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2013

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News from Vicki

11 March 2013

As usual, busy times but all going well.  The George Morris Clinics were probably the best he has ever done out here.  The paddock worked beautifully, with the footing being great, and the lovely trees that Wayne planted all those years ago providing shade when needed on a couple of the warmer days.  George was in great form, and still amazed all of us with his articulate teaching and ability to climb on any level horse and improve it within a very short time frame.  He modestly states that he teaches nothing new, and still feels that he is learning and improving, claiming that he feels he is a better teacher now than 10 years ago.  Pretty big statement from someone who has been training Olympic Gold Medal winners for more than 20 years! As usual I feel I got so much knowledge again, and this view was shared over and over again by so many of the students, particularly gratifying when it came from the high level ones such as Jamie Kermond, Jamie Winning, Hilary Hinde, Doog Rowland and Rory Hovell.

While the rain has made the Roycroft paddocks look absolutely stunning, it has created havoc with the shows.  We are lucky that our sand/Soiltex arena copes very well, rarely being too wet to use, so the horses have stayed in consistent work.  But getting a bit fussy about the jumping paddock, which is now more becoming hallowed turf!  Morisset was called off halfway through the day, so our first show pretty much was Nowra.  Well worth the 3 hour drive this show effectively run by the entire Bennett family, is always rider friendly, and has super footing.  Mark Atkins designed great tracks, and Kurt made his comeback by being 4th in the Grand Prix won in commanding fashion by Andy Inglis on Dani Butcher’s Twins Quantum.  Casino had also shown the benefit of his George Morris clinic with wins in the 1.30 and 1.40 classes on the first day.

Then Maitland Show incorporating the NSW Country Ch’ships.  The small but enthusiastic Hunter Valley Jumping Club run a great show here, thanks Sue Middleton, and the indefatigable gate steward Alan Head.  Sue Bettington did a good job with Course Designing duties.  The ground had been pretty much re surfaced, and was in great order.  Kurt continued on the comeback trail with a 2nd in the Grand Prix to Andy again, this time on Inoshowen Casper.  Casino proved his versatility with wins in the Accumulator and the Six Bar.  I also had fun deputizing for the injured Steph MacKillop on her super nice horses Alcheringa Tradition (Cy) and Ultimate Frisbee (Frizz).  The only problem with Cy is because he is so little, being a 14.2 hh Welsh Cob, if I leant forward too much I would end up with a mouthful of ear!!  But he is a super pony, and all credit to the MacKillop family who have produced him from an unbroken 2 year old colt.  Jess Brown was the well deserved winner of the NSW Country Champion, taking the mantle from our Benny Blay, who was without Willy Welsom this year, as he has found a new home in Japan.

Casino and Vicki

Casino yet again proving his ability to turn his hoof to any task doing his 6 Bar thing at Maitland Show

Vicki and Cy

Alcheringa Tradition (Cy), the little pocket rocket giving me a great time while his normal jockey Steph MacKillop is on the injury list. 
Thanks Penny MacKillop for the pics!

I missed the entries for Canberra, but was quite happy to have a weekend at home.  Was delighted to hear that Jamie Priestley won 2 out of the 3 Junior classes, then Ri MacKillop deputized admirably for big sister Steph, who had won ALL the Junior classes last year on Cy, by winning the Junior Grand Prix on Royal Masquarade. Then Newcastle Show was cancelled because of the rain, so our next show was Castle Hill.  Always a lovely show, this year footing was outstanding, and Mark Atkins built super tracks.  Casino was on fire winning both the main classes, the 1.35 on the first day, finally beating Andy Inglis(!) then the Grand Prix on the second day, which saw the 2 lovely stallions that I have had a lot to do with being the only double clear rounds.  Brookie Cambell is doing a super job on the wonderful Copabella Visage, and they both just played over the 1.45 track, but Casino loves to go fast, so we were able to take advantage of our last draw. Kurt was 3rd, not sure how we managed to knock down the same fence both rounds, then Amanda Madigan, and to complete the all female line up, Colleen Brook was 5th on Nick Crowe’s Quindoctro.  Noblewood Park Cassini’s Girl, a welcome return ride as her owner, Sarah Meale, is studying in Canada, was 2nd in the competitive Mini Prix to Chris Chugg on his home bred Diamond B Vegas.  Steph Mackillop made a successful return to competition winning both the Juniors on the final day, and Chiara Amor and Puma are starting to build up their collection of Australian ribbons and clear rounds with a good 3rd.

Was also great to see a surprise visitor to the show on Saturday in the form of Edwina Alexander, making a quick visit to family and friends on the way home from the 5* show in Hong Kong.  She looked exceptionally glamorous (and out of place..) in her smart Gucci street clothes in the somewhat muddy warm up arena, but good to see she hasn’t lost any of her Aussie sense of humour!

Also awesome to hear the news also that our Aussie team of Doog, Rory, Sharon and Tom caned the Kiwis in the first Trans Tasman test, with Doog on the wonderful Premier des Hayettes mare Bickley Brook Bella jumping the only double clear round.  Hopefully they can keep up the good work at the Horse of the Year show.

On another note I was very saddened by the passing of long time friend and all round super guy, Col Meagher.  Col was our Team Manager for the 1984 Olympics, and I am very happy that our friendship withstood that which was my first Olympics, as it was all a pretty amazing experience! Col was also Ringmaster at Brisbane Royal for 17 years, as well as being an Elite competitor himself in Eventing and Jumping.  But it was the wonderful, generous personality that all who knew him loved and respected. Often said, but in this case absolutely appropriate,  I can’t think of anyone who would have a bad word to say about him.  His funeral in Southport was a huge affair, with his coffin having 55 red roses on it.  The day of the funeral was to be Col and his wife Pat’s 55th wedding anniversary, and any momentous occasion in the Meagher household was marked by red roses.  But in a lovely touch also nestled amongst the roses was obviously Col’s favourite elastic sided riding boots, polished up for the event... RIP Col, I have so many happy memories of swapping yarns in their beautiful home.

For us it’s Camden and Muswellbrook Show this weekend, then Casino and Kurt are off to Sydney Royal...

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