7th April 2020

Very pleased announce I've secured my spot again on the EA High Performance Para Dressage GREEN squad (AIS Athlete category – Podium Ready and Podium Potential

This is my 5th consecutive year on green squad.

GREEN (AIS ATHLETE CATEGORY – PODIUM READY AND PODIUM POTENTIAL)
Athlete and Horse Combinations that have achieved results of 68% or more in the last 12 months in International Para-Equestrian Team and/or Individual Events and are demonstrating a capability of medal performances at the upcoming Paralympic Games.

 

5th April 2020

Dedication and hard work certainly pays off!

The FEI para world rankings have just been announced and I am now ranked 67th in the world across all 5 grades (out of 253 riders) and ranked 12th in the world for my grade (FEI Grade II)

Amazing to see 4 Australian riders ranked in the top 100!

 

 

2nd April 2020

Sunny has arrived.

Such a sweet and pretty girl! She walked off the truck and straight onto our float with do dramas and has traveled the long journey from QLD to NSW well.

Of course it's raining! ... Celere, Luis and now Sunny all arrived ... in the rain‍.

A rest in the stable... certainly nothing wrong with eating and drinking then it was on with the rain rug to suss out her new home.

 

 

1st April 2020

Welcome to the family 'Sunny'!

I admit this is by far the most 'inconvenient' time with this virus situation but what the hell I took the risk!

I'm always thinking 4 years ahead ... Paris 2024. Yes, I did say Tokyo would be my last campaign but with Tokyo being postponed for another year I thought why not just go another few more ... the body is going well. As an athlete I'm always evaluating my performance horses which means making smart decisions around their age, health and what I need to do to grow with the sport, these decisions can sometimes be very difficult when you're so emotionally attached to your 4 legged team mate!

I've been looking for years for a Warmblood, I repeat 'years', I had dear Spuddy but he wasn't ideal for the job, he certainly took me places but was never going to be a long term prospect.

In FEI Grade II para the tests are just walk and trot so they entail a horse that has a 'KNOCK OUT' walk - huge over track, relaxation over the back and great use of the whole body. Now I'm not silly, it's very rare to find a PRE or Lusitano with this particular walk for para and as I've found it's even hard to find this walk in other breeds! I've done an outstanding job to fine tune Eddy and Celere to walk for a 7 or an 8 but these guys are catching up on age which probably won't foresee them doing another games campaign in 4 or 8 years.

So we aim for the future.
Everyone raves how sweet Sunny is and her great temperament and just easy way of going under saddle. At only 5 (6 this year) she's had the correct basic training and is a raw canvas for me to develop her the way I want,

Of course there's people to thank as always.

Shae once again came to my rescue and test rode Sunny for me before the borders closed that night (LOL) and then sent MANY videos which then meant many talks about the mares potential as a safe para horse. Michael, never far from the scene for giving me the confidence to just go for it and support my change in direction and always good friend Bert Sheffield Para Equestrian Rider for her expert eyes!

A huge thank you to AUS Team vet Janine of All Horses Veterinary Services for conducting the vet check on Sunny and Sunny's trainer Danielle for making the whole process of purchasing Sunny super easy and Kim of Harrier Hill Hanoverians must be recognized for breeding such an beautiful elegant mare.

Thankfully horse transporters are still able to move horses between the state borders so Sunny will arrive Thursday with great thanks to Lachlan of Manuel Equine Transport who I've used many times before.

With Tokyo postponed and no competitions, I'm actually really excited!! Like REALLY excited. This is the perfect opportunity to stay home, spend time and develop a special partnership with this girl.

Photo credit: Flash Pony Photography
____________________________________

Harrier Hill Sunkist (Sunny)
5yo Hanoverian Premium Candidate Mare
Showdown (Imp) (Sandro Hit) x Beechwood Winnona (Weltmeyer)

 

 

31st March 2020

A new date has been announced for the Paralympics in Tokyo.
24 August - 5th September 2021.

Excited to continue the journey.

 

25th March 2020

Lets talk Tokyo 2021

Being an athlete that is highly immune suppressed the official news by the IOC announcing overnight that the Tokyo Paralympics will be postponed for a year has come as relief.

It is absolutely devastating what is happening around the world and right now is certainly the time to look after our mental and physical health more than ever before!

