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Pictured above is Fern Wright riding Ferrero Red Onyx

Even under current renovations Boneo Park still looked amazing as was the atmosphere. Boneo Park held yet another brilliant dressage event over the weekend. 

All riders were offered a complimentary stable due to works being completed to the grounds to minimise the damage to the newly seeded areas and levelled ground that is being prepared for the new stable blocks - yes blocks!

What a great way to manage their facilities and also to provide a hassle free place for their competitors which meant riders were able to concentrate on what lay ahead of them - well done Boneo Park for the gesture I am sure it won't be forgotten.

The Big Tour is always impressive to see, the wining combination to take out the Grand Prix event was Pauline Carnovale riding Urestan. In the FEI Intermediate I Georgina Foot took out the honours here with her gelding Bellaire Cannavaro followed closely in second place by Georgia Haythorpe on her lovely mare Letizia. Georgia and Letizia just missed out by a narrow 2% on the winning score. 

On the Sunday the riding continued and Justine Greer won the Advanced 5.1 on Jaybee Angelina scoring almost 73% in one of her scores - what an amazing ride!

Well done to all riders over the weekend and thank you to all the staff at Boneo Park for making it such a great place to be.

For photos captured over the weekend please click on the link http://lnsp.smugmug.com/Winter-Dressage-Championships-/






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Posted by on in Equestrian




Mary Hanna wins the Peter Horobin Big Tour Championship!

Another CDI has come and gone at Boneo Park this week. It was full of new events and it certainly did not disappoint. The PCAV and HRCAV had classes held at the CDI carnival along with the Para Equestrian riders. The Para Equestrians let nothing get in their way of riding their horses. You can see such an amazing bond between the horses and riders (pictured below is Dale Thompson Para Equestrian)


Mary Hanna won the Peter Horobin Big Tour Championship riding Sancette. Mary will now place her horse in to quarantine as they will now head off to the World Equestrian Games to compete in Normandy, France. 


There are some amazing horses coming up the ranks. One being Agent Deu Jue ridden by David Schoobridge in the Medium 4.2 class on the Friday. David scored over 70% with his ride and executed amazing precision during his test. A very exciting duo to watch.

In the Advanced 5.2 Brett Parbery also rode to success riding his mount PPH Zeppelin and took out the Advanced Championship overall. These guys make it look so easy and effortless. It is truly mesmerising to see this high quality if rider one after the other.

And to keep it in the family Amanda Schoobridge also rode an amazing test on her horse Revelwood Destiny on the Saturday in the Advanced 5.3 class. Amanda also took out the honours of this class. Amanda beat David in the Advanced Championship with second place and David was third.



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You may remember a few months ago I mentioned some low level niggles the princess was having, and the visit from the vet that ensued... and his subsequent recommendation to try a product that has only just been released in Australia, 4CYTE. He was happy that this product was one of the few on the market that had some "real science" behind it to back up the claims the company was making.

I have since spoken to a few other vets, and the company themselves, and we are going to try the supplement out for 6 months and monitor our progress. One interesting comment came from an FEI vet over the weekend regarding peoples expectations of products, in that they will not make a lame horse sound, but may keep a slightly scratchy horse going for years as part of a good program.

The first sample has arrived, and 2 days in its all good - at least she will eat it.

If you would like to read more about the product, have a look here,  http://www.4cytevet.com/4cyte-equine/product-benefits-equine.

Since the frustration of the Dubbo competition, we are back to a snaffle and doing a lot of work where the princess is not allowed to rely on my hands for balance and security, and neither am I...it is one of the most difficult things I've had to do with her. As an inherently spooky horse, it's very hard to resist the urge to hang on 'just in case'.

Our next outing is CWDG in Blayney at the end of November, followed by a long hot summer and plenty of training in the leadup to our first event next year, the Advanced classes at the ThinLine Dressage with Altitude CDI in February.


Stay cool !



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Posted by on in Equestrian


The team from Warrumbungle Eventing promised the bushfires that devastated the area  in January were not going to hold them back as far as hosting this year’s ODE, and they certainly delivered on their promise. Seriously, Coonabarabran has a reputation for hosting fantastic events, putting 600+ kids through the XC at the NorthWest Expo in June, so putting 130 through this weekend was never going to be a challenge.


The dressage started at a quite gentlemanly 10.30 on Saturday morning and as a judge it was really pleasing to see some really nice tests that could have been quite at home at an open dressage competition. A few that I judged I have seen about a few times this year, and the tests are improving a little each time they go around.


Only a couple of little dramas, with a child eliminated for riding their test in an illegal bit. Apparently it had been through a couple of gear checks prior to this event, but after some very serious phone calls to FEI Eventing and Dressage Officials and iPad searching for EA rules… our TD had to make a call. So a special point to remember, even if you go through a gear check, the onus is on the rider to present in legal equipment, because you may still be eliminated by the Ground Jury.


The traditional happy hour made Saturday evening most enjoyable, and thanks to the team for organising this. The social aspect of eventing is something that really makes it stand out from other sports.


The lower grades SJ’ed on Saturday afternoon, and from all accounts this was pretty uneventful, so onto XC day.


I managed to find myself a camera position at the water jump, with the hope of getting a good shot for the major sponsor, PAAL Homes, and it very nearly ended in tears for the first rider on course… a great recovery by the lone 1* Rider, Megan Nolan to still be on the horse as she exited the water, and completely regrouped by the time she hit the next fence, just a few strides away.


I’ve set up a quick Facebook competition to add a caption to this photo if you are interested. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=223886484446720&set=a.158826270952742.1073741828.158160454352657&type=1&theater




Totally done and dusted by 12.20 pm, with presentations about 1 pm. Yet another great weekend. If you are ever asked to be an official at Coonabarabran grab the opportunity with both arms. They are a really friendly bunch with great facilities and catering to die for.


I have uploaded almost 1000 photos from XC day, so go and have a look. http://sixtybytwenty.com.au/#/gallery/warrumbungle-1-star/dsc-38341/ 


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The road to PSG has a few potholes, but last weekend was a flat tire and a broken windscreen all in one !

I thought dressage was supposed to be a non-contact sport, but apparently not… last weekend one rider was carted off in a rescue helicopter- 4 broken ribs, and 2 other busters for the weekend. This weekend, no busters that I know of, but a little bit of bronc riding, and a broken arm loading up at the end of the weekend.  

It’s when everyone else is having trouble with their ponies that I really do appreciate the Princesses innate goodness. She can be a high stress pony and a total moron, but she has never done anything that makes me concerned for my own safety. Even though her flight response is very well developed, she doesn’t do anything to deliberately get rid of me and she is very careful.


Heading off on Saturday morning to our local championships (Dubbo), all felt OK, loaded well, travelled well, nice pony when she got off the float, but the tension seemed to slowly develop from there. Not naughty, but unsettled and a little edgy. Dug a bloody great hole beside the float. Warming up, it just didn’t feel right, again, not naughty but just not relaxed and happy so I did something I have never done before, I scratched from my test before I was due to ride it.


Similarly to last week, I rounded up someone to help me warm up for the next 2 tests, and it really did point the finger for the issue fairly and squarely at the jockey. One of her friends was watching us. He’s a great horseman but not a dressage rider, and he quite rightly pointed out, “while ever she’s talking to you, the horse is going beautifully”.


So what am I doing wrong ?


Backwards contact….while I am relaxed, the Princess can cope. When I am nervous, I hold the contact with a tendency to take, but not release. Combine this with the effects of a double bridle and it just gets worse and manifests itself as tightness through the neck and back and pulling the tongue back. She still does all the moves, just not as nicely as I know we can.


I ended up riding 3 of my 4 tests, all with 55-58% scores, just because I knew I needed to force myself to do it, but have gone back to the really basic stuff at home. Snaffle, long and low into the contact with a swinging and relaxed back, walk trot transitions and me focussing on taking my hands forward irrespective of the length of my reins.


So who has any great ideas on dealing with tension in a rider when access to competition is very limited ? I’ve got a month to get my stuff together before our next, and last outing for the year.


For a more interesting rundown on the rest of the competition… while there were a few scratchings due to illness, there seemed to be an interesting shift in competitors and classes for the weekend. Check out these nominations…


Preliminary- 2 ponies, 8 horses,  Novice- 8 horses, Elementary- 4 horses, Medium- 6 horses, Advanced- 4 horses, PSG- 6 horses, Inter 1- 4 horses.  


And another useless piece of information… of the 15 individual horses competing Elementary or above, 12 of them have been with their current rider since Preliminary. Only 6 of these travelled more than 2 hours to be part of this competition.


Of the 15 individual horses at Preliminary and Novice,  12 of them travelled more than 2 hours.


So my conclusions based on a tiny subset….higher level horses travel less and compete less, but we are educating our own horses to a higher level, and more horses are making it to the higher levels. Anyone have any thoughts on this ?


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It’s been a long time since I have posted an update on our progress towards Prix St George, because nothing much has happened.  Just one of those things that happens when you change jobs, kids hit HSC and it forgets to rain- horses become very much an also ran on the list of priorities.


I was becoming quite despondent about how the princess was going, and felt she was always just holding something back on me and sometimes sore under the saddle on one side. Not unsound or lame, just not giving me everything she had.  Saddle was refitted and restuffed and no real progress. So I finally bit the bullet and organised the vet and the Farrier in tandem as I felt it was coming from the back end somewhere.  Flexion texting and x rays revealed a tiny spur on one hock, and a little bit of degradation in the other, but to show the complexity of the whole situation, tenderness in the suspensory ligament diagonally opposite the spur !!! Yay !!! At least now I know what I am trying to deal with.


I have a great vet when it comes to treating legs on horses and he has his own methods of treating them, and he worked wonders with our pony a few years ago, so I let him do what he needed…and he gave the farrier instructions how and when he wanted the princess shod, and presto, 2 weeks later I have my free moving princess back again. He has also recommended a new product onto the Australian market that I am going to try and I will keep you posted how we go. Apparently there is quite a deal of “ correct” research and comparisons as well as anecdotal support for this product. He doesn’t tend to recommend commercially available products very often so I’m going to give it a go.


I think it will take a little time for her to redevelop the confidence to truly push again in the extensions but I feel so much better about what is going on.


I travelled to a competition in Blayney this past weekend, with the dream of picking up one of the 60’s I need to move on to PSG, but fairly realistic that it wasn’t going to happen riding a princess that had not been out  and only had one lesson since March. Combine that with a campdrafting session on Wednesday, it was always going to be interesting.


She can be a really high stress animal when it comes to travelling, and I woke up Friday morning ready to puke from nerves!  I think I loaded the wrong horse on the float though… straight on after only 2 minutes of “do I really have to “. It has taken me a while, but we have this little routine that goes like this..


2 days before a competition I drag the float out and we load and unload 4 or 5 times fully rugged. That way, if she resists and I have to start the lunging in small circles, she gets hot and tired before I do. It didn’t take any lunging this week. I just stood on the tailgate with her, just behind her shoulders and she got one flick on the bum with the end of the lead and up she went. I’ve found the secret though is to let her stand on the tailgate for at least 2-3 minutes before I put any pressure on her.


On the day of travel I tie her to the float for 15-20 minutes while I unrug, finish packing, tail bandage and float bandages. So she knows we are going somewhere, but she’s had time to get her mind used to the idea before she is really confronted with it.


So off we toddle to Blayney, 3 hours from start to finish. Off the float while trotters are working, and she didn’t care. Walked up to them for a chat no worries. Lovely to ride at the grounds, in fact all round  Mrs Nice Guy. Chilled out, eating and not looking…UNTIL I but her in a yard by herself.


 She hasn’t been stabled all winter, and this was the one piece of the plan I overlooked. She walked the stable all night and hardly ate anything and did not drink at all.  So she did a grass lap first up on Saturday morning and did eat a heap, but still would not stand in the yard at all, even when I tied her up. So I dragged her out, and tied her to the float, where she stood all day in the sun, eating her hay and drinking, happy as a pig in mud.


I judged a few horses at the start of the day, and then had an hour from when I finished to when I had to enter the arena…so she spend that time saddled, ready to go and I judged in full riding attire--- very cute.


