Sappho joined the Ryan team in 2006 as a young SA rider who had enjoyed Pony Club and done some work experience at local riding clubs and also with some well known identities including Megan Jones. Sappho has always had as her goal to make the Australian Olympic Team in the Eventing discipline. Sappho has come from a very different background, being fluent in the languages of French, Chinese (Mandarin) and of course English. Sappho in an earlier life was very musical and has featured in public performances playing the cello. Since being with the Ryans Sappho has worked her way up through the grades in the Eventing discipline to FEI Three Star level. Sappho is also training seriously in the dressage discipline and both her horses Bonza Troy (photo on left) and Hey Mish are currently competing at Medium level dressage.
Update: Right now we are updating these profiles and Hey Mish has surpassed all expectations in the dressage discipline and today is a Grand Prix dressage horse as well as a 3* eventer. In actual fact we do believe that Sappho and Hey Mish is the only combination in the world that have this year (2014) competed in a Grand Prix dressage class (CDI) one weekend and then the following weekend competed at a CIC One Day Event at 3* level. Just maybe no-one has ever done that before in the world!
Sappho has developed into a very clever trainer with exceptional talent in being able to read a horse and encourage co-operation. Sappho will ride up to 10 horses a day and will compete most weekends. As a jump rider Sappho is particularly quiet and consistently encourages her young horses to jump clear in the showjumping. In the cross country again Sappho is very clever at instilling confidence and recording clear rounds. Sappho was born with a wonderful talent of recognising distances to fences whether they be showjumping or cross country and this allows her to be very smooth and indeed quite fast cross country. Sappho is a very accurate jump rider. Sappho is also very interested in the Advanced dressage work and is particularly clever at introducing young horses to piaffe and passage.
In 2008 at the end of March Sappho accompanied Rozzie and Donna Carrera as groom to Holland to compete in the World Cup Dressage Final at s'Hertogenbosch. Rozzie went on from there to be travelling reserve for the Australian Olympic Dressage Team at Beijing China in mid August, and again Sappho took on the responsibility of travelling with Donna Carrera and looking after her.
Sappho is heavily involved with the breeding programme at the Ryans. She has been in times gone past, largely responsible for maintaining accurate mare records and also for organising the day to day management of follicle testing, preg testing, foaling, weaning and sale preparations. Sappho is also very competent in handling the stallions during live cover procedures which is a very serious responsibility. Probably more than anyone else at Ryans Sappho knows each mare and youngster by sight and can recite off the top of her head their breeding. Sappho has her own little breeding programme in place. In actual fact it is bigger than Ben Hur and not such a "little" breeding programme. Some of Sappho's mares are straight Dressage mares carrying the JIVE MAGIC and REGARDEZ MOI bloodlines and so far she seems to have been very astute in organising which mares go to which stallions and the resulting progeny demanding premium prices. Sappho also has her own little gamble going where she has invested in eventing mares with a view to producing a supply of superior eventing horses for herself to ride in competition and also with a view and an educated guess that premium eventing stock in the near future are going to become very valuable.
Sappho is a very hard worker, naturally bossy and in reality holds down a managing position here at Ryans. Sappho has sat and passed her NCAS Level I exams and so is a qualified Riding Instructor. Sappho is an invaluable member of the Ryans team.
Photo on left: Sappho with a broken leg having fallen off at the Scone ODE on the 13th March 2011. From left to right in the background Hazel Shannon, Gordon Pratt and Emma Armstrong, all trying to cheer Sappho up. Difficult to do considering no weight bearing for 6 weeks and no riding for 12 weeks!
Ironically the photo below is just seconds before the break occurred. Sappho is riding Hey Mish and jumping fantastically just to fall some 10 metres afterwards by slipping over on wet ground.