Podcast Episode 13: Mary Warren And The Secrets To Her Success!

In this episode, we chat with one of Australia's most promising dressage riders, Mary Warren. Mary made history in the sport by winning the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Australian Dressage Championships at just 18 years old. Listen in to hear Mary's advice about what it takes to get to the highest level.

If you have any suggestions for future podcast content, people you would like Natasha to interview or if you are an equestrian that loves our message and would be interested in being interviewed, contact the team at support@yourridingsuccess.com 

Loving Natasha's message and wanting more? Check out our free web class on goal setting by CLICKING HERE.

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00):

Today, I'm lucky enough to chat to the amazing, beautiful, wonderful Mary Warren. She very recently was the Australian freestyle champion. So out of every one in Australia won the freestyle. And when you hear about what she was doing that day and what kind of pressure she was under and what kind of stress she is truly a remarkable woman. I talked to her, all things, horsey, all things about how do we get results and how do we achieve success, really enjoyed this conversation. So I hope you enjoyed it too.

Natasha (00:49):

Okay. Thanks for your time today.

Mary (01:10):

No worries. Happy to be here.

Natasha (01:13):

Very excited to chat. I don't think we've ever met so very cool to me. So yes, yes. I'm in love with your horses. It's fabulous. So let's just start. What's your riding story? Like, did you have a Shetland? How did you start off from, from very start to where you are now?

Mary (01:31):

Very start. Okay. Well, I got my first pony when I was one, a little Shetland pony named Taffy. Um, I was on her for a little while and then progressed, you know, see the ponies and whatnot. My first proper pony was actually unbroken from the Maintenance sales . I think that dad was trying to get me out of horses.

Natasha (01:48):

I love the strategy.

Mary (01:52):

It didn't work, so, push through and through a variety of ponies. Um, and then I must've been about nine or 10 when I started riding my mum's thoroughbred mare that has been in the Paddock for six years. Um, cause my pony was not a fan of dressage, he would much rather go jumping.

Natasha (02:09):

And were you fan of dressage even back then.

Mary (02:13):

I loved dressage. I dunno what it was. I must've been watching the 2000 Olympic, um, like video tapes and I fell in love with it.

Natasha (02:20):

Um, and I can see on your pony, like PF I've seen them do it. It can't be that hard.

Mary (02:29):

Now, but um, no, so yeah, rode her, took her up to advanced level before we sold her. Cause then by then I was starting to ride the stallion Rami. Um, and of course he's young he's baby Raffi, who is now gone Grand Prix as well. So, yeah. Um, so.

Natasha (02:48):

How did you progress from sure for all the young people listening? How did you go from, I don't want to buy her a pony. I'm gonna like try and discourage her to I brought you a stallion. Like how did that, how did, what is it creative Ways can go about that.

Mary (03:01):

Well, we bred Rami, so, um, he was actually intended for dad cause dad used to ride as well. Um, dads mare, that you do a little bit dressage and eventing on, she was 18 hands, um, put her in foal with Febeo and then we go out Romy and Romy. Um, we had a couple of outside riders riding him and I had to sit on him and we're like, Hey, like I'm getting along with him. Why not have a member of the family on him? Um, and it just led from this. So I had to grow into him. Let's say that, um.

Natasha (03:29):

I love this story though, it's like it's international velvet. You had a foal and then like you just, yeah, off you go, come on, let's finish the story.

Mary (03:41):

He's a real part of the family. Um, and then in my two main competition, horses are by him. So it's just, yeah.

Natasha (03:51):

Yeah. So, and you've bred them. So you were there the day they were born and wow. That is a cool story. So I absolutely love that. Okay. So, um, how did it feel then to, to win the freestyle at the Australian dress championships?

Mary (04:10):

It was very surreal. Like it took a long time for it to sinking. Um, particularly as I've actually done, uh, one of my HSC exams earlier that day, uh, I actually did my HSC through distance learning so that I could still keep riding. Um, so I did my math.

Natasha (04:27):

I was going to say what subject? Wow maths, I think the worst one.

Mary (04:33):

Right? Literally if I had did a young rider test that morning, I jumped off was still in my breaches and everything, a friend of ours dropped me off at a Sydney high school. And yeah, that's how I did my exam.

