2019 Young Championships Wrap-up

Young Championships was yet again an amazing event. A record number of 300 riders, with over 1000 tests ridden I would say this event should be titled NSW Regional Championships.

All the hard work for our team really paid off and everyone did amazingly well!

🤩 Mohamad and Harry competed together for the first time, winning both the YR Prep A and 1A! We also saw them come home with the award for the highest percentage of a YDA member on Friday with an outstanding 76%, receiving the largest rosette any of us had ever seen for highest percentage!

Ceri and Occhie also excelled, placing 2nd in the YR 1A with a score of 75%!! They also placed 7th in the YR 2A, their first novice test together. More impressive was their 7th place in the Official Novice class on the Sunday!

Maddie and Snoopy worked extremely well together! It was great seeing them achieve some very competent scores across the weekend even though they have only been working together for a short period of time!

Audrey and little Candy showed bucket loads of improvement over the weekend scoring 66% in their YR 1A! Katherine and Starry performed extremely well coming 2nd in one of her official prelim tests with 73%!! The duo also continued to gain experience in the Novice division placing 8th great achievement for only very early days at this level!

Harriet had a great event, she took out the titles of Breed Limited Champion with a score of 71.618% in the 2B, CU Novice Pony Champion and placed 4th in one of her Official Novice tests with 70%!!

A huge thank you to team coordinator / helper extraordinaire

Caitlyn Adcock and also Maddy who travelled over to show her support to Team GP we were all very happy to have them there. 🤩

The weekend was full of laughs, plenty of concentrated effort and huge achievements we are so proud of our riders, there riding and there attitudes to learning and constant improvement.



Competition Top Tips – Jumping

Jump Club coach Katy Doak has created your five essential tips to help you ride your best show jump round.

1. Use your eyes! You must look where you want to go, always be looking for your next jump on landing.

2. Ride forward and straight! Your job is to get your horse to the jump on the best line at the best pace possible.  This will help your horse gain confidence from you and ensure the best possible outcome.

3. Be adjustable – When you’re warming up make sure your pace is adjustable, so your horse is completely responsive to your aids – lots of forward and back transitions!

4. Do over do it – Don’t over work your horse in the warm up, its better to save them for the competition arena. Plan your warm up and try to stick to it.

5. Know the course and make a plan – once you’ve walked the course, make a plan in your head for how you’re going to ride it. Only ride into an arena that you know you can ride in essence you’ve trained this height.


Meet the #TeamGP Development Team – Harriet Hughes

Meet the #TeamGP Development Team

This week we are proud to profile the dynamic duo that has become our sassy stars Harriet Hughes and the beautiful Mika.

My name is Harriet and I’m 13 years old. My pony’s name is Mika and she’s an 11 year old Stock horse X Arab Palomino Mare. She loves liquorice, even though she’s not really allowed it! However, we can’t resist giving it to her.

I first started riding at Gooromon Park on my 6th birthday and then I never stopped! I love riding so much because of how you can always learn new things and it’s just about you and your horse, who I love so much! When I was 11, I got my first ever pony, Brownie, who was super cheeky but very cute and I learned so much from him. January this year I got Mika, and I’ve already developed so much love for her.

The Gooromon Park development squad has helped me improve my riding in many ways. The major thing that I’ve learned through the squad is how to take care of my horse and how to prepare and compete at all kinds of competitions and outings. We don’t just learn about riding, we also learn about first aid, horse care, feeding and so much more.

Before the development squad I hardly ever competed and was very nervous, however, now I am super confident and know how to ride a confident test, as well as knowing how to get the best out of my horse away from home.

