Podcast Episode 30: Jayden Brown | Passion for Dressage
In this podcast, we speak with Jayden Brown. Jayden is an Australian Grand Prix Rider and head trainer at Wilinga Park. In this chat, we speak with Jayden about his overseas experiences, achievements, and future ambitions. To keep up with his journey, you can follow Jayden on Instagram @jayden_brown_dressage.
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Welcome to this week's your riding success episode with the amazing Jayden Brown. Jayden is an Australian professional dressage rider and current head trainer at the state of the art equestrian facility. Jayden has previously represented Auatralia at the 2008 young rider world cup on the 2013 world young horse championships. He's also had experience working in bright Britain at Emma Glendale's. Oh, I do. I cannot say that suburb.
It's set seems like a gorgeous village. Jayden had enormous success in currently campaigning, both younger horses grandprix horses and all the levels in between. Welcome to the, your riding success podcast. My name is Natasha Althoff and I'm a grand Prix dressage rider from Australia author of three books and a leading online trainer of riders all around the world, wanting to take their riding to the next level. I'm also a chocoholic mother of two amazing children and obsessed with helping riders be all they can be. Each week, I'm going to bring in new stories of inspiration, ideas, and strategies of how to make real progress in your writing and give you actionable advice on overcoming riding fear and anxiety. So you can take your writing to the next level and be the rider you dream to be. So let's get into today.
Thank you for having me.
How does it feel when you hear that? Is it a bit awkward or are you like yeah, that..
Um, uh, I think sometimes it is a little bit awkward. Um, and sometimes I guess you don't quite remember all the little bits along the way you kind of, um, I guess just feel busy for a long time and then you look back and, you know, that's, that's cool.
Yeah. I love it. Beautiful. All right. So, um, I love, um, where you're at and the success that you're experiencing, but what I think is really cool for all the riders listening is, um, if they're not at that level of success, you, I bet you couldn't rise trot one day and I bet, you know, your, if your horse was on the correct lead, and sometimes even with that happen, looking back, you can connect the dots, the dots and Google, if that bad thing hadn't happened, I wouldn't have moved here or I wouldn't have got that horse. So if you can just keep in mind as we have our conversation, that that's kind of what we're looking for, if we can find it, that connect looking back. Beautiful. So, um, with that in mind, how did you start with holes?
I'm on a little Palomino pony. Um, I've got three older sisters, so my sisters, uh, all rode horses when they were kids and I followed them into it. And, um, now they've sort of had a bit of a break, but they're just getting back into horses with their own kids. So, um, I think my mom is quite happy that she's got a little ponies again. Yeah. So that's kind of how I got into it. And, um, and in terms of getting into dressage, I really just was terrible at jumping. So that kind of decided the path for me
That you, you, you happy to jump, but I fell, fell down or you just couldn't even get over them.
Yeah. I can get over the in a fashion. Um, but they fell down a lot and usually I quite, I quite like eventing. And, um, even when I say a good event right now, I, I kind of think, well, that looks, that looks fun, but, um, I can't spot a distance to save myself. And, um, the horse I had at the time tended to not really want to go into water. So, um, that kind of set me on the dressage path and then I kind of stuck with it.
Right. So what was it? I understand the, the, uh, the jumping bit, I was a bit the same. I, um, uh, was winning after the dressage and then lost after all the dumpy things. And I quit well on the head. Um, but so I get that shift, but then what was it for you that really went, Oh, this is fun. Like, was it experiencing a piaffe for the first time or was it going to put a big show, seeing the top riders do it and go, Oh, if that's what it is, that's what I want to do. Or was it just all very gradual for you?
Yeah, I think it was quite gradual for me and I kind of just, um, I don't know. It was, it was always just like the logical next step by, I kind of started in panic club and went into school and, and, um, as I was finishing school, I kind of started taking on the odd, extra horse to ride, um, for other people. And then, um, and I guess it was the challenge of, um, dressage is one of those ones that you never really never really quite there. And, um, and the more you learn, the more you realize that you don't know nearly as much as you thought you did. So that's, uh, I guess that might be something slightly wrong with all of us for sticking it out. But I think that that's kind of why we all do it because, um, there, you know, we, we don't ever really get to that point that we know everything. Um, so that's always a challenge and it's just a different kind of challenge, um, as you, as you go through.
Yeah. So if you're what I'm, what I'm hearing is you love the challenge to be perfect, knowing that you'll never be perfect.
Yeah. And I guess in a way it's not even senators to challenge to be, be perfect. It's just a challenge to get better. Um, yeah. Yeah. That's it. Yeah, absolutely. We do. We do well, but it's those high scores and yeah. So it is, is that drive to, um, what might start out as good. We can make better and what starts out terrible. We can still make better. So it doesn't really where we start. We hopefully get better at it. Yeah.
Love it. And is that part of your innate personality? Are you very, um, precise and, um, disciplined and seeking the best out of everything in your normal day to day life? Or is it something you've cultivated?
Um, I'd probably say, uh, I'm, I'm quite laid back about a lot of things. And so I know a lot of dress out writers that are really perfectionist in every aspect of their life. And I mean, everything has its place and, you know, um, that kind of thing, but I'm, I'm quite laid back with a lot of things. And I think that is probably what allows me to sometimes say with the horses. Okay. Well, it doesn't matter if we don't have it yet. We can pick up where we've left off and push on tomorrow. So I don't, I don't have that sort of, I guess, feeling that it has to be perfect right now. Um, but I do want to be making some steps towards the goal. So, um, yeah, I guess, I guess I'm kind of fairly chilled out about it all, generally speaking
Thing to say, like for everyone right. And going, so I have to get it perfect. And you're absolutely right. We wish, but somewhere on that journey is
Yeah. Yeah. As long as we're kind of making steps towards the goal and, and, um, I mean, sometimes even a backward step is a necessary part of the process, so it's, um, yeah, just, just chipping away on them. Um, quite, uh, I guess when I have a goal I'm quite determined, uh, to achieve it. So, um, it's always just putting in the, the steps in between to make it happen. Um, so yeah, I'd say when I have something in mind, I'm quite determined about it more than more than anything else.
