Leukaemia Foundation Charity Day

The wicked witch of Worrigee, AKA Jodie Spresser

The wicked witch of Worrigee, AKA Jodie Spresser

Well the rain certainly kept many away, but a few true champions braved the weather and were rewarded with a great fun day at Worrigee Common for our Easter in September Charity Day. All of the proceeds of the day will go to the Australian Leukaemia Foundation in memory of our friend Graeme Swan.

Jim Collin and Neversfelde Kipling

Jim Collin and Neversfelde Kipling

It ended up being a great opportunity for some riders to bring out their young horses for a relatively quiet competition. It was a cool, drizzly start but then the weather cleared and most riders stayed dry.


Chip Swan

Winner of the fancy dress was Jodie Spresser who stayed in character as the wicked witch of Worrigee, despite a clothing malfunction prior to one test.

Jodie and most competitors enjoyed the easter egg prizes and the fantastic gift boxes donated by Booths Pharmacy. Many thanks also to Slice of Life who donated wraps and rolls for sale for lunch, Jane Bruce who donated the sale of horsey items, and Worrigee Common who donated the use of the grounds for the day.

As soon as we finalise the proceeds of our charity day we will let you know what our final donation to the Australian Leukaemia Foundation, will be.



SDC Group Rides

Dear Members – Sometimes it’s not the work in the arena that is the scariest thing about going to a dressage competition – it’s the stuff that happens before that – in the dreaded warm up arena.

The practice day before our last competition was wonderful for inexperienced horses and riders to get their bearings and feel a little bit more confident in approaching the comp the next day.

We’d like to install a regular group riding day a couple of times a month to keep this great experience going and give our horses and riders the best opportunity to excel.  We’d like to add to the opportunities for people to ride together.

What:    SDC Group Rides

Where:  Worrigee Equestrian Common

When:   10 am to 12 pm weather permitting – watch the website for updates. (not FB, as lots of people don’t use it)

Cost:      Not a formal SDC day but a $5 donation to the club would be appreciated

Who:     Anyone!

The Plan:             to bring your horse for a lunge and/or a ride around – or even just to come out and take a look and be lead around – no step is too small.  No arenas will be set up – there will be plenty of room – and flat work can be done on one big circle, walk in groups, chat, relax etc. change direction.

And then:             If all went well, bring a thermos and hay bag, for a celebratory coffee and relax.

Toilets:                 There are toilets that will be open at the far end of the sand arena – but the club house will not be open.

Eventually we’d like to bring in a few “hazards” like flower pots, umbrellas, chairs with ribbons – but that’s after a while.  Eventually too, there may even be opportunity to have some displays or talks like the riveting “why do people lunge?” or “does my gear fit”, and “what happens in a saddle fit?”


Updates regarding confirmation of days, weather changes, or cancellations will be put on the

Club Webpage:  click the link below:



CDI Volunteers

This years Sydney CDI, like all big events, depended on many, many volunteers to run smoothly. This year Shoalhaven Dressage Club members figured prominently among these volunteers.

Tibby Barbour stewarded for young horse classes.

Ros Quist pencilled for international judges Victoire Mandi, Lilo Fore and Peter Holler.

Robyn Targa pencilled for Stephen Clarke and Peter Holler.

Alycia Targa took a school group for a tour of the stables.

I operated the computer during the Freestyles on Saturday evening.

I think this is a great effort from just one club. Well done all.

Alycia wins at CDI

Alycia Targa riding CP Dresden

Alycia Targa riding CP Dresden

Alycia Targa riding Jane Bruce’s CP Dresden won the 6 year old Young Horse Championship at the CDI. After winning the second round Alycia and Mr Des joined the other top 3 placegetters in the indoor on Saturday afternoon where all 3 were ridden by guest rider Anna-Sophie Fiebelkorn.

Anna-Sophie awarded CP Dresden a 9 for rideability and this saw them come away with a well deserved win.

Congratulation Alycia and Jane!!