Natasha (04:48):

Thats amazing, Congratulation. I'm most impressed by you doing a maths exam. And I think that because people will look at you and go, Oh, isn't that lovely? She's just so lucky. Or she just, you know, that's not like, wow, everything that you were trying to manage. So, we'll get back to the horses now. I'm just really intrigued. So do, did you just get your HSC and then go, well, I've got that if I need to fall back on it or did you, are you still at uni now thinking I'm going to try not do both?

Mary (05:18):

Horses full time at the moment, Um, I'll definitely look into studying something when I'm, you know, just, I would actually want to do, but, um, horses, coaching training, that's definitely my passion and what I want to focus on. Um, so yeah, just setting up a business now, so I need to develop more into the marketing side. Um, so yeah, no, it's, it's all going really well.

Natasha (05:39):

That's incredible. So what is your business vision for? I isn't Mindera park. Is that how you say it?

Mary (05:47):

Yes. That's that's um, where we live. So, um, that's the family property. So we've been here for about 20 years. Yeah. We've been running adjustment property and, and then it just started going into the coaching now that I'm, um, EA accredited and all that. Yeah. Yeah. It's just starting to take off and it's gone pretty well.

Natasha (06:06):

So what was harder or scary or the math exam or the, um, level one coaching exam.

Mary (06:12):

Oh, um, the coaching is pretty natural. You just sorta keep talking, I guess I was more comfortable. Um, well, I would like to think that I was a good student as well, so, um, it was it's, you know, I don't overstress about things. I just sort of get the job done and then move on. Um, that's, I've always sort of been a little bit.

Natasha (06:38):

awesome personality, but let's go back to that day. Cause that's kinda sounds like is there a, you just very good at being in the moment or, uh, people talk about mindfulness and it's just being where your feet up. So when you were on your horse, you were on your horse, then you were in your exam, you're in your exam and then you were yeah.

Mary (06:56):

I Block everything else out, the distractions and everything. If I'm riding a freestyle in front of, you know, a thousand people or something, I don't, it doesn't bother me. I'm inside with explaining nothing, maths exams and stuff like that. Just get in, put your head down, tails up and do the work and hopefully it turns out. Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

Natasha (07:16):

Well, I think this strategy is working. You just rock and roll with it. That's awesome. So who helps you on the ground? Who's who, who has made you the rider you are today?

Mary (07:27):

I've had many coaches over the years, then I've taken bits out of everybody. I would like to say my current coach is Robert smuggler and he's fantastic. Um, haven't had a lot of lessons this year with the whole COVID thing and all that. So that's been a bit hard, but yeah, no, it's been good. Got a good system and it's just training now at the moment. So I think actually the whole covid situations helped me with my small tour Horse to push him towards grand Prix now without the stress of having to repeat itself.

Natasha (08:00):

Exactly. In some ways we've got to find the silver lining, that's it. Okay. So how many horses are you riding per day right now?

Mary (08:10):

I'm about five at the moment. So you're not too busy, pretty easy.

Natasha (08:15):

And how do you do it? Is it best to worst? Youngest to oldest? What's your way of doing it yet?

Mary (08:21):

Pretty much. Um, level of competing at or training at down. So do my Grand Prix horses first and then go into the young ones into the afternoon and usually teach a lesson or two. Um, so yeah, no, it's a good day living the dream.

Natasha (08:36):

I love it. I love it. So, um, have you gotten any baby babies? Any three-year-olds?

Mary (08:41):

Yes. So we've got two more Romney babies growing up at the back Paddock. So it'll be good to see, them come out and about, uh, one particular on a little bit excited about he's out of the prestige big deal, man. Um, yeah. He's, he's got a lot of personality. He's quite sassy, so I love it.

Natasha (09:01):

And have you kept any Stallions if you've riden the stallions, like, do you prefer stallions or do you like geldings?

Mary (09:09):

A good horse is a good horse. Um, does it really matter what gender they are? Stallions I've found can be a little bit lazier. Um, but they're all different. They have their own unique personalities and quirks.

Natasha (09:22):

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So do you have any advice for young riders?

Mary (09:26):

Just Keep working hard every day, get up and just ride it. Doesn't um, if you feel like you're in a bit of a rut, you just gotta keep pushing yourself. Um, that's what I have found worked for me. Just get up every day, get on the horse and just ride and take advice from some people like you never stop learning, um, try different things like, you know, um, yeah, that's, that's probably the best I could say.

