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.

Meet #TeamGP : Danielle Ffrench

At 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 Chief Instructor, Danielle Ffrench!

Danielle1When did you first start horse riding?

I think I whinged for about a year when I turned 6-years-old, before my poor mother at 7-years-old finally gave in.  At the time I don’t think she thought it would end up being the life-long passion that it has become.  Certainly in hindsight it was a big turning point ,where today I cant imagine my life without horse in it.

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

There are so many things, I think I am extremely lucky to every day wake up and go to a job I LOVE.  About four years ago now, I left a successful public service career and took a risk that I could support my family with my passion.  It’s not always easy and sometimes its long hours, sometimes it drags me away from my beautiful family, but it lights me up and I think that’s what life is ultimately about – doing something you love.

I also love sharing my knowledge and watching the riders improve and have those light bulb moments.  I won’t lie, working with family isn’t always easy, you often feel the highs and lows to their extremes, but the highs are marvellously high.

 Danielle2Who is your favourite GP Horse/Pony?

Eck, I have so many for so many different reasons – they are all amazing horses, they care about their riders and you can kind of see them loving teaching their riders.  My absolute favourite over the years were the amazing ponies Pipi and Vanity and Cilla was amazing! They aren’t with us anymore. So today I would have to say Savannah and Jamokea.

What music gets you motivated for the day?

Nothing really, though I do like motivational pop – is that even a thing?

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

Gosh, I think my years of experience helps the other coaches if they need to troubleshoot. I also feel I am a responsible leader and my passion for it all rubs off on others.

 Danielle3What is something special about you most people don’t know?

I am unsure if people don’t already know everything about me? I suppose little secret is when I was 18 I worked for a year in Canada training and competing young warmbloods. I even did some Eventing (sshh!). This is where I came home with my passion for dressage – before then I did a lot of showing/hacking.

What is one of your fondest horse riding memories?

Oh dear, these are tough questions – I have so many, each horse I have had brings it own special memory. I suppose my first win at a State Championship up in QLD was very special in 2004, and my absolute love Adloo Roma provided many wonderful moments.  Today beautiful James is trying so very hard to steal my heart and I was very proud of his efforts this year in the 4year old Young Horse classes.  Of course there are still plenty still to come!

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

I am currently working on my Level 2 coaching and Coach Education so it would be lovely to achieve this.  Train our beautiful James to Novice/Elementary competing at state and nationals 2018 and the 5 year old classes.  Start my other baby Briely Selby, maybe have his first outing in late 2018.

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

‘Time in the saddle, dedication, time around a horse, hard work, time, watch, listen and don’t rush things.’

I really like this quote:

Picture1

Horse riding is a long term journey. You may have success as a young rider, but I can guarantee you will look back over the years and realise how much more you have learnt over the years.  Don’t ever despair or get down about where you are – it’s a journey. Love the moments and be mindful, live in the present when you’re riding.  Love the journey!

Danielle 7List three great qualities you admire in a GREAT coach?

I admire coaches who can explain the ‘How and Why’.

‘Top Riders don’t always make top teachers’ – Interesting read from top showjumper and coach Colleen Brook. ‘At competitions all over the world, we see most of the top riders with students. The sport is very professional. Top riders have spent more time riding than teaching and it has been a necessary shift in focus financially to take on students. In jumping we have plenty of younger riders with students now. Everyone has their way and some are better than others. Some coaches are not good teachers of novice riders, and vice versa Coaching is like horses, some are good at the beginning and some will not make the top. Very few coaches can take a rider/horse from scratch to the top. Very few riders can take a horse to the top. So finding the coach for you at different levels is necessary for your development. Riders will change coaches for many reasons. I remember none of my coaches EVER went to a competition to watch. To help the quality we need a good system. Experience.’ I might stop there for now.

Meet #TeamGP : Margaret Palazzo

At 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 Margaret Pallazzo!

CE618404When did you first start Horse Riding?

When I was seven. My parents gave me ONE term of riding lessons for Christmas (Ha!)

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

Hanging out with horses (and horse people) all day.

Who is your favourite GP horse/pony?

Amira.

What music gets you motivated for the day?

My alarm clock.

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

I’ll keep working until the job is done.

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

I’ve got dual citizenship and two passports, so I guess that doubles my chance of riding at an Olympics.

What is one of your fondest horse riding memories?

Jumping 1m on Amira at the Christmas Show eleven years ago. Or finishing my first 2* event at the start of this year.

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

Completing my Level 1 coaching certificate. And riding at the Adelaide CCI 2* in November.

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

When in doubt, use more leg!

List three great qualities you admire in a GREAT coach?

Being able to communicate clearly, understand the rider, and keep things simple but effective.

 

 

 

Meet #TeamGP : Alex Wensing

At 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 Alex Wensing, one of our talented instructors!

alex1When did you first start horse riding?
I had my first riding lesson when I was 10 years old, at Gooromon Park, with Amanda Clark – I was her first student!

