From Little Things- An update blog from Fiona September 17 2018
Nearly two years ago now I received a call from a lady in Hobart who had somehow heard around the traps that I was working with and enjoyed coaching people with standarbreds. This lady won brownie points from me on two counts, one – she appeared to be on of those fantastic people who just found a way to get things done, and two – she was based in Tasmania! As a born and bred Tasmanian I’m always keen to visit my home state.
Sue Streit explained the state based standardbredassociation had faced challenges all too familiar to small committees and many of the core group were struggling to find the time and/or enthusiasm to continue running shows and events. However, Sue was involved in the local racing scene and had heard a whisper the good folk at TasRacing were looking to support some life after racing activities. Not one to leave an opportunity hanging Sue set about bringing me to Tasmania once every two months to coach. We ran Saturday clinics for those with standardbreds in the North with the assistance of MareePayne and Sunday clinics in the South.
Participants with standardbreds were invited to attend completely free of charge. We had a wonderful variety of participants turn up right from the start. We had horses competing very successfully on the local show scene through to people with horses who hadn’t been backed yet coming for an outing. We had riders who’d been gung ho riders in their younger years (including some I’d hunted with as a teenager!) who’d decided to try a more sedate horse. We had riders who were returning to riding or even starting riding as an adult. The over-riding (pun intended) feel Sue, Maree and myself wanted to have was one of total inclusion and support, regardless of the skill level of the participant.
Let’s fast-forward to now. TasRacing appointed the fabulous Dr Annie Knox as their welfare officer at the beginning of 2018. I now travel to coach one weekend a month and demand is so great we’ve involved local coaches as well. The Off The Track program now includes both thoroughbreds and standardbreds. Most weekends there is an Off The Track event covering things like trail riding, backing standardbreds, lectures in transitioning both breeds from racehorses to pleasure horses as well as dressage and jumping lessons. All of these events are fully sponsored by TasRacing, giving riders the confidence to take on an ex-racehorse with the knowledge they’ll have ongoing assistance.
The culture of inclusion and support continues and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this program. I’ve had the pleasure of watching people go from starting their riding journey with their horse to enjoying them in competition, trail riding and even hunting. Watching these combinations grow in skill and confidence has been an absolute joy. Even better has been watching people create new friendships and see the happy updates of a fun ride out or a catch up at a competition.
This program, fully funded and supported by TasRacinghas made a huge difference to both riders and horses. Each Australian state racing body now has active Off The Track programs running, largely supporting re-trainers and offering sponsorships for competitions. The way TasRacing has approached their life after racing program is different to other states in some ways but it 100% works. The program is almost unrecognisable from our humble beginnings now but the important things haven’t changed!
If you’re in Tasmania and have an off the track horse from either harness or galloping background come and join us – you can find information at offthetracktas.com.au, or the Facebook page. I’d love to see you there!
Meet our second sponsored rider, Fiona! August 02 2018Hi! My name’s Fiona and I’m super excited to be sharing my blog with new and old Rubenesque Rider followers!
To be honest, I still have to pinch myself when I say “I’m a Rubenesque Rider sponsored rider”. I am firstly, very fortunate to be sponsored by such a great company. Secondly, I can’t believe I actually applied to become a sponsored rider!
I was sitting at home one night after a busy day teaching and happened upon the application to become a sponsored rider. I very nearly flicked over the Facebook post but something made me stop and think. Maybe it was the second glass of wine I was on? I read through the criteria and went ‘that sounds a bit like me’. My next thought was ‘I can’t put myself out there like that’, followed by ‘why the hell not?!’ Remember… second glass of wine.
As I filled in the basic application details I was filled with the standard ‘self-doubt’ protocol… ‘what will people think’, ‘people will know I’m overweight’, ‘I’m not out competing’, and on it went. Who was I kidding?! People have eyes! It’s not like my weight is a secret. Sure, I can feel bad about it. Sure, I’m trying to be lighter, but the fact remains… at this point in time I’m not popping into mainstream saddlery shops and picking up a size 12 off the rack. If we’re going to be really honest, size 12 jods for me is a pipe dream anyway!
I’m not out competing because I spend most of my time coaching and training retired harness racing horses through the Harness Racing Victoria HERO program. I just love transferring these horses to a ridden life and moving them onto people who may not have realised what a great breed the standardbred is!
So, I filled in the application. I answered honestly and explained I’m a coach working with riders every day who’ve often returned to riding as older riders whose bodies have changed shape over time and more often, after children. Riders who’ve bodies have changed and maybe don’t work they way they remember them working. These riders still want to be able to purchase comfortable, suitable clothing to enjoy their riding in. I’m afraid I may have even become a little ‘ranty’ about my passion for working with these fantastic women, two glasses of wine remember! Anyway, imagine my surprise when I received an offer to become a sponsored rider!
As a small business owner I’ve always been passionate about supporting other small businesses. It’s even better when you actually like the people you’re dealing with! The crew at Rubunesque Rider have been amazing! So much support (pun intended!) and knowledge to help me find the right clothes for me and people I recommend to them.
I look forward to working with them over the next twelve months. I look forward to writing more blogs and hearing from you all on what sort of topics you’d like me to cover. I also look forward to ordering some more jods for myself – I’ve managed to rip two pairs of my favourite fleece jods in the last week (my own silly fault, not the jods fault!)
and since I’m working mostly in Gordon, Victoria at the moment I NEED fleece lined jods!
Meet One Of Our Sponsored Riders- Pam August 02 2018
Two years ago, after quite a big break from horses, and having health issues, I decided to get back into riding. Having Hashimoto’s disease, which attacks my thyroid, I am a larger rider and I found it difficult to find equestrian clothing to fit me that were not only comfortable, but stylish too. I heard about the brand Fuller Fillies from a friend, but with their base being the UK, the postage costs were a killer, then I found Rubenesque Rider, and have been a customer ever since!
Fuller Fillies Show Boot Review September 18 2012
Wondering what the Fuller Fillies Show boot is like? Here's a wonderful, honest review that should go a long way to answering a lot of your questions.
Here's an interesting article about the lengths one company has gone to in order to help you 'control your curves'!http://www.ridingmagazine.com/riding_onlinemag/articles/2009_06/smartpak.htm