I had a dream weekend at the Horseland Canberra Classic Dressage Championships/Regional Festival! We battled harsh weather, judges, health issues etc and the NSW and ACT ponies definitely made a good showing of themselves outnumbering the horses and AOR divisions, but the top quality horses were amazing to watch we managed to achieve the following:
So proud of Mika and still in shock but…
2nd Official Pony 1.2 with 71.77%
1st Official Pony 1.3 with 70.96%
Champion Overall Preliminary Pony

We went into the novice today not expecting anything at all and I am still shocked!
1st Official Pony 2.2 with 67.14%
1st Official Pony 2.3 with 65.96%
I cried when I found out
Champion Overall Novice Pony

My goal for the rest of the year is to continue to improve my training of Mika.  My favourite competition with the Gooromon Park development squad so far has to be Young Dressage Championships. I had so much fun spending time away from home with the team and I learned so much! It’s like being part of one big family! I really enjoyed competing at the Australian Interschool Championships with other members of the development team.  Another huge highlight was being selected to represent my state as part of Team NSW at Interschools.

Harriet Hughes

Coaches Report Card:

Harriet trains weekly with Danielle Ffrench our Chief Instructor, so we asked Danielle to give us a brief snapshot of her.  ‘Harriet is a resilient young rider. Lately everything has fallen beautifully into to place – she sure has made her dreams come true, don’t be deceived this duo work hard together to always improve.  They ride their highs and lows like Champions which is why they become Champions. Harriet has worked hard to be the rider she is today and so much has changed in just the past year.  Even as a 6 year old she was a determined little rider, I am very proud of Harriet’s achievements and importantly the grace she shows in her lows. She is still on a wonderful journey with plenty of achievements to come.  Harriet and I always have fun in our lessons and at comps she’s got just the right amount of cheekiness and sass. She should be very proud of herself and of her beautiful pony Mika. Well done girls!’  Danielle Ffrench 

Meet the #TeamGP Development Team

In January 2018,  Gooromon Park introduced the #TeamGP development team to help our young riders develop their skills and gain the experience needed to attend equestrian competitions and offers guidance on competition days.

Over the past year, the team and I have developed a team ethos. We discussed our personal goals – that while we support our team members, that horse riding is also a partnership between horse and rider and that our own personal goals and journeys are vital to making us happy, productive members of the team.  Our ethos centres around the importance of being in a constant state of improvement and together we developed a code of conduct which sees us treat everyone with respect and courtesy.

Our mantra being  ‘We will aim for the stars, continually try to improve ourselves, while keeping our feet planted on the ground.’

To say I am proud of this team and the development and improvements they have made in such a short time is a huge understatement. They have shown dedication, resilience, shone with the stars, overcome hurdles and disappointments and each member has achieved personal goals and successes through hard work.  It is only the start – we are only one year in with plenty to still come.

It seems timely after the hugely successful year that we have had as a team that I introduce the team members:

  • Audrey Brooke – Candy
  • Ceridwen Fennemore – Occhie
  • Harriet Hughes – Mika
  • Maddie Baldwin – Snoopy/Dante
  • Katherine Stewardson – Starry
  • Maddie Bowman-Smith – Dana (currently rehabbing from injury)
  • Ann-Catherine Wright – Bonnie (currently rehabbing from illness)

As a team the girls have continually supported one another, they have formed lovely friendships and achieved great success in the competition arenas.

Stay tuned for big things from the team in 2019.

Danielle Ffrench – Chief Instructor








Meet #TeamGP: Ira Davies

At Gooromon Park, we love our team of instructors and stable assistants. Every member of #TeamGP is passionate about equestrian, is highly skilled, and absolutely loves supporting you on your riding journey.

We would like to give a big #TeamGP Welcome to our newest Instructor Ira Davies, to help you all get to know Ira we asked him a few key questions before he started.  Drum roll please – we are pleased to introduce you to Ira Davies!

When did you first start Horse Riding?

I started horse riding while living in Indonesia, as a 13 year old.

What’s one thing you love about working at Gooromon Park?

We shall see, but I can say I am looking forward to starting!

Who is your favourite GP Horse/Pony? 

I like Rupert for looks and Mardi to ride

What music gets you motivated for the day?

Iggy pop can get any day started.


What do you feel is your best attribute that you will bring to the TEAM?

I am pretty patient and laid back in general, which I think is a helpful attitude to have around horses. Or at least I think I am.

What is something special about you most people don’t know?

