Visitors, New Rides and New Arrivals

As I sit here looking back over my first month at Oakside Stud there has been so much going on here in such a short time.

Visitors:

Two weeks after arriving at Oakside it was my nineteenth birthday and I was lucky enough to have my parents drive over to visit me. Arriving on Saturday afternoon after driving all day with a boot full of things I’d managed to leave behind, Mum, Dad and the dogs were very happy to pile out of the car and have a look around the property. After meeting some of the horses here and a tour of the house and grounds , we headed off to explore historical Hahndorf.

I hadn’t spent a lot of time in the actual village of Hahndorf so it was great to have some time to get to know my new home town. Streets lined with historical European-style stone buildings and a range of (mostly tourist-oriented) shops including bakeries, restaurants, German pubs, organic skin care parlours and handbag shops made for a very interesting place and we went back on the Sunday for another look, as well as going into Adelaide. While Dad was here I made the most of his handyman skills and my room was updated with more shelves for clothes storage, fairy lights (as every teenage girl’s room requires) and a light in my wardrobe – thanks Dad!

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On the Monday it was back to work for me but Mum watched me ride four of the horses here – Sandro Black Ice, Alfredo II, Anton K and Danson Bellissima. Naturally she fell in love with all of them as I have and it was really exciting to share with her what I’m doing over here. Now when I talk to her about my rides she can picture the horses and put names to the faces. I was very sad to say goodbye to Mum, Dad and the dogs (especially Sausage) after having such a lovely couple of days with them but I was so grateful for the huge effort they made to come and see me and help me settle in here even more – I am a very lucky girl to have such supportive, generous parents!
New Rides:

As I have settled into more of a rhythm here I have started riding a few more horses:

Southern Pryde is a seven year old show jumper belonging to Anthony. I have been bringing him back into work after an accident which left him blind in one eye and have been riding him for just over a week now. ‘Prydey’ is adjusting really well to accommodate for his loss of vision and has been very sensible and soft to ride. He has a huge, scopey canter so I can’t wait to put him over some fences!

Macarthur Scotland is a four year old Swarovski gelding who is definitely one of the favourites. ‘Trumpet’ is a very classy young horse and, although green, has such rideable paces it is impossible not to love him! The more I work him, the more he begins to understand his job and I’m excited for the horse he is becoming.

I was also lucky enough to have a ride of Levitation NZPH and Southern Warlock – two horses who need no introduction! I must admit I was nervous to get on these two very athletic, tuned horses after they’d been out for a spell and in such cold, windy weather but I was pleasantly surprised -they are two of the sweetest, most genuine horses I have ever ridden and I had a lot of fun on them!

 

New Arrivals:

Oakside is a very happening place at the moment with new horses arriving every few days. From young horses coming in from spells to horses arriving for training and new agistees, there is never a dull moment and we are quickly becoming very busy! For me the most exciting new arrival was my darling Danson Wolkenaction who arrived on the 13th July. A huge thanks to Goldners who transported him so expertly – he arrived looking fit, healthy, relaxed and happy! I would recommend them any day. A few tears of joy were shed at having Action with me again and he settled in like he’s lived here all his life. He loves his huge, rubber lined stable and has fallen in love with the horse paddocked next to him. Much of Action’s calmness has to be credited to our AMAZING stable hand Georgi Ker who has looked after him expertly and made sure his move was easy. Georgi is an absolute wonder woman and we are so lucky to have her here!! Action has come back into work after his little break better than ever and I’m excited to start training him under Heather once the weather fines up a little and we can get some real work done – look out Action Man!

This week I was lucky enough to groom for Heather at a Rodger Fitzhardinge clinic which she attended with Danson Donnerking and Don Duchovny. Rodger was very insightful and it was great to see how he went about tweaking the way the horses were going – now to apply this to my own riding! A sharp reaction off the leg, forward laterals, straightness and keeping the horse really round and through were key points Rodger made to a number of riders and it clearly improved the horses’ ways of going.

I have learned so much already in the short time I have been here and the experience of riding a number of different types of dressage and jumping horses, as well as being surrounded by coaching of the level of Rodger, Anthony and Heather has been invaluable. Whilst the weather has been less than ideal (this morning I rode in rain so heavy I couldn’t see and when I went inside my skin was purple) the experience has been wonderful and I must say I do love my job!

I promised photos of the horses but unfortunately I don’t have enough internet to upload them right now so I will try and get them through ASAP!

There are more new arrivals coming in the near future and I will be making my South Australian competition debut this weekend so watch this space!! Exciting things to come!

Happy riding!
 

A New Adventure Begins

My apologies for taking so long to update you all on how my trip over and first few days working at Oakside Stud have gone – it’s taken me a little while to get the internet up and running and into the swing of things but here we go!

With the date of departure for my South Australian adventure set for the 26th June to start work on the 27th, the last few days of preparation were a crazy blur of “have you seen my black vest” “did someone pack the green suitcase” “how many movies is too many?” and, of course, “where am I actually going?”

