Informative, Inspirational & Aspirational

Informative, Inspirational & Aspirational

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September / October 2020 Edition

From the

Horse's Mouth

With Fiona Todd

As the strangest year ever continues to roll along, the craziness in which we find ourselves means that one of my favourite celebrations will be a little different this time around. I always cherish the company of my very beautiful family, but Father’s Day is a special time and Dad and I usually enjoy raising the inevitable glass of bubbles together. This year we’ve been forced to do a long distance celebration. Trust me Dad, I would hug you if I could. Thank you for being you x.
The September/October issue is inspiring, to say the least. Congratulations to everyone who submitted an application for the Delivering Dreams Scholarship. The quality of applicants is very impressive and we’re currently shortlisting before handing the finalists over to our panel of judges. The lucky recipient will be named in our November/December issue.
Which brings me to the wonderful Spotlight, written by our editor Amanda Mac, on the life and times of champion dressage rider Brett Parbery. Talk about a never say never attitude! The highs and lows of his life have been jaw-dropping, yet he continues to approach it all with a sense of optimism and gratitude.
Resident columnist Charlie Brister looks at lunging, a training tool that’s often either poorly used or underutilised. As usual, Charlie brings no nonsense, simple techniques that will help you to move your horse’s training forward. And stay tuned for details of The Right Rein, a super informative podcast hosted by Charlie. Launch date to be announced soon – and yes, we’re very, very excited!
Following on from the popular Brumby article in our last issue, Marisa Kuhlewein talks to Brumby photographer Carol Hancock in a fascinating Culture Corner. Carol’s passion for the Snowy Mountain Brumbies absolutely shines out of her stunning multi-award-winning work.
And if you’ve ever hunted high and low for a new horse and found it near impossible to find ‘The One’, then imagine being a Pararider with the difficulties they face and the enormous level of trust they have to place in their mount. This article brought tears to my eyes. The riders interviewed, Emma, Sue-Ellen and Katie are three of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met. Plus, we have some autographed copies of Sue-Ellen’s book Johno and the Blind Chick to give away, so watch this space.
If you thought saddle fitting was important (and it certainly is), wait till you catch Anna Minogue’s take on bit fitting. She explains how vital it is to get it right, and warns of the potential for painful injuries if you don’t. Meanwhile, champion showjumper Aaron Hadlow found time in his crazily busy schedule to offer some sound advice on how to bring horses back to fitness after spelling or from injury. Patience seems always to be the answer!
On matters of travel – well, armchair travel anyway – Sonia Caeiro Alvarez whisks us off for a virtual riding holiday in WA’s glorious Kimberleys, while Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare, climbs onto the Tackbox to have his say on the very broad concept of animal well-being.
Curious to know what acupuncture is? How it is helps? Equine acupuncturist Ben Walder reveals all. In Training Tips, Amanda Clifford brings us expert advice on horse-centred training, and our Horse Listener takes a fascinating look at how horses see.
But of course, there’s more! We explore rugs, Riding Ponies and review the Bates Innova saddle. Jo McKinnon investigates a Hong Kong based OTT Thoroughbred retirement program, and Neil Quinlan’s Horses in History has now morphed into our new feature, Perfect Partners, launching in this issue with the amazing story of Gillian Rolton and Peppermint Grove.
And to close out the day, Charlie Brister asks Dan James 20 searching questions.
Phew! Pour your favourite tipple, sit back and enjoy, and remember to send your dad a cheers

In this issue - september / October 2020

White knuckle ride

Dressage superstar Brett Parbery has ridden life’s rollercoaster with remarkable aplomb. But that’s really not such a surprise, because as AMANDA MAC discovered, he’s always up for a challenge.​

In the wild

With a longstanding fascination for the wild horses of the Snowy Mountains, Carol Hancock has turned her attraction to them into stunning works of art, writes .

Lunging: It’s a circular question

Is lunging the magic cure-all? In Part One of this three-part feature, resident columnist CHARLIE BRISTER digs deep on the subject of circles.

A bit of a problem

During her 10 years as a fully qualified equine dentist, ANNA MINOGUE had seen numerous bit related injuries. Determined to do what she could to remedy the problem, she decided to become a bit fitter.

Para horses need pizazz

When you think about it, a good Paralympic dressage horse must have something a little special in their make-up. But what is it? CHRISTINE ARMISHAW investigates.

