This blog is about how I feel when… I drink a Portuguese coffee…

I watch a Horseball match..which is pretty much polo on crack!

I am trapped in a room listening to a child play the recorder…

But in terms of a  horseriders feelings and emotions, these are defined very much by how the ride went that day…

I was thinking that I feel very sorry for the husbands/wives/girlfriends/dogs…etc etc, of horsey people, as after a bad ride they behave much like a football fan who has just lost the match of the season…

The other reason I feel sorry for the significant others, is they are constantly getting left behind….
20140617-183811-67091143.jpgHAVE YOU EVER seen a horse person walking at a normal speed. Horse people walk like wind up toys, and can often be seen marching off in different directions, finding it extremely difficult to actually walk as a pair with anyone!

Horses emotions, on the other hand, are dominated by two things….herd instinct, and their STOMACH….

When a rider says the horse is having a bad day, chances are it is either feed time, OR, the rider is having a bad day and of course it’s the horses fault! lol

Just remember…riding is a game of patience, and just like HUMANS, everyone has their days, and their….


Photos above courtesy of Coudelaria Correia de Mendonça


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20140617-183819-67099369.jpgSo my journey began on an Australian cattle farm, that turned into an Avocado farm, but that for me was always about the horses on the property… and of course the dogs.

I grew up with a pointer named Beron, but the top dog of my life is my (now my mum’s) Weimaraner Maddie (Midori), who is both wickedly clever and knowingly beautiful!

The avocado farm today is run by my sister Katrina and her GROWING family, but my mum is still top dog I’m sure, and has stayed on to watch over the farm as she enjoys training her imported Lusitano ALANCELOT!


The farm will always be my home, it is the place where I learnt to ride, and to dream!,

The Bluestone hut is still standing, the place that started it all…..

But I  have found a home in Portugal, and when people ask me if I am ever lonely i answer a definite no! I think that loneliness is a state of mind, just like boredom is inherent in boring people!

I have my two best friends in the world, training and working with me everyday, and with technology today I actually feel that my relationship with my mother in particular is as strong as ever.

Adopting the role of INTERNET TRAINER, I speak to my mum via Skype every night, and I find the conversations to be ALOT more rewarding than the ones you have when you are at home.

“dinner’s ready…did you get the mail?…. has been replaced by actually sit down, focused, in-depth discussions about my training, my life, her life, the farm etc…

People say technology has made us distant, but I would argue that it actually connects us and makes us more aware of this time, and more prepared to use it effectively!

So my journey in Portugal is never lonely, and the people I have met here have been exciting, passionate, hysterical, and talented, sometimes all at once!

The Portuguese mum, for example, of which I now have several, are like a cross between Martha Stewart and Donna hay, and I realised very early on why so many grown men still live with mummy!

My Portuguese journey is as much about the TRAINING as it is the horses, and so here is where my journey began, my very first classical training article, as I began my riding life in Portugal with the soon to be Olympian Gonçalo Carvalho Conchinhas.

Classical training…the beginning, click here

Photos above courtesy of Coudelaria Correia de Mendonça


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Making the change!

20140617-211513-76513362.jpgChange is something that can be both scary, or exciting, or both!

My greatest change came from shock and incredible sadness…

Our lives are full of change, and while some of us accept it, others try to fight with it, similar to the way horses react during different periods of their training.

Some people spend their entire lives TRYING to change, and some people spend their lives trying to change OTHERS!

20140617-213957-77997715.jpgA dear friend of mine smokes like a chimney, and a do gooder attempted to heal him through acupuncture.

I asked him if he thought this would work…

He just smiled at me and said, I don’t think so, I like smoking, I don’t want to stop!

I agreed that she probably had her work cut out for her, as the main ingredient in most life changes is DESIRE~!

My change of location has been driven by a strong desire… to train and ride in the native land of my dream horse, the LUSITANO!

20140617-214000-78000186.jpgAnd this change has been both rewarding and interesting, as I have gradually come to know and adapt to the Portuguese way of life.

It took me some time to learn the lingo, as often even the most simple day to day phrases had me confused…

A typical Portuguese answer to “How are you?” is mais ou menos…meaning MORE  OR LESS.

I would often be left wondering, more or less than what? More happy than yesterday, less agitated than you were before???

Another good one I discovered was the answer to “How do I get to ???” when asking directions…

20140617-183817-67097171.jpgThe Portuguese reply is sempre na frente…meaning ALWAYS IN FRONT!

Again..Always in front of what?

I soon figured out that they probably just expected you to keep walking forward… until you either got bored, or realised they had no idea where you were talking about, whichever came first!

But aside from life change something equally as difficult to change is someone’s OPINION!

Being a stubborn country girl I tend to give my opinion readily, abruptly, and often when it’s not wanted!

I have learnt that when people ask you for your opinion on a personal matter, they actually don’t want to know what you think, they just want you to tell them it’s fantastic… that their hair looks great, that they don’t look a day over twenty, that you barely noticed the sunglass outline that has been permanently  tattooed to their face!

In terms of animals, giving your opinion is even more dangerous, and telling someone their chihuahua looks like a rat, or that their beloved bunny is roadkill, is like telling a mother her baby is ugly.

