Informative, Inspirational & Aspirational

Informative, Inspirational & Aspirational

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November / December 2020 Edition


Fiona Todd

It’s nearly that time again! Christmas looms and after a dreadful 2020, we hope 2021 is a huge improvement for us all.

To see the year out, we’ve brought you a bumper issue of HorseVibes, jam packed with everything you love: informative articles, inspiring stories and fabulous photos.

We turn our Spotlight on champion show jumper Olivia Hamood, and to celebrate the awarding of our Delivering Dreams scholarship, we’ve put together a special feature to introduce our two recipients and nine amazing finalists. We also report on this year’s Remi Stud Young Rider Scholarship,

Ever had a fall and been frightened of it happening again? We hope our fascinating article on mindful horsemanship will help you overcome that hurdle. Then we indulge ourselves with a Sunshine Coast riding holiday, before considering how best to feed an older pony.

And there’s plenty more: Charlie Brister has us all trotting in circles with Part Two of his lunging series, Wallaby Hill Farm’s Alex Townsend answers 20 Questions, master saddler Ian Lancaster hops onto his Tackbox, and Winx and Hugh Bowman are our Perfect Partners.

We explore the healing power of herbs, and say farewell to the Horse Listener with an awe inspiring story of courage and connection.

And with Christmas bells ready to jingle, we share our Santa wish lists with you. They’re sure to fire your imagination, but extra-large stockings are required!

Here’s wishing you a truly wonderful Christmas, and we look forward to seeing you all again in January 2021.

In this issue - November / December 2020

It’s a busy life

Having horses in your blood doesn’t necessarily make equestrian success a foregone conclusion. Without single-minded focus and sheer hard work there are never any guarantees, writes AMANDA MAC.

Lunging: It’s a circular question

In Part Two of this three-part series, resident columnist CHARLIE BRISTER goes deeper still on the subject of circles and how to perfect them.

For the love of words and horses

A love of words and a passion for horses turned out to be a productive mix for Anne Crawford, author of Great Australian Horse Stories, writes MARISA KUHLEWEIN.

Facing down your fears

As anyone who’s had a bad fall will tell you, the damage is as likely to be mental as it is physical. So how are you to get over the fear that you might fall again? AMANDA MAC looks at a unique program designed specifically for nervous riders.

Feeding your older horse

In this article, equine nutritionist LARISSA BILSTON takes a look at how to prepare an optimal diet to meet the changing needs of your aging horse.

Fine tuning the forward button

Ever been dazzled by the apparently endless variety of whips, crops and spurs? Unsure what to use and when? CHRISTINE ARMISHAW is on a mission to clear up the confusion.

Healing comes naturally

A practising equine herbalist for 25 years, VICTORIA FERGUSON has been instrumental in the healing of many injured and sick horses – but few needed her help quite as badly as Aussie Bob.

Sunshine Coast dreaming

Borders are opening and destination Queensland is tantalisingly close. SONIA CAEIRO ALVAREZ discovers adventure riding in paradise with triple Olympian Alex Watson.

Big magic – the rebirth of Phoenix

CANDIDA BAKER talks to Jo Stacey about her extraordinary journey with her rescue horse Phoenix, and how ‘listening’ was part of their mutual healing.

Staging a comeback

After a less than auspicious racing career, OTT
Thoroughbred Stage Presence and
Rebecca Farrow joined forces with spectacular
results, writes JO MCKINNON.

The elegant Thoroughbred

19th Century English novelist and playwright John Galsworthy once said “... there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a Thoroughbred horse”. Was he right? FRANCINE PULLMAN takes a closer look.

Remi Stud Young
Rider 2020

Remi Stud is Australia’s home of internationally bred Hanoverians. Each year, the stud presents an up-and-coming young rider with a substantial scholarship, writes GEOFF McLEAN.

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.

Delivering Dreams Scholarship

We received some exceptional applications for this year’s Delivering Dreams Scholarship. Selecting a recipient proved difficult, so much so that our judges have chosen two particularly outstanding applicants: Jamie Hocking and Luke Purtill.