Being one not to bend the rules or go against my own morals, I would be lying if I didn't say I had been weighing up the pros and cons of potentially having to travel and endangering my health during these very vulnerable times. After speaking to other athletes around the world, the feeling was mutual.

I believe the right decision has been made for the health and well-being of all athletes, teams, officials and all those that make the games what it is. We now have clarity to know 2020 isn't our year and to prepare for Tokyo 2021.

Before I go any further I would like to thank the Equestrian Australia High Performance team and Australian Paralympic Team for looking after us athletes and keeping us up to date as much as possible and offering support as we look forward.

Athletes train day in day out, we dedicate our whole lives and make sacrifices for this certain goal, for our sport, our countries and we do it because there's this little something deep inside of us whether it stems from a dream we had as a young kid or a dream that begun when we had to overcome some sort of adversity, whatever the reason the feeling is THERE and I tell you what, when it's there you cannot ignore that feeling, ever. It's there to stay.

For me I will never stop thriving for a games. I enjoy the journey too much. I love this sport with it's ups and downs. I love the passion of working with my horses, the daily and long term goals to work towards, the thrill of going down that centreline and putting all my training on show, it's also the small things such as sharing my journey with you guys.

It's no denying I've tried! and I do say this with humour and a dash of reality lol

2016 - I was short listed for Rio and I had to withdraw due to the diagnosis of my neck and the caution from 4 neurosurgeons.

2018 - I was ranked top 3 rider in Australia and for the first time Australia decided not to take a team for Worlds (WEG)

2020 - Short listed for Tokyo and well it speaks for itself.

3 times, you would think I would be throwing my toys on the ground and going 'that's it 3 strikes I'm out' - NO! I actually feel more empowered to dig my heels in deep and just keep looking forward!

Knowledge. Accept. Move Forward.
There is no point dwelling about things you cannot change.

Take care everyone!

 

 

 

23rd March 2020

I dedicate this post to a very special friend of mine Shae.

2 weeks ago I attended the EA High Performance squad camp/qualifier event and I was not well from the day we arrived and a reason I have been quiet on social media as I have been taking timeout to look after myself.

We won Grade II Champion with Celere but the biggest win was. I stayed. I finished all 5 tests, attended every squad talk and it was because this amazing soul never left my side and literally gave me her wings when mine were a bit tired xx

This event was somewhat a practice for a games atmosphere. Shae had double the responsibilities as my HP groom as I was campaigning 2 horses so we had to juggle a tight schedule dedicated to specific times to feed, train, compete, talks and vet checks.

Celere and Eddy were turned out each day to immaculate presentation by Shae and had one of the boys all lunged, tacked, plaited and ready to go so I could finish one test, swap horses and go ride the other test all within an hour gap.

Even on the last day of competition straight after my freestyle with Celere, I fainted which I don't remember but people told me Shae was the first person by my side.

It's crazy times we are in and facing at the moment and all I can say is please take care of your mental and physical self, that right there is so important and don't forget to pick up the phone and check in on a mate.

"Strong alone, Unstoppable together"

 

 

 

 

10th March 2020

Celere looked beautiful in the new 'Wine' coloured PS of Sweden saddle pad set from my super sponsors Leader Equine and my new SCHARF helmet from CJ Proline / Scharf which matched beautifully!

EA Tokyo 2020 test event which is the 2nd last AUS qualifier selection event which is being run at the great SIEC venue.

 

 

26th February 2020

Celere and I have been named Champions of the inaugural Equestrian Life Para-Dressage Leader Board!

Not only did we win the Overall Champion but also the
Highest Placed Combination' for Grade II
Highest Placed Combination for NSW
Highest Placed Combination Competing Internationally

Eddy (Andaluka Elegido) was also entered and we placed 5th overall which was brilliant considering we only did 4 competitions together from November 2019!

It still blows my mind that Celere and I led the leader board the whole year considering he had to have time off and missed 5 months of competing (our last competition was in July 2019 at the Brisbane CPEDI)

Life certainly has a weird way of panning out and to be honest I don't think I would have campaigned Eddy in the Tokyo campaign if Celere didn't need a break.

I'm so proud of my beautiful Celere, he truly is a special stallion and we just keep achieving amazing things together.

A huge thank you to Equestrian Australia and Equestrian Life for putting together such a great incentive to get the sport of para dressage out there and get clubs more involved.