I love it. I love it. All right. So tell me how you got to the 2009 young rod, a world cup. How did that come about?
Well, I had, um, I guess I had a whole set, I trained through, into school and trained him up to present George and then sold him, um, as a bit of a school master. Um, and so then I started looking for, you know, the next horse and, um, usually whenever I have a horse of my own sells, the goal is always to buy something a little bit more talented to fill the spots. Um, hopefully, you know, keep, keep, keep chipping away at and getting the best tools as I can. And, and the horse that I purchased was a seven year old who was, um, a little bit wild and he was just of those, uh, I think probably to this day, he will be the smartest horse I've ever had. And I'm probably one of the horses I've clicked with the best. Um, he sort of went from prelim to present George in six months and got over 70% at his first test at every level, along the way and well, and he was just one of those horses that it just, it all, all worked.
And I was, um, Jenny Gokey was helping me train him and we sort of went with the plan that we'd push on as quickly as the horse would let us, and we would just make sure we didn't skip any steps in the middle. Um, so we, we well and truly ticked every box that needed to be ticked. And he just kept saying yes, and then we got to about present George and that's when he said, okay, this is where I need to chill a bit. And, um, and then it just worked out to be good timing that, um, the following year, um, I was still young enough for the young writer series and, uh, equine influenza got in the way of qualifying a little bit. So that made it quite difficult to get to the CDIs. Um, that was a real challenge and lots of paperwork.
And then at the end of the year, we sort of had been selected. And, um, and yeah, that was, that was sort of how that happened. But, um, it was another one of those things that we Jenny and I had this idea that we could, we could get that, get that goal. And, you know, that's a goal that we'd set and we just sort of worked backwards from the finals and, and figured out what boxes needed to be ticked along the way. And, and we really kind of made that the plan for the year. And, um, and then at the end of the year, we were both in freezing cold Frank Britt and, uh, at the young writer world cup. Yeah.
Insight. So, um, you said that you, you had this goal when you were younger, did you like, is your goal I'm going to become a gold medalist. Olympian is your goal. I just want to ride horses. Um, what is your overarching, you seem very goal orientated, which I've totally.
What's, what's your overarching vision for? Why do you ride?
Um, well, I, my personal goal is just to train as many good ground Prairie horses as I can. Um, and if, uh, if something like a, a team championship or an Olympics fit in with that along the way, then that would be an awesome bonus. Um, it is a goal, but at the same time, I want to enjoy my life with horses more than anything else. Cause if you stop enjoying it, then what's point. Um, and all my goals, I think I'm competitive goals. If they start to attract from that sort of, um, enjoyment of training my horses, that's when I start to reevaluate and think, okay, is this a goal for right now? Or is this maybe a golfer for later? But, um, but I definitely, I definitely would, would, would love to go to an Olympics and, uh, would love to do, um, lots of international Granbury and, um, hopefully by training as many grumpy horses as I can, one of them will be in the right place at the right time for it all to fall into place.
Yep. Yep. So when you are in freezing cold Frankfurt in 2008, where you obviously, it was the goal you'd sit a year ago or six months previous.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was about 12 months out.
Yeah. And so how were you feeling? Were you talk us through that? Because obviously that's a big moment. Um, you're quite young, um, but everyone around you was also the same night and you're all there. And, um, did you have pressure that you like, uh, how were you feeling? Were you just super excited, super pumped, or were you like, Oh my God, this long and all this way I've got to freaking do well or what was going through my head?
Um, well I think the nerves kind of sorted themselves out quite early on because I'm Jenny and I had actually just arrived at Frankfurt. And, um, the stables were sort of in a, I guess, like an undercover parking parking lot next to the main arena. And you sort of walk through this little tunnel to get to the warmup and all of that. And, um, we were there the day, you know, a day earlier where we're just doing our thing, settling the horse in. And then all of a sudden we see all the other riders dressed in their, um, country uniforms and they look like they're going to something important and they changed the day of the product and not told us we were there.
You and Jenny not speak German.
Uh, I speak, we speak a little bit when we can understand, I understand more than I speak
The 15 thing, the prerogative with it up. So you're literally in a foreign place. You've got a little bit of the language and your, um, suddenly you're like, what else am I missing if I've missed the, just try to up, you're feeling a little bit out of place a little bit, or do I belong here, but we're going to give it a go.
Yeah. And so I think I plowed it up the whole say in about two minutes, ran to the chart up. It was fine. And so I think that kind of boiling over of nerves. And I think Jenny would probably say that it's one of the few times she's seen me genuinely nervous. Um, yeah. And then that was kind of that got it out of the way sort of thing. So after that, we're all a little bit like, well, we can't be more nervous than that. So now we can just get on with the, get on with the job and um, yeah. And then that's, that's sort of what we did, but I was also incredibly sick at the time. Um, I think I wrote the freestyle and then went and, um, sat in the shower for an hour. I was at the worst flu in the world
And the weather, um, or had you,
Yeah, I haven't had a, had a really bad fever and a flu. And so I looked back at the pictures and I, I think I just look so pale and I'm like a ghost because I was feeling so unwell. But, um, but yeah, it was, um, that's just the way it is. You push all of them. Yeah. You get it done.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You're not going all that way. It's a discount that a bit sick, um, results where you like, yeah. I obviously, if you, you executed the test when you're feeling like that, so of course you were proud, but was it the result that you wanted?