One of my riders was 5 minutes late for her test which went down exceptionally well. Please riders….the time on the draw is the time you are supposed to be heading down the centre line, not the time you head over toward the gear check, or decide to read through your test one more time. If the arena  is running late for any reason, please make sure you are close by and ready to go as soon as the horse before you heads up the centre line for their final halt.


I was third to go in my class, and we were all there warming up and the last horse in the event before us was about to enter when a horse behind me spooks, bolts, shies or pigroots and loses its older rider in quite a nasty fall. Ambulance, helicopter, police with lights and sirens, ambulance operational control. We had 15 minutes notice that the chopper was coming, so most riders put float boots on their horses for leg protection. Most moved as far away as possible and held their horses, one rider with a couple of young horses put them back on the float and took them to the far side of the grounds until the chopper left. I tied Flora up solid in her stable and stood near her but not close enough that she could  get me if she was to be silly. She could still see all of what was going on. About now I decided I loved the boys and their motorbikes and the fire truck.

Of all the horses there, only one was silly and lost a bit of bark, the rest all just accepted what was going on.


Not a great start to our warmup, but a worse start for the poor lady. Luckily only 4 broken ribs, but at 70 its going to be a long road back for her.


So the 5A, it rode OK. Not flash, but OK, for a 58%. Bugger not to get the 60, but all in all, I was really happy with her headspace and the lack of tension. I left marks on the table for lack of bend in some of the lateral work, and not true clear extension/collection transitions and very modest extensions. But no mistakes, no resistance and 3 from 4 changes clean.


A bit over it by the time the 5B rolled around late afternoon, and after already warming up twice for the day, the third warm up was always going to be a challenge. We were both over it, and the suppleness and obedience that was there in the morning had a little holiday. 55.?% was the score, and about what we deserved !


Did I mention the fact that all this excitement occurred with a 30 km per hour wind for the entire day with gusts up to about 70 ? and a top temperature of 25 degrees. And here’s another useless piece of information for you, 3 of the 4 horses in the Advanced classes are used for stockwork, 2 of them weekly. In the Medium class, 2 from 8.


Sunday was a pretty uneventful day by comparison. I was ready to go home after breakfast and it showed. I rode one of the most sloppy and uninspired tests I have ever ridden and I thoroughly deserved the 56% that I scored. An error of course on the second movement for crying out loud !


I decided that was truly appalling and I couldn’t leave on that note. One thing about  CWDG competitions, there is always a friendly face who will lend a hand. I managed to sweet talk someone I knew a little into warming me up for the 4B. I knew she would be a pretty fierce task master, and also knew I deserved a beating around the head…. I got it.


I have never worked so hard in a warmup or a test, but guess what, I’ve never had a 60 in a Medium test before either !! And that’s after another error of course. One judge even gave me a 62, but I think he was just being nice.


So all in all, it was a nice weekend. I’ve got a lot to work on in terms of my motivation, and I need someone to flog me in a warmup.. Bring on next weekend, our Championships here in Dubbo and see if we can continue the roll and get a little closer to the elusive 60 at Advanced level.


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The NRG Team had three of their very talented riders competing at this year's Adelaide Royal Show. Tim Clarke pictured, from Grassmere, Victoria, competed in the Adelaide World Cup Qualifier on his gorgeous grey mare, 'Caltango'.  They won this class in an exciting and very fast jump-off over a huge track. Tim and 'Caltango' placed second in the Gawler World Cup Qualifier only a few weeks ago. Tim, son of Morris and Judy Clarke from Mortlake, is married to Ingrid, another of NRG's sponsored riders. We are very lucky to have such a talented family involved with us here at NRG, and appreciate their support and feedback about our products.

Chanele Hunter is another of our super-talented and successful sponsored riders. Chanele is from Chirnside Park in Victoria.  She rode the breathtakingly beautiful pony 'Rosedale Songster' to win Champion Large Pony at Adelaide Royal.  Chanele then went on to win the Lightweight Hack class on her own 'Crewe', and then won Pair of Riders with good friend Briony Payne. Chanele and 'Crewe' now have their sights set on the 'Garryowen' at Melbourne Royal.  We wish Chanele the best of luck and look forward to following their journey in final preparations for this big event. Follow us on Facebook for updates.  Chanele also shares her tips on showring preparation with us on Facebook, which are so helpful, even for riders who don't compete.

Tim and Ingrid are off to the Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre this week for the Australian Show Jumping Championships.  The NRG Team are proud sponsors of this event. We hope the weather is kind to organisers, horses and riders and hope to see you there!

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b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_1128.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_1217.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_1312.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_1173.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_1539.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_1217.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0776.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0767.jpgThis was just a great day. I went out because Tickle2 and her son were riding, and thought I would go out to have a sticky beak. No early start for me...no, I crawled out f bed at 10 past 7 to find she had sent me a text at 6.30 telling my to hurry up as she was more likely to be 7.300 than 8.30 ( and Im an hour drive away). So I hot footed it out to Guerie to find her saddled up and definitely not chilling. Did I tell you that Tickle is just as good a competitor as I am ?

Anyway, I started talking to people I know from 'round the ridges, and got home at 4pm. I took heaps of photos, got sunburnt as, met some new friends and caught up with some I don't see very often.

Will I go campdrafting on the Princess in future ? I think this is one sport we can cross off the bucket list. While I'm happy poking about behind our cattle I don't think I need to make an idiot of myself in front a crowd that is quite this big. I just wish we could get crowds like this to some of the other horse sports.

Interesting differences: $20 class entry per horse per class, someone else can warm your horse up. Must have a big hat ! and the clothing is loosing it's Australian feel and looking VERY American.


Have a look at these photos, and there are a heap more at www.sixtybytwenty.com.au under events, Guerie Campdraft.

And Tickle can identify herself and her son if she feels the need.


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Saturday afternoon saw me trying to take photos of reining horses at a competition at the undercover arena at Dubbo Showgrounds. I don’t know that I have ever seen a great photo come out of that arena due to the lighting causing havoc with cameras. The challenge is, that the background is in fill sunlight but because the horses are under cover, they are in the shade.


So in I toddle after lunch and try to find a spot that might work- that took about half an hour, but in the end, facing southwest, with a big wall of trees about 50 m behind the arena as a backdrop seemed to sort of work.


I was bit conspicuous, but they were a friendly bunch who answered my many ignorant questions with humour (and I don’t think they were taking the mickey out of me but who knows). So here’s the lowdown on what this dressage princess learned in 5 hours about reining.


1.       They think dressage riders are a mob of toffs.


2.       They cant understand why anyone would want to be that far off the ground without a parachute.


3.       Reining can be just as bitchy as any other sport.


4.       They love good boppy country music.


But seriously,


1.       They have classes for green riders similar to our associate classes.


2.       More than one person can ride a horse on a day  but I think they still have limits.


3.       A Pattern (test) will start in the centre, or wherever, with a salute to the judges who are always in the middle of one side. Each pattern takes about 5 minutes.


4.       Most work is done at a canter, even green riders are expected to be able to do flying changes.


5.       The movements I saw included 20 m circles fast and slow, 10mish circles slow, 20m fast into 10m slow with a flying change in the middle, reinbacks, spins, rollbacks and slides (not sure if that is the correct terminology).


6.       Scores are collated and announced immediately.


7.       A break/lost pattern (error of course) results in a Zero score. For example, they are supposed to do 3 spins and do 4…gone.


8.       They do bit inspections as well after each ride.


9.       At the lower levels at least, the flying changes are allowed to be late, but must be fixed within ¼ circle.


10.   After each spin set, the horse has to stand dead still and show it is relaxed. Some people stood as long as about 10 seconds, others not so long. The aim is to show that the horse can be wound right up, but still obedient enough to then stand.


Like dressage, the number of riders relying on their hands to get the job done and not their seat or legs was pretty disappointing. The ugly part of this is, the number of gaping mouths when the reins are used harshly ( but unlike dressage, no noseband to help hide the fact).


What did I like ?


Of the 50 or so horses I saw go through, only one showed any glaring disobedience, and that was a smaller young girl on a larger horse that I think was just being a bit smart. Darn sight better than some of the ODE’s or Pony Club events I have judged at.


The crowd clapped, cheered and wolf whistled their appreciation each movement that the rider got right. Yes it could be distracting, but at the same time very supportive and the horses did not seem to mind.


Interestingly, the horses who placed highest in many classes would have been at home in any dressage arena- forward, through, obedient and calm.


Which reinforces the conclusion- a good horse and good training is a good horse and good training, irrespective of what you do with it.


I’d love to have a crack at it one day, but probably not with the princess for a while. I don’t think she’d pass the spin/stand test for a while yet.


So thanks guys for inviting me along. Some photos of the day can be found at http://sixtybytwenty.com.au/#/gallery/dubbo-reining/dsc-3687/  if anyone wishes to order, just send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can work it out from there.


Tagged in: horse Reining Dubbo
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NRG Garlic & Apple Cider Vinegar . . . 10% Garlic

Description: http://www.nrgteam.com.au/images/D112210181.jpg

Garlic is one of those natural herbs that has been fed to animals and horse for years by ‘old timers’ and fed overseas for generations, even way back in Egyptian, Roman and Chinese cultures.

Now it has reached mainstream and is more widely available than ever.
Here at The NRG Team, it took some time to successfully mix 10% Garlic into NRG Apple Cider Vinegar, to benefit animals.

Comment: On advice of nutritionists, we add 10%.

As one of the most widely used herbs in the world, it is used for its strong antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-biotic properties. It is seen as a stimulant for the immune system.

It is a rich source of potassium, and a host of other minerals including sulphur, which is essential for healthy skin and hair… Reports also highlight its value of making animals blood less palatable to biting insects, like mosquitoes.

Garlic may assist with reducing worm counts, as owners have found feeding garlic useful when used with normal worming programmes.

It is also a source of MSM, commonly used to ease joint problems.

When fed at the recommended doses, Garlic is perfectly safe with no known side effects, only obvious benefits. However, we would recommend not feeding Garlic all year around, and giving animals a spell with feeding programs.
We say this in the light of part research into overfeeding garlic (1kg per day) that reported blood thinning and horse’s
health suffering with anaemia. Such high doses fed at high potency are bound to have detrimental effects. We suggest
our recommended dose of 100mls of NRG Apple Cider Vinegar with Garlic per day for a mature horse.

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I have owned horses most of my life, and ridden competitively, so when I read a translation of Xenophon’s fourth century BC treatise, Peri Hippikes (On Horsemanship), I should not have been surprised that much of the equine advice is relevant today. Why wouldn’t the ancient Greeks, who gave us the foundations of philosophy, mathematics and astronomy, also give us the heads-up on how to choose, train and ride a warhorse? While our horses no longer go to war, the love of the animal continues even though its uses have changed. Now, they carry us to victory as athletes on the racetrack and in the show ring, or just for pleasure, and the principles still apply.

Peri Hippikes led me to travel through centuries, then millennia of equestrian evolution following a multitude of tangents. However, as fascinated and absorbed as I am by the research, children generally consider history tiresome unless something piques their interest and I use this notion throughout the Opal Dreaming series. The area of interest being, of course, horses. I have seen how children who love horses, whether they ride or not, absorb a lot of specific and peripheral knowledge. I know I did. I recall one piece of random information from my early riding days was that the intricate and elegant dressage movements I aspired to originate from the training of horses to fight in battle.

The Opal Dreaming series essentially traces the significant periods in equestrian development from 3000BC to today. Melding history and fiction is a popular genre and I wanted more than to just tell a story set in another era. I wanted to include some of the skills I had acquired over the years so I focus, in detail, on the equine and riding practices applicable to the period in which each book is set. These practices and techniques then become progressively more complex throughout the series, as they did throughout history, building to the advanced levels of contemporary competition.

