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Global Equine - Blog


Nov 30, 2014

One Year On

This month I’ve reached a milestone: just one year ago I first came to Haras Du Ry in Normandy with a dream.  Today, one year later, my dream is well and truly becoming reality!


Those of you who have followed my blog here on Equestrian Life know that my move to Europe was fueled by my passion to ride.  Looking back now I know my decision to cut loose from my ‘safe’ job and life in Oz in pursuit of my ambition was so right!  Like many things in life the course of events over the past year has been partly planned but there has been the element of good luck in there too.


For me the best part of my first year in Europe has without doubt been meeting Amy Graham and having the opportunity to be part of the Haras Du Ry team. Being based at this world-class equestrian facility in beautiful Normandy has been a huge learning curve.  My riding skills have progressed beyond my expectations under Amy’s guidance and the learning hasn’t stopped there.  I now have a good understanding of horse management European –style, a smattering of French and can drive on the right side of the road!


 Amy competing at the World Equestrian Games

The day to day life at Haras Du Ry is very busy but there’s always plenty of fun times and challenges, both physical and mental, to keep me on my toes. The people I work with already feel like family with a real team spirit.  Amy and her stallion, Bella Baloubet, have had a very success year with some outstanding performances and there’s always a buzz of excitement and optimism about the place.  Needless to say the horses are the centre of it all with so much attention to detail, whether in their training, feeding or day to day care. With the stable full and more being built Haras Du Ry is making quite a name for itself.



Returning from a hack on the roads in Brevands


Then there’s the other piece of the jigsaw that has fallen so perfectly into place: my horse, Gordon VD Riloo.  Gordon is a querky 16.3 chestnut gelding who has totally won my heart!  While we took a few months to get well acquainted I think now we are forming a solid partnership.  Like all new horse –rider combos there were a few months of trying this and that and developing a mutual understanding.  On top of that I had a lot to learn about riding in European competitions.  Our first forays into the competition arena were a heady mix of nerves, excitement and amazement!  Over the past twelve months I’ve been able to ride in some magnificent locations, rub shoulders and share stables with some of show jumping’s elite riders.

CSI Chantilly where we competed in April

Sharing the WEG experience with Amy and the HDR team provided many ‘pinch me’ moments as well as an opportunity to meet so many amazing people.

Walking in the World Equestrian Games opening ceremony for Australia!


Gordon and I have now had a few starts in 1.30m classes and jumped well.  From here we need to consolidate our work at this level and get as much competition experience as we can.  The best thing about HDR is its location which gives us the opportunity to visit top class venues and shows almost every weekend.  With Winter here, the indoor show season is well underway.  Summer was superb with comps in some outstandingly beautiful settings but I must say I am appreciating the huge indoor competition venues now it’s colder! There’s something pretty special about sitting in the bar, sipping French champagne to celebrate a good round, while you watch more jumping!!


Gordon and I competing at CSI*** Saint Lo


I really want to get the message out that there is a real opportunity for anyone to experience this European Equestrian scene.  One Aussie rider who bit the bullet and came to Haras Du Ry for a horse fix was Queenslander, Kylie Slaughter.  Kylie saw the trip as not just a dream holiday but as an opportunity to have some top class training.  In between frequenting WEG events in Cean with us, Kylie was able to train with Amy Graham and I on some of the HDR horses.  Between training sessions there was time to fit in tours to the French National Stud horse auction, visit many of the ‘must-see’ sites of Normandy as well as time to enjoy a few relaxing afternoon bbqs with other guests and the HDR team.  Have a look at the Haras Du Ry web site or Global Equine  and I’m sure a few of you will be itching to pack your bags and join us!



Watching the WEG Cross Country phase at Haras Du Pin


Looking back one year, I made some big changes in my life. It was a little like standing on the side of a cold pool- you know you want to jump but you need to pluck up the courage or get a little push to make you get in there! Agh... but once you’re in there it’s fantastic, exhilarating and you feel very alive!


I’m not sure what’s in store for me in the year ahead....but I do know that right now life is perfectly wonderful.



“You will not do incredible things, without incredible dreams” – John Elliot

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