A big thank you must go to Shoalhaven Dressage Club, Hawkesbury Dressage Club Inc, Sydney Dressage Inc and DNSW Clarendon Events for always being accommodating and holding para tests throughout the year.

and lastly ... GO THE LUSITANO! so proud

 

 

 

 

25th February 2020

Make sure you check out issue 53 MAR/APR Equestrian Life Magazine.

A 5 page article where I talk about my passion for the PRE and Lusitano horses, how it all begun, my professional involvement with the breeds, what I feed my horses, Eddy's come back out of retirement and my journey towards team selection for Tokyo 2020!

 

 

21st February 2020

Very excited to announce I have been offered an Individualised Athlete scholarship with the NSW Institute of Sport.

This opportunity will play a vital part to support me in my quest to gain Australian team selection towards Tokyo 2020.

What a memorable journey this is turning out to be with my 2 beautiful stallions. Cheers to Eddy & Celere!

 

 

13th February 2020

I am very proud to announce my partnership with SCHARF as an ambassador rider. The elegant and exclusive SCHARF riding helmet is a Danish brand with a fantastic and durable design, with top class safety, which meets current safety requirements.

I purchased my first SCHARF riding helmet back in 2016 when I needed a new helmet that was up to date with the safety requirements and also light weight which I found was very important to me after my devastating neck and skull diagnosis! The helmet i was using at the time was too heavy and added more pressure to my skull which to be honest was the problem I found when I tried most helmet brands! But not with SCHARF.

The SCHARF is a very stylish fit and comes in a huge variety of colours and you can even have swaroski crystals if you like bling! Also, you certainly won't look like you have a mushroom on your head, the profile is very elegant.

A big thank you to SCHARF for believing in me and supporting me going forward on this amazing journey x

You can see the entire range via the SCHARF website www.scharf.dk/en/

Or visit and like their Facebook page at
CJ Proline / Scharf

 

7th February 2020

How amazing is this!
My Lusitano stallion Celere and I have been named on the short list for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games!

I am very proud and delighted to be in this position leading up to the final team selection in June and can't wait to campaign both my stallions Andaluka Elegido 'Eddy' and Celere at the last 2 Australian selection events in March and Ma!

Seriously though what a journey this has been...

My journey with Celere begun 6 years ago in 2014 when I literally packed a bag, went to Portugal and bought this rough diamond, buckskin Lusitano stallion named - Celere.
I remember Michael saying to me ....which I'm sure most woman will go 'I wish my husband would say that'... 'buy the horse, he's great' and here I was sitting back going ... 'nar i don't know he's buckskin, I don't do colour' haha. Michael bought Celere as I couldn't decide and since that day Michael has never stopped believing in our Celere.

Celere came about as I had big goals for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and my plan was to keep Celere in Europe for training and prepare him for the European qualifiers, I spent nearly 2 years flying back and forth but unfortunately life has a very unusual and confronting way of saying ‘this is not your time’ and 2 weeks before I was to fly out for my first qualifier event I had to withdraw from all competition in 2016 due to the diagnosis of my neck which was addressed at the time as being life threatening.

Words with never describe the overwhelming disappointment I felt and it was questioned at the time whether to sell Celere overseas... but I couldn't, I was too emotionally attached to this special stallion and if these neurosurgeons were correct and I was never going to ride again… then I wanted to have my mate in the stable so I could visit him each day and breed my own Lusitanos!

I mean this Celere was and IS special! Each time I arrived overseas he greeted me with his gorgeous happy face, he never forgot who I was and without fail he would sniff my hips where I'd had the 2 hip replacements years prior, he knew I was unwell and despite giving the trainers in Portugal sheer hell (haha)... he kept me safe at all times and to this day he looks after me. What can I say he's picky with who he lets ride him.

Since Celere's arrival late August 2016 he has brought so much happiness, endless adventures and success. In all honesty I never saw myself preparing Celere for another games campaign, and it was Michael once again that said nope you guys can do it... it took a few months to convince me!

Walking down that centreline in June 2019 at our first qualifier event was an amazing feeling and I hope the future will see us walking down the centreline at Tokyo!

Cheers to
An amazing horse and his stable mate Eddy
A great husband for always believing in us
A dedicated groom/best friend Shae Herwig
A talented and fun coach/friend Alycia Targa
A brilliant group of sponsors a rider could ever wish for!