How Horses See

Did you know that a horse really can’t distinguish between a green apple and a red apple, or that they can’t see a jump during and after take-off? CANDIDA BAKER examines the complex world of the horse’s eye.

Regional feeding challenges

With regions ranging from cool temperate, and temperate to arid, subtropical and tropical, the Australian climate poses some interesting feeding challenges, writes LARISSA BILSTON.

Back to fitness

After a layoff, whether through injury or spelling, your horse needs to be brought back to fitness with care. Champion show jumper AARON HADLOW shares the technique he uses to bring his horses into peak competition condition.

To rug or not to rug?

That’s a really good question with no one-size-fits-all answer. AMANDA MAC looks at the whys and wherefores of rugging: when to, when not to, and which rug to choose if you’re going to.

Wanderlust in the West

What is it about the West? SONIA CAEIRO ALVAREZ armchair travels to the ancient landscape of the Kimberley, home to one of the world’s most spectacular wilderness regions.

A new life

The Hong Kong horse racing industry relies heavily on the importation of horses, Australian Thoroughbreds among them. JO MCKINNON reports on a program designed to re-home retired racehorses.

Big presence in a pony package

If you love cute and sassy over might and power, a smaller version of the elegant show hack may very well win you over, writes FRANCINE PULLMAN.

Getting to the pointy end

Equine acupuncturist BEN WALDER has a rather different approach to treating injured and sick horses. While this modality is not a cure-all, some of his success stories are truly remarkable.

Horses in sport:
getting it right

ROLY OWERS is Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare, an international charity based in the UK. The charity’s mission is to work with horses, horse owners, communities, organisations and governments to improve welfare standards and stamp out suffering.

It’s all in the approach

An accredited Equestrian Australia coach, AMANDA CLIFFORD offers some valuable insights into how to reach a greater understanding of your horse, developing a more perceptive approach to training in the process.

From little things

When Ellie Gough started riding, she started small. But from little things, much bigger things do tend to grow – and Ellie’s equestrian career is no exception. She spoke to AMANDA MAC about her remarkable journey thus far.

Gillian Rolton and Peppermint Grove

Described as one of the most wonderful horses to represent Australia, N. G. QUINLAN recounts the story of Gillian Rolton and her beloved partner, Peppermint Grove.

20 Questions with Dan James

One half of the Double Dan Horsemanship team, Dan James consistently wows judges, fans, and audiences alike with his incredible training techniques, elite showmanship, and unique understanding of the way horses learn.

Around the traps - September / October 2020

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Meet Our Team


Fiona Todd
HorseVibes publisher Fiona Todd grew up on the North Coast of NSW on a dairy farm and developed a love for animals from a young age. “I spent hours playing with my dad’s trusty stock horse, Smokey,” she says, “and I eventually got my own horse when I was 12. She was the first in a long line of ...

Amanda McWinnie - HorseVibes Deputy Editor


Amanda McWhinnie
UK-born Amanda McWhinnie’s love affair with horses began when she was four-years-old. “I was with my parents at a show jumping event when a dappled grey horse caught my eye as it cleared jump after jump with a carefree swish of its luxuriant tail. I was entranced,” she says, “and it started a lifetime ...

Nicky Richman headshot

Marketing Manager

Nicky Richman
Nicky has been involved with horses her entire life having been raised on, and actively involved in, her parents highly successful Standardbred breeding establishment ‘Banner Lodge’ in Christchurch, NZ. “I started competing when I very young,” she says, “and I’ve always loved eventing, although I’ve also ...


Jo McKinnon
Jo Mckinnon is a multi-award winning horse racing and equestrian broadcaster and documentary maker. She is the host of a popular radio programme & podcast 'Talking Horses' and is a former top-level show rider, who has competed all over Australia with her hacks. “As someone who has been a racing commentator for many years I love the positive life after racing stories,” she says.

Feature Writer

Candida Baker
President of equine charity Equus Alliance, Candida returns with her popular Horse Listener column, this time to explore the complexities of the horse’s eye. Did you know that horses have nearly 360 degree vision yet can’t see a jump during and after take-off? Candida discusses these and other facts in her fascinating article. .

Charlie Brister - HorseVibes Columnist


Charlie Brister
If Charlie Brister was to advertise himself for sale, he says he’d put himself in the ‘All Rounder’ category. A bush-bred boy, he grew up riding pre-track racehorses. “I’d gallop through the bush with no idea of what a rising diagonal, or a correct distance was,” says this now NCAS Level 2 Eventing Coach...

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