co-owner] Eugene Reesink called me and said he had a nice horse, and if I would like to ride him I could try to take him to the World Championship, and then we could try and sell him afterwards.
“So I started riding [No Limit] just before I moved to Ritzinger’s; he was already in Berlin in another stable, where I was going after work to ride him. He turned out to be a really nice horse, and so when I moved to Bavaria the Ritzinger family decided they would invest in him and so they purchased him.”
“From the day I got him to the day I rode the final was two months.”
Simone and No Limit had only been training together for two months when they competed at Ermelo. Image by LL Foto.
NO EASY TASK
Aiming for the FEI/WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championship for Young Horses was always the goal from when Simone first began riding No Limit for Eugene and co-owner Nico Witte – but with No Limit so green and little time to prepare, it was no easy task.
“To be honest, in the beginning I thought it was going to be a little bit of an impossible goal because he was very, very green. And I got him very late, so there was a lot of work to do to get him doing the test and doing it in a way where he could be successful. But this year he was the only horse I had [qualified for the Championship], so I was putting all my effort into getting him in shape. In the end it worked out.”
Simone says her success in Ermelo came as a surprise. “I was really surprised on the first day [in the qualifying round]. Basically from the day I got him to the day I rode the final was two months, so it was really a lot to teach him to trot and to be soft, and also to teach him all the movements that come in the test. I was surprised after the first round [Simone and No Limit placed fifth on 88%] and I didn’t really think there was any chance to improve for the final because the final test is much harder and he was even greener at that test. I was really just focused on getting around the test in a somewhat harmonious way. I was surprised and happy with the result in the final.”
Simone credits German dressage coach Sebastian Heinze with helping her keep it all together in Ermelo. “Sebastian did a really amazing job helping me; No Limit was pretty on fire and a little bit difficult to manage over the course of the week at the World Championship, and Sebastian stayed cool, calm and collected. He was an amazing support both from a training and a mental support perspective to stay cool and trust the process. To take No Limit from very wild in the warm-up to having a successful round was pretty great from Sebastian.” Of course, Simone was also supported in Ermelo by her long-time groom, best friend and “rock” Emily Ruedavey, who she says was also cool, calm and collected under pressure.
Simone with No Limit and groom Emily Ruedavey. Image by LL Foto.
Simone trained previously with Sebastian Heinze when formerly based at Gestüt Sprehe, where he helped her with her Tokyo Olympic partner Destano among other horses. “I really enjoy working with him, I think he just has a nice, positive mentality for the horses. He’s very open-minded and willing to change according to what every horse needs. I just really like him as a trainer, and now I will go on training with him here at Ritzinger’s, I hope as much as possible.”
Simone says she loves the FEI/WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championship for Young Horses and looks forward to it each year. “I think it promotes top quality horses going through to the Grand Prix sport and it’s something that I’m really passionate about being involved in. To have one of those top horses that I will now keep the ride on long term and hopefully see through to the Grand Prix is just fantastic. I think No Limit has huge potential for Grand Prix and I can really see him in the ring in a few years’ time as one of the top sport horses in the world. I mean, you never know what is going to happen, but my opinion is he has everything required to be one of the top horses out there.
“No Limit is now having a very well-deserved break out in the field for a few weeks. He’s just chilling and living his best life, and we will then start to work towards the six-year-old test and hopefully have him ready to go again next year [for the six-year-old Championship] and then he’ll be on his way to the bigger goal, which is Grand Prix.”
RETURN OF DESTANO
Simone has been reunited with stallion Destano. Image by Michael Rzepa for CDI Achleiten.
Simone recently received the exciting news that she would be reunited with Destano – the stallion whom she rode at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 – and she couldn’t be happier. “It is pretty awesome. I’m very, very happy about that and it was also very unexpected. Gestüt Sprehe just called me up one day and said, ‘Do you want to have Destano back, because you guys are a great team and he’s in super shape and very healthy.’ They didn’t want to retire him because he still has such a lot to give in the sport, and so they asked if I’d like to have him back and reunite the team, and I was like, ‘Absolutely, yes!’”
“It feels like a day never passed.”
Destano is now stabled with Simone and the pair have picked up where they left off. “It feels like a day never passed. It’s so nice having him back and I feel like he really remembered me, and it was just a few days before we were back feeling really like no time passed at all, so it’s a great feeling.”
While there is still a lot of water to go under the bridge, Simone is hopeful that she and Destano could make it to their second Olympic Games together in Paris next year. “For sure we hope the Olympics is something that might be possible next year. You never know what will happen, and whilst it’s getting closer and closer, it still feels like early days for us. But for sure the Olympics would be a huge dream to be able to be there next year.”
A GROWING TEAM
Destano has joined a small but growing team at the Ritzinger family’s new stables near Munich. “At the moment we don’t have so many horses because the stable has just opened, and we’re still building the team around us. I have Destano, No Limit and then a really fantastic five-year-old stallion called Mevano (Grandorado TN N.O.P. x C-Indoctro) – he was a champion stallion in Holland and I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s possible with him in the future, maybe for the World Young Horse Championship next year and definitely for the Grand Prix, as I think he’s really, really talented.
“I also I have a 10-year-old who I’ve had in training since the end of last year, and his name is Immerdale. The Ritzingers bought him when I moved here,” explains Simone, adding that Immerdale recently had his Grand Prix debut, winning with over 71%. “I think he’s also directly ready for international Grand Prix, so that’s pretty exciting.
“I then I have my own 11-year-old KWPN gelding Hemingway (Voice x Jazz), and the Ritzingers have a few horses that their daughter Sophia rides, and I am training her. At the moment the team is small, but hopefully it will be growing in the coming months.”
Simone says she’s enjoying life in southeastern Germany. “I really like Bavaria, and the people and the lifestyle… it’s a little bit more similar to Australia, so it’s been a really nice change of pace, to be honest. We’re about 45 minutes from Munich; it’s a really nice area and I really like it here.”
Simone says that although she misses Australia immensely, we won’t be seeing her Down Under for a little while yet – with the Paris 2024 Olympics now less than a year away, there is no time for holidays. “At the moment I don’t have any plans to visit Australia, I think that next year is going to be really, really busy in the lead up to the Olympics. I think anyone who is really going for it is fully focused at this point with their eyes on the prize.
Simone hopes that she and Destano, pictured here at the Tokyo Olympics, could ride into contention for Paris 2024. Image by Hippo Foto - Dirk Caremans.
“Definitely after the Olympics I will go home and spend some time in Australia. I miss my family and my home so much… but we will stay focused for this next year and then getting to Australia is definitely a goal after that!” EQ