Uh, yeah. Yeah. I was really happy with the result because I, in the qualifying round, I counted down the center line, hold that at an X and my horse spotted that moment to spot the giant Christmas tree hanging upside down from the roof of the, um, was held at a really old opera house. He promptly ran backwards to a, and then that was Al sort of introduction to international competition in January. So we kind of had one, uh, pretty bad test. Um, the rest of the test was, was quite fine, but, um, with a start like that year, you're really not going to climb your way back up the ladder too much. But, um, but the freestyle was, was really good and it was the last competition I I ever did on that horse. And, um, it was, it was one of the best tests he's ever done. And, um, yes, I was really, really happy with that and, and, uh, yeah, it was great way to sort of finish things up.
Yeah. So you come home from Germany and you've had your first international competition. Are you now obsessed? Are you like, I have to get that's all I have to do now or was it like, that was fun. And now what you are a bit lost? Like what, what happened when you came here?
Yeah, like I stayed in Germany for about 12 months. Um, so the whole side took over eight. He got sold to America and he's still sort of on school master duties, which is really nice. I see the occasional video of, of him. And, um, and then I bought a young horse while I was in Germany and, um, and I sort of, I spent a year training and competing and I had a job as a, as a rider and, and probably got to about the 12 month Mark. And I started to think, Nick, I don't really know if living and working in Germany is, is for me. Um, I, I, I didn't find it that fun really. Yeah. I'm not really sure it was. Um, and, and probably for a long time, I thought Germany just, wasn't a very fun place. Um, and it's, it's probably only now that I've, I've got some really good friends in Germany who are really fun people. And I think I had been working with them and maybe, maybe I would've, um, would've stayed, but it was kind of one of those things. I, I got to the point where I had enough money to fly my whole tone or, or I committed to staying there indefinitely and I decided to come home and, um, and then push on with kind of setting up my own, my own business here.
Yep. Yep. Okay. So you're doing that. How do you end up at the 2013 world young cos championships? Um,
Well, I was, um, I guess just luckily for me, um, Nicole Tufts, um, had a really good client who had a few horses in training with her and the youngest son, their horses have just, uh, just come out of quarantine and she got him back to her place and just said, this horse is way too big for me. So she called me up and said, do you want, do you want the ride? And, um, he was a bit of a challenging four year old Sandra hit. And, um, I sort of said, absolutely. Um, I'll take it. And then it was at the stage of, um, setting up a business where you really did take any pain horse that came through the door. It wouldn't have mattered. Um, I D I didn't see the horse before he arrived. I just said yes. Um, I would have been stupid not to.
Um, and, um, and yeah, I really, really clicked with him. And, um, we were selected, um, with him as a five-year-old, but, um, just with the timing of it, getting him to Europe, um, with the timeframe between being selected and the competition, it would have been possible to get him over there in time. Cause it was quite a short notice period. And then, um, the following year he'd been, um, he was going to be sold. So he'd actually been qualified here and then sent to Europe, uh, to be sold. And, um, so I just flew over a week before the competition to refamiliarize myself, with him and then, um, and then get in the room.
Yeah, it was really good. It was, um, I sort of had this, uh, the dream for me was to be in the main vinyl. Um, I thought that would be a, a challenge, um, to qualify for the big final. And, um, we just missed out on a place in the big vinyl from the first round, but then in the constellation final, we were second and that got us through, into the big final. So, um, yeah, got in the big final and um, yeah, I think he ended up 14th maybe. So, yeah, it was pretty, pretty happy with that.
Yeah. And did you have the owners or a coach around, are you doing this all alone in a crazy country where you don't speak much language or if you've got a great support network grant? Just not all sounds so glamorous. I just went to the one, the world Yonkers championship. It can be very terrifying if you don't have that support around you.
I have that. Uh, yeah. Well, the horse had been sent, uh, to be in training with [inaudible] and so he had the horse in training. So I went there to, uh, to, I guess, train with him for about eight days before the show. And, uh, and then we, we transported the horse to the, to the venue and then, um, he lived about an hour and a half or two hours away. So I stayed, um, at the venue and, um, he would, he went back back to his stable to, um, you know, to keep training all his, his other horses. And, um, and then I think the day before the show, um, Bo and Linda Dallas at the owners of the horse, they basically win and they were there to watch. And, and, um, I know it was, it was a really fun, fun show because I'm always, always had a, had a really good time at the event. So it was, it was quite nice to get the, get the tests done and then go and go and sit and sit in the, uh, in the tent, watching, watching all the other competitions go on and have a good laugh.
But when it came to compete, like I'm just, you're saying very strong, like, um, happy moments.
Um, cause when you can really share that with you just have to be, it's fine. You have to be the professional. You have to be, I got this. Um, it's all good. But was there a moment that you had a freak out?
