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.

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

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.

Enjoy!!

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.

Meet our #TeamGP Riders: Zoya Patel

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, Writer and cat lover Zoya Patel!

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

Zoya and Penny.

I am a writer and communications professional, and I’ve grown up in Canberra. My debut book was released this month,and it’s called No Country Woman. It’s all about growing up as a migrant in Australia.

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

I first started riding when I was 10, and like a lot of people my age, it was because of the Saddle Club! But once I started, I was totally obsessed, and couldn’t stop. There’s something really freeing about being on a horse, and I think the relationship we can have with a horse is unlike any other. I love it!

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

I have learnt so much at Gooromon. My confidence has definitely grown in the four years I’ve been riding there, and I’ve learnt a lot about correct position and use of aides. But the thing I like most is definitely the community of riders – I love knowing that there’s always a friendly face at the barn when I drive out for my lessons!

4. You recently bought your first horse – what was that like?

Yes! I bought the lovely Cloverlea Penny Lane, an 8-year-old Clydesdale cross mare this April, with the help of Danielle and Amanda at Gooromon. It was pretty exciting going out to meet Penny for the first time, and now I can’t imagine life without her. Having your own horse is definitely challenging though – there’s lots of peaks and troughs as you start to work each other out, and every day is a journey. But overall, I love it!

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

Zoya’s book – ‘No country woman – a memoir of not belonging’

There are lots of technical goals for Penny and I in our journey together (like more consistent contact, better transitions, etc etc), but one goal I have is to do a prelim test at the Gooromon Christmas comp. I’d be happy with just being able to complete all the movements.

6. What’s something you particularly love about your horse?

I love how she plays hard to get! Penny pretty much always has her ears back, but I’ve noticed recently that she actually takes a lot of comfort from pats and ‘good girl’s when we’re riding. After a ride, she’s always so happy to have a head rub and a cuddle, so I think she likes me more than she likes to let on!

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

Do it! It’s actually really interesting coming back to riding as an adult. It’s a lot more nerve wracking than it used to be, but the benefits are also much higher. I feel a sense of relaxation and happiness when I’m out riding that I don’t get anywhere else in life. It’s worth it – make your ten-year-old self really happy and get on a horse!

Planking Challenge

Planking Challenge

Those that PLANK together stay STRONG together!

The plank, or planking, is an exercise that involves your core muscles, improving your strength, balance and endurance.

Join the Planking challenge.

This challenge is for 28 days, so its a four week challenge
(You’ll need your stopwatch – c’mon who hasn’t got a phone?)
You’re aiming to get to two minutes of holding the position…so go for it!

The schedule

Download the layout so you can record your time planking each day.  The planking times can be used as a guideline – it is important to progress at your own pace, always keeping good form in the plank position.  Plank from knees and elbows if a beginner.  Avoid this exercise altogether if you have back/knee issues, or get clearance from your doctor.

Instructions-Planking Challenge

 

Meet #TeamGP : Kylie Makkink

22627691_10155884488804189_5114880_nAt Gooromon Park, we love our team of instructors and stablehands. Every member of #TeamGP is passionate about equestrian, is highly skilled, and absolutely loves supporting you on your riding journey.

We’ll be introducing you to the team through our blog – today, meet Instructor, Kylie Makkink!

When did you first start horse riding?

I started riding in 1985 in a dressage arena, which makes me very old – LOL, or young at heart.  Thank you Suzy Jarrett of Sunflower Stud in Berrilee, Caroline, Heath Harris, Victoria Ferguson, Pippin (thelwell style pony), Alphabet (skewbald) and Jacques (35yo and half blind).

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

Only ONE??? Who wrote this?

The property – have you seen the views?

The team including horses (of course).

Excellent management – never understaffed.

The commitment to excellence and ongoing support and training, the investment in their people. I believe in karma! And sincerely feel the values are shared.

The community.

Our clients, their commitment, riding in the rain, brave faces and coming back after the occasional spill.

Working outdoors.

Flexing my muscles on shovelling manure (seriously, I enjoy manual labour).

Willing to invest in equipment and each horse have their own gear.

I love how the ponies are cared for and their work hours are logged.

Who is your favourite GP horse/pony?

Again, you are making this tough…that’s like a favourite fur baby or friend question. They are all gorgeous for different reasons.

I can’t answer that.

What music gets you motivated for the day?

I didn’t know I had time to listen to music in the morning.

What do you feel is your best attribute that you bring to #TeamGP?

 Always willing to contribute.

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

I started saving or selling things to save eg. insurance, lemons from the garden, washing anything, then selling pizzas, K-Mart and more insurance in 1985 to pay for my riding lessons, then I saved for a horse. I bought my first horse with my own cash in 1989, mum helped with the saddle. I stayed up til the early hours of the morning writing my budget and working out how I could maintain a horse, pouring over product catalogues and costings.  Her name was Danish Gem ie. Gemma – a foul tempered, rearing, biting and kicking registered 14.3hh quarter/stock horse.

What is one of your fondest horse riding memories?

Taking Gemma down Calabash Bay Road, Arcadia NSW, on the dirt, in the rain, by ourselves at gallop. Riding so fast tears rolled down face and stung my skin and breathing into her ear, “faster Gemma, faster”.

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

Next level of coaching qualification.

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

Never give up.

 List three great qualities you admire in a GREAT coach?

Patience

Perseverance

Encouragement.