I also wanted to highlight the concept that many things are not as new as we would like to believe. A touch of fantasy never goes astray and the Australian opal, renowned for being mysterious, is the vehicle that moves Erin, a young teen who hates history but loves horses and is the voice of today, through dreamtime to view the past. Erin’s actions often reflect those of the historic characters in her dream. This creates the link whereby readers may recognise and compare the similarities of not just the horse related aspects but also of daily life from the past with that of the present, and there are many.

Back in the real world, for example, I recently spoke to a girl about her first horse as she enthused about the principles of modern “natural horsemanship.”  I agreed with her while explaining, to her amazement, how the current methods she was learning had their origins when ancient tribes observed the behaviour of herds in the wild in order to domesticate them. It was something that had not occurred to her.

When Erin wakes from her dream, she recalls these connections and realises maybe history is not so bad after all and I hope readers will do the same thing.

However, one of the hardest things I find with the research is weeding out the superfluous information, probably because the subject is of such interest to me. I always want to add just one more important snippet from all those engrossing facts I had accumulated and try to weave them seamlessly into the story. And sometimes, my enthusiasm takes over and discipline fails me. It is like editing your own work; you love that brilliant paragraph you wrote, but…

The first book in the Opal Dreaming series, The Bronze Horses, takes Erin to the Eurasian steppes in 3000BC, while the second book, The Marble Horses, due out later this year, is set in Ancient Greece and reveals the advice offered by Xenophon. I hope the series achieves my aims for, and entertains, the readers.

Details about Opal Dreaming The Bronze Horses is available at Morris Publishing Australiahttp://www.morrispublishingaustralia.com                                            

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 Having lessons with someone new is always a bit daunting, and when you haven’t had a lesson, or even been anywhere for almost six months, it was always going to be a bit ugly.


I did some important preparation the week before- dragged out the float, checked the tyres, made sure the brake controller worked with the “new” car and asked Miss Flora if she felt like some floating practice on Friday afternoon. All good, she went on almost immediately, so I should have been VERY nervous.


Saturday, still didn’t trust that she would go on and behave, so attempted a load at 12 N for a 4pm lesson. Ok, it turned out to be overkill but she has been known to be a bit stubborn at times. (And Heath Ryan had the audacity to suggest that my pony and I were a perfect match). Little witch goes straight on…all good going to town until a huge low loader  carrying a bulldozer with flashing lights, when she started to weave a bit, but very good going through town.


Unloaded calmly and was happy to stand quietly at the float for 3 hours.


All too good to be true…then she sees the circus tent behind the trees at the showground. My calm pony departed about then.


So frustrating as she was lunging quietly and calmly, into the contact and stretching down at home and it reverted to the bloody arab showoff trot complete with snorts today.


The lesson turned into a lesson on how to deal with tension and hollowness, but Jana also saw straight away the issues I was having, that I knew had developed over the past few months. Lack of activity, reliance in the hands too much for collection, not accepting the snaffle so well.


To the solutions, Ride forward, as forward as I can, must listen to you…everytime she spooked, I had to drive her forward at the same time resisting the urge to hang on for dear life.  Jana was great dealing with this, and by the end of the lesson she was moving well, but still with more tension than I like. My poor body though…


Jana did do some great work helping me sort out something that has been bugging me with my flying changes- I am using my outside leg too much to signal the change, but losing the impulsion from the inside leg. Resulting in too much swing and not enough through.


So roll around Sunday. The little witch felt that another drive wasn’t on her agenda for the day. Didn’t take too long to convince her to behave though. Back into the showground where she again was quite happy to stand about. I didn’t bother with the lunge today as I figured with the circus still there it was going to end the same way.


Today I threw out the challenge to Jana, and she rode the first half of the lesson for me. Well the princess wasn’t so keen on the new rules. Four steps really forward, then collect for the same, forward, straight off the leg as soon as asked to get her really coming under. Quite tense under the new regime but in the end accepting and trying really hard.  I’m still in two minds how I feel  about the different tactics, I’m a little more relaxed in my approach, but no doubting its effectiveness in improving her responsiveness- and it did need to be done.


So I climb back on, to the biggest trot I have ridden in a long time. The challenge today is to see whether I’m brave enough to do it myself.


In summary, yes the lessons were a bit ugly, and I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself, but needed to be done.  It really did show how much regular instruction is worth and I’ve got heaps of things to work on. The ultimate compliment though, when your instructor asks if there is any chance your horse is for sale, and if not, that she would love to work with you on a regular and ongoing basis.


So will I do another clinic with her ? Yes. And from the work I saw and improvements I saw in the other horses at the clinic I would recommend her teaching for anyone who wants a bit of a  hand.


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Bianca Souter... some of you may have heard of her and some may not. For those who have not I am sure you will hear more soon enough.

I met with Bianca on the weekend at Boneo Park's Combined Training Day August 10th. We got to talking about her riding aspirations and her horse beautiful Thoroughbred horse Jett.

How did you come to find Jett? We came across Jett in August 2011 through Megan Joyce. We were originally looking at another horse she had who was also off the track, but was a bit too small. Megan mentioned she had Jett but he was recently retired form racing so he knew next to nothing.

What education had Jett had before you got him if any? Jett barely had anything really as he was fresh off the track. He was 3 years old when I gave him his new home. He is a rising 4 year old now and we are making terrific progress. Jett and I placed second at Boneo Park the weekend gone in the Combined Training Day in the Pre Novice events.

What sort of riding do you do with Jet? We mainly do eventing. I couldn't be more pleased with him. Jett loves to do Cross Country. I am truly fortunate though as he's good at all phases of eventing. It's almost too good to be true.


Have you had many setbacks within regards to training such a young horse in particular one that had raced? Fortunately nothing to dramatic, just the occasional upset stomach and a torn peck muscle recently. Jett can be quite a nervous anxious type horse so we're constantly working on that.

How has Jett's attitude been in regards to his new life after racing. Does he think he is still a racehorse? I swear its still on sometimes! I guess that's just a perk with owning a TB that has come off the track. Jett is defiantly a different horse from when we got him! Bonding and creating a relationship with your horse is the best way to over come that and I believe we have a great partnership.

Bianca, what are your goals from here, where do you want to Jett off too? My current goal is to compete at Melbourne International 3 Day Event 2014 (no pressure) at 1 star level, but aside from that I just want to get the horse up and running competitively above pre novice, that's the goal.

Can you see yourself owning another Thoroughbred to compete with in the future? Definitely!

Jett's race name was SnapJack and his show alias is "High Demand" I think in future both Jett and Bianca will be in High Demand.

Congratulations to them both and I wish them every success together in achieving their dreams and goals.


If you are considering owning a Thoroughbred this story is proof that commitment and hard work pays off and furthermore they're a breed of horse well worth investing your time in to. 



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Some fun and  games at our house in the past few weeks. The princess hasn’t done much in the training space but has been doing quite a bit of stockwork as our cows and calves have worked out that a short swim in the river gets them onto much greener pastures. Feed is a bit tight, so it doesn’t take much of a wiff of feed to get them moving (escaping).


The best bit about paddock work is the ability to get some very forward movement happening. The scariest bit of the paddock work is having the anatomy to stay with the very forward movement.


Our neighbour’s very nice and very quiet bull has been having a holiday with our girls for the past few months. We had more feed than he did and a few very young calves. But it was time to take him back this week.


To set the scene, last week Barney (the bull) rubbed a gate open and escaped into an oats paddock that was not quite ready to graze. I left him there for  a while, figured he wouldn’t eat too much in half an hour while I finished schooling the princess. Well the girls and the calves saw him and decided to adjourn from the bare paddock to the bar so to speak. Off we toddle to bring them back.


Amazing how fast a Charolais cow who has been trying to convince you she’s crippled and can’t move fast can go when faced with the choice between bare and oats paddocks. So off goes the princess in what I would call a somewhat exuberant extended canter. She loves going fast, but unlike those of the stockhorse breed, sometimes forgets that when the cow turns, she is supposed to go as well. Maybe I should give her the benefit of the doubt and say she was just being careful I didn’t suffer an unfortunate and unscheduled dismount.


All the time, Barney the bull is munching away, happy as a pig in s…


So we finally convince the cows they need to be in the paddock and head back to get Barney. Now remember, hes quite an old bull, fairly quiet but about 1000kg. Not the sort of target you would normally select for 500 kg of ditzy dressage princess to do battle with. So she pokes up to his face, right into his face so all he can see is her legs and chest, too stupid to know better and with me thinking all the time that she would pull up before this. Barney lifts up his head threateningly and shakes, so what does she do ? put hers down and ask if he’s speaking to her in that tone of voice.


After being reprimanded for his manners twice, he sulks off like a teenage boy back to his bedroom.


This brings us to this week.


Head down the paddock to separate Barney from the girls. Easy, he just walks out the gate as soon as I ask. He trots straight up the road. Two things wrong here. He never goes that fast, and two, he’s not used to being moved with a horse, we normally take him home with a trailer. Anyway up the road, and into the neighbours paddock. Whereby he turns into a lunatic at about the same time as the princess sees next doors trotters fanging about.


We’ve still got about a km to go to get him back to his girls and there is no way I was going within about 10m of him. Bellowing, shaking his head and pawing the ground. Typical aggressive, bull behaviour. So she’s having a brain freeze and he’s having a testosterone attack at the same time. Way to go Princess.


Unbelievable (bad pun) how much the personality changed with his environment, and yours truly glad to have him home.


Back to the arena this week and as the days warm up and get a little longer, so does the training. Off to a clinic this weekend with Jana Poppe. Don’t know her but worth a try. And then another with Carlos deCleermaeker  three weeks after that.


We haven’t had any lessons since March due to me starting my own business, and I can really feel my riding going backwards. We were on such a roll early on in the year. Now we need to get it all happening again.

A friend came for a visit this morning and she decided to take a few happy snaps- just wish we could do some airbrush work on the jockey.



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NRG No-Nots is the recognised hair detangler and conditioner widely used by so many horse people throughout Australia.

Grooming is so easy and effective with No-Nots. No longer battle with tangles and end up with a handful of hair. Being water based, No Nots does not leave an oily finish on hair and is very safe to use, with no harmful chemicals used in formulation.

Spray No-Nots into manes and tails, ensuring all parts are covered. Then lightly brush and comb. If possible, leave for some minutes before grooming as No Nots works even better as the hair has time to absorb the spray.  Also spray onto the coat for an eye-catching shine!

Regular grooming with No-Nots will help keep hair soft and manageable. You will also notice mud and grime are easy to remove after a spray of No-Nots.  So no more brushing out handfuls of tail hair, so your horse’s tail will grow thick and beautiful!

Proven by performance, No-Nots will take the chore out of grooming, but best of all it saves you time and you get a gleaming horse that everyone will notice!

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NRG Apple Cider Vinegar is now used as a regular part of feeding, and accepted as a natural antibiotic, believed to assist with arthritis and joint conditions. Apple cider vinegar must not be confused with manufactured Cider Vinegars, since genuine Apple Cider Vinegar has many essential natural advantages over processed vinegars.

NRG ACV is naturally fermented, unfiltered and most importantly, unpasturised. NRG Vinegar has an acidity rating of 4.5% - 5% - the international standard being 4%.

Assists with cleansing the digestive tract and balances the acid/alkaline ratio
helps to oxygenate blood and is known to assist with horses that tie-up
Can be used as a wash to assist with reduced insect biting and as a good anti fungal wash.
Traditionally known to assist with joint flexibility and appetite improvement, 50mls a day is sufficient. People who regularly feed NRG Apple Cider Vinegar tell us they don’t wait for a problem to surface, they feed as a preventative, particularly for joint movement.

How much to feed:
Lets start feeding..

For a mature horse, 100mls of NRG Apple Cider Vinegar daily.

1.     Pour daily over feed

2.     Mix NRG Apple Cider Vinegar into approx 100mls of Stockgain and dribble over feed.

3.     Pour NRG Apple Cider Vinegar (again 100mls for mature horse is suggested) into a bucket of clean drinking water.

4.     For paddock horses, add approx 4 litres of NRG Apple Cider Vinegar to a bathtub of drinking water.

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Well it has been a very busy time at Winmallee. We have had a lot of new students starting with us in the last few weeks, so this has been keeping me busy teaching.

