Wednesday, July 21, 2010


For anyone who saw Edward Gal and Totilas' Freestyle it was surely the highlight of the Aachen show. What a perfect time for Totilas to hit the top - and long may be stay there. They prove that correct training methods are way ahead of the horses being ridden in forced outlines. Hopefully dressage riders and trainers will be influenced by the total beauty of Totilas and his attitude to life and try to emulate them.

The scores show it all.

Once the dressage was over we left the beautifully manicured arena.

The filled to capacity main ring, and the jumps, are vast and the Grand Prix Show Jumping was very exciting with 4 riders in the jump off after double clear rounds.

Canadian Eric Lamaze on Hickstead won by less than a second.

It was very emotional to hear both the Canadian and Australian National Anthems.

Australian Boyd Exell at the driving presentation with his supporters.

Monday and Tuesday were FEI Para Equestrian meetings. Due to flights not being available yesterday evening I had a few hours to explore Aachen.

By chance, due to reading a map upside down, I saw this magnificent statue.

Rather charming modern sculpture around a pond near the cathedral.

At the train station this morning this group of wild horses just reminded one of the significance of horses in Aachen.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday at Aachen World Equestrian Festival

So much to see. Brett Parbery and Victory Salute qualified for tomorrow's Freestyle. Here they are eagerly entering the stadium.

The eventing cross-country finished through the arena with five fences. There was loud cheering as the horses finished the course.

The dressage judges marks are displayed around the arena which makes for a wonderful 'judges clinic for spectators'. The Grand Prix Special ended with the brilliant Moorlands Totilas and Edward Gal.  I saw for myself why he marks in the 80s.  Fluent, relaxed, powerful and stunning - and I have the test on my video camera!

Then we watched some of the driving marathon. It was most exciting!

These horses did not panic. They just stood and waited. Luckily no-one was hurt and after righting the wheels away they went.

Australian Boyd Axell showed why he is the World Champion.

On our way back to the dressage stadium Victory Salute was being led around the large warm up area. He recognised his owner/breeder Carolyn Lieutenant and came straight over to her.

Friday, July 16, 2010

From New Zealand to Aachen, Germany

What a thrill to be at the Aachen World Equestrian Festival and after quite a journey.

During a Para Equestrian riders clinic in Blenheim, New Zealand, I was able to see the Grade 1A rider Ilona starting to trot. Even though she only has to walk in her tests it is important that she is able to keep her balance should a horse trot by mistake. Actually she sees no reason why she cannot progress to cantering and will probably end out riding in open competition.

The 4 hour drive from Blenheim to Christchurch was magnificent. A slow trip as there is so much hilly country with roads with endless hairpin bends. A half way treat is seeing the seal colony. This year's babies were busy playing in a rock pool oblivious of the freezing weather conditions.

No trip through New Zealand is complete without seeing sheep drying before shearing.

Just before turning inland towards Christchurch there was a lovely view of the snow covered mountains in the background.

The flights from Christchurch via Sydney and Singapore to Frankfurt and then the train to Aachen took more than 30 hours. Sleep today at the hotel was not an option as the show grounds were beckoning.

Thanks to the generosity of Frank Kemperman, the show director, the FEI Para Equestrian Technical Committee members have accreditation to almost everywhere at the show prior to our FEI meeting next week.

Watching the horses working in the schooling arena in the stable area was most interesting. Lots of FEI stewards at all practice arenas. Probably necessary as some horses preparing for the Grand Prix Special tomorrow were becoming very tense in piaffe and passage. I look forward to seeing if their last minute major schooling sessions were worth it.

There were 7 judges for the Prix St. George. 5 on the short side: H, HC,C, CM and M, plus a judge at E and B.

The Canadian combination of Ashley Holzer and the Sandro Hit's Jewel's Sonnenstern showed how a great base turns potential into the reality of a super horse. I am sure they will have a fulfilling future.

The eventers did their dressage tests this morning and show jumping this afternoon.

It was my first look at Australian Paul Tapley who won Badminton this year. He showed his win was no fluke when he rode Stormhill Michael.

Clayton Fredericks on Be My Guest also showed his class.

The World Equestrian Festival is magnificent. Of particular interest to me tomorrow is the Grand Prix Special. We will all be keeping our fingers crossed for Carolyn Lieutenant's Victory Salute. Ridden by Brett Parbery he achieved 70% and a top 10 finish in the Grand Prix. In the judging breaks I will pop out to watch the cross-country. One has to make choices as there is so much to watch.  Of course in Australia we see top event riders as we have the best within our shores. So the Grand Prix Special and Freestyle on Sunday are priorities.  

Saturday, July 10, 2010

RDA National Coach Workshops in Australia and New Zealand

Last weekend Marcus Oldham Agricultural College at Geelong was the venue for RDA Australia's National Coach Workshop. Saturday night was a treat for all with the dynamic animal psychologist and trainer Dr. Andrew McLean. He is always an engaging and educating speaker and his talk about his work with horses and elephants was no exception.

It was fun to catch up with him and hear how his ideas and passion for the training and welfare of animals has developed over the years. The Tasmanian eventing team, including Andrew, used to stay at Bunyip with me between events. This was the time when he was becoming more interested in the training of horses than in his occupation as a reptile specialist.

Sally Francis and myself decided to combine our presentations on pole work and jumping.

International flights that leave at 6 a.m. are no fun. The views on the Auckland to Napier flight were worth staying awake for.

Napier RDA, who are hosting the New Zealand National Coach Workshop, have great facilities at the local show grounds including an indoor arena which means they can run regular riding programs uninterrupted by the weather.

Both workshops have been well supported.  Coaches are obviously keen to increase their knowledge and the standard of their programs. RDA in both countries is definitely alive and focussed on the present and future.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cats and dogs

The cats were the last to be put into boxes. They were not very impressed.

The dogs are delighted with the Jindivick property. Thomas took two seconds to find the rabbits.