Interview with Amy Graham – a rising star from Australia

01. Feb 13 | 10:30 | By | Category: INTERNATIONAL NEWS, interviews

1st Feb 2013

We all know Edwina Tops-Alexander as the top-rider from Down Under. But while the last few months another “Aussie” woman made it to the headlines. Amy Graham was highly placed at some top-shows including Frankfurt (where she won the top-female rider trophy), Munich and Vienna. In Drachten she even won the Grand Prix – a perfect start to the year 2013!

What she expects from the upcoming months, what she loves about her horse Bella Baloubet – who gained the title as one of the top horses at the moment – and why she nevertheless will have to sell him, she told me in this exclusive interview.

 

With Bella Baloubet you won the prestigious Grand Prix in Drachten recently. Would you say this is your greatest success so far?

I would say that but he has had some great performances recently at other top shows, 4 and 5 *, just missing out of the winners spot. Bella didn’t actually jump any better than his recent performances, only we were lucky enough this time to be the fastest! That’s a good statement on just how consistent the horse is becoming.

 

One success was followed by the next one recently. All the big successes were with your wonderful grey stallion Bella Baloubet. What is so special about him?

Special, he is super intelligent and has really grown in the last two years into his game, he knows what he must do and fights for the win every step. We have a great understanding. By the way he is now a gelding, from 2 years ago… few people know that. In most result lists he appears as a stallion.

 

We now heard you want to sell Bella Baloubet to have enough money to establish a show jumping place in Europe. Is this rumor true?

Yes, unfortunately this is true, I must be realistic about his age now, he is 12 in June 2013. I need to make a future for myself here in Europe and selling him could really make that happen. Trust me I wouldn’t sell him if I didn’t have to! I really believe he has a big future, Normandy 2014 is defiantly a big possibility for him! Maybe even Rio!

 

Along with Bella Baloubet do you have some other talented new horses of who you think they are as good as the grey stallion?

I have two very talented 7 years old, one Concorde x Lord Z and another mare Toulon x Darco. They are doing very well and I´m taking my time to produce them, hopefully to the top of the sport! I have also various other younger horses, I prefer the buy my horses at 2-5 years old and do the work myself

 

Will you stay in Europe forever now if it is possible?

Yes, I want to have a family here one day in Europe!

 

What was it like to first come to Europe? I think it was in 2005 as a 20 year old, very young rider?

I came over in Febuary 2009, it was very, very exciting and I never wanted to go back home!

 

What do you think has changed since you have been in Europe for some time now? Has your riding improved in your opinion? What is for you the difference between riding in Australia and riding in Europe?

The level of competition and sheer numbers of top top riders and horses. Quality of the shows, management and logistics of getting to these great shows! In Australia I had to drive 24 hours to the best show in AUS, now, Aachen is 40min away! My riding is improving but especially my experience in the ring. Ring time is a very important factor to bringing you riding to the top level.

 

The most famous Australian rider, Edwina Tops-Alexander, also has been based in Europe for a long time now. Do you think it is only possible for Australians to really reach the top level if the go on shows here? What was your experience with that?

Of course! Edwina was very diplomatic when I asked her the same question 5 years ago but honestly its impossible to get to the top in Australia, firstly we have only a had full of ranking classes!

 

How did you start riding at all?

My wonderful grandmother bought me a pony when I was 5, I wouldn’t stop annoying my parents but they refused, my grandmother gave in! I went to live with her for a few months to learn to ride and take care of my pony.

 

What is for you the most special thing about horses? What is making them fascinating for you?

They are so intelligent and trusting and honest. They put everything in our hands and I am honored to work with such beautiful animals for my job everyday!

 

Do you have an idol in riding?

An idol? Probably Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Marcus Ehning are the two riders I look up to the most. Beautiful riders and gentlemen in person. It’s a pleasure to watch them train and compete.

 

What are your plans for 2013? And for the future at all?

Continue to jump with Bella unless of course he is sold. I will try to get another big start in a 5* soon by using a wild card. Like I said before I also have my two 7 years old that have started to jump in the 2* shows.

 

Do you have a special philosophy in life?

I always try to keep a very level head, there are so many ups and downs in this sport and especially more downs. I try to stay level, look at the small things, small achievements and joys in life everyday. My family are the most important thing to me. Training young horses keeps you level and can be very, very rewarding from the smallest achievement just at home on the arena.

 

Is there a wish you want to fulfill for you desperately?

I would love to have more owners and having them watch their horses perform and win. Its such a pleasure to see my parents with Bella, they have invested so much into me over here and I would so love for them to have been in Drachten when he won, but even the phone call I made after our Jump off will forever be one of those special moments in my life. You can´t make it over here without that kind of investment and I would love to opportunity to have more GP horses, Bella has brought me up to almost 150 ranking in the world, just from his own performances. My goal is a Top Ten ranking and to stay there of course but that’s not possible without a very strong team, all supporting each other.

Interview: Alexandra Koch for horseweb.de

 


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