Our new colt "Bon Braxton" will be starting his new journey to Australia from Germany. He will be picked up from Germany on the 5th August to start his quarantine in the UK on the 7th August. He will be in quarantine until the 29th August and will fly to Australia and do quarantine here till the 21st September. IRT have let me know that quarantine laws will be changing and now only needing 2 weeks quarantine and this is meant to be starting in September this year. So our Bon Braxton may be leaving quarantine on September 14th. This would be amazing as he would be at Winmallee on the 16th September which happens to be by birthday. Only problem is I will be doing the below school, well we will just have to fit it all in.

Menola Mendez is holding a clinic on the 14th, 15th, 16th and I will be taking  Winmallee Mojo. We will be  starting Piaffe and Passage with him, which will be exciting as this wonderful horse has only been 1 year OTT. Mojo has been such an amazing horse to train and has such a great trainable personality it has made life so easy for me. He has gone from racing to medium level dressage in 1 year. This is a horse that just try's so hard to please.

 Then on the 24th we are expecting a lovely De Niro foal from Winmallee Emerald. Plenty going on to keep us extremely busy. Then we will be putting her back in foal to De Niro again and Winmallee Royal Reine will be going in foal for the first time to Ampere. She is by Royal Hit who sadly put down last week with a broken leg.

Show season has started again and our first show with Winmallee Mojo will be on this weekend. Shows will be nearly every weekend now.

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Cavalia... How do I write this story, it's harder than I thought. I will try to paint a perfect picture as I go and give the show all the credit it deserves. It's a jaw dropping breath taking experience for all who come to see it. 

The emotion and the energy of animals intertwined with their riders is a true joy to watch and to see the partnership go blazing through the arena spectacular together is utterly mind blowing. Such a gorgeous display of trust between an animal and human. 


Then suddenly... it was as though out of no where, people just dropped down from the roof on ropes doing tricks and then acrobats started doing somersaults, back flips, and stacking on top of one another 4 people high in front of us in the arena! Balance and agility was out in force and it was spectacular to see. The choreography was spot on.


To every beat of a drum or strum of guitar there is meaning to the movement to the beat. There is a live band playing behind Cavalia throughout the show. The band has TV screens there so they can visualise what is happening and be at the ready to help with improvisation and extend a song if needed. You can't tell they are doing this, as you think it is all part of the show!  

On the ground you have horses and people inter acting. People were holding poles for horses as they jump. 



Normand Latourelle (pictured above) is the Founder and Artistic Director of Cavalia. The show has travelled the world and it finally has made it here in Australia along with it's 100 containers, 48 horses representing 11 different breeds. The horses come from France, Spain, Portugal, Canada, the United States, Morocco, Australia Moldavia and Russia. When you add it all up that is a lot of hay for the stars of the show! I can assure you they get nothing but the best.


There are 30 riders and performers who make up the human team for Cavalia. They come from all over the world and there is one lucky Aussie in the mix (unfortunately, no it's not me, lol) All in all Cavalia employs 120 people on a full time basis.

From start to finish I was fully entertained. There were times I did not know whether to look up to the sides or straight in front to know where the next surprise was coming from. The show is full of gorgeous moments with the fantastic displays of acrobatics, horses and fantastic music to suit the happenings on stage. I certainly did not feel like I was at a circus. I felt as though I was in a dream but in fact it was reality and I was involved, it was so special to see.


So for tickets head to http://cavalia.com.au/en/cavalia-melbourne-things-to-do-lp?a_aid=ADP-PLE&a_cid=9c8da47f 

A very big thank you to Fiona McNaught Managing Director of Boneo Park for the invitation to the Media show today. I was blown away and have had an experience of a life time. 

Did you know - It takes 17 days to set up the entire Cavalia big top. The arena had only been finished this morning before we all entered in to it for the show. At 9.30 am to be exact! 

The horses (and riders) endured about 7 weeks of quarantine, 2 weeks in Los Angles and then 5 weeks in Sydney. The first stop - Brisbane. Cavalia also has had a successful show in Sydney and now here they are in Melbourne until August 18th.

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NRG Stride Hoof Dressing…. Black and beautiful!

We like our horse’s feet to look good and keep sound.  Farriers naturally prefer feet that are well nourished and easy to rasp and shoe.  Regular use of Stride Black Hoof Dressing will help keep hooves supple and looking great!

Whether you’re off to a Dressage Competition, Western Show, Pony Club, or just a pleasure ride, dress feet in Stride Hoof Dressing and see how well-presented the hooves look and it stays looking good for ages!  It’s not a paint that dries feet out and is hard to remove.  Stride nourishes and helps prevent cracking. 

Always clean out feet and check soles for any bruising or stones caught in the frog area.  Brush Stride Hoof Dressing well into the sole, especially the frog and heel.  When applying to the outer hoof area, don’t forget the coronet band as this is the growth part of the hoof, and apply before hosing your horse down after exercise.


Stride is made from quality ingredients that are beneficial for feet such as: Lanolin, Pine Tar, selected waxes, natural oils, petroleum jelly and anti-bacterial agents to help fight off infection.  So try a tub because your horse is worth it.  Your horse will thank you for it because he will have healthy feet that look like he’s ready for the show ring!

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Since qualifying as an H level judge I have judged the Dressage phase at quite a few One Day Events in our area, but was blown away when Vicki Burgess asked if I would be interested I being on the Ground Jury for the 80 cm class at the Quirindi 3DE. I evented locally as a child with not a great deal of success, and then participated in my first ODE for 24 years about 18 months ago- the 45 cm class at Nyngan where I managed to get the princess eliminated at the last jump, the water. So I’m not totally ignorant about eventing, but definitely not what you would call an expert.

 So it was with trepidation that I set off last week, not knowing what I was in for. Well I shouldn’t have been concerned. What a great bunch of people to work with. The Ground Jury for this class consisted of Winks Armstrong and myself with Rebecca Moxam as the Technical Delegate. The Ground Jury makes the decisions on fitness, rule interpretations and appeals/protests in conjunction with Vets, stewards and other officials.


So what is the process for a 3DE ? On the Thursday afternoon, all horses were inspected by an FEI Steward and a Vet to make sure they were who they were supposed to be… no Fine Cotton here.


And then the fun began.


Friday morning started with an official Trot Up, where all horses were inspected by an FEI vet, Celina Sylvester in this case and the rest of the Ground Jury for that class. It’s a very formal process with riders and horses dolled up, each combination called up by the marshall, then an announcement made at the completion.


 Horses were required to stand for a quick visual inspection, then walk approximately 10m, then trot about 30, turn around a marker clockwise and trot all the way back. If all members of the Ground Jury were happy with the soundness of the horse, then it was accepted and off they went. If there were any concerns regarding the fitness of the horse to complete the three phases, then they were “held”, and fully inspected by another vet, and another FEI Steward. The horse was then represented.


If a horse is still not quite right, the Ground Jury, in consultation with the FEI Vet and the TD may eliminate the combination, the rider may withdraw the horse, or the horse may be accepted pending another inspection, possibly under saddle prior to the dressage phase. It may also be that the horse is allowed to complete the dressage, but must be inspected again before being allowed to present for the Cross Country.


My class was a huge class, with 32 combinations presenting to the vet. Being the lowest class, we had quite a few young horses with experienced riders, and some quite experienced horses with juniors or inexperienced riders. A number of the horses in my class were a bit scratchy, mostly due to age.  I found it a really difficult thing to balance the principles of encouraging inexperienced riders on experienced horses and helping them enjoy the sport with the principles of welfare of the horse. We ended up with one horse that needed to represent before its’ dressage, and 3 that the vet watched their dressage to make sure they were ok and definitely safe and sound enough to go cross country.


In the end, all were deemed ok to continue through the dressage and cross country.


So what does the Ground Jury do for Cross Country ?


We had to inspect the Cross Country course, observe all our class cross country and deal with any appeals that arose from XC in consultation with jump judges, XC control and the TD.


 Its quite a long walk around a long format 3DE course. At least our course was simple enough with no options to consider but we did have one tricky bit, a pipe bounce. Apparently this is a legal fence but quite unusual.


Sue Gunn, Darryl Burgess and Ming Thompson had done a brilliant job on the XC course. Each fence had clear ground lines and hundreds of  potplants were used as fill and colour. To top it off, the entire course and surrounds had been mown.


The Ground Jury for each class stays the same, but in practice the GJ’s for all the classes shared the duties across all classes;


 One person ( for my class, this was me) stayed with Control, who is the person who keeps a tally of refusals and incidents on course and makes the call if someone needs to be pulled off the course and walk home. In this case, control was up on a hill, and could see most of the course.


Another went to the finish, and if someone missed a fence on course or there were questions that  needed to be dealt with, this person  informed the rider immediately. This is a relatively new idea, and it worked brilliantly and ended up saving quite a lot of time trying to find riders after the fact, and reduced the number of appeals as the riders knew straight away while it was fresh in anyone’s mind if there had been an issue.


There were 2 GJ members that roamed around each part of the course, and if there were queries raised by control, they went straight to the jump judges and investigated immediately, again, while it was fresh in everyone’s mind.


I got to spend a bit of time with each of these positions, and then did the 1* and 2* classes at the finish with the FEI Stewards and vets. This was a really interesting facet of the event. Facial expressions at the end are quite special…jubilation of those who got around that didn’t expect to, exhaustion on the faces of those who had a hard ride and some interesting expressions on the faces of those who had to walk home as a result of elimination due to rider error.

 Each horse is visually assessed for injuries, has its temperature taken and heart rate as soon as the rider finishes.


Horses are then iced, scraped, walked, hosed….to get their temps down as quickly as possible. This is a really busy area and the Quirindi committee had great finishes, right near wash bays with ample running water and ice on hand.


All horses were checked  again at 10 minutes. Many horses’ temp increased at 10 minutes, but their heart rate dropped. If the vets were happy at 10 minutes, then they were cleared to go. If not, they were checked again at 20 minutes.


Only a couple of issues in the 80cm XC. No falls, a few missed jumps, a couple of refusals at the bounce pipes. Funnily enough, it wasn’t the actual bounce that was the problem, but rather, the lairy, shiny paint.


Another trot up before  the showjumping, and only one issue. The horse did look a little sore in front, and the vets suggested a farrier check the horse as it looked like a minor issue that could be easily fixed, however the rider decided to with draw. Horses that were eliminated XC were allowed to complete the showjumping if they wished, subject to the trot up and a few took this option.


As a member of the GJ, we had to inspect the course for distance, height, marking, ground suitability, quality of the jumps and safety of individual fences. As expected, no issues and everything with the jumping went off without a hitch.


So from a newby, it was great to be involved with an event from start to finish.  The weather was great, and in my class, I think the best horses floated to the top. Will I do it again ? In a heartbeat.  As I said, I was nervous about taking on such a big and unknown task .  Luckily, the rest of the team had a huge amount of experience and happily answered my multitude of questions.


I took a heap of photographs over the course of the weekend and you can see all of these at ***


Full results for all classes can be found at ****


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Stockgain is rewarding:  Being a liquid containing vitamins, micro and macro minerals and salts, Stockgain can be poured over the feed directly or mixed with water, to add goodness and taste to all types of feed.  Horses can be such fussy eaters, but once they know the special taste of Stockgain, they will always look for their feed!

Other benefits include: Horses and other animals will clean up their feed so less waste and thrown-out feed!  Stockgain can be used as a masking agent for mixing powders.  When added to water, Stockgain can be poured over hay for extra taste and goodness! With all that added goodness, their coats will shine from the inside out!

Mix into drinking water, especially useful when travelling: Many owners know the frustration of animals not drinking when away from home.  Stockgain will mask different water tastes.  Start mixing Stockgain in water before leaving home and your horses will be looking forward to their drink when away.  Allow them to drink liberally.  You will be surprised how much they will drink and this helps kidneys and the re-hydration process.

You are in good company feeding Stockgain:  Across the nation Stockgain is fed daily to many horses and other animals, not only in Australia but also in Asia and China.  Stockgain may have been around for many years, but its quality never alters and while fads come and go, Stockgain has proved its worth over the years!




