This is a really big part of Ryan's and there are some 70 horses ridden and schooled each day by Rozzie, Heath and the staff. 50% of these horses are for outside clients.
Ryan's specialise in two of the three Olympic disciplines, Eventing and Dressage.
We will have up to 10 Grand Prix horses working every day. We would consider ourselves the least confrontational of all the top Grand Prix stables in Australia. Of course this approach has taken both Rozzie and Heath all their lives to develop. Heath always says that of all the top hard-nosed competitors we represent the "greenie" end of the scale. It is very interesting in that (touch wood) we have almost zero sports injuries and ironically we also train horses to Grand Prix perhaps more quickly than any other stable. At the time of writing, Utopian Cardinal is winning Grand Prix at just 9 years of age and Jarrah R can already work his way through a Grand Prix test without mistake at the tender age of 7. On the other hand Regardez Moi has just won the Intermediate II, the Grand Prix, the Grand Prix Freestyle and the Grand Prix Special at the 2014 Australian Dressage Championships at the grand old age of 19! We acknowledge he is exceptional but all of this without drugs or injections.
The trick to schooling horses this quickly and them lasting this long is to never fatigue them and never do confrontation. As a result of years of involvement in eventing dating back to roads and tracks and steeplechase phases which once used to be part of three day eventing we do have extensive experience with conditioning and surviving stress and fatigue. The secret is, the moment a horse is showing signs of fatigue the lesson finishes and the horse put away until the following day. Even if the lesson has not acheived what the rider set out to do. We definitely do not endorse that you have to finish on a good note. We always have a good vision in our heads of where we want to go but we don't always achieve this. No graph in the world just goes straight up. All graphs have "blips" in them and of course we all feel like we are useless and failures whilst experiencing a blip. Realistically a blip does not mean that you are necessarily loosing ground. Hard to recognise in the actual moment. As a result of this approach we do experience great success with training horses to the highest levels of dressage without incuring injuries and unexpectedly experience horses actually embracing the training and consequently training very quickly.
Of course at the other end of the scale are two and three year old youngsters being broken in. This is a process which is happening continuously here at Ryan's and much of this is done by the staff who are working for Heath and Rozzie. We are very careful to avoid bucking and again any confrontation if we possibly can. The breaking in does sometimes take us longer than the process with professional breakers but it does mean that again we experience no injuries and that even the most nervous of horses end up with a good start.
Campaigning young horses through their early training years and taking them out to their first competitions is probably where the bulk of our business resides. Again we do represent the greenie end of the training scale where confidence and basic paces are the focus. We certainly are different to most dressage stables in that we put little worth in big fancy trots and canters in these early stages. We do feel that right from the start clarity of understanding, quietness, confidence and forward are the essence of starting the journey toward collection. Collection is the pathway to advanced training. Collection is also the pathway to true extension. So expansion and big paces are not something we train until later in the journey to Grand Prix. We certainly start off a lot of young horses for clients and the horses being quiet and happy and able to take the local competitions in their stride is the aim. Like all humans, we do enjoy winning however we try and not let that aspect down-grade any of these considerations.
There is a small population of horses in residence at Ryan's who are here to start some of the more advanced movements. Sometimes just getting the flying changes started or encouraging a horse to do clean flying changes is a common reason for horses here. We have a very good system of starting the piaffe and passage which is gentle and fairly fool-proof and so again we do have horses in residence specifically to learn those movements. Similarly canter pirouettes are a movement which we have a very clear system which works well. There is also a horse or two here in "boot-camp" whilst their Mum and Dad have gone on holidays!
We always have a number of stallions in training. Of course some of these stallions are owned by us and also stand at stud. As a result we do have alot of experience in this aspect and we always have a couple of stallions being schooled for outside clients. Some of these stallions do spend considerable time here whilst being campaigned and will sometimes stand at stud here whilst being schooled.
We always have a selection of young horses which have been schooled and are here for sale. We also have horses from every spectrum (advanced to newly broken) owned by outside clients who are here being schooled also for sale.
In terms of facilities, we are very fortunate to have a really beautiful and workman-like indoor school. The surface is perhaps the best in Australia being a mix of local sand and fibretech. This privides a non-slip surface with minimal concussion and yet the horses hooves do stay on top of the surface so that the actual shoes can almost always still be seen. We are very nervous about deep surfaces. This surface is watered and graded every day. We also have a wonderful state of the art horse walker, round yard, 30 stables, turnout paddocks and vet crushes.
Standard rates are $77 per day (at time of printing):
- Schooling each day
- Stables being cleaned out and fresh sawdust each morning
Extra costs include:
- Entry fees
- Transport to and from competitions
- Veterinary costs (hopefully none)
- Any special dietary requirements
Developing eventers for the very top has always been an aspect of Ryan's. Certainly Heath is still campaigning at 3* and 4* levels and some of the staff are specialist eventers. We would have at any one time some 3 or 4 advanced eventers on the competition circuit. We would ordinarily have some 12 to 15 young horses in work competing and moving through the grades towards the top levels. We are very used to taking youngsters who have never jumped in their lives and guiding them through a program which will end up at the top. Again we are very fortunate in the fact that we have no horses with sports injuries. This is a result of decades of experience in the eventing discipline and the care we take with our facilities.
All of the flatwork is done in our indoor school which has perhaps the best surface in Australia. When it is raining or we are running particularly late we will do our showjumping in the indoor school. We do have an outside showjumping arena with a thick kikuyu grass surface. We also have a state of the art mini cross country course. All of the fences revolve around a state of the art water fence which has fences designed to encourage the total beginner to become confident in water right through to fences that are indeed tough enough so as to be able to compete in Olympic trials. The footing on the cross country is largely a deep matting of the grass kikuyu.
We do from time to time have overseas teams who base and train with us.
The costs for eventing training are the same as for the costs of dressage training (as above).