As a younger man the plan was to become an Academic. I thought I might like teaching and writing about philosophy. Working with horses quickly put an end to any aspirations I had to work indoors.

What is one of your fondest horse riding memories?

Galloping on a beach in Bali, very early on in my riding journey and much to the dismay of my parents. I was hooked after that.

What’s one thing you’d like to achieve in your Riding or Coaching in the next year?

I would like to get my level 1 coaching accreditation.

What’s one tip or insight you’ve learnt on your horsey journey that you’d like to share?

Horse riding is a long game, and while it is rewarding to have a good ride, your talent as a rider is not determined by any particular ride, good or bad. Being a good rider is an on going process, and to be good rider is to be forever becoming a better one. Does that make sense?

List three great qualities you admire in a GREAT coach?

Deep knowledge, sharp eyes and charismatic communication.

Meet our #TeamGP Rider: Bridget Clark

At Gooromon Park, our Riders become part of the #TeamGP family.  All our Riders are on a different equestrian journey, but they all have one thing in common they’re passionate about horses, and we absolutely love supporting their riding journey.

We are excited to be introducing you to some of our #TeamGP riders through our blog – today, meet Adult Rider, Bridget Clark.  Bridget started riding in South Africa she has been working or riding horses since she was 8 years old.  

Tell us a bit about yourself – how would you describe yourself to someone you have just met?

Hi, my name is Bridget, I am an adult rider at Gooromon Park. I own a beautiful Clydie x TB Gracie. She is agistment at Gooromon Park Riding School. I am married with two daughters, Candice and Samantha, who are both married, and they are also competitive horse riders. I am currently studying Psychology at Uni. We lived in the Middle East for 5 years. My husband’s company relocated us to Australia in March 2017, so we are pretty much newbies to Australia. We are hoping that we will be able to call Australia our home in about eighteen months when we will be eligible for permanent residency. Before relocating to Dubai, from South Africa our family owned a riding school/agistment yard of 25 horses on our property. Sometimes, I miss having my horses at home, but at the same time I have realised the benefit of having Gracie agistment at Gooromon Park.

When did you start horse riding, and what made you want to give it a try?

I loved horses before I could understand that I loved horses. I started horse-riding lessons in South Africa when I was eight years old. My best friend was given a horse for Christmas and she let me ride the horse as she was scared to be the first to ride it. I volunteered to be the first one to ride her new horse. I was always game to be the first one to ride a new horse! I have been working with horses and riding horses pretty much since then. I have always had a keen interest and deep love of horses. I find riding, grooming and just spending time and being around horses incredibly therapeutic.

What has been a highlight of learning to ride with the instructors at GP?

The instructors are EA qualified and most of them compete at a high level themselves, in dressage, eventing and show jumping. This means that as a rider we receive top level instruction from well qualified and highly skilled coaches who understand and can empathise with riders when things don’t go so well or as hoped either before or after competing or even after a lesson. At the beginning and the end of each lesson time is made for constructive feedback, debriefing, feedback, encouragement, what I need to work on and what I need to change from the instructor’s observations and point of view. Every lesson is different, it is structured and well planned with the horse and rider in mind. The school horses are well schooled, they have super temperaments, and are well looked after.

What is one thing you learn at Gooromon that you didn’t know before?

Everyone is on their own riding adventure…with their horse and their riding goals. We all experience the ups and downs of riding at times, however, more importantly it is about learning from our mistakes, breaking bad habits and creating more mindful moments during our riding lessons to become better riders.

What are your riding goals for the year, or something new you would love to learn ?

I would like to work towards completing at a low level ODE in 2019 and participate in one Preliminary dressage show.

Who is your favourite riding school horse and pony?

If I had to choose a favourite school horse, it would be Jamokea, but Gracie (pictured to the right) wins hands down as an all-rounder (I am biased I think )

What would you say to someone thinking of trying equestrian for the first time?

As an adult rider …I would highly recommend giving it a go! It is a great way to get fit and stay fit…and get the joints moving – I was always told by a great instructor many years ago…remember motion is lotion as we grow older. Horse riding is a skill you can learn and have the most amazing trail rides as a family when you are on holiday. It’s a fantastic way of bonding as a family.
Give it a go you have nothing to lose. 🙂 

Why Horse Riding and Yoga?


