Age: 45 years
Location: Canyonleigh, NSW
Can you describe your average day?
6am to 7am - Paperwork and breakfast
7am to 4pm - Riding and teaching
4pm to 6pm - Teaching
Weekends - Either a competition or clinics
How many horses do you have?
There are approximately 50 on the property, and I have between 12 and 15 in work.
Which horse do you enjoy riding the most, and why?
BF Valour (Alfie). He has recently stepped up to 3* level very successfully, and tries very hard in all phases. He has plenty of talent and is a lovely horse to work with. I also have a young horse called OPH Rockpool. He is a horse that I enjoy riding every day, although he still has to prove himself at competitions. I can't say exactly why I like riding him - he is very different to Alfie, but I guess I feel he is talented and gives me a nice feeling when he is under saddle.
What is the best thing about your horses?
My favourite thing is when you ride one that has tried really hard for you. I find it amazing what a horse will do for the rider when everything is going really well. I look at it as my job to try and make that happen. Some horses are more willing to try than others, and some have more talent, so it is great when you find one that has the talent and the attitude to give it their very best.
What are your highest achievements and career highlights to date?
Australian Rep - Trans Tasman (1996, 2001)
Australian Rep - Open European Championships
1st Place - Gawler CCI 3*
1st Place - Australian Championships
2nd Place - Lochinvar CCI 3*
2nd Place - Melbourne CCI 3*
3rd Place - Melbourne CCI 3*
3rd Place - Adelaide CCI 4*
1st Place - Camden Equestriad CIC 3*
1st Place - Quirindi CCI 2*
Assistant Coach - Australian Team WEG 2006
Assistant Coach - Australian Team Beijing Olympics 2008
Coach - Australian Young Rider Trans Tasman Team 2006, 2012, 2015
Coach - Australian Senior Trans Tasman Team 2017
The biggest highlights: Personally - Buying and developing the property we run our business from. Competitively - Winning Gawler way back in 1995 was a huge achievement and really cemented me in the sport. Coaching - Being the assistant coach at the Olympics was a real highlight. The atmosphere and the hype at been at an Olympics was fantastic.
What keeps you motivated?
The desire to try and be better at the next competition. I am always striving to develop the horses I ride to be better than before. It is the same in my coaching, the desire to do the best job I can and to improve keeps me motivated.
Who has been the most influential person in your riding career?
I have had many influential people; I don’t think that I can say there has been one that has been the most influential. My first coach Simon Kale got me really in to the sport and taught me a lot. Then Robert Stewart further developed me and taught me a huge amount about jumping. Wayne Roycroft was a big influence on my riding and coaching. Then there are others such as Heath Ryan, Craig and Prue Barrett and now Michelle Baker is really helping me in the dressage.
What advice would you offer other riders?
It is hard work. You have to be very resilient as there will be many highs but also unfortunately many lows. You have to really love riding and horses and always be looking to improve. Try to ride the best horses that you can and keep getting advice/coaching to help you develop as much as possible.
What is the most used item in your tack room?
My diary to keep track of everything happening with the horses each day, and my Zilco rubber reins. I love riding with them and they go on every bridle regardless of the horse or bit.
Your ultimate goals?
To provide a nice life for my kids. Within riding, I aim to represent Australia again. I truly believe that Alfie has the ability to do this with me. The big challenge with him is keeping him sound to do the job.