German-bred Horse a Cause for Celebration in Australia
Olympic gold and bronze medal-winning eventing rider Stuart Tinney's international focus on sourcing high-class horses for his Australian stable is now paying huge dividends with Celebration the latest example of his astute ability to identify equine talent.
For the past five years, Stuart and his wife Karen have annually travelled to Germany to search for horses and one of their great finds is last weekend’s Melbourne International Three Day Event CCI4*L winner Celebration.
The flashy chestnut Holsteiner led the dressage, cross-country and jumping phases for a dominant win and announced himself as a future Olympic prospect.
12 months ago Celebration competed at the MI3DE and won the CCI2*. Since then, he has gone on to win three 4* classes, including this year’s CCI4* at the Sydney International Three-Day event in April.
“He’s really nice to work and train and has come up very quickly through the ranks. He’s a very consistent horse,” said Stuart.
There hasn’t been a more dominant horse than Celebration at 4* level in Australia this season and the best is yet to come.
“He’s going to get a lot better than that. He’s getting stronger and more trainable and has a great attitude, it’s a matter of continuing to educate and improve him.”
Sourced by the Tinneys and put forward to owner Elisabeth Brinton, the 8YO gelding by Belgian jumping stallion Chin Champ is building a strong following from the Australian equestrian community for his good looks, superior ability, and character.
“It’s very hard to take a bad photo of him that’s for sure. He’s conformed very nicely. He’s actually got an adorable personality too and loves people, being petted and loves food.”
Stuart had two other horses competing in last weekend’s CCI4* class at MI3DE, Wanda and Leporis.
Wanda, a New Zealand bred Warmblood x Thoroughbred mare placed seventh and the German-bred Leporis was sixth.
“Leporis is more of a baby and has only just stopped growing but he's getting better each time he goes out,” said Stuart.
Like Celebration, Leporis, an 8YO black gelding by Lasino (GER), is also a German discovery.
“We rarely buy them from dealers, we look at horses and buy them from all different places.
They breed so many over there, a lot breed them in their own backyard and produce them to a level. We look at as many as we can and at horses that suit our purpose.”
Thanks to that international search strategy, Stuart, 54, who is one of Australia’s most decorated riders and currently Chef d’Equipe of the Australian Equestrian Eventing Team, has plenty of motivation to continue competing at elite and representative level.
“The big thing now is I have got the nicest horses I have had to ride and train and that’s what keeps me doing it.”
“I really quite like riding horses and so when I’m riding nice ones as good as any I have had in the past it keeps me interested.”
With just over 12 months until the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Stuart is pleased with the progression of his squad that includes Rio bronze medallists Chris Burton and Shane Rose. But, he wisely cautions that a lot can change between now and next July.
“The biggest thing we learn is how we look this far out from the games can be totally different to what happens and even changes in the last month or two as it gets to the pointy end.”
“We have lots of great riders in Australia, we are very lucky. Now we only have three people to choose for the games it’s very tough. We will certainly be very competitive and will give them a run for their money,” he said.
For now and with the likes of horses such as Celebration in his stable, Stuart will continue balancing his focus between leading the Australian Eventing Team and developing potential Olympic horses.
Final Results 2019 MI3DE
1st Stuart Tinney & Celebration (30.90)
2nd Tim Boland & Napoleon (42.10)
3rd Andrew Cooper & Oaks Onyx (42.20)
1st Tim Boland & Menlo Park (36.90)
2nd Sophie Fox & Mr Pig (42.20)
3rd Jess Somerfield & Lakeview Albion (43.80)
1st Samuel Jeffree & Woodmount Lolita (28.30)
2nd Ben Tyson & Equineaffair Cassonova (28.50)
3rd Georgina Birrell & Marlborough View (30.60)
Written by Jo McKinnon
Pictures courtesy of Australian Equestrian Team