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Farewell Wunders Tag - Why both HORSES and MEN sometimes don't work out as hoped...

Farewell Wunders Tag - Why both HORSES and MEN sometimes don't work out as hoped...

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Wunder's Tag has a new home - he's leaving in a jet plane today, bound for New York instead of New Zealand. I know this will disappoint a few people back home who really wanted to get to meet him, so I thought a blog was in order!

Erin Mortimer and I decided to purchase "Wookie" at Christmas time 2011. New Zealand had just qualified a team for London Olympics but was short of qualified horses to make the team. It seemed an opportunity to good to turn down, but looking around internationally there were no horses that may have been capable that were within our budget - till Carl Hester told me of Wookie. He was "cheap" by international standards and had some talent for sure but lacked training and had no international experience. I flew to the UK, tried him a few days and got him vetted, it was a very long shot but we thought we would give it a go.

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Seville - Southern Spain's Great City

Seville - Southern Spain's Great City

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

I thought I would tell you about another great city in Spain. Over the past year my travels in search of a horse have taken me to many great places in Spain - Madrid, Barcelona, Toledo, Caceres, Salamanca, Segovia and Valencia to name a few. However it is only recently I ventured further south to Andalusia to the city of Seville.

My first thoughts on Seville as I caught a taxi from the train station to my hotel was just how much like Los Angeles it was on the main roads thru the city - huge palm trees were everywhere and big mansions just like in the Beverly Hills. Soon however I was seeing the most incredible Muslim / Arabic influences in the buildings and I had to remember that Spain isn't just olive trees and Sangria, it has a rich history that has been shaped by the Romans, Moors, Iberians, Arabs, Jews and Christians alike.

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Scotland - ISES Conference Number 5

Scotland - ISES Conference Number 5

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Well in the end I was home for only about two weeks of the New Zealand winter before hitting the road again. I had a few more loose ends to sort in Europe, but I was so glad I got a couple of weeks at home with my folks and my wonderful young horses. I also needed to chop a bit of dead wood when home so I could move on with some new plans in life! So after putting away my axe I boarded yet another jet and heading back "Up Over" from "Down Under".

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Furthering my education - the Associate Diploma in Equitation Science

Furthering my education - the Associate Diploma in Equitation Science

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
"We can never really know what it is to be a horse. Our best hope is to be as objective as possible and to balance our emotional attachment to the horse with our tradition of rational enquiry. To do this, we need to redefine the way that we think about the horse using sciences of behaviour"

Dr Andrew McLean

Those who have followed my career over the last ten years or so will have seen a dramatic improvement in my riding, training and coaching abilities - due almost entirely to the skills I have learnt from Dr Andrew McLean of the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre in Clonbinane, Victoria. I met Andrew about 6 years ago when faced with the talented but often opinionated stallion Landioso. I had asked for help from many people, all to no avail, but it was Andrew who single handedly helped me understand how horses learn and how deficiencies in the negatively reinforced signals of rein and leg pressure can cause conflict behaviours. My introduction to the science behind how horses learn - termed "Learning Theory" had begun. The rest, as they say, is history.

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Drummeen Lodge - Tragedy, Love and Laughter in Northern Ireland

Drummeen Lodge - Tragedy, Love and Laughter in Northern Ireland

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My travels have taken me many times around the globe with horses, but Drummeen Lodge near Londonderry in Northern Ireland is a stable I have returned to many times in the last 15 years since my first unforgettable visit there....

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Barcelona - It was the first time that we met...

Barcelona - It was the first time that we met...

Monday, June 18, 2012
Barcelona! It was the first time that we met
Barcelona! How can I forget
The moment that you stepped into the room

You took my breath away

One of the highlights of living in Spain for a few months was to get to do some sightseeing in the wonderful city of Barcelona - of all the cities in the world I have been to, "Barce" has to be right up at the top as a firm favourite. The words above are from the Freddie Mercury song produced for the Olympic Games in Barcelona - and they pretty much sum it up!

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Anzac Day 2012 - Gallipoli, Turkey

Anzac Day 2012 - Gallipoli, Turkey

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

I'm thinking everyone must have a "Bucket List" these days huh? You know what I mean - the list of things you wish to tick off before you depart this world? Well for as long as I can remember, visiting Gallipoli has been on my bucket list. My great grandfather fought at Gallipoli and my dear Poppa was a POW in Egypt in WW2. I remember going to Anzac parades as a child and ever since then Anzac Day has been a very special day for me and I have hardly ever missed a service, no matter where in NZ or the world I have been on 25th of April each year. Being in Europe in April this year I decided that 2012 would be the time to go to Gallipoli and fulfil my dream of seeing and experiencing Anzac Day there for myself.

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Valencia - a geography and history lesson for you!

Valencia - a geography and history lesson for you!

Friday, April 20, 2012

After the not-so-happy time we had at the show Michelle and I got in the Wookie van and high-tailed it the hell out of Toledo! We decided instead of driving straight back to Barcelona we would stop about half way and sightsee for a day or two in Valencia.

A good friend of ours from a previous visit - Carmen - was there to greet us and be our tour guide. She found us fabulous stables to put Wookie in - and he was the star attraction - a big ginger Hanoverian amongst all the Spanish horses. The stable manager Vicente swapped a ride on Wookie for two nights of stabling - I didn't refuse the offer. I also did an impromptu demonstration on him at lunchtime in front of the restaurant there - we drew quite a crowd!

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