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A last minute hair cut and colour from the very talented Ezz Christou before the big trip!

Once my car was cleaned to within an inch of its life, inside and out of course, and packed to the roof with all the clothes, movies, shoes, riding gear and food I could jam in there it was off to bed early ready to get up at 5:30 and leave at 7:00 in the hope of beating the traffic. I was very lucky to have the ever lovely Emerald Christou to come and see me off (even if she did come in her onesie and fall asleep whilst she was ‘helping’) and I made it out the gates only five minutes behind schedule which for me is running well for time!

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The goodbye party having a little rest before breakfast

With pit stops in Ballart and Nhil for petrol and food (always important to keep your energy up) I made it to Oakside Stud, nestled in Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, by 6pm to a warm welcome from Heather Currie and Anthony Thomas. After quickly unpacking some of my things we headed out for dinner to meet some of the locals. Everyone was so friendly and inviting, making me feel instantly at home. However, after such a long drive I was very worn out so it was home and to bed early to rest up for the next day.

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My cosy room here at Oakside, complete with my pillowpet from Molly Parkin and my photo of Taylor Farley

Because I arrived in the dark and hadn’t seen any of the property other than a few photos online I was very excited to see what I’d got myself in for and WOW Oakside did not disappoint! All 113 acres of it are a green, lush, horsey heaven. With an undercover lunge yard, three stable blocks, huge paddocks, a grass gallop track and a soon to be completed 80m x 60m all-weather dressage and jumping arena with mirrors as just some of the features to boast, this facility has everything at your finger-tips.

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Oakside paddock
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Some pictures of Oakside Stud

The weather here has also blown me away – literally! On my first day we experienced 100km/hr winds which were so strong any hay we threw to the horses was blown straight back in our faces and poor Hamish Currie (one of the Oakside canine mascots) was nearly blown off the gator! The whole first three days were filled with rain and wind so strong it was hard to get much riding done and the one horse I did ride on Sunday I ended up riding in the hail – I thought South Australia might have been trying to get rid of me already – but I’m from the Yarra Valley so a little bit of a storm doesn’t scare me away!

Today the weather gods finally brought out the goods for me and I was able to work six lovely horses:

Sandro Black Ice is a gorgeous four year old black mare by Sandro Hit out of an imported Rubenstein mare. ‘Symphony’ is a pocket rocket and very quickly becoming my favourite horse here so far – she was the poor one stuck in the hail and didn’t put a foot wrong. A very switched on, thinking horse to ride she gives me a great feel and is very genuine in her work. I’m very lucky to ride such a lovely little horse!

Alfredo II is the unchallenged stand out in the paddock – a three year old Spanish stallion imported from America with absolute spunk to boot. ‘Alfie’ has four big white socks, a white blaze and a thick wavy tail – he is beautiful to look at before he even moves and when he does he really is something special. I had the best first ride on this little man today, testing out his super engine!

Danson Bellisima is a three year old gelding by Bellissimo M out of a Salute mare. I’ve only worked briefly with this super cool gelding so far but I’m really looking forward to seeing what he has to offer! ‘Bello’ is a well put together, fancy moving horse with a super attitude – what more could you ask for?!

MW Furst Reflex is another three year old gelding, this time by Furst Romancier. ‘Reflex’ is HUGE – one of the tallest horses I think I’ve ever seen – but the definition of a gentle giant. Tall with a white star and white socks, I feel like I’ve got a bit of Action here with me already. This lovely horse is very flash and has the wow factor which I’m sure will bring big marks in the ring – needless to say I’m keen to work with him too!

Anton K is hot on Symphony’s heals as one of my favourites here. ‘Anton’ is a three year old gelding by Ampere with a ridiculous amount of talent. One of the fanciest horses I’ve worked with here so far who makes me very excited for his potential in young horse classes! He has droolworthy hind legs and a great forward, uphill way of going. I’m definitely in love with this one!

The last horse I’ve worked with so far is Fernlock Don Perignon. ‘Bruno’ is a very classy four year old frozen semen gelding by Duino out of a Weltmeyer mare. Chestnut with white socks, he boasts show ring looks and movement to boot! I rode this super cool character out on the roads today as his first ride back after a spell and he didn’t put a foot wrong. What a spunk!

Evidently the quality of horses here really is special and I am so so lucky to have the opportunity to work with them. To top of the fancy horses is a great team of people who have made me feel at home right away and excited for the future! Once I get into a rhythm here I will be working a couple more horses and will write about them here soon. Photos coming soon too I promise!

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After a busy day out in the cold, Sandy and Hamish are as happy as I am to sit down with some comfort food and a good dvd!

Thank you to all my support team at home who have helped me get here and had my back in the move over – especially my wonder mum who is looking after my horses, dog and cat at home (even though the cat is very offended that I took her doona away)!

But for now, I’m off to bed to rest up for another busy day working towards my dream.

Happy riding!