My horse riding childhood
I was given my first horse at 11 by a kind neighbor, and started her myself at 14. My teenaged years were a blur of riding – we galloped 90 Mile Beach, chased wild horses in the coastal hills, rode across every local farm – and jumped every gate! We often rode bareback, camped out alone with our horses staked nearby, and swam them in the sea.
We left at 5am and got home at night, sometimes slipping out at midnight to ride under a full moon. The wildness and wonder of this time helped shape me, and taught me self-reliance and responsibility for other creatures.
My lovely 16hh thoroughbred mare Serenada by Bardalana out of Oteha Sassanof. I had her from when she was 6 until I was with her when she died at 26yrs old apart from a year while I was overseas.
At 14, I started pony club – it was a 30km ride each way, so we stayed on site the weekend! It was a tiny club but had great facilities and a lake to swim the horses in – and we were coached by Mrs West, who had coached Equestrian and dual Olympian Andrew Bennie. At 15 I bought a thoroughbred for $300, and we began eventing some fabulous cross country courses. She taught me a lot about the size of a horse’s heart.
2. The Dromgool Riding Holiday
This 5 day experience begins on the Dromgool farm at Paihia and moves to the Far North where participants get to do moonlight rides on the beach at Henderson Bay, a full day trek through the forestry, sand dunes and along 90 Mile Beach.
3. A foal being born into my arms
My thoroughbred mare Summer was an ex-racer by Chianti, by Danehill, by Danzig, so she has huge heart and power. I bred her to film star Friesian stallion Trienko van Noordwijk by Beart 411 (World Champion) who is by Jasper 366 (World Champion). The result was Trijntje, a registered Friesian Sporthorse who combines the presence of her sire with the athleticism of her mother.
I helped deliver her and she took her first breath in my arms as Summer needed a hand. What an amazing experience being part of the delivery and hearing Summer’s nicker to her new baby!