It does not go down well AT ALL!

20140617-183812-67092708.jpgHorse people are no exception, and when someone asks you if you like their horse, I have learnt to be very careful.

There is no good way to answer this question constructively in terms of criticism, and the only answer the person is really looking for is “Yes he is simply beautiful!”

Futhermore I have found that even a clever diversionary comment on the voluptuousness of his tail, or the sparkle in his eye, will only warrant further investigation.

Changes once in the saddle come in many shapes and sizes, but currently Batialo and I are making a particular change….the FLYING one to be exact!

20140617-213959-77999062.jpgClick here to read about training the Flying changes from this young rider’s view!

Training the Flying change 

Thought of the day: IF someone tells you you can’t do something, don’t argue…

Just really enjoy proving them WRONG!



Kickstarting Warney’s Whip!

Kickstarting Warney’s Whip!

What can I whip up to entertain readers?

I am a writer, it is my passion, and while my mind is full of the junk the world piles on us there are two ways for me to free myself from the chaos…

One is writing

The other is riding my horse

So this blog will be a mix, of writing about my horsey endeavors, to writing about the world.

20140617-203708-74228021.jpgMain sections will be…

Warney’s Whip: Articles on my training, and interviews with the world’s top riders/trainers/judges!

Warney’s Wisdom: What I’ve learnt in my travels about people, animals, people that act like animals, etc

Warney’s Wit?: well, at least I think I’m funny!

Determined to make you laugh, cry , scratch your head (hopefully the top one), but most of all i’ll make you think….

About your horse training, about your life, about how nuts I must be, about how nuts you must be, and hopefully leave you thinking….

I can’t wait to see what she blog’s next!

It won’t all be puppies and fairy floss! Having lived for more than ten years with depression I understand all too well the feeling of wanting to punch someones face in when they tell you to “just cheer up”!

If you haven’t been through something like that yourself, then perhaps my blog can help you better understand what NOT to do and say!

My first emotional story is my tale of despair, and will make you wonder about the power of the mind, and also the power of grief, loss and survival!

Anyone who tells you there are steps to grieving, are kidding themselves. There are no steps, only a never ending journey that we just get used to, but never get over.

580096_10150886715886299_977242449_nComing up….Interview with Rider of Fuego, and the truth behind how he ended up training with Jan Bemelmans???

Anky: dropping the reins to get back in the arena!
Training FLY CHANGES on a young horse!

Thought of the day…. You know it’s going to be a good one when you put your socks on the wrong feet and your shoes on inside out….

Anyway, off to my unicorn!

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For the a list of articles please visit my section in Eurodressage.

In Too Deep

Did you ever think to yourself, ‘I’m in over my head’?

I’ve made a choice, and I really never thought I’d be here, having to face up to the consequences of that decision.

Is it better to swim out and risk drowning, or always stay safe in the sand?

I’m not typically one to worry about being in too deep, and I’m usually the one who realises half way through an intense argument, that she is completely wrong, but will continue to push my point until hopefully the opposer gives up.

When I landed in Portugal, I remember walking out onto the street, the train station behind me, thinking, what now?

I didn’t want to go home to Australia, but I didn’t know a single person, and I didn’t have a single thought as to what I was going to do.

I told mum I’d just stay a week, then a month, and then the months kept on going, and I kept on pushing my way towards where I realised I wanted to be.

After walking onto a lawn one day looking for a cheap room, one of the strongest Portuguese mothers I’ve ever met introduced me to her daughter, and her daughter became my angel who would connect me to Portugal’s Equestrian Master, and now head of the National School of Equestrian Art, Mr Joao Pedro Rodrigues.

Perhaps I was very lucky in that people helped me, but luck didn’t help me at the station that day, and it would have been much easier to hop on a plane and go home.

Truth was, I was ready for a new beginning.

If you’ve never been “in over your head” then perhaps you’re more of a game referee than an actual player?

With horse training, I’m learning that too much control can limit your ability to feel and progress with your partner.

Sometimes you can for example collect the canter, and support the horse so much that he learns to rely on your guidance.

If instead you prepare and then abandon him, letting him learn to support and find his own will and impulsion, you allow him to build his own strength both physically and mentally to carry you both forward.

The best kids are the ones whose parents show them, and then let them learn by themselves.

The value the Portuguese place on family is something truly special, and it took a Portuguese film to really drive home to me just how wise the Portuguese mothers are in raising their sons.

The actor in the film gave her son just a simple look of disappointment, touching the side of his face and lifting his chin up to meet her gaze.

She didn’t stop him, or scold him, or tell him what he should do, but warned him that getting in too deep will have consequences, and that he must learn for himself to live, but live with values and respect.

Is Portugal the place for me?

Is the Lusitano the horse that will take me to the top?

I don’t know if I made the right or wrong choices, we never do. I could have gone back to Australia, and maybe I would be living a completely different life. Trouble with most of us is that we assume we have time. Humans as a whole believe that you have to be sick or old to die, but you don’t. Those two things make it more likely but they are not a requirement.

If you only had today what would you do? That’s the thought I had in my mind when I took the train to Cascais, instead of the plane back to Australia.