This month’s rider of the month is the new Australian Grand Prix dressage champion, Brett Parbery
Congratulations on winning an Australian Dressage Championship – how many is that now?
Another win at the Australian Championships – Photo Julie Wilson
“I’ve won four Grand Prix ones, it’s the second one with Weltmieser. I don’t know how many championships in total, twenty something but I can’t remember exactly.”
You were saying that you felt the sequence of shows leading up to the Australian Championships at Boneo Park helped fine-tune the test?
“I often wrack my brain thinking what are the missing links to get Australian dressage to move forward. Is it horses? Is it trainers? Is it riding? Is it venues? Is it surfaces? Is it judging? What is it? Just what is the missing link? What I found with the string of shows we had from September to October – NSW State Championships at SIEC, Willinga Park CDI, and a couple of weeks later, down to Boneo – I found myself training in the lead-up to the third show with way more intensity than I normally train throughout the whole year. It dawned on me one day when I was riding around, this is the intensity that I don’t normally train with because I am not being forced to… I sort of work on the fact that I need to be pushed to bring out the best in me and I’ve always wondered why when I arrive in Europe, I feel like I am a better rider. I think it’s because you know the intensity of what you are up against over there, and because I go to so many Grand Prix over there, it shows me where the weak spots are that I need to work on.”
“Along with all the other one percenters, one of the major strategies that we need to take the sport further here is that we start to build some runs of shows, especially the bigger shows, try to have a run so we can actually build from one week to the next.”
The Willinga show was a success?
“It was. It’s a fabulous venue, it was new for everybody, so nobody could go there with pre-conceived ideas of how their horse was going to cope, they had to just go there and look and learn. The hospitality at the venue was fabulous, Terry Snow and all his staff and his whole team, they hosted everybody so beautifully. By the end of the show everybody had just gone up another gear. I know it’s a bit pathetic to think, how can a show do that for everyone, but it does – it just puts you in a better mind set, it makes you ride with more intensity.”
A brilliant debut at Willinga – Photo: Ginette Snow
And I suppose we all expected Fiona to pull out something pretty cool for the Australian Championships at Boneo…
“Yeah, she’s a class act, Fiona and her team did a fabulous job. The venue was great, you felt like you were at an international show. The footing was great, the vibe around the place was great. While the scores might not be reflecting completely all the good things that are happening with Australian dressage, I’m really confident there are good things happening behind the scenes. Just little things like good shows and a good attitude and atmosphere, all hopefully will build to something.”
“In NSW, we’ve worked on that. We had a very successful Nationals for riders from NSW, but we’ve got more work to do, and we all know that, but it is building. It might be going on slower than everyone wanted it to, but we are getting there.”
And Weltmieser has got four legs again?
“He’s sound and fit and healthy. He’s probably as strong and healthy as I’ve felt him, so he’s definitely in the mix. I hope to take him to New Zealand in a couple of weeks, to Equitana in Auckland, then he’ll have a bit of time off, and come back for Boneo to try and get our second WEG qualifying score, and hopefully make a run for Tryon…”
Winning at Boneo – Photo: Stephen Mowbray