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To follow on from previous posts, and I promise that I will lighten up soon, but in view of the most recent outbreaks in NSW and Qld I want to emphasise the importance of awareness. I have read a lot of comments about statements of scaremongering from vets and the authorities and I understand how people feel. I can see how the information being disseminated, complete or otherwise, can be seen as a ploy to gain financial advantage from the release of the hendra virus vaccine. Scepticism can be healthy if it makes you ask questions and find the truth and the answers and satisfy yourself that you have done all you can before making a decision.

I recall after my horses died from Hendra virus, my vet, whose life was also under threat, came under fire by the authorities for scaremongering  for including information about Hendra virus and precautions needed in her regular newsletter to her patients and the local community. She was of course, vindicated in her actions for increasing awareness of the virus.

There is no denying how frightening this disease is, however I prefer to view the release of any information as an opportunity to increase awareness  and to equip yourself with the knowledge to take action to best protect your horse, your family and yourself, no matter the disease we are combating.

I have included details of an excellent site that has a lot information about the history and clinical details of Hendra virus and all known cases. It is worthwhile to check it out.



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RIP my beautiful Cooli we tried so hard to get you better from your injury. Unfortunately he had gone for another fall and broke a screw in the plate which was holding to joint between c2 & c3 together. This had cause too much trauma and the pain was unbearable for the poor boy. Thankyou so much Andrew Loose for giving this boy a chance. He has been such a little fighter and we have enjoyed every moment with him.

It is so heartbreaking when you breed horses. So many things can go wrong and no matter how hard you try, sometimes we loose then. This colt was 10 months old and very special to me and others. He has touched a lot of hearts out there and will be missed.

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The ‘hair hold’ without harmful drying agents.

The choice of many professionals and amateurs alike, 'Improved Proplaits' leaves no white flakes or marks on manes. Improved Proplaits helps reduce fluffing and is ideal when plaiting up the day before competitions. Always use a neck rug or hood to keep plaits in place overnight.

Developed to assist in keeping hair manageable while plaiting, Proplaits has proven a far better aid than we ever expected. It has a gentle yet firm adhesive quality, and being water-based, it is easy to wash off hands. Once dry, you would never know it is being used, which enhances the natural appeal of plaits.

We suggest you first comb the mane, then spray all the mane with Proplaits. As each plait is made, and before tying off, a small spray of Proplaits will hold the plait in place before sewing or banding. When the mane is plaited, a quick spray will hold plaits in place and many now find they can plait the night before competition, which is one less job on a busy day!

With a NEW MIST SPRAY head that is BLISS to use, a bottle will last ages!

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Pictured above is Mia McNaught riding - Sunbury Lodge Rio

Build it and they will come as the saying goes... And boy did they... in their droves! At Boneo Park on Saturday 29th June they had over 100 entries and still managed to finished ahead of time. What a credit to the organisers there and the riders for being so efficient. And then if Saturday was not enough 'BAAM' there was  more show jumping again on the Sunday the 30th.

Why wouldn't there be a huge turn out when you have an Olympian there to build your courses for your entrants? Gavin Chester is a master of his craft and I must say he is not to shabby at building jumping courses too. He threw in some pretty technical courses over the weekend and did a pretty amazing job as did the riders for completing them. 

Every now and then throughout the weekend I would get a chance to catch up with Gavin in between me taking photos, Gavin on pole retrieving duty and him changing the course where at one point I was fortunate enough to get a few tips off the champion himself.

So I would like to say, thank you Gavin. Thank you for giving your time and coming all the way to Boneo Park to help the next generation with the sport. I look forward to many more events where you will be involved and maybe even get to a lesson or two off of you when I next attempt jumping. 


 Gavin Chester pictured above during a course change at Boneo Park.

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Two weeks of wet weather in the leadup meant it was always going to be interesting to see if the committee could pull it off, but disappointingly, on Friday morning the news went out that there were to be no horses at this years' Duck creek picnics. The track was just too wet, and with more rain forecast it would have been a long way for trainers to travel only to have it cancelled at the last minute.

Having been to the last Duck Creek washout, I wasn't the least bit upset that there were not to be any actual horse races. The last one turned out to be a fantastic day that turned into a fantastic night. I was travelling out for two reasons, I had been invited to be a part of the festivities in the marquee hosted by the guys from LawLab, who, by the way throw a great party, and to photograph the guys from Mounted Security and Asset Protection so we could use the images on the website I have been building for them. The rest of my family were busy doing other things, one child working, and the other and my husband getting ready for their trip across the Simpson on motorbikes, so I was flying solo...



It was dry when I arrived... but it went downhill from there. I did get the shots I was looking for for the www.mountedsecurity.com.au website and it was quite interesting to watch how they go about patrolling an alcohol free carpark at a race meeting. Two guys on horses were able to patrol the entire  carpark and a couple of times you could see a few rowdy teenagers look like they were going to push back and then thought better of it. And the guys on the horses think its great having their photos taken with cute young chicks.




DSC_9361Lunch in the LawLab marquee was great, and Angie Armstrong from the Cockies Wife has to be congratulated again for the way she pulled off a great meal in conditions that were getting worse by the minute. The braised beef cheeks were awesome.

The rain was heavy, but most people weren't too concerned, especially the kids, and it would have been great to see the mess about 10 pm but old age got the better of me. Go and have a look at the photos I took for a giggle if nothing else.

I've uploaded more images on my website, so go and have a sticky...http://sixtybytwenty.com.au/#/gallery/duck-creek-2013/dsc-9326/

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Posted by on in Equestrian

This is an article I wrote for a magazine that I thought worthwhile to reproduce, it part, here for you.


On Monday afternoon 12 June 2006, I first noticed Clive, my 16.2hh thoroughbred gelding, was unwell. I concluded either mild colic or a chill in his back. Nothing too serious. However, despite treatment he deteriorated rapidly and died the afternoon of Wednesday 14 June. Ten days later we were told tests showed he died from Hendra virus that is carried by flying foxes.

Every day, still, I check my remaining horse, Girly, for symptoms. If she is lying down, I check on her, I check where she is in the paddock and what she is doing. Last year she came down with colic. I was so scared I tried four times before I could dial the vet’s number then hysterically explained my fears. This is what my family lives with after a brush with Hendra virus.


We struggled with the loss of Clive and all it entailed. My property was quarantined, the media  hovered, rumours spread and I was preoccupied with tests and needles and test results and phone calls and questions with few answers. What do you say when your child asks, ‘Are you going to die like Clive?’ My children had already lost their father, what would happen if they lost their mother too? I now know that had Girly tested positive to Hendra virus, even without showing signs of illness, she would have been euthanized.

Despite having a large flying fox colony next to my property, I knew nothing about Hendra virus, what it was or where it came from. The authorities were well aware of the colony, yet at no stage were we advised of the dangers it posed to our horses. 

I asked all the questions still being asked today, and the answers now are the same as they were in 2006. I ploughed through national and international media reports, scientific reports and research papers and the information I uncovered shocked me. There were many things I could do nothing about, but making people aware of the virus that was right in our own backyards, was something I could do and that resulted in my book ‘Spillover: A Memoir.’

The term spillover is used when a disease crosses from one species to another, in this case from the bats to horses, but for me it is also the spillover of emotion that occurs with this type of event. The media reports and official statements of Clive’s death did not portray the full impact it had on my family and this was what I wanted to express.  I needed something positive to come from the terrible situation we found ourselves in. I received this comment from a reader of my book -

“I can’t begin to thank you for writing your book. I have found more assistance and insight into Hendra virus, than all the bit websites I have searched through. I live on the NSW North coast, very close to the "circle" of recent outbreaks. It has been your book that has guided me through what to do regarding my horses, their paddocks and, most importantly, armed me with the correct info I, and all my horse people friends, desperately seek. I am now encouraging all at my Equestrian club to purchase or read your story as your words have more meaning to us…” 


At the time, Clive’s death was only the 6th recorded Hendra virus case since 1994. I found this hard to comprehend given the numbers of flying foxes throughout Australia. There are other diseases and conditions that present with similar symptoms, but if you don’t test for the virus, you don’t know, so the death of a horse may be attributed to lead or plant poisoning, more commonly snake bite or colic or an unknown cause. The recent increase in recorded cases I believe is the result of more testing for Hendra virus rather than an actual increase of infections.

A second review into Hendra virus cases in 2008 included the following statement about my book ‘Spillover: A Memoir.’

“The value of positive role models who can present real-world and personalised accounts of their experiences is considered to be very worthwhile. The account by the owner of the 2006 Hendra virus case at Peachester (Crane 2006) is an informative read that effectively communicates the uncertainties and the challenges faced by individuals affected by Hendra virus.”

Despite criticism of my vet's endeavours to better inform the community when her own life was under threat from exposure to Hendra virus, she stood her ground and demanded action and she was vindicated. Today, far more help, support and information is available to victims of the virus.

Since the release of my book in 2008, I have met with Biosecurity Qld staff together with other concerned horse owners to discuss Hendra virus related matters.  My primary goal was for proactive measures to increase awareness and we are seeing that occur now, albeit a number of years later, and I have participated in some of the seminars conducted by DEEDI and Qld Horse Council to help achieve this.

We wanted to eliminate the statement that the virus was ‘rare, sporadic and hard to contract,’ even though statistically and scientifically, that may be true. I believe the repeated use of these words to describe Hendra virus has led to complacency within the horse industry that resulted in the subsequent human infections. One expert has stated that the risks cannot be over-emphasised, saying while the likelihood of getting a bat-borne virus is low, the consequences for humans are catastrophic. It is often fatal - as we already know.

We also sought to change the arbitrary classification of the symptoms of Hendra virus and for all possible symptoms to be listed. My own readings of research documents showed variations in symptoms was already known – not all horses showed all the symptoms listed every the time. And this was the situation with Clive, he didn’t meet the classifications for Hendra virus. If it wasn’t for my vet's persistence, Clive’s cause of death would have fallen into the ‘unknown’ category. This has now been achieved and included in the information available.

A leading scientist working with Hendra virus indicated at one of these meetings I attended, that Hendra virus should be suspected if no other cause of illness is immediately apparent and appropriate precautions taken. That rocked me and the other horse owners who heard it. I believe it foreshadowed the major changes we now see and need to implement in the way we and our vets handle our horses.

I also attended a workshop into Hendra virus conducted by the World Health Organisation. That session brought home to me the seriousness with which the international community views this virus. And so should we.

We were not experts or veterinarians or scientists but we stayed on the heels of the authorities like a cattle dog and today we say,  “Told you so.”

The vaccine now available uses the “G” protein to invoke an immune response and doesn’t require the use of live virus in the vaccine. Girly has been vaccinated and while I know it is not a 100%  guarantee, it certainly gives my family a degree of relief and peace of mind.


The Hendra virus/flying fox debate is difficult but despite what my family has been through my eldest daughter said. “I don’t suppose we can really blame the bats can we? They don’t know they have the virus, they don’t infect the horses on purpose. They are just doing what bats do.”

I don’t believe the virus will ever be eliminated. What we can do is make ourselves aware of the facts and even when a horse is vaccinated, precautions are still be required to keep our animals and ourselves safe. It must be remembered there is no cure for the virus for either humans or horses.

Spillover: A Memoir is available at www.spillover.com.au or you can find it on ebay and at facebook/Spillover



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Training Blog - 30th June 2013

Make The Cut has grown into a lovely big good moving horse. He still needs some work on his head carriage but he is obedient most of the time. MTC has proven quite unflappable in strong winds and provides a calming influence for other inexperienced horses working with him.

He is recommended as a dressage or eventing prospect. Would be ideal for adult riders or pony club.

