Q: How old were you when you started riding?
A: I started around 12-years-old in the Terrey Hills area. Figured it was a good way to meet girls.
Q: Who do you most look up to in the equestrian world?
A: Heath Ryan in Australia and Phillip Dutton in America.
Q: What do you think can give you an edge as a competitive rider?
A: With age comes wisdom. Riding a lot of different horses and having the extra experience over the young guns is invaluable.
Q: What are the names and breeds of the horse you’re aiming to ride in Tokyo?
A: Tserterleg (Trakehner), On Cue (Selle Francais), Long Island T (German), Luke 140 (Holsteiner) and Blackfoot Mystery (American Thoroughbred).
Q: When you’re not riding, how do you relax?
A: I move cross country jumps around the paddock at the end of the day. There isn’t much time for anything else.
Q: Which three day event has the toughest cross country you’ve ever ridden?
A: Burghley would have to be the toughest.
Q: During COVID-19, is there anything in particular you’ve been working on?
A: Working hard on my crutches. I’ve just had surgery on both hips so I’m seeing how fast I can hobble.
Q: What past horse of yours would you most like to ride on again?
A: True Blue Toozac. I won Adelaide with him when I was quite young but would love to have him back and see how much more I could get out of him.
Q: You’ve ridden at the Olympics and WEG, what are your next long-term goals?
A: There’s plenty left in the tank. I still feel fresh and new here in America. Really enjoying riding at the 5* level and hopefully winning some more.
Q: If you had to stop riding completely, what would you do?
A: That’s a scary thought. Managing the farm I’m on would be enough to keep me busy without riding horses.
Q: What is the wisest piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A: The key is consistency and sticking to your program. Also, staying hungry to improve. Hardest thing as you get older is to stay as hungry, focused and sharp as you were in your twenties.
Q: You bought an elementary school in Pennsylvania, built a gallop track and cross country course, what’s next for your horse farm?
A: Hopefully an indoor to make riding in the snow a little easier, or to set up a new stable down the road.
Q: Do you have a ‘go to’ motto?
A: Who dares wins.
Q: Does dressage ever get easier?
A: The key is to marry a dressage rider. It’s amazing how much your horses seem to improve after that!
Q: Any advice for young riders, besides sending them to Heath Ryan for a baptism of fire?
A: The number one thing is to understand that this is a long process, and to really learn the craft well takes about ten years. You need to find someone that is very, very good that you emulate, can learn from, and work with for a long period of your life. Make sure the person you select is very good. They are the people you want to gravitate towards.
Q: What’s the greatest number of horses you’ve ridden in a day?
A: Early on when I came to America I rode 18 horses at Fair Hill Horse Trials. Nine horses doing all three phases on Saturday, and another nine doing all three phases on Sunday. I promised myself I would never do that again!
Q: The name of your farm is ‘Windurra’ – where does that come from?
A: It’s an Aboriginal name which means ‘flying horse’.
Q: How many broken bones have you had?
A: Stopped counting after 22 surgeries. Not all of them were horse related and could’ve been avoided.
Q: The ideal pet?
A: Our Russian blue cat from the Amish breeder down the road. His name is Kostya Tszyu. Best thing in the world.
Q: Do you force vegemite on the Americans?
A: No, but my kids have to eat it!