Of course, our website would not be complete without mention of the many star equine residents at Vantage Hill...
Blair and Nikki Richardson will head into 2009 with an extremely exciting young team of performance horses.
The couple have their sights squarely set on the 2012 Olympics and, in the short term, Australasia's signature international three-day events in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
Certainly, this intrepid pair are "adrenalin junkies" and both relish the thrill of competing at the highest level.
But Nikki and Blair reveal that bringing budding young equine talent to its full potential is the most satisfying aspect of their profession. While it is immensely exciting to compete at an elite level, the couple find that encouraging emerging young horses to fulfil their potential is equally rewarding.
Keeping in mind that Nikki competed at the Atlanta Olympics on homebred Wishful Thinking, the couple continue to breed a select number of their own horses and find this aspect of their business equally fulfilling.
Recently Blair and Nikki sold homebred four-year-old mare Pulse to renowned Australian showjumper Vicki Roycroft and they look forward to seeing the mare by Vicki's own World Cup winner Premier Des Hayettes progress under the tutelage of the three-time Olympic team member.
Pulse competed in two events for Nikki, placing at both.
Blair and Nikki have just completed breaking-in Pulse's full sister Providence who has shown promise at this early stage.
"We also have Baz, a four-year-old thoroughbred gelding who has done three events and numerous showjumping competitions, and Toby, probably potentially our best young horse at the moment, but he is yet to compete," says Nikki.
The couple will also campaign Monkey, owned by Cate Plummer and Nigel Nichols, starting at prelimary level, next year, with this youngster on the comeback trail after an injury-enforced absence.
Vantage Hill has been a hive of activity on the juvenile front in recent months as Blair and Nikki have just completed breaking in a quartet of two-year-olds by well-known Zabalu stallion Croftlea Artizan.
"The Aberlou bloodlines have produced many jumpers in New Zealand and there a number of eventers by this stallion starting to make their mark," Nikki says.
"Blair's One Star winner Ngamatea Beer is by a son of Aberlou, a bloodline we'll be hearing more about in eventing because they have dressage aptitude as well as the attributes needed for jumping," she adds.
"We were extremely impressed with these four two-year-olds, they all have lovely movement and amazing temperaments."
One Vantage Hill resident who is hard to miss—not only because of his striking paint markings but also because of his character, is three-year-old WishWash, who is by outstanding showjumper Copabella Visage.
"He is a beautiful type with great markings as a paint horse. He shows huge potential in the jumping phase already so we will wait and see what the future brings," Nikki says of the well-made sophomore.
Another prominent four-legged resident is the charismatic chestnut entire Rudolf, whose first foals born this spring are generating plenty of excitement.
The indomitable Rudolf is by Heath Ryan's breed-shaping stallion and elite dressage competitor Regardez Moi.
"Rudolf is out of Paula and Bryce Hocking's Brillant Invador mare, and has Souvenir bloodlines as well," Nikki explains.
"He has been broken in and ridden lightly over the past 12 months and he has the most expressive and bold canter, it looks like he could be a real superstar," she says.
"He has three foals on the ground, all just born over the last two months. They all look fantastic and only time will tell how they turn out, but breeders who have sent mares to him and really happy and he is attracting some lovely mares this season. We think he is going to appeal to those seeking to breed a quality dressage horse, because he is simply amazing on the flat," she adds.
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