The HorseVibes Delivering Dreams Scholarship is something of which I am extremely proud. It has been a long-held dream of mine to help equestrians of all ages and abilities move closer to their own dreams. And that’s exactly what the scholarship is designed to do: to motivate its recipients and assist them in removing any barriers that might be holding them back.
This particular scholarship round has been outstanding. We introduce Jamie and Luke to you on the following pages, along with our nine wonderful finalists. And I would like to personally thank everyone who has made it so very special, our applicants, our very generous sponsors, our panel of expert judges, my family, and my many friends, all of whom have helped in so many ways.
With much gratitude, Fiona

Jamie Hocking: Vaulting

Jamie Hocking is a 24 year old rising star in the world of equestrian vaulting. He’s been an Australian High-Performance athlete since he was 12, and is absolutely passionate about his sport.

Luke Purtill: Dressage

Luke Purtill doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the way he feels about horses: “They’re the best thing that I’ve ever done,” he says.

Antonia Bearda: Eventing

Some people expect good things in life to land in their lap with little or no effort on their part – Antonia Bearda is not one of them. Originally from New Zealand, her first equine partner was Gem, a 27-year-old paddock pony who was very selective about who rode her. However, she introduced Antonia to Pony Club and the pair subsequently became the six-bar champions, clearing 1.30m.

Kasey Bogie: Western Reining

Ever since she can remember, horses have been an essential part of Kasey Bogie’s life. She comes from a Western riding dynasty, and trains, travels and competes (she first rode in reining competitions at age 10) with three generations of her family. Her grandfather, Rick Sciberras, is her coach and mentor, and Kasey has learned much from him.

Michaela Bray: Dressage

After learning to ride as a child and later progressing through Pony Club with the usual assortment of equine companions, Michaela Bray finally found her place in the world of dressage. “For me, dressage was an easy choice,” she says. “I thrive on the challenge of building and maintaining my horses’ fitness, elasticity, enthusiasm and strength. I cannot imagine a life without dressage, and more importantly, without my horses.”

Claudia Brodke: Dressage

Claudia Brodtke has been obsessed with horses her entire life. Much to her parents’ dismay, the obsession started early: show jumping over broomsticks, lunging the family dog, and 'Why You Should Buy Me a Pony' PowerPoint presentations were a regular occurrence.

Kelsie Cranston: Show Jumping

Although Kelsie Cranston is an accountant by day, her real passion is for horses. Unfortunately, working 8:00 to 5:00 with an additional two hours travel (she lives on a cattle property) doesn’t leave much time for riding. However, she makes it work with the help of arena lights and a very supportive partner

Annabel Cusack: Eventing

After learning to ride as a child and later progressing through Pony Club with the usual assortment of equine companions, Michaela Bray finally found her place in the world of dressage. “For me, dressage was an easy choice,” she says. “I thrive on the challenge of building and maintaining my horses’ fitness, elasticity, enthusiasm and strength. I cannot imagine a life without dressage, and more importantly, without my horses.”

Pearl Dessart: Working Eqitation

Pearl Dessart’s love affair with horses started early and reached critical mass when the The Man from Snowy River travelling show came to town. It was then that she lobbied her parents in earnest for a pony. One eventually arrived in the shape of an on-loan Shetland.

Poppy Douglas: Working Equitation

When it comes to blitzing Working Equitation competitions, Poppy Douglas does it well! She was the Australian Junior Champion in 2017, 2018 and 2019, scooped the 2019 Consagrados 1 Horse of the Year, an event ridden one-handed, and is the only junior to have qualified for the NSW State Team.

Madison Doyle: Eventing

Madison Doyle had an amazing run in 2018 and 2019, achieving a personal best of 125cm, a string of show jumping successes, and qualification for State Level C Grade competitions.

Around the traps - November / December 2020

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HorseVibes November December 2020 edition

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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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