Um, not so much at that event? Um, I think we got that. I got that done early on at the young writer world cup. I, I very nearly crashed into Isabella, so, so I had a, had a bit of a near miss and she just laughed. She laughed and really steered around each other and, and Canada. So, um, I kind of thought, well, that can happen. Uh, you know, it was fun. Um, yeah. And, um, and I, I guess I've always just had a little bit the mentality of, um, you know, I at my place to be here, so I'm just gonna do my thing and I don't care who else is in the arena. We're all, we're all the same competition. So, um, yeah, it was. Um, but, um, yeah, so I, I didn't, didn't find a warmup or the competition in general to, to nerve wracking. Um, that particular year at the young health championships, uh, Haley Barris was in the five-year-old and Jessica Greeley was also there and they were both great company and, um, it was nice to catch up with two of these that had been based in Europe for, um, quite a while. And, um, yeah, it was, it was quite a fun, a fun show for me.
Yeah. Yeah, no, that's okay. The minute you said there's more, I don't know. I just, if you're in this weird country or by yourself. Beautiful, but
Alright. So then, um, you're in, um, 2017 and you're in the UK on the mountain, John horses. How do you have that happen?
Um, well it was probably, um, maybe a year or two, maybe a year before I went to England. I started having this feeling that I, I don't know, necessarily made the wrong decision in coming back to Australia, but I kind of felt like it was something I wanted to try again, um, have probably a different perspective on, on living overseas. Um, and so I decided that I would, um, just keep my eye out for something. Um, and it was at one Equitana that I met, uh, Emma and her breeding manager at the time. Um, Sarah who's from Western Queensland. So she used to fly over to do seasonal work, announcing John. And, um, I expressed interest in going to look at some, uh, some falls and, um, and then in the time between, when I met them, then when I was actually looking at going over a plan changed a little bit, and I was in a, in a position where I thought I wanted to be back over, um, in the center of the dressage world.
And then I thought England was a good compromise between being totally immersed in it in Germany or Holland or something like that, but having a bit more of a familiar surrounding, um, and yeah, I really England as a country. I, I, I loved living in, uh, in England. It was a great, great climate for me. I liked the cold and, um, um, yeah, and I actually only, I came back, um, back to Australia, uh, to apply for a visa to take a job in Denmark and it was just getting more and more difficult. And, um, in the time that I was trying to get all the paperwork done, I had a few good horses, uh, sent my way and I thought, well, this is probably the first time I've had multiple horses that are as good as what I was riding in Europe, but I'm surrounded by my friends and people. I know. And like, and I thought, well, here's my chance to do it to the same standard as I wanted to do it over there. Um, but in, in the, in the home environment, so I kind of made the most of that opportunity and then decided to stay. But, um, but it was a, it was a great, great two years, a very busy sort of probably a year and a half
Would be amazing. Charlotte, was that ever an opportunity?
Well, yeah, they were about six hours away, away from us. We will ride up North. Um, when I first got to announce and John and Neil Fourie was, um, coming up quite regularly and, and, um, and he was really helpful and helped me out a few of the big, big shows and, and, um, I sort of would have the chat with Charlotte at, at competitions and some of the horses that I had had been horses that she'd she'd written, um, yeah, on and off. So, um, sometimes it was good to trade notes on and then sometimes just comforting to know that, um, something I was struggling with was the same thing that she was working on. So it was, um, you know, made me feel a bit better.
Yeah. Awesome. Okay. So, um, because your Australian Australia, not, you, you don't have a mum or dad that has an English passport, that was always your thing.
Yeah. Longer than the 12 months. And at the time I would have really liked to probably set up my own stable in England. Um, my was sort of, uh, looking, looking into that quite a lot, but, um, I had, uh, I still had time on my visa. I had a two year visa, but the conditions were that I had to be employed. I couldn't be self employed at all. So, um, to set up my own stable, wasn't really a something I could have done at the time. And, and, um, yeah, I sort of was ready to ready to move on. So I, um, ended up, ended up back here. And
So you like cold weather Queensland, is that right?
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And, um, well, I, I actually, before I came here, I was, uh, looking at, uh, different stables, um, in Victoria that I kind of, uh, earmarking as, as potential places to set up, set up business. And, um, as it turns out this year would not have been a good year to move to Victoria, I don't think, but, um, yeah, but, uh, that, that was sort of my, uh, my 12 month plan. Um, before, before I came here, it was, um, to get things set up so that I was in a position to move South because, um, yeah, the heat in Queensland does me in, so I can't stand it.
Love it. So you've got now, um, tell me again, which border is it? Is it I say T where you're actually in,
Well, where technically we are we're in new South Wales, so we're right on the coast here, but yeah, yeah. Canberra would be, uh, yeah, it's, um, we're just down to me. Um, so for us to get to Canberra, we go up to Clyde mountain. So, um, we don't get quite as cold a temperature as Canberra does. And, uh, so I've, I've, I haven't been to the South coast of new South Wales all that much, but, um, so far it's, it's seeming like my ideal climate, not, not too hot in summer and cold enough to keep me happy in winter.
I love it. So talk to us about how you ended up at Willinga and, and yeah, how that all happened.
Um, I guess, um, I had competed here, uh, last year and, um, obviously knew it was a beautiful place and, and, um, you know, a horse, a horse heaven really. And, uh, at the end of last year, uh, one of the horses, I was training Quincy, he got sold to Terry, um, and he was, he was probably, um, I guess one of the, it was probably at the time, the best or the most promising horse I had. Um, so that was, I guess you get a little bit used to it when you don't own the horses, but, um, you know, it's always sad if, uh, if a really good one leaves the stable and, um, and then as
Is it a little bit sad or is it devastating, like cause DUI to have, to not bond with the horse to begin with because you know, that, that is the real possibility, or do you think that you'll do that, but actually bond horrendously and then get quite devastated when that happens.