Dressage With Altitude, Bradgate Park

Jim Collin and Southerly have been up in Orange this week competing in the CDI 3* event Dressage With Altitude.

On Thursday they competed in the Darlington Stud Prix St George coming 13th in a strong field.

Friday was the first of the Advance tests the Brighton Saddlery 5:1 and Jim placed 8th with 64.75%.

Saturday saw Jim and Southerly compete in 2 tests, the Gidgee Eyes Advanced 5:2 where they placed 5th with 65.76% and then the Edinburgh Horse Rugs Advanced freestyle where they placed 8th.

I watched the Advanced freestyle on live stream through the Local Horse Magazine website. Jim’s test was full of beautiful extended trots, very balanced and expressive, however mistakes in the trot half pass right and the 3 tempe changes cost them dearly.

Jim is continuing on from his success at the Australian National Championships 2013 where he and Southerly placed 7th in the Advanced Freestyle.

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Brisbane CDI

1000115_568649033178611_436775889_n[1]On Tuesday the 23rd of July Solly and I set off for the fairly daunting trip to Brisbane for their CDI. This is only the second CDI held in Brisbane and it is held at their beautiful new Queensland State Equestrian Centre.  I let Solly finish his breakfast and a large biscuit of hay, knowing that despite me hanging a large biscuit of hay in the float, Solly never eats on the float. We were off by 8.30, only to spend some time in the South Nowra car park, also known as the Prince’s Highway roadworks. 8 and a half hours later we pulled into ‘Neds Beds’ just north of Kempsey. They had lovely safe stables and yards just next to some self contained accommodation . The stable yards were under some large trees so I was really glad we had completed our Hendra vaccinations.

We both slept well and continued our trip at 7.30 the next morning. Just south of Brisbane airport we were traveling along really well on a 2 lane freeway when the traffic came to a sudden stop. I stood on the brakes and managed to stop without crashing into the car ahead of me. However when I looked back through the rear view window Solly was now looking up at me, not down. Of course I was on the inside lane and had to negotiate through traffic onto the shoulder on the left side of the road. I raced back to the float and there was Solly lying on the floor of the float. I untied him and pulled out the chest bar. Fortunately 2 truckies stopped to help and between us we also opened the rear bars so the middle divider could be moved out of the way. All of this time Solly just lay there, so of course I presumed the worst. With 1 truckie at the front holding his head I pushed on Solly’s belly. To my huge relief he stood up with all four legs unbroken. A quick check showed no skin off, and he seemed quite calm. So with the truckies still helping we reassembled the float and I continued on my way. The traffic had now miraculously cleared (apparently these sudden traffic blocks are a common feature of the freeway prior to the airport) but I was a bit rattled and took the rest of the trip quite slowly.

I arrived at the QSEC in Caboolture at 2pm. I was relieved when Solly walked freely off the float, but I was still unsure if he had injured himself and if my whole drive had been for nothing. The stables at QSEC are lovely, they have rubber on the floor and you can put in as many wheelbarrow loads of shavings as you like. Solly made friends with Sue Hearn’s Remmington and Lisa Martin’s In Time, our next door neighbors.

After setting up the float and unloading my gear I took Solly for a light ride later in the afternoon. All felt fine so I was feeling happier that evening. At 6.30 the NSW team joined together for nibblies and to watch some videos, Mrs Brown’s Boys, (very funny) supplied by Lisa Martin. NSW team at Brisbane CDIThursday saw the start of competition, but the Grand Prix was not on until the Friday so I got up early to ride Soll in the indoor. He doesn’t mind indoor arenas but doesn’t like them if they are full of people. We had to ride early as the arena familiarisation was only open until about 8.30am so the organisers could prepare for the competition. Soll worked really well as no spectators were there and then it was back to the stables for a bath. The trot up was not scheduled until after the competition finished at 4.30 so I had the day free to watch some of the Prix St George tests.The international judges were not being very generous so I knew I would have to ride well just to make the cut off for the freestyle on Saturday. In the stables I was feeling complacent about whether to bother plaiting up for the trot up. Luckily Sue Hearn talked me into it as The Local Horse Magazine photographer took a beautiful photo of Solly. The trot up is always nerve racking and not helped by knowing your horse went down in the float the day before. However Solly sailed through  it and now we were all ready to compete.

