Feather Dusters to Roosters and Why We Love Thoroughbreds!

Tara Madgwick - Monday November 20

The Thoroughbred Sport Horse Association National Titles was held last week at Stonewall Equestrian and anyone that follows any form of social media will know Team Breednet had a big win in the Maiden Teams Challenge (90cm) event taking home a first prize of $10,000, plus rugs and garlands, split between the four of us and while every team has a story this is ours.

Vicky, Will, Tara and Frida prepare for the challenge!

Most people that know me realise I’ve spent my lifetime with horses and the last 10 years have been mostly spent supporting my children Jack and Jasmine in their riding adventures which took us all the way to the top of the showjumping world.

With Jasmine now full time working for Chris Waller and Jack now living in the UK, I set myself a quest this year to get back into competition shape myself with the TSHA National Titles the ultimate goal for myself and Team Breednet.

The Maiden Teams Challenge features eight teams of four riders so from August this year I was on the lookout for horses and riders from my area on the South Coast that might be keen for an adventure.

Frida Contur and Vinnie jumped double clear - image Annabel Zeisler Photography

I’ve seen Frida Contur riding since she was a little kid at Pony Club. She’s been having lessons with me now for a few years and when her pesky pony was replaced by a trusty thoroughbred her jumping skills blossomed.

She and Vinnie aka Van Tango (Floral Dynamite) have formed a great partnership, so she was always assured of a slot in Team Breednet.

Vicky Cowdroy and Jet, who is a young jumper on the up.


Vicky Cowdroy is a regular fixture at South Coast ag shows as a daughter of renowned Nowra based Olympian Mervyn Bennett (as seen on Thoroughbreds are Go) and she and I have crossed tracks many times over the years.

Vicky and her daughter Maddison do a lot of thoroughbred rehoming and retraining under their Anembo Performance Horse banner and if you are putting together a jumping team from this area, Vicky would always be the logical rider to anchor the team with young up and comer Jet aka Anembo Von Choux (Jimmy Choux) as her partner.

The question of a fourth rider was up in the air for some time until Vicky suggested William Hodgekiss.

William Hodgekiss and Anembo Jedi are stars on the rise.

Will is another kid I’ve been watching since his pony days and when he got a unicorn thoroughbred a few years back called Grand Zulu, his progress was rapid.

A Group I winner of over $1million in earnings, Grand Zulu is also a wizard over the jumps and carried Will to countless wins with his last show earlier this year at the National Interschools Championships in Victoria where the pair narrowly missed out on winning the overall title with Zulu bowing out at age 23.

Finding a thoroughbred to take 15 year-old Will to the next level brought Vicky into the picture as she sold him 10 year-old gelding Jed aka Anembo Jedi (Shaft) earlier this year and it’s been a winning partnership.

When we finalised the team, we were full of confidence, but in the month preceding Stonewall our dream team was looking a little shaky.

Vicky and I competed at Equimillion on Pie and Jet and were struck by the curse of the pesky one rail – a fast four faults will take you far, but not far enough to get into the lucrative prizemoney sadly.

Frida and Vinnie hit a hurdle at the Nowra Spring Show when doubles that were previously pedestrian became a road block and for Will and Jed, the sandbags in the ring at Aus Champs at SIEC - mistaken for a wombat by Jed - left Will in the dirt!

Everyone arrived at Stonewall with coach Maree Hewitt looking for redemption and we got that and more!

From feather dusters to roosters!

They say in showjumping , roosters one day and feather dusters the next and while we might have arrived as feather dusters we have left as roosters!


16 YO Daybreak Del Pietro (NZ) (Pins) was a Sydney metro winner as Piazza San Pietro retired out of racing with a bowed tendon and successful jockey Winona Costin won her first ever race on him at Kembla in 2012. He is closely related to the good Chris Waller trained stayer Bonny Ezra.

8YO Anembo Von Choux (Jimmy Choux) was retired from racing after one start with a knee injury and tendon issues and comes from the family of champions Black Caviar, All Too Hard and Ole Kirk with his third dam the blue hen Scandinavia.

10YO Anembo Jedi (Shaft) had 21 starts and failed to place in any of them racing as Bubbling Up, which is kind of an irony given he is a super quick jumper that rarely misses a place ever at a show, go figure!

14YO Van Tango (Floral Dynamite) had five starts and failed to place and is a grand-son of legendary sire Danehill from a mare by Shepherd’s Field (USA), who is by Kentucky Derby winner Spectacular Bid.

Spectacular Bid has had some success with jumpers and his son Bite the Bullet (USA)is the sire of Charlie Richardson’s star jumper Mavrick, who won the Six Bar jump at the TSHA Nationals Show for the second year in a row on Sunday.



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