This successful 5* event rider is no stranger to nerves, but believes that if you don’t put yourself on the edge of your comfort zone from time to time, you’ll never get better at dealing with them.
I grew up in Inner Sydney and riding was certainly not part of my upbringing. They say horses run in your blood, and it seems they do. My great aunt and grandmother were very prominent country horse women, and my mum grew up with them on a large NSW sheep farm. So, although horses were not physically present in my childhood, there was no escaping their appeal.
After riding very badly as a weekend warrior on polo ponies, my love of horses led me to England to work for and train with arguably the world’s greatest coach, Christopher Bartle. This start fuelled my passion and love for horses and the wonderful sport of eventing.
I have had some wonderful highs in this sport, and worked with some incredible horses. My strength is working with tricky mares, who challenge and teach me how to be better every day. I love training them from babies all the way to the top and I have had sensational relationships with horses like Lutello, Holstien Park Leilani, Frontier Psychiatrist, Bloomers Twinkletoes, Oaks Cordelia, Wasabi I, and PIKS Dancing Queen. Building trust and confidence in my horses is always my philosophy and focus.
I also work with my partner Hinnerk Hueppe to run Hannover Lodge, a very successful Thoroughbred facility. We focus on breaking, pre-training, spelling and sales preparation. This collaboration has let us combine our expertise and contacts, and my already considerable knowledge of managing horses has grown extensively.
My goal this year is to represent Australia again and to travel with one or more of my horses to major overseas shows.
What was your dream or what were your goals when you first set your sights on the equestrian industry?
My first goal was 4* in the record time of two years after I returned to Australia. This was the jump start for the next 20 years of working to achieve my goal of being a seriously competitive and respected high level event rider.
We believe in the great value of mentors, did you or do you have a mentor that has made a significant impact in your life or career?
When I returned to Australia I found a job with our own legendary Stuart Tinney, who has taught me a great deal.
What is the best advice you were ever given?
The more you know, the more you realise you don’t know! And I feel this could not be more true in our industry. So I live by the rule that you must surround yourself with the best and the most knowledgeable people you can, and never be too proud to ask for advice. I have never stopped learning, and thanks to the beautiful animals I have built my life around, I feel I never will!
What roadblock or roadblocks have you overcome to be where you are today professionally?
Every day I encounter roadblocks. The secret is to learn to go around them, over them, or through them, and NEVER let them block you!