Spotlight on Siobhan Records

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 2015 Dressage Mini Derby winner, 2014 FEI Dressage World Challenge Advanced winner and budding pole dancer

Siobhan Records is very fortunate to having been born into a "horsey" family. With mom, Lynda, having successfully competed in Open Showing, Eventing and Showjumping, whilst her dad being a whipper in for the Rand Hunt Club as well as doing Carriage Driving, it was obvious that Siobhan would grow up riding horses. Mom Lynda often jokes that Siobhan was born to do dressage, as her water broke when she was lunging a horse in a dressage arena!

Siobhan started riding at the tender age of two and a half, and already started competing in Lead Rein classes at the age of three, on a Shetland pony called Tokolosh, who strived to live up to his name. Her first special horse was Glanwyn Harmony, who Natalie Hobday found for her in 1989. Her close relationship with Harmony was worth her weight in gold and provided Siobhan with so much confidence and happiness. The combination competed in all the disciplines, from showing, jumping, eventing, dressage to even mounted games with the Rand Hunt Pony Club.

Siobhan feels blessed and grateful for having fantastic instructors Delia Gardener, Leigh Lippert, Claire Webb and Natalie Hobday, who were willing to share their knowledge and instill the fundamental basics of what it is to be an "Equestrian". She'll never forget a specific dressage lesson she had with Natalie when she was about five and a half and she had forgotten her girth. There was no passing the buck onto anyone else, and as Natalie said "your pony, your responsibility". Needless to say, she had her lesson bareback!

Through the years to come, Siobhan competed in dressage on Zemaituka, and was chosen for the Children’s Provincial Team for 4 consecutive years from 1996 to 1999. She then rode Sensation, a fantastic thoroughbred mare in Juniors, which took her from Novice to Medium, and into the Junior team from 1999 to 2002. At this time there were more and more Warmbloods coming into the sport, Sensation proved with corrected and dedicated training, that any horse can successfully compete.

Zemaituka and Sensation instilled her love for the Dressage Derby Style of competition, where the top three riders qualify and swop horses; it's a competition that really reflects rider ability.

Claudia Privato's horse El Encanto Tercio has been a truly special horse to Siobhan. She started competing him in 2012, in Novice, and have collected a host of titles such as the Gauteng Novice Champs, SA Novice Champs, the Elementary Victor Laudorum at Gauteng Champs, the Mini Dressage Derby, and the South African leg of the FEI Advanced WDC. He is now graded Advanced and they will do their first Prix St George's in 2015.

This year’s Galencia Property SA Derby in October was very special to her, as she was defending her 2013 Mini Derby title on her own horse, Rathmor Caprice. The show being Caprice’s first Elementary Medium show. Besides Caprice, she also had Tercio and Royal Darco in the "big" Derby Qualifiers. It was El  Encanto Tercio's first Advanced.

The Derby format is an interesting one, each rider rides their own horse and then the riders swop and rider their opponents’ horses, with the horses running order remaining the same. It's truly a test of each rider, as you only have 3 minutes on each new horse before you ride your test.

At the end of round one after our rides on our own horses Sue Horne on Cellehof Trademark was on 460.5, I was on 488.5 and Catherine Berning on Ciroc R was on 521.5 points, giving Catherine a 33 point lead. Round two had Catherine on Trademark with 469, Siobhan on Ciroc R with 484.5 and Sue on Caprice with 438. This meant that at the end of the second round Catherine being in the lead by 17.5  on 990.5 points, Siobhan on 973 and Sue on 898.5. This made for great excitement in the last round. Siobhan was first up on Trademark who gave her an amazing ride, to score 494.5, next up was Sue on Ciroc scoring 426, then Catherine on Caprice scoring 469.5. The final scores were Siobhan on 1467.5, Catherine on 1460, and Sue on 1324.5, and the winning Horse being the beautiful Ciroc R.

Only 4 days after Derby came the very competitive FEI World Dressage Challenge. With great support in place, the horses having Spa treatments at Manor D'Or, then physio from the amazing Kerryn Sinovich (née Legg), she was all set to go.  Siobhan does a lot of cross training with her horses to try and keep their fitness levels up. This includes working on a gallop track, jumping and a long hack every week.  Nutrititional care, shoeing (by Tobie and Joe van der Merwe) and veterinary support (from Lauren Morrison at Northrand) keep the horses in tip-top shape.  To be successful a rider needs a good support system, especially with having 3 Major shows in a 4 week period!

The FEI World Dressage Challenge is a fabulous initiative, allowing riders from different countries to compete against each other without the expense of traveling. South Africa fall under Zone 1, which means we compete alongside Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Uruguay. This year’s international judges were Mrs Maria Schwennesen from Australia and Mr Peter Engel from Germany. Sadly due to unfortunate travel related circumstances (an airline strike) Peter was unable to judge in Chile, so only Maria's marks were counted.

In South Africa, unlike the other countries that compete, we run our qualifier and the competition at the same show, which is very taxing on the horses. In total only 40 horses are eligible to compete in front of the FEI judges, so qualifying is a task in itself, horses also have to qualify with a combined percentage of over 58% in the PSG and 60% in the Advanced, Medium. Elementary and Preliminary Classes.

At this show she had Mrs Cheryl Kempin’s homebred Equinox Padover in the Elementary, her own Rathmor Caprice in the Medium, and Mrs Claudia Privato's El Encanto Tercio in the Advanced and Mrs Lynda Weinstein's (my mum) Saddle Fitting Specialists’ Royal Darco in the PSG. All the horses qualified to ride, however due to FEI rules Siobhan could only take two horses through. Her selection was Caprice and Tercio. Caprice put in a beautiful test to come second to Megan Berning’s Zo Special. With these horses retaining their first and second places in the Zone 1 results, Tercio gave it his all to win the Advanced Class and come second in Zone 1 to one of Argentina’s top riders, Fiorella Mengani.

Not only is Siobhan a formidable rider but also excelling in one of South Africa’s most exciting new sports, Pole Dancing. She has been doing Pole Dancing for almost a year, training with Venessa Lack at LAF Studios, and she finds this incredible work out very complimentary to her riding, as it requires a lot of core control and muscle isolation. This year she qualified for the Intermediate Division of Miss Pole SA. Sadly the competition was on the same weekend as Gauteng Dressage Championships, which took priority. She train three times a week, for two hours on a Monday and Wednesday evening, (an hour of fitness and an hour of pole) and then an hour private.

Between her hectic riding and dancing schedule, there is not much time for anything else. Siobhan is a voracious reader and adores her Kindle, especially since she is partial to fantasy fiction which isn't always the easiest to obtain here in SA.  Her favorite authors are Anne Bishop, Patricia Briggs,Trudi Canavan and Jacqueline Carey.

The Horse...

Some horses will test you.
Some will teach you.
And some will bring out the best in you.