Natasha (09:53):

Yeah, absolutely. And have you spent any time training overseas?

Mary (09:58):

No, I haven't. And that's definitely something I want to do. Um, it's in a little bit ..

Natasha (10:01):

so brilliant as well that you've got the result. Like you won the grand Prix freestyle at the Australian championships and you don't, most people would be like, Oh, she's been training overseas for blah, blah, blah. It's like, no, are you doing it?

Mary (10:15):

Not at all. Not at all. That's something I definitely want to do. I was hoping to do it this year, but obviously couldn't um, so just to go overseas and have a look around, um.

Natasha (10:27):

Go to France..have a croissant.

Mary (10:27):

Exactly, that would be fabulous, but, um, no, it's definitely on the list,

Natasha (10:37):

but let's, let's go back to that. Cause I find that really intriguing. Like you've got a level of success and most people, I feel most people feel there's a certain path that needs to be done that way. So what do you think is the secret to your success? Is it, would you say the, all of them are important, so hard work self-belief like, do you, I I'm feeling talking to you that your belief in your confidence and your ability to trust that you will find a way is huge, which I think plays a big part, but I'd love to hear your thoughts now. It's not that I eat rice bubbles every day. Oh, it's the rice bubbles. All right. Everybody.

Mary (11:20):

Definitely not. I've been very lucky with the quality of horses that we've had. Like we've never, I think that the most expensive course available, it was my sister's little jumper and that was $7,000. Um, so we've never gone outside and purchased horses. We've just been lucky to have some, like a level of quality in the breeding bloodlines that everybody in Australia has access to. I mean, Fabio, jive, these aren't, you know, big international names, um, and just, you know, core training and just consistency and keep pushing through and you never know what's going to happen. Um, like the horses surprise, even me at times they just keep getting better. I'm like, Oh, okay. We can trot. So yeah, it just basic, it surprises me at times. I, I don't know really what happens. I just do the work and here we are.

Natasha (12:15):

I love it. How important do you think the consistency piece is? Like, would you think that that trips up a lot of people,?

Mary (12:22):

100% you have to have a program, a training program? Um, I only ride the horses like in the arena probably four times a week. The other two days I'll hack them out, then they'll have Sunday off. Um, so it's, it's very important that you stick to your program and, um, and, and build trust in it. And when you go into a test, I think a lot of people freeze up. Um, you have to keep riding and trusting your training that you've done at home to then to show the judges what you've been working on. So hopefully it pulls off.

Natasha (12:54):

Yeah. And, um, so I feel people can be consistent and then emotions will get in the way in the way, you know, cause something bad happens or something know X happens. Now X happens to every single one of us, all of us. And some people can remain consistent regardless of X happening and other people let that derail them. So how do you cope with like Corona? Like when something happens that could stop you in your tracks and start be consistency. It, what, what is, how do you get through that? What is your strategy of doing that?

Mary (13:31):

Got to love, those speed bumps, but I'm just like, it's a challenge and you gotta try and work out how to get around it, throw it or whatever. Um, and, and just not let it distract what's your on your horse. Like you're in the moment, you know, a lot of people might have baggage, or a lot of like, you know, financial stress or whatever. Um, when you're on your horse, you then and there and just leave it, leave the outside world alone for 40 minutes.

Natasha (14:04):

Just gone full circle. It's back to where you are where your feet are. Like I think that's one of your biggest secrets to your success that whatever you're doing sounds like you do it at a hundred percent and give it everything you've got at that moment. And you are fully understanding that next moment is different, but right now it's this. And I think a lot of other people we've got, but there's all this it's like, yes, but this is all I can control right now do right now, then we'll move on to the next problem when I get off. Yeah, that's rick start. So. Um, did anyone teach you this? Or this is just how you're wired. I love it.

Mary (14:40):

I think it's pretty much how I'm wired, but I'm like I've had, my parents have been very up and like they've been very supportive, but also my dad is very humbling. So I think it's been a good balance, um, that I've had to put the time and effort in it. This is gonna work then it's up to me. Um, so yeah, it's been good.

Natasha (15:08):

That is brilliant. Okay. So. Um, another thing I wanted to delve into, do you, you talked about the horses, having a program in a routine and arena work and hacking and everything else. Do you have a exercise routine, whether it's stretching cardio weights or anything that you do for your physicality?

