I was so lucky to be raised in New Zealand in the beautiful province of Nelson. A childhood of endless summer days, blue skies, golden beaches, mountains and finally ponies. Desperate for a horse from the age of three, my mystified parents finally relented and I was able to start a my riding career when I was ten.
My first pony a very naughty but pretty mare called Wendy Legend who quickly came into line with her determined little rider and won Champion of Champions at the Nelson A and P show amongst many many other successes.
My next horse, John Peel, was a wild and woolly station hack who quickly demonstrated that he had been terribly abused and was terrified of everyone. This created a huge challenge and steep learning curve for my fourteen year old self. Peel and I ‘joined up’ before anyone had heard of Monty Roberts and he became devoted to me and me to him. He remained terrified of everyone else. He competed at national level eventing to great success and taught me more about horses any other horse in my life.
At sixteen I was so lucky to meet Enid Goulter, the greatest horsewoman I have had the privilege to know and the most important influence in my life. She was sixty and I was sixteen and we forged an devoted friendship. I called her Aunt. She was a well known thoroughbred breeder and, in her later life, bred beautiful Arabian horses at Sevenoaks, her heavenly stud in Marlborough. She had a forensic eye for a horse and made it her mission to teach me. To this day, she still sits on my shoulder when I look at horse. I will be grateful to her forever for her gifted eye and her strict, demanding training.
Generous to a fault, Aunt also gave me two exquisitely bred thoroughbred broodmares and drilled me in her principles of breeding. Only the best with the best, a deep analysis of conformation and performance, family strengths, strong motherlines, and assessment of the ability to pass these on through other progeny produced from these families. I bred some beautiful, successful race horses and loved it.
This was interspersed with University, a degree in psychology, Pony Club A certificate, post grad study in Australia and a career before the inevitable travel bug hit me, as it did so many my intrepid fellow Kiwis. Rattling around Europe, all the way to Turkey and back, over many months in a combi van, bought by a group of naive Kiwis in Amsterdam, lead to many wonderful, carefree adventures.
Following that, a stint cooking and living on an estate in the Scottish Highlands led to a chance meeting with the man who was to become my husband. So began my highland adventure.
Married to a farmer and business man, life has been anything but dull. We raised our three wonderful children, Sarah, Rick and Hamish, in this fine part of the world. Years packed with animals, adventures, picnics, fishing, ponies and Pony Club, parties, visitors from all over the world and above all, laughter and fun. When our youngest ,Hamish, went to boarding school, I felt the time was right to try breeding horses again. I went to buy ONE mare from a stud and I found a dozen horses starving in a field.
I bought them all!
This was the foundation of Caledonia Dressage Horses. What a journey it has been.
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