Coming from a non-horsey family, it was largely up to Mattea to make her way in her chosen sport – and she did that with outstanding success.
Mattea was first introduced to horses through a school friend whose father started the Brisbane Polo Club. Thinking she was in heaven, she spent her weekends grooming and riding polo ponies, until her parents allowed her to lease a horse. Through school she competed as much as possible in Interschool and Pony Club events, overcoming the absence of a float by convincing other riders to take her with them!
After leaving school, she spent time with Tom Doyle, a vet and a rider, and had the opportunity to ride multiple horses and help out with vet work. She also had lessons with Tony Manca, and gained further experience working in Kevin McNab’s yard, where she became hooked on the idea of a career with horses. She applied for was accepted into the University of Queensland’s Veterinary Science program, where she learned how to work with lame and injured horses, and how to breed them.
It was while she was at Kevin McNab’s stable that she met her husband Shane Davidson. While completing her degree, she continued to compete and train horses at the Davidson family’s property Fairbanks Stud, where Shane taught her to break-in and start young horses according to the German system.
Eventually striking out on their own, the couple founded Davidson Equestrian, with a focus on producing horses from birth to top level competition. Additionally, they’re kept busy teaching young riders, and training, campaigning and producing horses for sale.
Mattea is also actively engaged as an equine veterinarian, focusing on equine reproduction and dentistry. As a qualified and experienced vet she handles all the stud work, and is very particular about the welfare of all the horses, ensuring health and fitness levels are maintained to high standards.
Q: What was your dream or what were your goals when you first set your sights on the equestrian industry?
I always wanted to learn how to produce horses from the beginning – from handling as a foal, to breaking in, right through to top level competition and hopefully onto an Australian Team.
Q: 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?
For sure! I have been lucky to have had many fantastic mentors along the way. Thinking back to when I was a Junior rider, and even when I had just finished school, I had so many people who were generous with their time. They may show you how to load a difficult horse, how to take a shoe off, or whatever – but it has always stuck with me that if you show an interest, people are very willing to help you out.
Q: What is the best advice you were ever given?
Be patient with horses and take your time.
Q: What roadblock or roadblocks have you overcome to be where you are today professionally?
I think for me, it has been coming from a non-horsey background and having fewer opportunities as a young rider. So I could go, I used to try to convince the other kids at Pony Club to come to a show with me so we had enough horses to hire the local cattle truck. Otherwise I would ride to some of the local venues so I could compete. It was all a bit wild! It’s lucky that my parents didn’t know anything about horses because some of the roads we would ride along were a little scary! In saying that – it made me hungry, keen to learn and willing to take on new opportunities.