Mary (15:27):

For me, I'd like to say I do. I try, I try and run, you know, maybe twice a week, um, for about 20 minutes and do interval trainings. Cause we've got Jeff Morrison. Who's our squad, new South Wales squad osteopath. And so that's when he recommended for me to do. Yeah. Um, so yeah, no it's, um, it's, it's been, I probably need to do more, more stretching or licensed or yoga or something like that need to look up to myself more.

Natasha (15:58):

I love it. Wait till you get to my age and then you'd be like, what do you mean nothing just to be able to touch my toes now. Like when did that happen? That's my life. What about nutrition? Do you, um, especially let's talk about at a competition day. So let's go to that day when you were at exam to test, to exam back to horse, um, is it diet Coke? Like we're good to go or are you really strict with that piece of it?

Mary (16:29):

I'll usually maybe have like a small iced coffee. Um, but nothing too much. Otherwise my stomach tells me it was a bad idea. Um, usually I won't have a proper meal until after I ride I just, I know it's not good for you. It definitely. I just can't physically have a meal in my stomach while I'm riding I can go a whole day without eating. So, um, yeah.

Natasha (16:56):

So is that the same? Um, let's say if you rode today or whatever you ride and then you have a really late lunch or like you don't eat until the riding done pretty much.

Mary (17:05):

I'll take a coffee down or a hot chocolate to the stables and you know, have that. But yeah, I won't eat anything. I'm like nibble on a carrot or something at lunch and then have the proper dinner you know, um, you know, Normallu your meat and three veg sort of thing. Um, so yeah, that's, that's pretty much my diet.

Natasha (17:23):

Yeah, no, I, I speak to a lot of riders. They're the same that you just can't have food in there and you've got these personal trainers like you have to eat breakfast. It's like, dude, that's not happening. I'll eat breakfast, but it will be much later. Well like brunch. Yeah. Yeah, totally brunch. Awesome. Alright. Do you have any kind of disaster story that everyone can go? Oh good. She's relatable. We can like her, like you got eliminated. He got bucked off. That's something.

Mary (17:51):

There has been many, many, many, many disaster stories. I'm probably wrapping my second grand Prix horse in the warm up arena as a young horse, he used to buck a lot and you'd see a lot of people. uuuhhhhh So that was fun. But in a in test competition was probably my worst experience was probably equitana 20. I think it was actually was 2016. Um, stayed after winning nationals. Rami went into the ring of the freestyles and just lost it. I just could not cope with the atmosphere. And I like just got him back towards the end of the freestyle and yeah. That was it. That was a bad day. And he just got back to the stables and he lied down and he never does this, a full layeddown and he just put his head in my lap and he went to sleep. It was really sad. Oh, I'm so sorry that um, yeah, that's probably the worst.

Natasha (18:51):

Did you like come dead last. Everybody came dead and then she had the best in Australia. And I think that's when we talk about the consistency and we talk about these things. There's not one human being on the planet that succeeded that you, you can ask that question. Do you have a disaster? Sorry. Have you ever come lost? Oh no. And if there is, I dont like them, because that is the story it's up and down and thank God you kept going.

Mary (19:18):

Yeah. Also horses are very, they are very humbling.

Natasha (19:22):

Aren't they, Aren't they, fabulous. Awesome. Alright. And you said you were thinking of studying maybe later. So if, if suddenly the, we woke up in a world and horses ceased to exist, there's no horses on the planet. What, what would you do instead?

Mary (19:39):

Terrible thought that I'm honest. I'd be like, yeah, yeah. I have a couple of scars and whatnot. So I actually honestly have no idea I've thought about this. Um, but just as a little girl, it was horses and that was that. I honestly don't have an answer for that.

Natasha (20:03):

That's rock now. And that's awesome because it sounds like, I mean, I know you're so much younger than me and um, I, when I'm talking to you, I'm like, Hey, we're the same? It's like, no, no, no, she's so much younger than me because I'm not 18 anymore. Apparently not, but you've got the passion, you've got the drive, you've got the ability to disconnect and, you know, just be where your feet are and focus and commit. And you've been through the bad. So the good is so much sweeter and so much more incredible. So I think you have the most amazing future. What are, do you set goals for 24, 28 32? Or did we not go those years? Do we just go in 10 years? I'll be blah.