That's a real thing that, you know, Edward still kind of talks about. Yeah,
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think probably in his situation, I mean, having for that amount of time and to, to achieve such big results, it would be yeah. Would be, it would be a totally different story, but, um, it's probably something that I've put into perspective when I had sat on various the whole stuff. I did the young horse championships on and after I got back from Germany and he was, he was sold to one of the Swedish, um, teen writers, um, everybody sort of said, Oh, you must be devastated that. So, you know, say heartbreaking, how could they, how could they sell the horse after you, you know, you had that result. And, um, but the reality was on you 12 months earlier that the horse was going to be sold. Um, and the reasons were completely understandable. Um, and not just one more soul, you know, quite a few of their horses, uh, also sold. And so I had plenty of time and I was offered a very, very good deal to, to, um, buy the horse if I wanted. But, um, I think if you are going to be a professional ride out, it's something you either, you know, you have to either accept or, um, or in a different world, don't do it as a job.
No, it's a very young person listening. This is part of your decision making strategy. I know for me, I was like, I ain't doing that. I have to get my own. Yeah.
Yeah. I think it does affect how people structure their business as well. Um, you know, a lot of people do, um, and that's not a trade one, not a, not something they're, um, happy, happy to do. So they make the conscious decision that the competition horses are going to be horses they own. So they're always in the, um, in control of the horse's future. And then they make their money from coaching or from how, you know, or having things set up so they can have other horses and, and, um, and to a point, and that's what I do. I have some horses of my own, but, um, I, I can kind of, I don't know what it's like, I can, I can, yeah, yeah. I can kind of organize everything in my head that I'm I'm, I enjoy the horses while I have them, but I know that somebody else owns them, but that also means somebody else owns the risk. Um, so I'm in a fortunate position that I, you know, I, I'm not the one out of pocket if something devastating happens, which, um, which that is part of the trade. And
I know we get that as well.
Yeah. So it's, um, and if, if, uh, if a horse is to be sold, I've always been fortunate that I've had had owners that, um, do it in a really fair way. They, you know, I'm always, I'm always the first to be told that it's, it's, I think it's different if, if you're the trainer of the horse and you're the last person to find out, um, that, that is a little, a little bit different and I have, have had that done, um, occasionally. And, uh, you, it doesn't change whether you miss the horse or not, but you, you kind of hope, hope that, um, the professional respect is there both ways for the, um, and, um, but, but I'm, I'm, I guess I'm happy to have beautiful horses to train them, and if they get sold, I just hope that they go on to still be beautiful horses for their next, um, for them, uh, rider. And actually one of the, the horses I had read last year, he just won the small to a championship in the, um, Iowa, um, series at the Brisbane CDN. So that's always a nice thing to, to see, um, while I'm not involved with the horse anymore, you can see that he's well cared for and loved by the new new rider. So, um, that kind of makes a difference, the show.
Yeah. So, um, the Quincy got sold to Terry.
Yeah. And then, yeah, I was, I was, well, I was, um, that was just the way it was circumstances that the was to be sold and, and I had, uh, I had quite a few nice horses. Um, and then there were, uh, Brett had injured himself, um, because he was obviously here before me, and then there were rumors going around, uh, that I had been offered a job, which I haven't at the time. And, um, and I hadn't, I hadn't actually considered, um, considered trying to put myself in a position here until I heard those rumors and wow. I thought, Oh, well, that's just a river, but that sounds like it could be a, uh, an interesting idea. Um, and then I sort of, I guess I just sat out, sat on it for a little while. And then, um, I saw her on Facebook one day that, um, Brett had announced he wasn't renewing his contract. And, um, I thought, well, it's official. Um, or I may as well send the Naval and see if, if I can make those rumors become reality. And that kind of, uh, I think probably four weeks later I was, um, had packed up, packed up everything and, and was on my way down here with, uh, with five, five minutes that I trained in Queensland. And I bought them with me. And I guess then that's, that was the beginning of my leg to park.
Yeah. So tell us what a normal day at willing to park now looks for you. You've said you brought five horses down. How many horses were there then to ride with the blue linger? And I do still doing those five what's going on.
Yeah. So now I, um, basically, uh, in the mornings I, I ride, um, all of the Bolinga horses that I train. Um, so I've got six, um, six that I do in the morning. And then, um, I've, I've just got four, um, four horses at the moment from, from some of my previous clients. And, um, I do them after lunch, so that's a pretty busy day. We sort of, we get a lot done, but, um, we were pretty efficient, efficient team here.
So how often, how long are you riding the horses? Does it change? Like if you got some three or four year olds that get written maybe less or, but they all get rid of the same amount of time?
Um, yeah. Uh, generally Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, I work them, uh, you know, pretty standard, um, 40 minute ride in the arena. Um, usually they have a little bit of, uh, a wander through the gardens on the way to and from, um, to, and from the arena. And then on a Wednesday, we tend to, um, take them out in groups around the property and up in some of the trials out the back and, and just take them for a bit of a trial ride. And then we do that in the morning. Um, uh, three of us take, take the horses out, um, together. And then in the afternoon on a Wednesday, they go on the treadmill. And, um, and so they will have a session on that once a week generally.
And then what happened with that by Sunday?
They're just in the paddock. Yeah. They had just spent a weekend in the paddock. And, um, and so generally during the week, uh, my, um, the holsters that are written after lunch, we'll go in the paddock, um, first thing, and then the holes that are written in the morning, as soon as they're written, they'd go out in the paddock afterwards. So, um, we try to get them to spend as much time as we can, um, with them in the paddicks, which is, um, which is quite nice for them.