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Well it has been a very busy time for Winmallee over the last few weeks. We have been out to a couple of shows with the youngsters with great success. Stars of the Future show results were:

Winmallee De Nisha (De Niro)

1st - Open filly foal (Judge 1)


1st - Open filly foal (Judge 2)


Winmallee Roya Reine (Royal Hit) and for sale

1st - Open filly 2yld (Judge 1)


1st - Open filly 2yld (Judge 2)


Winmallee Furst Class (Furst Love) owned by Lisa Hosking

1st - Open male foal (Judge 1)


1st - Open male foal (Judge 2)


Winmallee Royal Rufino (Royal Hit) owned by Lisa Hosking

1st - Open male yearling (Judge 1)


1st - Open male yearling (judge 2)


The following weekend (23/6/2013) went to another show just with my younstock:

Winmallee De Nisha

1st - Warmblood filly foal


1st - Open filly foal



Winmallee Royal Reine

1st - Warmblood Junior filly


1st - Open Junior filly


I am so proud of my foals and young horses. They were all on their best behaviour and they do enjoy going out. It is very important when showing very young horses that you do not put too much pressure on them. I will never stable my young horses, actually I never stable any of my show horses as I do want to keep them mentally happy and physically well. If you stable your young horses you will face problems with their joints as they are growing. They really need to be able to run around the paddocks and be horses. As you can see from my horses that they look extremely healthy and happy.

I will only show the foals if yards are available for them as I will not tie them up all day to the float or keep them in the float like I see others do. I do not shave every hair off their body, or shave their eyebrows (which I see all the time), shave their whiskers off around their muzzle or eyes. This to me is cruel and should not happen. You will see in my pictures that the horses are plaited up and have a little makeup on but that is as fare as I am going to go with them. The horse at breed shows are being judge on their breed not how pretty you can make them. The horse has its own natural beauty and why destroy that.

The other thing that must be thought about is the handling of the youngster. Allowances should be made for these babies as it is all a lot to take in. Yes they are allowed to jump around (but not on top of you) when they see something they don't know. Yes they are allowed to be silly (with in reason). Always remember they are babies and should not be asked to behave like mature horses. I have seen too many babies been punished harshly as shows for not standing correctly or leading how the owner wants them too.

I have seen on other pages that people were asking why you show youngster? They thought it is not a good idea? What are other people opinions on this? Always nice to have a thread going about topics.

I personally do not see a problem with it as long as the horse is kept in their natural environment as much as possible. It is great education for them for later in life as long as you do not show too often that they become bored and nasty.

True horsemanship demands time, patience and a, sometimes painful honesty. As our horses start to mirror our traits, we may come face to face with the reflection of behaviour which shows that we might be lacking in kindness, confidence and a desire to please.


You have to be disciplined enough to master your own personality otherwise you will not successfully master a horse. This is why the art of classical horsemanship takes a lifetime to achieve. The classical path is sound and all who follow this route can learn more of the fundamental qualities missing from today’s way of life.
If you would like to see more about showing and the horses at Winmallee please visit my face book page "Winmallee Classical Riding" and go to "Winmallee Warmbloods" and 'Like the Page'. For contact details go to my website - www.winmallee.com.au



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PRO-TECT CREAM  is a wonderful addition to your stable to help treat the Australia-wide problem of Greasy Heel and Mud Fever.

Keep an eye on your horse’s heels and legs for any outbreaks.  It is easier to get to your horse before greasy heel and mud fever does!  As soon as possible, after seeing the first signs of problems, try these simple steps:

Wash the affected area with a good antibacterial wash.  It helps to wash any mud off first but avoid rubbing any scabs.  Leave the appropriate wash on for several minutes then gently towel dry.  We prefer not to remove the scabs as it can lead to bleeding and the skin may become very sensitive.  Your horse may start to object to you touching anywhere near the area.  Pro-tect Cream helps soften any scabs and they will come away when they are ready.

Once the area is clean and dry, apply Pro-tect Cream.  Use rubber gloves for the whole procedure, not only to avoid spreading germs, but also as the sulphur in Pro-tect may discolour jewellery.

For the next day or two, repeat this procedure, but on following days you can apply a small amount of Pro-tect Cream to the clean area. Because Pro-tect Cream is water resistant (even though it may seem to disappear), it will remain on the skin for some time.  Once symptoms have cleared you can stop using Pro-tect Cream, but keep a vigilant eye out for their return, especially if conditions are very muddy.

We have also used Pro-tect Cream on general cuts and abrasions, after cleaning, as it keeps the skin soft and pliable.  Being water-resistant, the cream stays on for longer, especially important for horses out in the paddock.


One little jar with so many uses!  Be sure to have some in your kit so it’s there when you need it!

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Posted by on in Equestrian

Hi all, and welcome to my first blog about my pony and myself and what we get up to in the horse world. A bit of background. I grew up on a farm in central west NSW. Always rode, had my first buster as a 2 year old showing off how well I could rise to the trot. Attended Pony Club without a great level of success and did a bit of local showing and eventing. Did a lot of stockwork and broke in our own horses, as a kid I was bulletproof. Only ever had one riding lesson, and that ended in tears. Funnily enough, I took my daughter to the same instructor 20 years later and she loved him after the initial shock.

Fast forward 25 years. I now live on another farm in central west NSW, have 2 teenagers who have both ridden but given up. I made a doomed re entry to riding about 9 years ago, bought myself a young TB (not raced) that apparently had a history of offloading his riders, but I did not find this out until after he put me in hospital with a fractured vertebrae. So now I'm not so bulletproof.

I started riding my daughter's dressage pony when she moved on and was having a hoot. I was doing a bit of judging and a lot of pencilling carting her about and  it looked like fun. He blew a tyre at 17 years of age and we decided it was time for retirement, but I wasn't ready for that, so what did I do ? Bought a five year old warmblood mare with a few brain challenges.

This is my first ever purpose bred horse and she alternates between Miss Flora, Princess and Miss Witch, depending on her attitude on the day. Flora is by Weltblitz, so one grandfather is Weltmeyer and the other grandfather is APH Hirte, who was/is owned by Carlene Barton and Libby Sauer, there is also a mare called Polarschne(sp?) who is her grandmother in there somewhere. So the upshot is, she's bred to event, and to be a little hot, being 3/4 Trak and 1/4 Hannovarian, but shes only 15.2 and very spooky. But the most fun and talented horse I have ever ridden. She's now seven years old and competing Medium/Advanced with reasonable scores, but not incredible due to our lack of match fitness_ normally the driver lets her down.

So this blog will be about where we go and the things we get up to. A middle aged rider in a non dressage area, on a misfit, cheap though well bred horse. The only thing we have in our favour is a stubborn determination to ride successfully at FEI level before my body gives up on me.

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Posted by on in Business Blog

The 2013 Saddleworld Product Guide is now available
online via 6 interactive online flipping books.

Click on this link to access the Saddles section.


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Apart from me getting to Boneo Park well after 11am I was still able to capture some awesome moments of the jumping for the Combined Training Day down at the indoor arena on Saturday.

Me myself, deep down I really wished that my horse Frankie was able to do that event but it was not to be. I hope to get back there to Boneo Park in August.

As usual there was plenty of action, horses were a bit unsure of the double along the side wall as they would see another horse jumping along side of them... eeeeekkk!! The dreaded old mirror... The riders did an amazing job with their horses to over come this slight obstacle.

b2ap3_thumbnail_CTD-June-2013-16R.jpg(Ben Tyson riding Buddy)

In the Introductory class Jessica Theobald came first, Bianca Souter also had a win in the Preliminary, where Jamie Lowe was 1st in the Pre Novice and the 1* was won by Ben Tyson.

Congratulations to all of the riders and helpers there at Boneo Park for another magic event. 

If anyone is contemplating going to Boneo Park with their horses, I say go for it! You will not be disappointed. The surface and facilities are fantastic with helpful staff on hand to assist with your needs on the day.

No one is made to feel out of place. I have made many friends from attending various events and look forward to each one I am at whether I am riding or not. 

I can not wait for this weekend as there is show jumping on again. Olympian Gavin Chester is designing the course. Get your entries in!! b2ap3_thumbnail_CTD-June-2013-39R.jpg

(Diane Staggard riding TP Serenity) 

If you would like to see more of my work you can view it on Facebook or my website. Thank you to all who have taken the time to contact me so far. 

 www.facebook.com/LisaSultanaPhotography or www.lisasultana.com.au

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Winmallee Classical Riding Due to a lot of thought I am very sad to say that Winmallee Royal Reine (Royal Hit) will be coming up for sale. I will be looking for the perfect home for this very special girl. She is only coming up for sale due to having too much going on at Winmallee Classical Riding. We have the new colt arriving from Germany in September and foals due. We also have quiet a few horses booked in for training so there is only so much we can fit it all in. Please only contact my if you are seriously interested in her. Give me a call or email me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or go to my website: www.winmallee.com.au
Breed: Warmblood.
Breeding: Royal Hit x Winmallee Emerald
DOB: 23/9/2010
Colour: Liver Chestnut
2012 - AWHA Led Filly of the Year SA
2012 - AWHA Over all Led Horse of the year SA
Many champions and supremes
She is broken in and had a hand full of rides and now continuing with in hand work for her training as she is too young to be ridden. In hand her two track work is there and starting Piaffe. When she is ready to continue her riding career she will have everything learnt from the ground. She has been scanned at the vet and is ready to breed with.

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Photo shared by on in Equestrian



Until now I have never really written anything official... So today I try my hand at blogging for Cyberhorse for the first time. I will keep it short and sweet.

I am horse crazy and have been from 4 years of age. I begged my parents for a horse ALL the time. I somehow managed to ride everyone else's horse to get my fix as I never had one of my very own. 

For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed taking photos. 

Somehow along the way I have managed to combine taking photos with my favourite animal of all time. 

Quite often I am at events down the Mornington Peninsula and surrounds taking photos. I now have a horse of my own whom I adore. Frankie is his name (pictured above) and he formally raced as Valedictum and has since retired with me back in 2009. 

Life is good... I hope to bring you all interesting photos and updates from events I cover. Ride safe one and all. 

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This is Winmallee Coolari (Scolari IFS) colt.

 This is his amazing story on his ruff start in life. When he was born he was stuck in mum for 1.5 hours. Mum started to progress giving birth and just the bubble appeared and then after 10 minutes there was no progress. I then rang the vet and no answer so I then proceeded to ring another 5 vets. A vet came out 1.5 hours later and the mare was very stressed and I just wanted to save her as I new the foal was not going to be alive. We then pulled the foal out and "Wow he was alive". The reason was the mare retained her placenta and then the following day (9hours later) my vet came and slowly removed the placenta which took about half an hour.

Then his story continues. He has such a will to live this little guy.

The Big two Surgeries on his c2 & c3 vertebra from a displacement.

My fella did this when he was 4 months old. He had a virus and then we think because is was wobbly he tipped on his nose. He was very wobbly behind and could not coordinate back legs and then front legs. The vet did lots of bloods and he did have the virus but the wobbly stuff made no sense. He did not have wobblers as this happened basically over night. So took him down for xrays and we nearly died when we saw his neck. The vet did not understand how he was still alive. His spinal cored was really crushed. It should be at 16mls and it was 7mls. So we were going to put him down. The vet said he was the nicest looking and behaved colt he has come across and could not bear to put him down. Se he spent the weekend doing research on this. This surgery had been done in France but not on c2 & c3 but the horses made a full recovery and went on the be world cup show jumpers. So we went a head and tried it. He did the first surgery and did not expect him to get up and he did. He then x-rayed and was not happy with the plate as it was a little too big. 11 days later he went in again and changed the plate and put the six screws back in. Because he was such a quiet horse he could recover, but most horses would not have been able to cope. We then xrayed 2 months later and it looked great. So I have been doing physio with him by lunging him in the arena to get him moving and using himself. Everything has paid off as now he has the most amazing movement and balance. Gallops and plays in the paddock with my other foal. From a foal who could not even walk now to a normal foal running, bucking rearing. So I am looking forward to breaking him in down the track and riding.

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Posted by on in Equestrian





The evolution of the English Thoroughbred may have been an accident of fate, but to the racing and hunting world, it was the coup de grace to the bad old days of expensive importation.  English nobility and commoner alike were now able to enjoy their own hot blood.  National breeding allowed small provincial studs to exist alongside those of the great country houses.  All that mattered was the propagation of a race of stamina and great speed which bred true.  Aesthetically beautiful with fine limbs and delicate head, sensitive, exciting to ride, hotheaded and brave, the Thoroughbred had come to stay.


