My girl and me

These dy­namic mother-daugh­ter duos each share a love of horses and a very spe­cial re­la­tion­ship, as HE­LEN FIRTH dis­cov­ers

NZ Horse & Pony - - In This Issue -

Cel­e­brat­ing Mother’s Day this month, we meet some dy­namic mother-daugh­ter duos who each share a love of horses and a very spe­cial re­la­tion­ship

There’s no doubt that many of our coun­try’s top rid­ers ap­pear to be born, not made, hav­ing had the luck to land in an eques­trian fam­ily. In par­tic­u­lar, hav­ing a horsey mum who’ll give you lessons on the lunge or keep your pony in work while you’re busy gain­ing an ed­u­ca­tion is in­valu­able, as these top rid­ers de­scribe.

But is it all re­ally fun and games when you and your mum share not only an ad­dress but the same sport too? For a start, teach­ing one’s own chil­dren can be chal­leng­ing at best. And how do horsey mums bal­ance the needs of other, non-horsey, sib­lings?

These moth­ers and daugh­ters have each been re­mark­ably suc­cess­ful in their cho­sen dis­ci­plines and all have an un­shake­able bond strength­ened by their shared pas­sion for horses.

was too dis­tracted. These days she gets much more wor­ried. “I do get quite ill,” con­fesses Hazel. “I’m thrilled that she is event­ing be­cause of the huge pas­sion that I have for the sport, but at the same time it’s tainted with this aw­ful ‘what if?’. You have to re­ally work hard at for­get­ting that, be­cause it would stop any kind of en­joy­ment.” Another thing Hazel ad­mits to be­ing slightly ner­vous about was watch­ing Ginny trun­dle off be­hind the wheel of her pre­cious truck for the first time. “That was quite some­thing.”

While Hazel was there with Ginny from the be­gin­ning, she didn’t ever re­ally give her for­mal lessons. They both trained with the same coaches – Co­ralie Wil­liams on the flat and Kirstin Kelly for jump­ing – and say they ride in a sim­i­lar style. “Some­times I would ask Mum to give me a hand if I was strug­gling with some­thing, although I would never say she was my in­struc­tor as such,” re­calls Ginny. “But we walked cour­ses and did ev­ery­thing to­gether, so I def­i­nitely learned a lot off her.”

The amount of time they spent with each other ob­vi­ously brought the mother and daugh­ter closer to­gether, which Hazel ad­mits was a lit­tle dif­fi­cult with her other chil­dren. “When they were lit­tle, they all came to the horse tri­als, and that was fine, but later it was tricky. Steph still wanted to come with us, but An­drew des­per­ately didn’t want to. I think in the and easy. “She was so self-dis­ci­plined with the horses I would ac­tu­ally tell her to take a day off school and do some­thing wild,” laughs Hazel.

“We hon­estly never ar­gued, even all through those aw­ful teenage years, be­cause I was so busy do­ing my own thing. If I could help, great, and if not, then she was so in­de­pen­dent.”

I see lots of par­ents putting so much pres­sure on their kids, but Mum never pushed me.”

end he re­sented it, be­cause it was some­thing Ginny was re­ally good at and got lots of at­ten­tion for do­ing and that to­tally turned him off. He ended up cy­cling for his school and hav­ing week­ends away cy­cling with Bryan.”

Hazel says there have been a few speed bumps be­tween the pair over the years, although Ginny was a very driven child

“I never felt any pres­sure to do well,” says Ginny. “I see lots of par­ents putting so much pres­sure on their kids, but Mum never pushed me to go up a level and it was never about win­ning.”

The first rocky patch came when Ginny left home and headed to univer­sity (she has a de­gree in ge­net­ics).

“There was an adapt­ing pe­riod,” says

Hazel tact­fully. “Be­cause we weren’t to­gether all the time as we had been, we rubbed against each other for a wee bit.”

The Thomp­son fam­ily re­cently moved to a 130-acre farm at Kauka­pakapa, along with Hazel’s par­ents, who have al­ways taken a great in­ter­est in Ginny’s rid­ing and live in a sec­ond house on the prop­erty. It’s a stun­ning ru­ral out­look from the top of the hill, but the place wasn’t set up for horses and Hazel is thank­ful her hus­band came from a farm­ing back­ground, as he has been busy fenc­ing, and helped build the arena and barn. For the first time in their lives, Ginny and Hazel have cov­ered yards. “It’s just par­adise,” says Ginny.

Hazel, how­ever, didn’t have quite such fond feel­ings for the prop­erty at first. “The day we moved here, Ginny was in Eng­land, and I had all the horses and other an­i­mals to move, with no fenc­ing and ev­ery­thing be­hind tape, in the mid­dle of a very wet Au­gust – I can’t de­scribe how aw­ful that was. The horses were un­fa­mil­iar with ev­ery­thing and they were scared, so even bring­ing them in from their pad­docks was like tak­ing your life in your hands.

“We didn’t even have any­where to tie them up – it was just huge amounts of work and I hated it!”

The ad­di­tion of groom Eil­ish Neal to the team has been life-chang­ing for mother and daugh­ter; es­pe­cially as Hazel ad­mits she was be­gin­ning to re­sent her role as un­paid helper.

These days, she still loves watch­ing Ginny’s lessons and squad train­ing, but is care­ful about voic­ing her opin­ion. “It wasn’t hard when she was younger, but she doesn’t want to hear what I’ve got to say now,” laughs Hazel. “Yes,” ad­mits Ginny. “We do ar­gue, although I try not to.”

Ginny, how­ever, is very re­spect­ful when it comes to her mother’s eye for a horse and her skill at start­ing young­sters. “She’s got a lot more pa­tience than I do.” And Hazel cred­its her daugh­ter’s in­cred­i­ble eye for a stride. “She’s a real nat­u­ral over fences and she has buck­et­loads more guts than me.”

Hazel with Remi and Ginny with Harry (Hen­ton Ar­mani); a shared pas­sion for event­ing

ABOVE AND CEN­TRE Ginny cel­e­brated the big­gest win of her ca­reer in De­cem­ber with the Puhinui CCI3* ti­tle

RIGHT en­joy­ing a hill gal­lop on Steel Magnolia. FAR RIGHT The ad­di­tion of groom Eil­ish Neal to the team has been life- chang­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.