Yeah, absolutely. So for anyone listening, who's thinking that they might want to become a writer when they grow up. Whenever that is, I still haven't grown up, but whenever I'm writing 10 horses a day, tell them what that's really like, because when you'll pull smash you'll, but is there a point where you're like 10, it seems like, how do you, how do you look after your brain by the time you get to the 10th horse, how do you look after your physicality? Um, by the time you get to your horse, how do you manage your energy and your, um, patients and your, your discipline and just, you know, you've gotta, you've got to, you have to show up as your best on the 10th course, same as the first. And that's a really challenging thing to do. If anyone thinks about a normal work day, what are they like talking at their computer at 4:00 PM, as opposed to 8:00 AM? I'm not so good in the afternoon.
Um, I think it's something that you definitely build up a fitness for. Um, if you're not used to riding that number of horses and you all of a sudden get thrown into it, it is exhausting. Um, I'm very fit for that kind of work. Um, because it's what I do most days of the week. Um, it's what I've done most days of wake for a long time. Um, and you, I guess you, you figure out what works, what works for you. I definitely work best if I have most of my horses done before lunchtime. Um, because then you have a little snack and another coffee, and then you kind of get through the afternoon. And, um, I tend to ride the mobile challenging horses early, um, more so the physically challenging ones, if some horses, um, do make me more physically tired than others and other horses, uh, more of a mental, um, mental workout than a physical workout.
So, you know, you just, uh, I think you, you, you balance what works best for you and, and, uh, and some people will never enjoy writing 10 roses a day. Um, for some people too, is, is the limit. And, um, and yeah, you just, you just learn what works for you. And, and I, um, and I also, if, if I am all in on a horse and I just think, Oh, I am not feeling it. I don't feel bad about taking them for Kantar around me either, or, you know, I'll might stretch them and, um, take them, take them for a walk. Um, you know, if, if it got to a point where I was doing that more times than I wasn't, then I might start worrying about it, but, um, that's also really good for the horses. So I, I don't feel guilty if I think, Oh, I just feel like rubbish today.
I'm gonna, I'm just gonna give myself an easy day because, um, if I'm not functioning well, I'm not going to train them well anyways, so it would be an unproductive session. So, um, I kind of just take it as it comes, but, uh, but for the most part, I, I get to the last awesome I get off and I'm still in a pretty good mood and we have a great atmosphere in the, in the stables. And, um, you know, usually if, if, uh, one of us is in a, in a bad varied, we just, yeah, we'd make a coffee run or something. I bet go get muffins from the local cafe and that kind of, yeah, absolutely.
I love it. Sorry. The other thing I think about it being a professional rider is the impact that it has on your, um, social life. So you were moving, you were in Germany for 12 months, and then you were in England and now then you're in Queensland and now you're in new South Wales. Um, do you ever resent that part of it that you, um, you know, you might have a best friend in XYZ ed and you're like, you live here now or your favorite coffee shop is in X place and you can't get there as often.
Yeah. Um, yeah, to a point. Um, my, with my friends, um, probably not as much, I have quite a small group of really good friends rather than a big group of acquaintances. Um, so, uh, I, and I guess I've, I'm, I'm friendly with a lot of people, but, um, in terms of really close friends, it's a small group and we were all the kind of people that it wouldn't matter if you went a week or a month without talking to one another, nobody's insecure about the friendship. We all know we're still friends, and we all understand that sometimes you just get busy and stuff happens and you might not return the text for a day or a week, or, you know, none of us are bothered by that. So, um, it's quite easy to maintain those sorts of friendships and, um, and that, that friends that have slowly built up over over years, um, so that kind of, uh, proper friends that I liked.
But, um, yeah. And so that, that side of things is not so difficult to manage. Um, I do miss my old favorite cafe or takeaway place in Brisbane, but, um, particularly moving to, uh, a much more regional area, um, noticeably, more quiet. Um, I lived very close to the city in Brisbane, so, um, that side of things was, was quite different, but, um, but it's, um, one thing I, I think horses are great for is, um, they've given me the opportunity to live in some really cute places. And, um, and I probably wouldn't done that if I had a normal job or a normal job, uh, for, I did about two weeks of an engineering degree, very quickly decided that I had forgotten everything I learned in school. And if I had half a chance of finishing it, I made it to, uh, press pause on that one and go and do some revision. I haven't, haven't been back to the, uh, the idea of a degree.
So, um, where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
Um, I don't really know. Um, hopefully still enjoying my horses. Um, and yeah, it's a good question. I don't really, um, yeah, I don't really know,
But you liked the short term goals 12 months.
Yeah. Yeah. And I think, um, a lot of my goals are dependent on what horses I have, um, because it wouldn't matter how much I wanted to go to an Olympics if I didn't have a hole with the physical capabilities of going or the mental capabilities of going or just being the right age or, um, you know, it would be a goal that would, uh, be impossible to achieve or I'd, I'd, you know, ruin the whole by trying. So the goals have to be, um, you know, relative to the horses I have. So, um, I kind of have an idea of where I'd like to go with each horse. Um, but then you don't always know if, if that horse is, um, staying for five years or five months kind of thing, and yeah.
Was it kind of stay sound there's so many little barriers.
Yeah. Yeah. So, um, I guess my, my overall goal, and I just liked to have trained a lot of good horses in the next five to 10 years. Um, if I'm, if I can do that and then it will be, I'll be happy. Um, and then just see what happens along the way.
Yeah. So when you, what are the, when you think about, you know, we sometimes go, how was your day? It was a really bad day, or how was your day? It was a really good day. What is a good day or happiness to you?