Friday was another long day as the Grand Prix did not start until 4pm. I spent a bit of time shopping (as you do). There were some great ground mats with dressage arenas printed on them so you can practice your test by walking around them. Super idea.  Solly warmed up beautifully for the Grand Prix but became backed off once he went into the indoor. This meant we had quite a few errors, you really have to have him very forward and in front of the leg to keep the energy necessary for an accurate test. We ended up in 6th place and made the cut for the freestyle. Soll was really well behave in his first mounted Grand Prix  presentation.100rect_2684313759580951964_1095651659

On Saturday we had another early start for our freestyle music practice. I had a short warm up and rode my freestyle in the indoor. Of course as there were no spectators it went really well, no mistakes at all and all right on the music.

The freestyle did not start until 6pm. I was on at 6.30. I was really looking forward to the freestyle as it was all new music from Cirque Du Soleil, put together for me by Mel at Fortissimo Freestyles. She did a great job and I feel the music really suits him. However Soll’s nerves found the now occupied tables around the edge of the arena just a little too daunting and he added a few extra moves to the choreography. I had not planned enter, halt, spin around and try to leave… I eventually got him back on track and close to where we were meant to be in our music. Not our best test but I guess he has to start learning to perform in situations of big atmosphere. We placed 6th again and took advantage of the opportunity for more exposure to the big atmosphere by joining the Quadrille organised by Tor Van Den Berg. That was heaps of fun and Solly really enjoyed having lots of other horses in the arena with him as he was quite relaxed. He also had lots of time after the quadrille standing for the presentation for what seemed like ages, lots of speeches. I was thankful that he seems to like standing with friends for lengthy periods.

Sunday saw us front up early for our final event, the Special. This was by far our worst test as Solly was by now totally exhausted and nowhere near in front of my leg. He tried hard but the test really lacked engagement. Luckily the presentation for this was unmounted so I could pack up the float and get ready to head home. 15 hours of driving later and another overnight stay at Kempsey (but thankfully no falling down) and we were home, totally exhausted but glad to have gone and caught up with heaps of old friends and had a great time.

I did intend to give Solly a week off, however by Friday he was being silly and running around his paddock so on Saturday the 3rd of August we saddled up again and have started our preparation for the State Championships. Come and say hello if you are up there.


Wine, Cheese and Freestyles


Robyn Targa, Cathie Swan, Kaleena Matthews and Tibby Barbour



Some of the participants

Some of the participants


Graeme Swan helping to tidy up afterwards


Gill Rickard

Shoalhaven Dressage Club held a ‘Wine, Cheese and Freestyle’ night on Friday the 28th of June. The night was a huge success with Jane Bruce, Gill Rickard and Robyn Targa all giving advice on how to design and compose a great freestyle. Jane spoke on how she likes to find the music first and then compose the freestyle around this music. Gill gave some great insights on what judges are looking for and degree of difficulty. Robyn gave advice on editing your music. Lots of great freestyle videos were watched and the music analysed.

Being yet another wet evening in the Shoalhaven, it was great to get out and talk dressage with fellow devotees. Many thanks must go to Gayle Loose for her tireless organisational skills. We all also really appreciated the new air conditioning system that has been installed in the clubhouse, it kept us warm all night. Now we have to hope that the weather dries up enough to allow our July competition to go ahead.

Hawkesbury Dressage Club Championships

Well done to Shoalhaven Dressage Club member Jim Collin competing at the Hawkesbury Dressage Club’s Championships on the 1st of June. Jim rode Tempe Lee’s beautiful gelding Southerly to win the Advanced 5C with 67.5% and place 5th in the 5B. Overall Jim and Southerly were reserve Advanced Champions.

It is great to see Southerly out competing again after time off with illness.