Rider of the Month: Sharyn Symonds
Sharyn Symonds story is inspiring riders around the country. A more positive, passionate and supportive team member is hard to find. Read on to find out more about the background and journey that continues to see Sharyn kick goal after goal.
When and how did you start riding?
A new neighbour moved in next door when I was about 13yrs old and she had a horse. I watched for hours as she rode and was completely horse mad. Despite years of nagging my parents for a horse they weren't really keen but as luck would have it, through a debt that was owed to them they acquired a quarter horse as payment of that debt.
My neighbour helped my sister and I learn to ride but my horse riding career didn't last and I kind of lost interest and boys became more interesting. It wasn't until I was in my late 20s that the horse bug struck again and I got back into it again. However back then, reins meant stop and legs meant go and if you had of mentioned the words half pass, shoulder in or traver you would have been met with a blank stare!
What do you love most about riding and working with horses?
Through the knowledge that I have gained through this journey that is dressage I love the feeling that comes when your horse is soft, supple and just seems to do the movements with ease!
What skills, abilities and training do you need to succeed in your chosen discipline?
Patience and a sense of humour! It takes years to make them strong (especially for a novice like me!) Flash is the first horse I have ever actually trained in dressage so its a learning curve for both of us.
Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we get it wrong, but no matter what, the work is always fun and I'm a big believer in that there is no place for aggression or impatience when it comes to training horses. If your head isn't in the right space then do something else, hack out or lunge as work done with tension isn't productive!
If horses are your livelihood, briefly describe the services you offer.
Horses are not my livelihood and my work as an Emergency nurse supports my equine addiction! Oh and my husband. However, I am currently undertaking my NCAS coaches training and hope to one day pass on the knowledge that I have gained to others.
What do you consider your biggest equestrian achievement to date?
In Victoria we have the Horse Riding Club Association of Victoria (HRCAV) which offers another avenue for competing as well as EA. When I purchased Flash we were assessed level 4 (prelim equivalent) and during the past 3yrs we have worked hard and are now almost Advanced HRCAV (medium equivalent). As we compete HRCAV we collect points and just recently I was awarded the prestigious 100 point award. Something I am very proud of.
What is your favourite competition memory?
I travelled to Elmore which is a 3hr drive. Back then we were level 3 HRCAV. I had been training with Gary Lung and I felt like things were starting to come together. It was a 2 day competition and by the end of the weekend we had won the overall championship and were awarded a beautiful garland, rosette and rug! That right there made all the hours of training so worth it. It was a very rewarding experience.
Tell us a little about your current competition horses.
Flash is my only competition horse and he is a 13yo, 17HH Clydesdale X. His sire is full clydie and is Dam was a 14.2HH Weltmeyer cross. When I purchased him he had very little dressage training and neither did I so we have learnt together.
What is your goal for them over the next 12 months?
We are almost advanced HRCAV which is equivalent to medium EA. Our flying changes are a work in progress and a little inconsistent at the moment, so we will work on them. Once more established at this level, we will try our hand at some EA at medium level.
If someone wanted to follow a similar journey to you what tips would you offer them?
Work hard, take pride in what you do and be dedicated and listen to your coach.
Someone once said to me..if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!!
What advice would you would you give to your younger self?
Don't become a Nurse, become a Vet!
Besides riding horses, what else are you passionate about?
My four legged children which include 2 kelpies and a jack Russell.
Who or what inspires you?
My coaches who are so positive and encouraging and the journey in general. To take a horse that hasn't done much dressage and have him now training medium is very rewarding and inspiring.
How long have you been using Rose-Hip Vital?
I purchased Flash with the knowledge that he has Ringbone in his off hind pastern. After using pentosan for sometime and the time frame becoming shorter between each injection it was a friend who suggested Rose-Hip Vital.
How did you find about Rose-Hip Vital it and why did you start using it?
The day I started Rose-Hip Vital flash was due for his pentosan shot. I chose to withhold the injection so that I could see if the Rose-Hip Vital was going to work. After 3 weeks the change was incredible! So much so that I wrote the company a letter to say how impressed I was with their product. This is how I became part of the Rose-Hip Vital sponsored team. Flash has never had a pentosan injection since that time and that was well over 3yrs ago!
Tell us about the health benefits you have experienced or noticed since using it?
Given the success I had had with Flash, I decided to put myself on Rose-Hip Vital as I had always had a nagging sore lower back and hip. I just put it down to wear and tear from my years of nursing. I guess I didn't really realise how good I felt until I ran out and bang there was the aching back and hip! Needless to say I'm back on it and feel great!