Um, yes sir. I mean, for probably the most horse people, whether you've had a good or bad day is, is almost entirely dependent on how good or bad horses were. And there are some days that I think nothing has gone right today. What's going on, like, are all the forces just determined to put me in a mood? Um, and, and, you know, sometimes it's completely not their fault. Um, things might be going on and they're all just a bit distracted and you just find it frustrating. And then other days, um, every horse is, is the best they can be at that point in time. And then you're really like, Oh, I am awesome. And then, you know, a few days passes and one of them made sure they ground you again, reminds you that you, you know, you've still gotta, still gotta put in the work and keep getting better.
And I think it's really important for people that are listening. I think what most people do is they see the professionals, they see the success, they see the results and they go, Oh, it's just, they never have a bad day. It must always go brilliantly. And it must always go well. And I think it's really important. We remind everyone, you have horrible days. You have days where you go, Oh my God, can I ride a horse at all? And going through them all, you always get back to the other side of, yeah, I can ride really good. And then as the journey unfolds, and you said it at the very start of this podcast, like the more you learn in your dressage journey, the more you realize you don't know. And I think everyone else listening to this Losa would be resonating with that because I thought I was close to the Olympics when I was in grade five pony club. Like
Yeah. I've seen them do it in the paddock. Yeah.
And as you unfollowed from grade five pony club, you realize, Oh shit.
Yeah. Yeah. That's it. And then, um, sometimes as well, you training your horses and then you have those moments where you think like, it might not be going that well, but this horse is actually doing the best they can do at this point in time, you know, with the muscles that they have on their body, that's as good as they can be right now. And it doesn't mean they'll always, it doesn't mean that'll always be the limit, but ultimately the goal is that we are making them stronger and physically more conditioned for the job we're asking. Um, say, you know, we, we want them to find it easier over time, but sometimes you do just have to sit back and go, well, actually it might not be that good yet, but it's still better than it was. And it's, um, you know, we're still the horses trying his hardest.
And I think that's the advantage yet when you ride 10 horses, it's very rare for a prolonged period of time that all 10 of your horses are going through stuff. So if you've got one or two that are having a plateau or having a challenge with a particular thing, or just not growing their physicality as you'd expect them to, that's fine because you've got eight others that are reminding you that it's okay. But when you ride one horse and it's in the ship for a while you think this is the world, this is reality. And yeah. So I think that's the advantage professional Rodan is that right? A lot of horses get to put that the problems and the wings a bit more in perspective, because there's a big pool of experience.
Yeah. And I know that like with certain horses, if I judged my training ability on one particular horse, I would think that I am the best in the world at doing flying changes and the worst in the world at doing. Yeah. If I judged a completely on a different horse, I would be the best in the world, but yeah, that's the worst in the world flying changes. So having multiple goals is, does help you balance it out and be like, okay, well, you know, maybe it's not purely 100% on me that I'm not getting that, you know, it just isn't happening yet, but, um, but it will in time. And it's probably that kind of problem solving aspect to dressage that I quite like is, um, you know, it doesn't always happen the first go and, and you know, sometimes it does. And you're lucky if, if that that happens, but, um, sometimes you have to uncover some know, uncover a few things and, and deal with problems that are, that are kind of getting in your way rather than, um, smoothing over them and pretending they're not there.
I think also a lot of listeners is still on the eight, just trying to [inaudible] to do that. So, um, and every horse, every journey completely unique, you can't go measuring whether or not you're a good writer, whether or not you should keep writing or not based on what others are doing. And I used to be like that in pony club. Well, you know what she doing, or she must be better than me and why, why don't, I'm, I'm going to need an off the tracks, our bread, whatever it was at that time. So, um, yeah, I think that's great that you really distinguishing does this mean some horses that have made you look like an absolute rock star and the smartest writer and trying to ruin the world and there's other horses that completely remind you, you weren't nowhere near where you need to be.
Yeah. And I think the horse is a, a good at, um, you know, bringing it back to reality. Um, you know, Quincy, for example, Hey, is a whole time, I swear from the, from the day I first asked him for a flying James, um, he was, he was quite young and he just did it first go, like he was like, he was born to do it, but then most days it takes me 10 minutes to trot one lap of the arena without shying it a lettuce. Well, well, some things are much easier with that kind of horse. You still spend the time working on issues somewhere. Um, yeah, it's just that there's no shortcut, you know, you just, just, you spend your time in different places on different horses.
Sorry. So true. Yep. So who would you say your biggest mentors or the biggest, um, heads that you go to when you get stuck on some help?
Um, I would definitely probably the most, most consistent, um, consistent person that I talked to about training would be Jenny. Um, I trained with FM many years as a young rider, and then I trained with other people, um, on and off in between. And, and, um, since I've been here at Willow, I know we've sort of, um, started back with a more formal training relationship again, but in the years in between, we would always, um, find each other up. And so I've got this problem or I've got that problem, or can you come and ride this horse? Or can you watch this? Um, it just wouldn't be formal lessons. Um, and for me, the biggest thing that you need in a trainer is, um, some of the trust if you're cantering, if I'm cantering around and she tells me sit to the left, I don't think about it. I know if, if someone's, if, if she's saying it it's because she's saying, if she's not saying it, she won't say it. Um, I, I don't respond well to trainers that say something for the sake of, um, just for the sake of saying it, um, you know, because there might be people watching that, um, they feel like they have to keep talking or else it's not a, you know, value for money. I'm completely okay with, with filings because
It's freaking awesome.