With the Thoroughbred came a complete change of riding style.  Academic study had no place in the lives of most sporting gentlemen. There was a real need to return to a proper study of riding technique since ‘the many fatal accidents which daily happen, sufficiently prove the necessity of acquiring some knowledge of equestrian education, of which a pliability and command of the body on horseback, certainly forms a most essential part.’


Frenchmen shook their heads and called this resistance to discipline Anglo-mania, but they also could find no fault with the English horse.  English horses more than any other European have this quality . . .(they) are often out for a whole day without being unbridled, and always they are on the tail of the hounds in their foxhunting, jumping hedges and ditches . . .


Those more academic horsemen, who were able to see the value of classical training prior to riding across country, were mostly disregarded or ignored in England.  The balanced, classical set of the manage so necessary for achieving collection, was fast becoming outdated.  Saddles changed drastically to complement a new position; the English hunting saddle was lengthened in the seat to accommodate a shortened stirrup which afforded riders an easy passenger seat when walking or standing at a cover, but gave upward mobility for the faster gaits.


The thinking behind the new hunting saddle was basically good.  In 1805 an advocate fist and foremost of manage riding, recognized that for hunting a completely different balance was required.  Riders wedged themselves against the cantle, too close to the horse’s loins.  They were leaning backward rather than forwards, drawing support from the reins, their feet rammed home in the stirrups and Jove help if you broke leather!  Years later, came the ‘the old gentleman’s seat in which the body was back and the feet forward at the canter . . .however pleasurable to the rider, it is very much the reverse to the horse.  It is in fact a travesty of riding, it is not horsemanship.’


‘A raw man is much easier taught to do well than one who has learnt ever so long on bad principles for it is much more difficult to undo that to do, and the in respect to horses.


Whilst the snaffle bit was recommended for novices, it was important that ‘men use their snaffles delicately; otherwise, as a snaffle has not the power, which a (full) bridle has upon a horse’s mouth, they will use themselves to take such liberties with it, as will quite spoil their hands and teach the horses to pull, be dead in hand, and quite upon their shoulders, entirely deprived of good action.’

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We have lessons available on highly trained school horses for learning new skills or just to improve the skills you already have.Private Lessons are available from 30mins – 60mins and students are asked to come early to allow time to help catch, groom and tack up the horse.


We also re-educate and train the unskilled horse to be light and forward and to be in the Classical Frame of self carriage. We use exercises that supple, strengthen and educate the horses, developing the horse’s natural paces and abilities by improving transitions, suspension, collection, extensions and self–carriage.

This results in a beautifully trained, obedient, comfortable and safe horse that is a pleasure to own and ride.Help is available with preparing horses for showing, understanding what is required with preparation and workouts in the show ring and dressage arena. Amanda has had extensive experience in all types of showing and is available to come and help at shows.Horse assessments are done for pre-purchase of horses. To check whether the horse is suited for the discipline you choose. To be sure the conformation is correct for this discipline.


Specialising in training “Off The Track” race horses to become light & supple for the show ring, dressage and pony club.

Advance your skills in the following:


  • Safe handling of horses
  • Understanding your horse – Horse behaviour
  • Fitting all types of gear for your horse (saddles, bridles, rugs ext)
  • Preparation and care of horse breeding stock
  • Equine nutrition: Feeding your horse
  • Horses health
  • Foaling down
  • Managing pastures and weeds

Accommodation and agistment  is available for people who have to travel.

True horsemanship demands time, patience and a, sometimes painful, honesty. As our horses start to mirror our traits, we may come face to face with the reflection of behaviour which shows that we might be lacking in kindness, confidence and a desire to please.

You have to be disciplined enough to master your own personality otherwise you will not successfully master a horse,. This is why the art of classical horsemanship takes a lifetime to achieve. The classical path is sound and all who follow this route can learn more of the fundamental qualities missing from today’s way of life.

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Blog Update - 17th June 2013

Kapu Star is coming along well in his re-training and is pleasing us with everything he does.

Here is a short video of him trotting up the road during a recent ride out.

We went for 12km on that ride and he didn't cause a moments worry.

Apart from traffic, he had to contend with dogs rushing out, overturned rubbish bins and wind chimes dangling from letter boxes.

Not to mention horses charging up to the fence in paddocks along the road to see who the visitors were.

All in all a very sensible horse with good dressage movement and a nice jumping style.

Kapu Star is an ideal candidate for anyone looking for a quality equestrian thoroughbred.

Go here to view his profile on the Racehorse Outplacement Program web site.

Kapu Star On the RoadKapu Star On the Road

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Posted by on in Equestrian

This is an article that came through today and I thought it would be a good place to start as it provides some background information about Hendra virus and the vaccine.


I read most of the articles and forum discussions about the virus and the vaccine, so I am fully aware of the controversy. I do not intend to recommend vaccination or not, but I do want anyone that handles horses in any capacity to be aware of the virus and most importantly know the precautions that can be taken to lessen the possibility of infection for their horses, their family and themselves.

I welcome the discussions and opinions and arguments and concerns that I read about because that means people are thinking about the virus, that they know about it and are taking the time to find out more, to find out how it impacts upon them and what they need to do because in 2006, only 7 years ago, my horse Clive died from the virus and I knew nothing about it, very few did and it certainly wasn't a topic of conversation. So, we have come a very long way in terms of awareness, and it was to promote awareness that I wrote of my experience with Hendra virus in Spillover: A Memoir.

The book chronologically details  the case of my horse's death and the impact it had on my family. At the time, finding information about the virus was not easy and what was available was limited, unlike today,and the more I found the more shocked I was that such a virus was lurking in my backyard and I knew nothing about it.

For more about Spillover:A Memoir go to www.spillover.com.au


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Irish Hunting Extravaganza by Boyce Deverell

Last November I received an unexpected invitation to return to Ireland for a fifty year reunion of my school senior rugby team.  All that was missing was the ticket.  Having not met any member for the fifty years, would the trip be a waste of time?  As it turned out, I went and had a wonderful time catching up.  Once memory kicked in, it was as if only a few years had passed.

 Hunting was in full swing, and an invite from the master of the Laois Hounds, David Lalor, was all I needed to stay with him.  The last time I hunted there was 1972, and as my family are still landowners, I was both a visitor and local.  David is a personal friend, which paid dividends as he also provided Hudson, a 17hh 6yo horse to ride.  The cost – help groom some of the eight horses out for the day, and introduce No-Nots and Proplaits to his groom! Interesting how the Irish prepare for a day’s hunting.  Early feeds and at 9am groom, wash legs and plait.  No washing the evening before, just too cold at zero degrees celsius.  Once groomed, it’s back in stables till 11am, when all are loaded on the truck for the fifteen to thirty minute drive to the hunt. 

Riders are all dressed to hunt, so on arrival at the meet in the village of Clough, it was off to the pub for riding instructions.  Oh, nearly forgot, and for a few John Jameson’s to get warm and help the nerves.  Not all riders partake of the refreshments and some locals just hack to the meet.  Many spectators turn out to see the ‘off’ and at least ten cars follow.  Just to show how popular meets are – at Christmas about one thousand spectators turn up for the Boxing Day meet.  Noon is the ‘off’, so horses are unloaded and it’s into the saddle.  With a field of seventy, David was hoping for fewer riders as it had been raining in Ireland for almost twelve months and the ground was very, very wet.

First draw was almost in the town… and gradually we worked our way away from the village because the fields (paddocks) can be anywhere from five to ten acres and most have electric fences and hedges.  Hunting is all about knowing the lie of the land.  With such a large field, keeping up is essential for a visitor, and as soon as the first Irish Ditch (bank) appears, so does the fun!  Banks are a drain, maybe four feet deep, a bank of say six feet high and on the other side, another drain.  One has to spring off the ground, land on the bank and jump over the drain into the next field.  Only one problem… many horses don’t make the bank and slide back into the drain.  At my first, I chickened out as the rider in front slid into the drain with the horse.  Coughing and spluttering, he informed us, as only the Irish seem to be able to do, that the water was ”kinda cold”.  Back on his horse, he was over the second time, but seeing about ten falls, I followed a few locals who know the gate’s whereabouts.  The next banks were less daunting and with a horse like Hudson, we got over the rest.  Two kills, some jumping mud in every direction, but if I am allowed to say so, I missed our big paddocks and sound panels.  We hunted till three thirty, and by the time we were back in Clough, it was dark.  Light rugs on horses, loaded up, and back to the pub for soup and sandwiches.  Never can I remember being so cold.  Yet all the riders seemed so happy with their day, and as the Irish say, the craic was mighty!

Second day out was over similar country, and being a Wednesday hunt, a small field of fifty.  We seeded to take over the centre of town, and were welcomed by the locals.  Another good day out, the rain stayed away, I survived, and Hudson gave me a great ride again.  The Laois hunt is well known for its social side, and I was welcomed by the riders, including a jockey who has ridden in several Melbourne Cups.

A few observations: To the Irish, horses are not pampered to the extent they are here, and they are judged very much on how they perform in the field.  One could pick up a good hunter for $6000, where five years ago the same horse would have sold for twice the amount.  Membership costs are similar to ours and all members cap $33 at every hunt.  Pony Club is very much part of hunting and at least twenty kids hunt regularly, with the Laois Club.  They are never afraid to tackle Irish Banks, and falling off is part of the fun.  There seems to be followers at every bank, and lots of encouragement to keep riding!

Most hunt clubs employ a follower to repair fences, connect wires and generally keep farmers happy.  Masters and the huntsman are very conscious of landowners needs and often phone ahead to warn farmers that the hunt is on the way.  Thankfully, many farmers still hunt, so they know their neighbours and make sure stock are not unsettled.  However, a growing number of landowners don’t want the hunt on their land, especially when it is wet.

The days of charging after the fox, no matter what, are long gone.  David seemed to be on the phone all morning checking with landowners and making sure stock were safe for the day’s hunt.  There is a lot of stop and go at most hunts due to small paddocks and lots of cover.  We are privileged having such great properties to hunt and experience our many long runs.  Overseas visitors are no novelty in Ireland and I was surprised how many locals had been to Australia, yet none had hunted here to date.  As an aside, our NRG products, although accepted in Ireland, won’t sell for the simple reason….our cost structures are too high.  If shipping was reasonable, Hudson would be here in Seville now.  Most hunters in Ireland are bred with great temperaments, a natural jumping ability (a great leaper) and are continually in demand in the US and England.

To sum up, I must thank Master David for his generosity and hospitality and the loan of Hudson and all the gear.  Also local Vet Grainne for being my minder and bank jumping encourager! I have invited David to hunt with us, especially as the Masters of Foxhounds are holding their International meeting in New Zealand this coming August.  It was great to be back in the saddle in Ireland, ride over familiar countryside and experience hunting that many here in Aussie have only seen on videos.


It goes without saying that catching up with my family, school friends and neighbours is always wonderful and as they say in Ireland, “You can take the man out of the bog but you can’t take the bog out of the man!”  All in all, Seville is home and Findon my local Hunt Club.

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The NRG Team is delighted to sponsor Danielle Weymark, a lovely young lady from NSW, who is aiming to take her new horse 'Champagne CF' aka Charlie to the Paralympics in Rio 2013.  We will be  following Danielle's journey in her quest to qualify.  With her talent and determination, we're sure Danielle and Charlie will have a bright and successful future together.

"Hello, my name is Danielle Weymark and I am an NRG sponsored rider.  I compete regularly on my Warmblood mare Champagne CF (Charlie) who is trained by me and my coach Judy Fasher.  Charlie and I will compete in both Open Dressage and Para Equestrian Dressage, and we are aiming high for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio De Janeiro!

At 14 months of age I contracted Meningococcal Disease resulting in amputations, stunted growth, skin grafts and scarring, and deformity of joints resulting in chronic pain and arthritis.

