Making it Happen–David & Amanda Shoobridge

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David Shoobridge and OO Seven (Julie Wilson photo). David Shoobridge and OO Seven (Julie Wilson photo).
The world of dressage is changing at such a quick rate. Gone are the days that only a few horse and rider combinations dominate the podium. This is not only at the international level but also at the national level. Across the globe there are now at least half a dozen combinations that could take the blue ribbon. Australia is no different!

In the last couple of years a number of riders have moved from the shadows into the limelight. Two such riders are Amanda and David Shoobridge. While doing some research on this couple, I became exhausted just thinking of the logistics to make it all happen. They not only compete at an elite level but they also own and run one of Australia's most successful studs, Revelwood, which includes embryo transfer, fresh, chilled and frozen semen services, training, competing and sales.

And to top it of they now have a two year old daughter which I'm sure needs quite a bit of attention as well. Amanda is a qualified veterinarian and David has a degree in business. The first foal bred at Revelwood Stud was in 1997. Amanda bought a mare in foal and was bitten by the breeding bug! The business is now 15 years old with major growth and developments over the last few years. David is obviously proud of their achievements to date.

"When we moved to our Somersby property in 2002, we had no idea we would grow to the size (& diversity) we have today. We constantly look at our business model and make adjustments accordingly. It's not easy to make a living in the sport horse industry so our attention over the developing years was always to be prepared to adapt with change and market demands."

It's always interesting to know how these sorts of partnerships started.

"Amanda and I met in 1998 when I was about to start second year Bachelor of Business and Amanda was about to start first year vet science," said David.

"We both were competing at a warmblood show and realised we both had young stallions by the same sire and wanted to check out each others horses."

David, who's known for his big smile flashed his pearly whites and laughed, "we ended up checking out each other instead!"

Fourteen years later, they are still competing but at a very different level - Amanda and the beautiful chestnut stallion Ferrero Rocher (Florestan I / St Pr St Waimea) are placing in most small tour competitions and David on OO Seven (Rubinstein/Gelbria) has just won the Grand Prix Freestyle at the NSW Championships with a score of 72.575%.

In just a month's time both these horses will be competing at the Saddleworld Australian Dressage Championships. They will also have the next generation coming through. The Ferrero Rocher daughter, Revelwood Florentine, will be competing as well as a number of other horses by one of the seven stallions they have standing at stud.

Amanda and Ferrero Rocher. Amanda and Ferrero Rocher.

As Ferrero Rocher has always been one of my favourite stallions, I wanted to find out a bit more about him. From Amanda's response I have a feeling that she hasn't lost that wonderful 'teenage love' for horses - she has such a great energy.

"Choc (Ferrero Rocher) is such a dude. He's a funny character and I love him to bits. I have never had a horse that tries so hard all the time - it's great! He always steps up to the mark at comps and never lets me down. His favourite is to come into a packed indoor arena with the noisy crowd clapping. He is so pumped up, he knows all eyes are on him and he just loves it! He is definitely 'my' horse. He likes to make a point of it by not letting anyone else put his bridle on but me which frustrates David no end! He can do all the Inter 2/ GP moves (although the 1s are still a work in progress!) but its just trying to put it all together! I hope to have an Inter II start by the end of the year."

David's ride, OO Seven (what a great name), is currently blitzing most horse and rider combinations in the Big Tour competitions.

"OO Seven has been an amazing opportunity for me as a competition horse and also for Revelwood as a breeding stallion. When we first got him there was no thought of competing Grand Prix. He'd been very successful in Europe as a small tour horse and more recently had a GP start but really his career was mainly small tour. We did quite well in the small tour and thought it was time to try the Grand Prix. When you have an opportunity such as a horse at this level, you never know how long you have... you just can't take anything for granted! We hope to have a successful couple of years in GP... That's the goal! I have learned an immense amount from him as he's the first horse I have ridden at this level. What a way to learn the ropes!"

It will be interesting to see the results at the Nationals. When you own a stud like Revelwood, events like the Saddleworld Australian Dressage Championships are very important.

"We get a real buzz out of seeing horses we have bred, grown or produced, qualify for such an event," explains Amanda.

"We will definitely be looking at the program to see what Revelwood horses or horses by our stallions have qualified. It's a super feeling when we do a comparison to other breeders and note that we might have the largest selection of horses from one breeder or one stallion. We see this as a measure of success as we don't actually breed a huge number of horses each year... There are many breeders who breed way more foals than we do.... we just do our best to ensure the quality is as high as possible."

I too will be very interested to see how this powerhouse of a couple perform at the Saddleworld Australian Dressage Championships. Come along for the ride!

Scott Pollock

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