Mary (20:42):

It just sort of, um, like you have individual goals for each horse, I guess. So I've got my current small horse Ramirez. Um, I think he could be good enough for, um, Paris 20, 24. See what happens. Yeah. Um, it's just really like that. So pressure just see what happens, um, that all exceeded my expectations of what they should have achieved. Um, so yeah, we'll just wait and see. So a couple of horses and maybe find something a little bit more flash. Um, so yeah. Anyway, so what the future holds.

Natasha (21:16):

I love it. Very cool. Thank you so much for sharing your time and sharing your story with us today. I think everyone would have got out of it. Is there anything else you want to add or anything else you want to share?

Mary (21:28):

Um, Oh, Nope. Nope. Just, just keep going guys. Just keep going Yeah, it really is like, um, it's always gonna be people out there who are going to drag you down. I've come across stories of my stuff. I'm like, Oh really? That's that's a new one. Um, yeah, yeah.

Natasha (21:50):

It is almost a thick skin required in this industry as well. Isn't it?

New Speaker (21:54):

Yeah. I've had to develop that quite early on, which is sad, but um, I think, think beneficial in the long run. Um, so, but yeah, no, it's, I've developed quite good relationships in the industry as well, so, um, that's, that's also a good thing. Um, but yeah, just keep riding, um, and just, you know, it's, it's the passion for the horse, really the love. So just keep going.

Natasha (22:18):

Huge. Thank you so much. All right. And um, I hear you, uh, sponsored by some amazing companies. Can you share a little bit about the companies that, um, you're working with and what they do for you?

Mary (22:33):

I've been very lucky to have the support and generosity are quite a few companies. Um, first one was Asprey saddlery, Deb, she's been supportive from Asprey has supporting me for many, many years. So thank you. Um, and then we've got colada animal health, so, um, fabulous supplements. Uh, can't recommend them more highly, uh, black Horse clothing.

Natasha (22:55):

Are they just the, um, like the nutrition ones or is there like calming down ones and cool different?

Mary (23:01):

Everything definitely to, um, to better calm. They've got it. Great. Black horseclothing, so fabulous clothing. Um, they're based down in Victoria, um, brad miles, econ trigger point therapy. He looks off to me and the horses. So he's fantastic.

Natasha (23:23):

Yeah, they can do the whole thing. its like, the horses are fine. Just dome. I mean, I need a massage, but my brain went to,

Mary (23:31):

it was painful the first session, but that's great now. Um, and we've got a heavenly horse design, so, uh, stock's so professional out in the ring. Um, and then I think that's it. I better write this thought and flexible set of questions. So I've had with bridles. Um, so I love the quality, the, um, and the range.

Natasha (23:57):

You can swap, like um, yes. Thingy. What are they called? Broadband. Yeah. Yeah.

Mary (24:06):

Um, yeah, no, it's great. So you've got endless, endless options there. Yeah.

Natasha (24:11):

All right. I think then we've got everything. Yeah. Have an amazing couple of weeks. A couple of months, hopefully. Cause where are you in new South Wales? Do you think you're going to get locked?

Mary (24:21):

Yeah. Well it's looking pretty, pretty bad down in Victoria. So we'll see what happens here in the Hunter Valley. So we're a bit further North. Um, but you know, yeah. Cause we,

Natasha (24:34):

we had like a competition planned for July, like at boneyard and then they're like, it's all over. And now EA is caught in crazy town. I'm like, it just all over. What was the point of buying a 20, 20 planer.

Mary (24:52):

Most useless thing bought for the year. But um, yeah, it's been terrible.

Natasha (25:02):

If you were going to have a small tour horse and by the time you'd get out, you've got a grand Prix horse.

Mary (25:07):

Yeah. He did one small tour, but Willinga did really well. He got champion up there. Um, and then yeah. Now, so see what happens.

Natasha (25:17):

That's awesome. I just went champion small to a, to champion big stuff.

Mary (25:22):

It's going to go well, we've got a bit of a quirky individual. He's lots of fun. That one.

Natasha (25:30):

Yeah. Awesome. Well, when, whenever we do eventually find each other at nationals or at a combined company will come out and say hello and have an amazing day. Thank you so much. Right.

Mary (25:42):

You too. Thank you so much for this. This has been great.

Natasha (25:44):

Okay. Bye bye. To find out more about Mary, more about our sponsors and read the transcription. If that's more your thing, head over to www.yourwritingsuccess.com to get all the info.