Body and Muscle awareness, Breathing, Core Strength, Flexibility and Mental Focus sound familiar?  Here at #GooromonPark we’ve been talking about some of the key ingredients to becoming a better rider.  So Why Horse Riding and Yoga?

Yoga is one of the absolute best ways for riders to become more supple out of the saddle in a way that will directly translate to actual riding. Yoga builds strength, endurance, and flexibility – plus, it reduces stress, and helps you improve your mental focus.  All key ingredients to improving your riding.

Yoga promotes the same core position as riding. Practising yoga strengthens the muscles that elongate the spine and allow us to stand straight. The core muscles are constantly at work when the body is seeking balance and are vital for balance while riding.

We’ve teamed up with dance and certified yoga instructor, Joanne Kavouras, for a weekly class, you don’t need any flash gym gear and you can even join us in your jodhpurs!  Joanne will be focusing on yoga moves that will help you look and feel better in the saddle. She will be bringing together her experience creating flow sequences with yogic breathing to develop a better riders seat, stronger core, upper body, posture and simple things you can do to help stretch, strengthen and even manage stress.

If you can’t join us on Monday’s, you could check out this article 3 Ways Yoga Can Help Your Dressage it even include a Routine to try at home.  One of my favourite Yoga and Horse riding articles written by Jaclyn Sicoli is a USDF bronze and silver medalist and a USDF “L” Education Program graduate with distinction, was featured in Dressage Today her passion for combining the two disciplines speaks volumes.



Meet our #TeamGP Rider: Alix Dossetor


At Gooromon Park, our Riders become part of the #TeamGP family.  All our Riders are on a different equestrian journey, but they all have one thing in common they’re passionate about horses, and we absolutely love supporting their riding journey.

We are excited to be introducing you to some of our #TeamGP riders through our blog – today, meet Adult Rider, Alix Dossetor.  Alix grew up watching ‘The Saddle Club’ and dreamed of taking lessons, after two kids she’s now following her dreams and making her horse riding time her me time! 

Tell us a bit about yourself – how would you describe yourself to someone you have just met?

Hi! I’m Alix. I’m a married Mum of two beautiful children. I was born in Canberra and have lived here my whole life. As much as people like to joke about Canberra, it’s actually a really wonderful place to live! I am a handwoven textile artist. I love having my own business; it gives me the flexibility to be a stay at home Mum, while also giving me a creative outlet.

When did you start horse riding, and what made you want to give it a try?

I started riding in Jan 2017. I have always been pretty horse crazy! I grew up watching The Saddle Club and dreaming of taking lessons and one day having my own horse. After growing up, getting married and having two kids, I finally decided it was time to do something for myself that I always wanted to do. It’s my me time!

What has been a highlight of learning to ride with the instructors at Gooromon Park?

I really love the atmosphere at Gooromon Park; I always feel welcome and love that all of the instructors and staff know my name. Even on days that I feel like I don’t have the best ride, I can laugh with my instructors and they give me the confidence and advice to do the best I can the next time I ride.

What’s one thing you learnt at Gooromon that you didn’t know before?

Falling is not the worst thing in the world! Of course you should try to stay ON the horse, but I’ve learnt that every fall doesn’t need to be a scary, terrible thing. If you can; dust yourself off, have a laugh, get back on and keep going.

What are your riding goals for the year, or something new you’d love to learn?

My ultimate riding goal is to become competent and confident enough to take on a lease horse. My short term goals are to maybe complete a dressage test and to become better at jumping. I love jumping, it makes me feel like a kid again!

Who is your favourite riding school horse/pony?

Oh my goodness! How do you choose a favourite?! I really have a soft spot for Doc. He is sweet, gentle and so willing. I also feel like he really looks after the people who ride him.

What would you say to someone thinking of trying equestrian for the first time?

