1st April 2007...
Have been here approx. 5 weeks now training each day and have been to 2 competitions. The first - Zierow a small competition up in the far North/East of Germany, approx. 5 hours drive. Cinderella being totally out of competition season did not do so well in the Grand Prix 64% I think it was 6th place. Although the next day in the GP Special it was much better with her usual highlights, the extensions, piaffe/passage all marking extremely well there were a few 9's being awarded!! We were placed 2nd with 69%.
Lyndal in her first ever competition in Europe scored a 68% in the Intermediare 1 and was just pipped for 1st being awarded 2nd place.
Last Wednesday we headed in another direction, s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. One of the hugest indoor competitions of the season. This was a super show just to even get into. Cinderella was stabled next to Blue HOrs Martine, the bronze and silver medalist from last years WEG. All the top names were there vying for their final selection for the World Cup final in Las Vegas to be held in April.
The Grand Prix for us was quite an ordeal. I made the silly mistake of entering the hall as the crowd was applauding the previous competitor. Cinderella jumped in one swoop approx. 10 metres just connecting with the actual fence of the arena. I think she got the vibe from me that she was to get on with the job!!
Unfortunately due to the overal tension her usual expression was not shown - she just totally withdrew into herself and ended with a score of 62%.
Luckily for us there are some very fair and honest people. As, one horse was basically told to withdraw from the kur due to soundness, so we were the next in line. So, we had another chance to redeem ourselves.
The warming up felt really good, we were given the signal to enter the final arena just before the main arena. Everything was cool until a few moments later the p.a. was turned on and the music pretty loud. There was not another horse insight, we had approx. 2 minutes before we were to be ushered into the main hall when the Princess decided she just didn't want to be there at that particular time and proceeded to jump, leep and I could feel her making a bee line for the exit. Luckily for me I have rather long legs and a strong will to survive, Jurgen Koschel just said 'keep moving, don't stop and when you are given the signal, trot up the alley, just don't stop'. It was great as I came flying up into the hall, the ushers could see we really needed to get in so the horse that was coming out was asked to wait. It really did help, as you could imagine with the hall completely packed with people the atmosphere was extremely electric.
I was extremely proud of Cinderella she got through the whole test really quite well. Super extensions in trot, the piaffe/passage a little conservative, good half passes and not a mistake was made in any flying changes. The crowd really enjoyed our music, which was very well put together by Nicholas Fyffe. A fun mix of Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Michael Jackson which really suits her. We were awarded a score of 66%, our scores ranged from 61 to 70, so who knows. We were really thrilled and it was a great improvement from the previous test. Coming from Australia totally out of show season to something which resembles a 'Rock Concert' for a horse thats a little 'spicy' is I think a pretty big ask.
Kate Taylor, another of Matthew's students, says of Matthew...
"I have been training with Matthew for the past 5 years. Since joining Matthew, ‘Oscar B’ and I have been selected for both State and National dressage squads and succesfully competed up to Inter 1. My young horse ‘World Star’ was purchased in Germany in 2005...Matthew joined us on that trip and found me my dream horse! Matthew is an awesome coach, who is able to get the best out of both horse and rider. When aboard a horse Matthew has amazing feel and timing that makes horses go in the most supple and expresive way (and he makes it look soooo easy!!!). I love the feeling when i get back on my boys after Matthew has ridden them. Matthew demands 100% from you but gives you 120% in return. I have learnt so much through my time with Matthew, he will be greatly missed while overseas. I know I wouldn't be the rider i am today, if it wasn't for Matthew's input and guidence."
Matthew & Lyndal with Mr Jürgen Koschel
The Australian flag enjoying a typical German Spring day!!!
Matthew and Rodney and the much missed sunshine
Matthew , Lyndal and of course Cinderella...
Accompanying Matthew on his trip is Lyndal Oatley. Lyndal has been a full time pupil of Matthew's since early 2000. Through Matthews guidance, he has taken Lyndal to FEI with two horses, her first dressage pairing - HP Anagram, and current ride Weltspiel. "Consistent training with Matthew has been invaluable in understanding and practising the fundamental principles of dressage. Matthew has a good eye for correctness and has the ability to bring out the most in both horse and rider." - Lyndal Oatley
Student Lyndal Oatley pictured above riding 'Weltspiel'
Student Kate Taylor pictured above riding 'Oscar B'