I have owned Charlie since August 2012, and she has come far in this time.  At our first Dressage competition we won first place and have since moved up the levels.  We are now moving on to Elementary level as we are consistently scoring in the high 60's at open novice level and always place. We are yet to have our first Para Equestrian Dressage competition together but I'm really excited to see what the scores will be!

NRG No-Nots works wonders in Charlie's long, very thick tail!  We always get comments on how beautiful and shiny her tail is at competitions.  Although Charlie eats her feed without fail at home, she finds it really hard to eat at competitions, resulting in low energy.  This is where our NRG Stockgain come in!  She was having molasses but we found NRG Stockgain is much more beneficial when it comes to vitamins and minerals and now I don't have to worry about Charlie not eating!

Our journey to Rio is going to be a great one especially with the NRG Team behind us!"

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Posted by on in Equestrian

Have you ever arrived at a competition and wondered why other people's plaits are so much neater than yours?  Well, they probably use NRG PROPLAITS!  Proplaits help make the task of plaiting so much easier and your plaits will stay looking great longer without any 'fluffies' spoiling your appearance.  It's water based too so it's easy to wash out.  Click on the link to see how you can achieve amazing plaits and get that winning edge.  You'll also learn how to prepare your horse's mane and sew plaits like a professional!


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Responsive Web design has become one of the hottest trends in 2013.  This is due in part to the growth of smartphones and other mobile devices. More people are using smaller-screen devices to view Web pages. In Australia it is estimated that up to 50% of all web browsing uses a mobile or tablet.


Traditional web sites, designed purely for desktop access run the risk of being less useable for viewers with mobile devices, perhaps to the point where they won't even try to access such a site. That is why all web site owners need to know about responsive design and plan to update their web sites to use it.

Responsive Web design is an approach whereby a designer creates a Web page that “responds to” or resizes itself depending on the type of device it is being seen through.  That could be an oversized desktop computer monitor, a laptop, a 10-inch tablet, a 7-inch tablet, or a 4-inch smartphone screen.

What Does Responsive Web Design Look Like?

The purpose of responsive design is to have one site, but with different elements that respond differently when viewed on devices of different sizes.

Let’s take a traditional “fixed” website.  When viewed on a desktop computer, for instance, the website might show  three columns. But when you view that same layout on a smaller tablet, it might force you to scroll horizontally, something users don’t like. Or elements might be hidden from view or look distorted.  The impact is also complicated by the fact that many tablets can be viewed either in portrait orientation, or turned sideways for landscape view.

On a tiny smartphone screen, websites can be even more challenging to see. Large images may “break” the layout. Sites can be slow to load on smartphones if they are graphics heavy.

However, if a site uses responsive design, the tablet version might automatically adjust to display just two columns. That way, the content is readable and easy to navigate. On a smartphone, the content might appear as a single column, perhaps stacked vertically.  Or possibly the  user would have the ability to swipe over to view other columns.  Images will resize instead of distorting the layout or getting cut off.

The point is: with responsive design, the website automatically adjusts based on the device the viewer sees it in.

How Does Responsive Web Design Work?

Responsive sites use fluid grids. All page elements are sized by proportion, rather than pixels. So if you have three columns, you wouldn’t say exactly how wide each should be, but rather how wide they should be in relation to the other columns. Column 1 should take up half the page, column 2 should take up 30%, and column 3 should take up 20%, for instance.

Media such as images is also resized relatively. That way an image can stay within its column or relative design element.

Related Issues

Mouse v. touch: Designing for mobile devices also brings up the issue of mouse versus touch.  On desktop computers the user normally has a mouse to navigate and select items.  On a smartphone or tablet, the user mostly is using fingers and touching the screen.  What may seem easy to select with a mouse, may be hard to select with a finger on a tiny spot on a screen. The Web designer must take “touch” into consideration.

Graphics and download speed: Also, there’s the issue of graphics, ads and download speed. On mobile devices, it may be wise to display fewer graphics than for desktop views so that a site doesn’t take forever to load on a smartphone.  Larger ad sizes may need to be exchanged for smaller ads.

Apps and “mobile versions”:  In the past, you might have thought about creating an app for your website — say an iPad app or an Android app.  Or you would have a mobile version specifically for BlackBerry.

But with so many  different devices today, it’s getting harder to create apps and versions for every device and operating platform. A responsive design that is flexible enough to be viewed on multiple devices just makes sense.

Why Small Businesses Need to Switch to Responsive Web Design

More people are using mobile devices. A recent study found that 45% of Australian adults own a smartphone, and 31% own a tablet computer. Smartphone shipments outpace those of regular mobile phones, and tablet growth is surging.

Check your traffic and you might just be shocked at how many visitors are getting to your website  through mobile devices.  (In your Google Analytics, select “Audience” on the left side, then “Mobile” to see what proportion of traffic is from mobile devices. You can even drill down to see which devices are sending the traffic.)

Cyberhorse is now using Responsive Design for all its own site development and also for clients. It makes commercial sense for businesses to consider doing this instead of maintaining different sites for different devices. Contact us if you would like to find out more.

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The Cyberhorse Racehorse Outplacement Program blog features stories about ex-racehorses undergoing training or graduates which have made the transition to the equestrian world.

Tania Twaits purchased Chocolate Jade (Choco) last October. Here is his page on the Racehorse Outplacement Program site.

Here is Tania's story of how Choco became an important part of her family.

There are a couple of tests a new horse must pass at our place:

  1. The children test
    We have two active boys aged 6 and 8 who love horses and want to be involved in all elements and;
  2. The adaptable test
    I want to be able to ride anywhere and in any conditions and enjoy it.


On his first day in a new environment, Chocolate Jade (Choco) was confronted by two border collies, two excited boys, Alpacas and a gorgeous 17hh thoroughbred and he settled in amazingly well. He just took everything in his stride, nothing seemed to faze him. The boys thought he was a pony when he came off the float (as they are so used to our other giant) and wanted to lead him, feed him, and cuddle him.

They used his lead rope as a skipping rope while it was still attached to his halter on his head and literally threw hay at him and he didn't spook, he just stood there. So by the end of day one, it was clear that he had passed the children test. And to this day, the boys continue to lead him to the paddock, load him on the float, brush him, change his covers, feed him and have the occasional ride.

He has a wonderful temperament. In the first 6 weeks I rode Choco in many different environments. From bush riding in the Macedon Ranges to country road riding (with rubbish trucks going past) to Adult Riding classes and dressage lessons in an indoor arena. We rode in torrential rain (not by choice!), windy conditions and had horses taking off in front of us and he literally didn't put a foot wrong.

He took a little time to adjust to a new environment in some instances, but once he had he was relatively relaxed. All my experienced horse friends, as was I, were very impressed with how he handled himself. He passed the second test.


I have focussed our efforts on dressage but mixing it up by riding in the bush and paddock (changing the setting). To begin with, Choco was unbalanced and very stiff, particularly on the right rein with head in the air, was short in his stride with uneven paces and didn't always want to move forward.

For the last six months, I have been working with Regina Banninger. I have a weekly lesson and her approach with Choco was to take care of his issues of a very tight hindquarter and back. She explains why we do specific exercises and takes a lot of care of the horses conformation and ability.

We discuss work on the ground to help with his issues as well as diet and supplements. We made the decision to take things slowly due to his young age, lack of experience and my need to gain confidence and build his trust.

We initially spent a lot of time walking and trotting and a little cantering. We focused on getting leg response and looking for a light contact, while getting him to think forward and find his balance and rhythm with the aim to get him more supple. We didn't worry so much about his head. In this early stage he was sometimes showing for a few strides how nice he will be to ride when he lets go of the back and is able to push from behind.

Outside the arena, I spent a lot of time walking and trotting on a long rein to stretch him out. We then began working on exercises to move away from the leg at a walk, leg yielding and shoulder in on a circle. We encouraged more forward movement in the trot and worked on the trot canter transitions to build strength. We also worked on my aids to get the correct canter lead. Outside the arena I continued the exercises and a lot of trail riding.

As time has progressed we have increased the amount of trot, while still working on the fundamentals. Choco has begun using his hindquarters properly and his stride is improving nicely. He is moving forward more willingly. We have increased the canter work and his right canter lead in particular has improved. Outside the arena I have been reinforcing what was learnt in the lesson while still working on a long rein in the paddock/bush to stretch out and increase fitness.

With competition in mind we are now working on key elements within level 4 dressage tests - upward and downward transitions, correct bend through all paces and continuing to ensure he is coming from behind to get the suppleness. The contact gets more steady too.

Choco is willing and has surprised us on how quickly he has picked things up. He now responds to the aids, shows willingness to stretch and uses his body more efficiently. We still have a long way to go and he does tell you in his own way when he has had enough. But he is an absolute pleasure. I can take him anywhere and enjoy our rides together.

The whole family is enjoying the horses. The boys have begun to having riding lessons in the school holidays and my husband has been reading about horsemanship and is very eager to start his own horse ownership journey. As a confident beginner he has just started riding lessons so we may have another horse in the paddock in the not so distant future. Everyone participates in feeding and looking after the horses and Choco is very much part of the family.

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Is there actually a sport of “Equestrian”?

Or is it really 7 or 8 or 9 sports whose common bond is that they just use the same equipment, the horse, to do their individual equine sport.

Could it be that “equestrian” seems to be in such a mess at the moment because it expects or is expected by others to be or sees itself as being more than it actually can be?  Is the dream of one equestrian competition world with participants doing something in many areas, the great crossover dream,  a few steps too far away from reality?

And this brings with it great confusion of purpose.  There are certainly many areas where a single mindset is useful in the equine sports world – drugs, doping, animal welfare, safety and so on. 

But equally, or maybe more-so, there are many present areas where treating equestrian as a single sport produces undesirable and sometimes faintly ludicrous results.   Seeing itself (or being made to see itself and I will explain at a later time) as a single sport has in my experience been the generator of a sad hiatus in the development of equine related sports across Australia over much more than the last 5 years.

As a way of explaining, lets take some other Sports that together, because of some common bond, might look a bit like Equestrian.  Let’s say the beach/seaside sports, the sports that conduct themselves along the shallow water and beach. 

Such sports as Surf Life Saving, Ironman/woman, Kayaking, Windsurfing, Sailing and Surfing.  They all use the sand and surf but they don’t unite because of this.  They all obey common laws about use of those areas in relation to other people and the environment.   They all work under common Drugs and Doping in Sport regimes and they all use roughly similar skills in their sports and they have crossover competitors.  But they don’t call themselves the sport of “beaching” or “waving”.  They retain their individuality and having a separate National Body for each of their Sports makes sense – it only has to know about one Sport that is conducted uniformly throughout Australia and indeed, throughout the world.

But “equestrian”.  It is 7 or 8 or 9 different Sports.  Equestrian Australia lists 11: Dressage, Jumping, Eventing, Para-equestrian, FEI World Cup Jumping, Show Horse, Interschool, Carriage Driving, Vaulting, Endurance and Reining.

How can such a bunch of different ways of mixing with a horse be called a single sport?  How can a single body think, or be expected, to manage / run / govern / promote / operate / regulate / organize / fund / develop / control all of those, over all of Australia and in International Competition.

I think the answer is that it can’t and that is where the gulf between expectations and performance is occurring.  Maybe EA is trying (or again I say, expected to be) all things to all people. 

But I do think it has one clear area where it should have single control – Elite Australian representation Internationally. 

For the rest, I think it needs to moderate its aims and reshape its operations in one of a number of possible ways.

·         It can become a facilitator but not a controller in helping each of the Sports to operate relatively autonomously via their State and National Sports Committees and co-ordinating and being the go-between between the different Sports in areas of common interest and mutual advantage, and/or

·         It can become a facilitator and co-ordinator for the States, bringing them to work together on planning and delivering various sports, or 

·         A mix of these two, or

·         It can just set qualification criteria and run Elite Australian representation Internationally and leave the States to work together in their own way, or

·         It can just set qualification criteria and run Elite Australian representation Internationally and leave each of the Sports to run themselves individually and ignore or elimininate State Equestrian  bodies, or

·         It can reshape in some other way.

But it can’t keep trying to run all competition sports for everyone who rides a horse outside of racing.

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