Just give it a go! My all time favourite quote is “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Everyone is on their own riding journey. Set yourself some goals and focus on yourself and your ambitions. Try not to compare yourself to others who are on their own journey, and of course, have fun and do your best each and every time you ride!

Competition Top Tips – Dressage

Chief Instructor Danielle Ffrench has been competing for over 30 years. Here she has shared her top five tips to help you prepare for competition. 

1. Have all the variables you can control, under control – be prepared!

2. Know your test! Don’t rely on a caller, you should know your test. When you hear a caller, your focus is shifting and you can’t prepare for the movement or figure with 100 percent attention to detail.

3. Put yourself and your horse in a bubble – Enter A – bang – deliver on point.

4. Ride it like you stole it – I mean don’t race around like you’re being chased, but it’s a show of you and your horse’s abilities so show them off. Put your best hoof forward.

5. Leave the test in the arena – be proud no matter what!! Be prepared to let even your defeats teach you.


Meet our #TeamGP Rider: Fay Prowse

At Gooromon Park, our Riders become part of the #TeamGP family.  All our Riders are on a different equestrian journey, but they all have one thing in common they’re passionate about horses, and we absolutely love supporting their riding journey.

We are excited to be introducing you to some of our #TeamGP riders through our blog – today, meet Adult Rider, and hidden obsession with binge watching South-Korean Dramas Fay Prowse!

Tell us a bit about yourself – how would you describe yourself to someone you have just met?

My name is Fay Prowse, I am married and I have two beautiful daughters Emily and Sophie. I came to Canberra over 20 years ago for study, where I later met my husband Sanjay, and we settled down to start a family.  I have worked in the ACT Public Service for the last 15 years as an Executive Assistant to various senior ranking public servants and my hobbies are of course horse riding, and what could be considered an unhealthy obsession for binge watching South‑Korean Drama series.

When did you start horse riding, and what made you want to give it a try?

My eldest daughter expressed an interest in learning how to ride at the age of 6. Hence I enrolled her in lessons at Gooromon. After seeing the enjoyment on her face, and witnessing the excitement she felt I decided to give it a go myself. Five years on, riding remains an important part of my weekend routine, and each week I look forward to what new goal our instructor has planned for my group.


What has been a highlight of learning to ride with the instructors at Gooromon Park?

A highlight for me has been seeing my daughter develop her own riding ability through the commitment and teaching skill of the instructors at Gooromon. Witnessing the growth in her personal maturity and confidence to a level where she felt comfortable competing this year, was as parent, very gratifying to see.  For me the feeling is more general, turning into the Gooromon gate each Saturday is an escape from the daily grind. Its hard to imagine that such a peaceful and picturesque environment is so accessible being only a few minutes from town.  And although working in the horse industry can see staff come and go Gooromon have always maintained a professional, knowledgeable, committed and friendly team of instructors that ensure each one of their client’s reach the personal goals that they strive to achieve in their riding career.

What’s one thing you learn at Gooromon that you didn’t know before?

That learning to ride is a personal journey, that there are so many potential paths you can take be it riding for pleasure or training with a view to competing.  Up until this year riding for me has been a way to share something with my daughter, a form of exercise, and an avenue to build a wider social network. Although, this year I have found myself wanting to achieve more than just staying on. And our groups’ riding instructor has come up with the goods and begun challenging us all to take our riding to the next level. We have all enjoyed the last few weeks introduction to half-halts and getting the horse on the bit, which has seen our group growing in confidence and ability and building a solid foundation for our riding step by step.

What are your riding goals for the year, or something new you’d love to learn?

After five years I have decided to give competing a go and will compete at the Spring competition in September.

Who is your favourite riding school horse/pony?

Ariel, she’ll avoid it if she can, but if you ask her with confidence she willingly complies and she is safety personified.

What would you say to someone thinking of trying equestrian for the first time?

Give it a go, once you are on you will know whether its for you or not, and if the answer is yes you will never look back.  But I can’t promise that forevermore your credit card won’t tremble in fear from the depths of your handbag as a result of your new addiction! Reach in and offer it a calming pat and reassure it that it’s a necessary expense.