What’s one thing you love about being part of #TeamGP?
I’ve spent 20 years riding, coaching, learning, growing, sharing all things equine knowledge on this property. So to me Gooromon Park feels like home turf. That’s why I love working here.

Who is your favourite GP horse/pony?
There have been so many great school horses over the years. But my favourite riding school pony would have to be Zep.

What music gets you motivated for the day?
I love my pop music, so anything with a beat, rhythm and tempo.

What do you feel is your best attribute that you bring to the team?
I have a healthy sense of humour… The first person I’m willing to laugh at is myself…

What is something special about you most people don’t know?
I was one of Gooromon Park’s first students in 1998 and have stayed with the school since, and gained my Equestrian Australia level one coaching certificate and Stable Manager qualifications with them as well. I was was very proud of this achievement.

What is one of your fondest horse riding memories?
After many years of riding other people’s horses, my fondest memory is riding my first official dressage test on my own horse, LETS B GRAND (Monty).

alex2What’s one thing you’d like to achieve in your riding or coaching in the next year?
More saddle time… After selling my school master, I don’t have a horse in work at the moment.

What’s one tip or insight you’ve learnt on your horsey journey that you’d like to share?
Set goals not limits! One of my first coaches at the riding school once told me I could achieve my level one coaching certificate. At the time, I had no idea what that involved. With the right guidance from my coaches, I’ve now achieved that goal and I’m looking forward to what’s next.

List three great qualities you admire in a great coach?
The ability to listen, set goals and help you achieve them!

Meet #TeamGP : Claudia Beer

At 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 Claudia Beer!

20206187_767501486754524_1248464185_nWhen did you first start horse riding?

I first started horse riding when I was six years old, I begged my parents for riding lessons for years and they finally gave in and booked me lessons at Gooromon Park for my birthday. I think they hoped that I would grow out of it but that clearly never happened.

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

There are so many great things about working at GP, but one thing I love would have to be the team. Not only the team of people but the team of horses we have too. The people are like a second family and there is always fun times at work. As for the horses, the school wouldn’t run without them! They are all such sensible well behaved horses that we can trust to take care of any rider we put on them.

Who is your favourite GP horse/pony?

Zep, he is my absolute favourite. I’ve had so many great memories with Zep both riding him and working with him on the flat. He really doesn’t get enough credit he’s adorable!

What music gets you motivated for the day?

Anything, I will dance to whatever’s on

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

My hardworking and willing attitude. I feel I always try my best to make sure all the jobs are done well and everything runs smoothly throughout the day.

20067687_764961413675198_1579961441_nWhat is something special about you most people don’t know?

Not really that special, but my OCD – I’m a perfectionist everything has to be done in order.

What is one of your fondest horse riding memories?

There are honestly so many! Coming 2nd in 6bar at interschools is definitely a big memory, the final fence was 1m45cm and it was the first show without my coach on my new horse so I was super proud my amazing horse.

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

I’m really hoping to be competing in my amateur/junior show jumping before I age out next year.

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

All horses are different and respond to different methods, this means that what works for one horse might not work for the next. This is a good way to teach a rider/trainer patience and resilience.

List three great qualities you admire in a GREAT coach?

Patience, confidence in the rider, ability to change the wording of an instructor based on the rider they are coaching.

Meet #TeamGP : Brittany Heycox

At 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 Brittany Heycox!

20561703_1617317081632542_509062747_nWhen did you first start horse riding?

I first got sat on a horse when I was about 4 and from that moment I loved it! So when I turned 6 I started horse riding lessons at GP and now 12 years on I’m still apart of the GP team and I love it!

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

One of my favourite things about working at GP is the environment everyone is so kind and caring! The staff are all so amazing and the clients are so lovely and everyone really makes it a great environment to work in! 

Who is your favourite GP horse/pony?

Well, I love all our GP horses and ponies but if I had to pick a favourite it would be Zep my favourite pony and Jamokea my favourite horse!

What music gets you motivated for the day?

Something that is loud and I can dance and sing along to always gets me motivated for the day!

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

I’d say my best attribute would be my hardworking attitude and my motivation to get the job done right.

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

I am the youngest sibling of 7, 4 brothers and 2 sisters!

What is one of your fondest horse riding memories?

I have many wonderful horse riding memories, but one of my fondest would have to be when I got my first horse – although I didn’t get as much time with him as I would’ve liked he was still a great first horse!

20561768_1617317091632541_1101202863_nWhat’s one thing you’d like to achieve in your riding or coaching in the next year?

In my coaching I wold like to become more confident and with my riding I want to keep progressing with my little three year old and maybe take her on her first outing.

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

There is a quote I like and I like it because it teaches you that when you fall you must get back up, because falling is all apart of riding.

It is not enough for a person to know how to ride, they must know how to fall.”

List three great qualities you admire in a GREAT coach?

I think a great coach is someone who motivates you to be the best you can be, someone who is patient and someone who is honest.