Roger Fitzhardinge was born in Perth, Western Australia. As he was growing up, the whole family were heavily involved in a variety of competitive sports. Roger’s preferred sport was sailing, successfully competing at State and National levels.
Horses first featured in Roger’s life when he attended a school holiday camp. After that first foray into riding, it seems that he had been bitten by the bug. He returned every semester break and continued even after he left school, by which time he had purchased his first horse.
After leaving school, Roger spent nearly a year working on a farm in Esperance WA, and then having saved enough money, he headed to the UK in order to pursue his riding. He trained in Yorkshire and gained his BHS instructors certificate while competing extensively in Eventing, Showjumping and Hunting. He was offered jobs with both Paul Schoekmoele and Reiner Klimke, but having been away from Australia for nearly 2 years, he decided to head home. He says now that he may have chosen differently had he known how important these people would become to the Equestrian world!
On returning to Perth, Roger completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy. He continued riding and even made the short list for the Moscow Olympics with one of his horses “Bromont”, who excelled in Eventing. Sadly, the team was never sent due to the political unrest at that time. After University, he began working at Fremantle Hospital and specialized in Intensive Care for nearly seven years, still riding and sailing as often as his work schedule would allow.
Due to some lower back issues, Roger was unable to keep jumping, so he refocused his energy into producing Champion Show Hacks and Dressage horses. His interest in sailing took him to the USA, following the America’s Cup, but the riding bug seemed to be taking over, and he ended up in Michigan where he earned the title of “Elementary Champion of the Year” on a mare called “Here’s Cheers”
On his return to Australia, Roger bought into a Saddlery & Camping Supplies shop in Sydney. While running the business, he was very busy working as a Physio and producing many show hacks and dressage horses that went on to provide him with a myriad of Championship wins. As if his diary wasn’t full enough, he was also coaching riders and went back to his studies to qualify as an A National Dressage Judge and National Show Horse and Rider judge.
Many years later, having left the retail business, Roger's back injuries continued to worsen, and so he had to undergo spinal surgery. During his year-long rehabilitation, Roger moved to Chatham Park, where he later bought a share and now resides. He has continued with his coaching and added an NCAS Instructor accreditation to his already impressive list of qualifications.
In the mid 1990’s, Roger became interested in Equestrian Photography and Journalism, and has since had the opportunity to participate as part of the media at a great number of international competitions, including the Olympics and World Equestrian Games. His photos and stories appear regularly in the popular Australian “Horse Magazine”.
Roger has owned a number of good horses, particularly since living at Chatham Park. “Berkeley Castle” competed successfully at FEI, was National Champion Hunter (twice) and was selected to go to the Athens Paralympics with a Victorian rider. After returning home from Athens, he continued competing at FEI, and enjoyed some celebrity status when he carried Nicole Kidman in the opening scenes of “Australia”. Roger currently owns an FEI Weltmeyer gelding “Weltsohn”, who was 2nd in Prix St George and Inter I Kur at the 2009 National Dressage Championships. “Jive Time” is his current young horse, achieving 2nd placings at both Dressage with the Stars and Sydney CDI as a Four Year Old.
Roger’s riding, competing, coaching, clinics, photography and journalism continue to see him travelling extensively throughout Australia and overseas. He has been the State Dressage Coach for Tasmania (2008 & 2009) and has coached several Elite listed Squad members.
Roger’s affiliation with Zilco goes back a great many years. He is responsible for a large percentage of the fabulous outdoor photos that appear in our advertising, and he continues to provide us with invaluable input & feedback for many of our products. Like all of our Sponsored Riders, he would never promote a product that he doesn’t believe in, so we are proud to have his support.