 

29th January 2020

Welcome to the family Whitney (Trimdon Riccadonna).

A full sister and out of the same litter as our much loved Benji (Trimdon Highlight). A special girl that won many awards and did her breeders proud, to us we just see a stunning cocker spaniel with the same amazing temperament and good looks as our Benji but lovely to know she was a little champion.

Michael and I feel very blessed to have such a beautiful girl entrusted with us as her forever home and whilst we know how hard it was for previous owners I can honestly say she will be so loved and have a lifetime of lizard hunting and adventures.

Today was spent investigating the property, saying her first hello to a horse and doing a lot of running and butt sniffing with Bear, Heidi and Benji.... now they are all asleep under the fan!!

 

 

 

28th January 2020

A really great article on Eurodressage website written by fellow para rider Zoe Vorenas.

 

26th January 2020

Eddy (Andaluka Elegido)
FEI Para Equestrian Grade 2 CHAMPION
Homes & Acreage Boneo Classic CPEDI (AUS Tokyo qualifier)

So proud of this amazing Spanish stallion.
We won all 3 of the FEI Para Grade II tests over the week, gaining a qualifier score in the individual test on the 2nd day and today as I mentioned before 70.44% in the FEI Para Grade II Freestyle which was great to receive and the 72.66% from the international judge.

One of the best things I did was drag Eddy out of a 2 year retirement!! He's having an absolute ball in the limelight again! He was always a winner... loved the star treatment so it certainly has been a fun and soul fulfilling past 3 months traveling the 12hrs down to Boneo Park which started in November 2018 to now for 3 x CPEDI AUS Tokyo Qualifier events and winning the FEI Para Grade II Championship for each of those events! Also, it has been an honour to be being named on the Australian team for the November and January CPEDIs.

A very big thank you must be said to Boneo Park for holding such an amazing competition, Equestrian Australia for sponsoring the Para Equestrian tests for this event and allowing the riders to perform in front of top international judges. Without an army of Para stewards, officials and volunteers we wouldn't be out there doing what we love, so thank you.

Best thank the husband for his round the clock support and care for Eddy and I... o do I have a funny video to share with you all in a few days. Benji!!!!! #1 best mate, supporter and companion dog.

Once again it was a pleasure to catch up and ride along side all the other Para riders and also cheer on the other Spanish and Lusitano horses competing in the open section.

I also received a special gift from one of the AUS selectors that saw a book in a 2nd hand bookshop and knew I would enjoy it!
'Lusitano Champions 1966 - 2003' I absolutely LOVE it and can't wait to sit down and have a read, it is full of history of all the big bloodlines and champions... including Celeres sire!
A very thoughtful gift I'll treasure forever.

During this competition I raised $300 to go towards those affected by the recent fires, as mentioned before all my prize money will be donated to @NSWRFS and @Wildlife Rescue South Coast Inc with my amazing sponsors @Leader Equine donating dollar for dollar so together we raised $600!!!!!

We head home tomorrow, then all systems go for the 2nd last AUS Tokyo Qualifier event with Eddy AND Celere which will be held in 6 weeks at Sydney International Equestrian Centre.

Andaluka Elegido
El Caballero Dejado x Andaluka Maya
Approved for Breeding Spanish PRE Stallion

 

 

3rd January 2020

"You know when you're little you have a favorite blanket or stuffed animal? And you need it with you because it makes you feel safe and at that time it was the most important thing in the world to you? Well that's what you are to me, you're my safe place, you make me feel complete".

Our 2nd wedding anniversary Michael, cheers to another 10 years together

You told me 'cotton' is the symbol for the 2nd wedding anniversary... Storm would love a new 'cotton' rug for his 4th Birthday which is also today... Happy Birthday Storm

To my nanna who passed away on this day many years ago... I miss you

 

 

1st January 2020

A poem very fitting for King Luis (Joyero JF III)

Out of the romantic past he comes.
He has carried kings and conquered continents.
He was painted by the greatest painters of all times.
Poets have sung his name in a thousand voices.
His handsome beauty is unmatched.
His nobleness, without compare.
In all the world, no horse has stepped with such pride.
He was all of these and more.
And as if by some glorious miracle,
today he comes to us unchanged.
He is the Spanish Horse.