The pair were part of the Australian team at the recent FEI Nations Cup in Barcelona, Spain. Although the team missed out on a start in the final round of the Nations Cup, they produced a top performance to finish a close second to a very strong Dutch team in the Challenge Cup competition.
Kermo and Napa have fulfilled part of their FEI MER for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but their European venture is not aimed at an Olympic start; it’s about the partnership having one last hurrah together on the international stage. If Olympic qualification and selection comes their way and Napa is up to the task, then that would be a bonus.
BACK HOME AT YANDOO
Back home at Yandoo Park in Ebenezer, New South Wales, there are still countless horses in training – both Yandoo-owned and clients’ horses – as well as clients and students to coach. Joining the team recently, Emma and Josh Collins have become an integral part of the machine alongside Brydan Train, who has just left to meet Kermo in Europe; Lachlan Penny and his brother Josh Penny; and for the next few months, Sarah Hens, who is filling in while Brydan is away. Uni student Phoebe Oates also currently supports Josh and Emma around her study schedule.
Josh rides about 12 horses per day, while Jamie rides anywhere from two to eight in addition to conducting between four and 10 lessons. While many of Jamie’s rides are client horses, she does have a solid little team of her own that is going great guns.
“I have a good homebred mare that I love riding and have had a lot of success on called Yandoo Honolulu. She’s pretty special but can be quite horse-shy and a little bit difficult at the shows in the warm-up. She gets lunged a lot, rather than me riding her, which is a lot of work for the grooms,” explains Jamie. Before Josh and Emma recently joined Yandoo and with Kermo away, Jamie made the decision to spell the mare to take the pressure off at shows. Fortunately, with plenty of events under her belt over the last two years, Jamie doesn’t anticipate that it’ll take much to have Honolulu back in action again.
“I also ride a really cool mare of Rachel Peel’s called Tulara Wat Colblensky, aka ‘Juno’. Rachel competes her at 1-1.10m with success and then I ride her in the Futurity classes at 1.35m. I’m pretty excited about her,” enthuses Jamie.
“I seem to have good success with Tulara horses. It’s nice because we’ve had a long relationship with breeders Mark and Anna Fraser.” When Mark first began seriously breeding show jumpers at their picturesque property in Barjarg, Victoria, the first colt he bred was Tulara Balouch, by Balou du Rouet – a horse that Jamie ultimately purchased in 2013. “I’ve had a really good relationship with Mark ever since. I like what he’s doing with his breeding and he’s very good to deal with.
“We’ve also bred a lot of horses with Pip and Sue Middleton, and also own eight-year-old Tulara On Trend in conjunction with them. He’s out of the same mother as Tulara Balouch, by For Fashion, and he’s a great horse.”
The other horse Jamie is competing on at the moment is Bossanova NPH, aka Milo. “Birdy and Jono Berry previously rode him, and now they’ve both moved to New Zealand and so I’m very fortunate and appreciative that they’ve put him with me to campaign and potentially sell. I’m really enjoying riding that horse, he’s unbelievable.”
Of Jamie’s current core competition trio – Bossanova NPH, Tulara Wat Colblensky and Tulara Stolensky – the latter is the smallest at 17.1 hands. “I don’t really know what happened there,” laughs Jamie. “At this stage, that is my main team for the Australian Jumping Championships.”
IMPORTANCE OF TEAMWORK
Jamie is adamant that her success this year is all down to teamwork – not only from the amazing crew at Yandoo, but also Kermo’s help from Europe and support from the wider Australian jumping community.
Yandoo Park is planning to take a whopping 28 horses to the Australian Jumping Championships, which take place from 31 October to 5 November in Sydney. Jamie, Emma and Josh have around 10 horses between them, with the rest being clients or students competing on their own horses. These days, big events are very much a team affair for Yandoo, and there’s a great sense of camaraderie.
“I’m very fortunate to have a good team around me,” says Jamie. “Lachlan Penny and Bryden Train, my show grooms… my horses are more work for them than for me! The riding for me is not difficult, it’s more the running back and forth coaching that’s the biggest challenge at a show. It’s making sure you’re not rushing other people’s warm-ups; they might only have one horse, but it’s just as important to them that they have a successful show. Our management of them and their horses is really important to our business, plus we get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing them do well.”
It’s clear that although the partnership is relatively new, Jamie, Josh and Emma are working well as a team. At Willinga Park, Jamie explains that Josh would step in and assist clients if she was riding and vice versa. Many of their students and clients had excellent results; Jess Rice-Ward performed well in the Grand Prix with Tulara Diarangol (Jamie says the pair’s two rails in the first round were only the lightest of touches, so watch this space) while Courtney Cusack won the Amateur Final, among other successes.
Jamie admits that heading into Jumping@Willinga with a large team in tow had her a little worried about how it would all work. “Josh and I were so focused on doing a good job for our clients… I was a little nervous our own results could suffer. Only the result was going to tell us how we went with that, and I feel our performances in the Grand Prix spoke pretty well to the fact that we hadn’t let that happen.” Josh and stallion Cornel (who actually won the class last year) were an impressive fifth with just one rail down in the second round.