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 trained her Three Star Eventer Hey Mish to Grand Prix Dressage. Sappho and Hey Mish would compete 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. At the time of writing Sappho has done most of the work on Remember Me (Regardez Moi x Marge) who is owned and ridden by Jess Clark. Remember Me is just 7 years of age and very happily and confidently will work his way through all the Grand Prix work in a baby way on a daily basis. Of course this ride will primarily be with Jess Clark in the near future and it will be Sappho's job to help promote that.
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 is 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 or fresh semen collection 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.
2017 looks like being a big year for Sappho.
- Sappho has SR Penhaligon (Pia) which is a 7 year old chestnut mare bred by Sappho. This mare is Eventing bred and is by Promise R out of a straight thoroughbred mare Prozac who was a full sister to True Blue Toozak who won the 2003 Adelaide 4* with Boyd Martin in the saddle. Pia has already won at CNC 1* level. Pia will probably start 2* before the end of the year and is on a program heading towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
- Desert Storm is a diminutive black 8 year old stallion standing 15.1hh. He actually has the most amazing dressage breeding and should stand 17.1hh! He carries Donnerhall bloodlines, Lauries Crusader, Florestan, Weltmyer and Rubenstein. We do not understand where his jumping prowess comes from however he is more than impressive over a fence and he to is looking very exciting at 1* level. Desert Storm is also a spectacular dressage horse and with Sappho in the saddle is winning at official Medium level dressage and already is showing huge talent for piaffe, passage, canter pirouettes and one time flying changes!
- Windjana Romanette (Liv) who is an 8 year old chestnut mare belonging to Edna and Jonah Bevan. Liv is by Blue Hors Romanov which is state of the art pure dressage out of a Salute mare. Initially Liv was pure dressage and she has lots of talent but in a nut shell she found it boring and so switched to Eventing. Liv loves eventing and certainly has an affinity with going up into the air over jumps. Currently she is competing in the 105cm class and showing every indication of moving up into 1* this year. The owners Edna and Jonah are great supporters but do have a heart attack each time their specially bred dressage mare goes up a grade in Eventing.
- Barnaby is a 5 year old Bay thoroughbred 16.3hh gelding who is currently competing at 80cm Eventing. Barnaby has been known to gallop off in the wrong direction on the cross country course with Sappho whispering not very nice things in his ear! Barnaby has wonderful dressage paces, amazing jumping talent and is super dooper careful over fences. He can gallop. This is Sappho's individual Gold medal horse of the future once they sort a few differences out.
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.