And sometimes it just means that the corrections that you're doing, you know, the correction that needed to be made and, and they're working, um, but then if it doesn't work, then you've got someone there that's the, that didn't quite work. Um, and, and certainly, and for me, it's having someone that I can, um, I'll, I'll, I'll try almost anything when it comes to fixing an issue, but there have been plenty of times where I've said, Oh, no, I'm never doing that again, because it, it hasn't delivered the result that we thought it was. And, and if you've got a good coach, they are, they want it to get better just as much as you do. So if you do try something and it totally doesn't work, you both get, okay, well, let's figure something else out because that one didn't work. It worked on nine other horses, but it doesn't work on that one, so we need to fit, you know, and, um, and that, that works well for me.
And, um, and then I've, I've got, uh, a few other people, um, kind of around the world that, um, I've trained with a little bit and I, I sort of respect their, their knowledge and their experience and, and, um, and what they have to offer. But, um, for me, in terms of a day to day coach it's, um, it's more about that, that sort of working relationship than, than anything else, because it's, um, yeah, if, um, if they're going to be the one standing by the side of the arena, or at a big important event, you don't want someone that pushes all your buttons and, you know, um, annoys you at the wrong time you, cause you know, that's not productive and yeah. So it's, uh, yeah. Just having, having someone that you kind of trust their advice. Yeah,
Absolutely. So, um, uh, do you have any advice for riders that, um, are thinking of going professional or thinking of, um, making this their career? What advice would you have?
Um, that's a good one. I'm trying to think of what I wish somebody had told me at the beginning and I've had, um, I've had, you know, people say things like just don't do it or things like that. And my thing, you know, that's not practical, but, um, some, sometimes what I notice among other professionals is, um, is at times I think like, do you, do you actually enjoy your job? Um, the way they talk, the way they talk about their horses or the way they talk about, um, clients or those sorts of things. And, and for me, I think if I felt like that I wouldn't be doing it as a job. So I think, um, I don't know if it's just a habit people get into even just the habit of whingeing about things. But, um, I would certainly just
To go if I wake up one day and I'm like, no, not this. I don't like it. It's not like, have you given yourself permission to
Yeah. Yeah. And that's, um, sort of, there was a period where I wasn't enjoying the horses at all. And, and that sort of, when I came back, um, came back to, uh, well, I came back to apply for the visa. Um, and I, I said at the time, like, I'm really not enjoying this. So either the options are I stop or I change something, whether it's changed the environment, I'm in change, the people that are around me, uh, you know, I didn't know what that change was going to be at the time. But, um, you know, I just knew that if I kept doing the same thing, I would not enjoy it. And if you're not enjoying the horses, then what's the point of doing it as a job, because there are plenty of other jobs that are much less taxing on your body than riding. So I think, uh, I guess my advice would be, um, just don't let the fact that it's your job suck out your passion for the horses, because if that's happening, then it's, it's, um, it's not for you. Yeah, yeah.
Yeah. And I think sometimes people might feel like if they are particularly talented writer that, you know, well, I have, I have to be a professional health person because I'm, I'm good at it. But if, if you'd prefer to be, um, you know, have another job and ride your own horses for fun, then that's the right option for you kind of thing. Um, and, uh, yeah, I would, I would definitely say if, if, if you're, if you get to a point where you're not enjoying it, then think of, of, of whether it's the right career for you. And, and, um, and because there are lots of people that do horses for a very long time and love it just as much after 30 years as they did when they started. And then if, if that's, um, if that's the way it goes, then, then it's the right job for you.
But if it, if it does start taking away your enjoyment for the horses, then I would, uh, encourage making a change. Um, and like, I didn't get out of horses. I just changed the environment that was in. And now, um, I like like training horses just as much as I did at the beginning. So it was the right, uh, the right change. But, um, and certainly I didn't want to stop training offers. That would have been a last, last resort, but I did definitely think that, um, there has to be enjoyment in it otherwise, otherwise it's, uh, there's no point
We only get one loss fricking enjoy it. Awesome. Hi, sorry. Um, who was the sponsors that help you out at the moment that you'd like to mention?
Um, I work quite a lot with, um, right as XO up in, um, up in Brisbane. So they, uh, they, they often remind me that I'm a little bit modest with the halls, but, uh, there is lots of bling for all the, all the, uh, all the blank lovers, but, um, so I get a lot of my, uh, my boots and my helmet and, uh, tech for the horses from them and, um, and hospital in Purium down in Victoria, um, helped me with, um, just finding the right courses really. Yeah. And we have, we have lots of good, good chats about, you know, what might work for one horse and not for another. And, and, um, and I, I tend to like to keep things fairly simple, but, um, but it is always good to get a, uh, to have a second opinion on why, um, you know, why certain horses have certain reactions to different, different bits and, and, um, and yeah, so it can help just to find fine tune things. And they're the main major companies I, I work with
Super awesome. And if people want to follow you, are you on social media?
Hmm. Yes. I'm on Facebook and Instagram, um, would be a very, I don't actually know what I had to lose. I think of Jayden Brown dressage but, um, yeah, so actually, and, um, uh, Matty and really who, who grew up for the horses here at Willinga, they, um, they have stable chats, which is on Instagram as well. And, uh, so that's it, people want to see a bit of the behind the scenes of, of what the horses are doing when nobody's watching. Um, that's a good place to see them playing with the toys and getting dirty.
I love it. Beautiful. Is there anything else you want to share before we go?
Um, well I think that covers just about everything.
Fabulous. Thank you so much for your time today. No worries. To stay up to date with the latest content. Don't forget to hit subscribe to this podcast. Go on, hit subscribe. I'd love. If you would love to leave us a review to help us how we could do better or make this even more amazing for you. And remember to follow us on Instagram at your riding success and Natasha.Althoff.