Name: Sharon Slater
Lives: Pitt Town, NSW
Occupation: Riding Coach
- What Age did you start riding? At about age 13, I worked at a local riding school, Broadacres in WA on weekends in return for rides on the school horses. At age 16 I became full time riding and teaching there for about 9 years. At the same time, I started competing in show jumping events from the age of 17.
- Who Introduced you to riding? My older sister, Chris Nott (Scott) worked at El Caballo Blanco in WA riding the Andalusian horses for several years. This was my first introduction to horses. She also acquired my first pony for me when I was 12.
- Tell us about your first horse. A grey 14hh ex riding school horse called Misty with a mind of his own! My sister Chris leased him for me. He didn’t like to leave his friends so if I wanted to ride him, I would lead him for about half a mile down the road and he would then be happy for me to ride him home!
- Which horse is your current star? I am currently riding an imported Heartbreaker mare called CP Aprilla whom we own with George Sanna. Charles Blinkworth originally imported her from Holland as a 5yo approximately 9 years ago. She won the Australian Championships in 2010 with George Sanna before returning to Europe to campaign with George. After some initial success, she sustained an injury and eventually returned to Oz. She is a brave and careful mare but it took quite a while for me to ride her in the bigger classes as she can be a bit of a handful at times!
- Do you have any future stars? We have several up and coming young ones that have some interesting breeding, a bit early though to predict any stars! Though a colt by Ulixes is my favourite.
- Highlights? I have been lucky to have some nice horses in my early days like Mowty who won my first two world cups and then Jox who, I think won seven world cups and the Inaugural Hermes Grand Prix held at Moore Park in the late 90’s. After Jox was sold at the start of 98, I had a break from competition at that level for about 12 years until CP Ulixes came along. Ulixes won 2 and had 2 second placings from 6 World Cup starts in his first season. He also won NSW jumping horse of the year for 2012 and 2013 before retiring through injury. I will always be grateful for him taking me back to that level of competition. I think competing in State and National teams is also a highlight.
- What do you look for in horse?Coming from a Thoroughbred background, I like athletic looking horses that are not too big or heavy. Naturally uphill and a great canter are also nice. I think one thing I have learned over the years is that jumpers come in all shapes and sizes but a clever brain and big heart are essential.
- Which piece of gear can’t you leave home without? Ice boots for the horses after jumping. When we are staying away, we also take the Zamar ice machine along, which makes icing, really simple.
- How do you prepare your horse for a big competition? Aprilla is an experienced horse now and doesn’t need a lot of jumping between shows. I think with the length and speed of modern courses we need to focus on fitness of the horse to do the job so I try not to let her get too heavy. I also like to keep her relaxed in the lead up to competitions.
- Describe what is important for your warm up? I hate being in a rush. I like to get into the warm up early and know who is in front of me. Then I can do a little bit and take a break before jumping the final couple of fences.
- What do you focus on when walking the course? I guess that is different depending on what horse/rider you might be walking for. I like to spend as much time as I can out there, usually walking the course twice. I want to see what every fence is going to look like when I come around the corner to it. I also like to have a really good plan about how I am going to ride the various distances.
- Who is your international role model? Probably got to say Penelope Leprevost.
- Which is your favourite horse of all time? I loved Hickstead. I think Fibonacci would be pretty cool to ride.
- Tell us a few things we don’t know about you? I competed and trained Quarter horses for performance events in my Younger days. I like watching the Boxing.
- Who are your sponsors?
Blue Chip Feeds in WA,
On Tyte Magnetic stirrups
Penelope Store Australia