Haonrs­des hap­pı­ness THE PER­FECT BAL­ANCE

Many rid­ers say they couldn’t cope with a part­ner who also rides, but for these loved-up cou­ples a shared pas­sion for horses is a recipe for hap­pi­ness, as HELEN FIRTH dis­cov­ers

NZ Horse & Pony - - Special Feature -

Liv­ing, work­ing and play­ing to­gether would be a chal­lenge for a lot of cou­ples, but show jumpers Craig Sul­li­van and David Collett have ap­par­ently struck the per­fect bal­ance in their re­la­tion­ship. e well-re­spected rid­ers are al­most joined at the hip, run­ning their own eques­trian busi­ness and work­ing all hours to pay the bills. Yet a con­ver­sa­tion with this gor­geously amus­ing cou­ple is pep­pered with peals of laugh­ter, as they mock each other good-na­turedly and nish each other’s sen­tences.

David, who freely ad­mits he is the more ner­vous com­peti­tor of the two, says Craig is such a joker it’s al­most o -putting at shows. “He’ll be yelling ‘ride it like you stole it!’ as I’m com­ing into the rst fence,” he says. “Well, you know, just to lighten things up a bit,” says Craig cheek­ily. “He’s such a show pony, he sits there look­ing pretty, and I’m like, you’ve got to ride the thing.”

Craig (50) and David (28) run Westridge Eques­trian in Kumeu, north west of Auckland, o er­ing break­ing-in, school­ing, jump­ing train­ing and lessons. Craig is a for­mer World Cup show jumper, while David has been com­pet­ing in Pro-am and Grand Prix Su­per Se­ries classes this sea­son. To­gether, they make a su­per team.

“Craig knows how to chal­lenge me to be a bet­ter rider and that’s what I re­ally love,” says David. “He pushes me in such a pos­i­tive way, es­pe­cially if I’m ner­vous. If I’m go­ing into a big class and get­ting wound up, Craig will say ‘What’s the worst thing that can hap­pen – you could have a rail. Who cares?’ He’s al­ways known how to calm me down.” Adds Craig: “Davey tends to over-think and I prob­a­bly don’t think enough. To me, it’s just a fun day out.”

Nat­u­rally, the cou­ple met through horses. David says he had ac­tu­ally known Craig for years as they moved in the same cir­cles. How­ever, for ages they were just

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