Simon Tainsh is a professional rider! He doesn’t get weekends off, holidays are few and far between and the prize money barely covers his entry fees. Ask him though, and he’d tell you he wouldn’t have it any other way.
The elite eventer and full-time coach owns Kia Ora Performance Horses in Victoria and grew up on an Australian Pony stud, doing a bit of everything at Pony Club. He caught the Eventing bug in his teens and eventually turned his hobby into a career in 2013.
For Simon, it’s been a process, working out the tricky balance between passion and profession! The days are long and his time is split between schooling the competition horses belonging to him and to his clients and then coaching in the afternoons.
Increasingly he also spends a large amount of time on the development and training of young horses and says this part of his business is as rewarding as it is imperative. Simon says, “Bringing on young eventing horses is basically planning for the future. You never know what’s around the corner and it’s good to have young ones coming up behind your top competition horses.”
It’s been a key part of his business for the past four years, although considering his childhood at a breeding stud, Simon acknowledges it’s something he’s been involved in his whole life. There’s nothing better than training young horses. The fact that they progress every single ride is just such a rewarding feeling. Competitive recognition doesn’t hurt either. Simon and his current young superstar, Remi Lord of the Realm, winning the Four Year Old Young Eventing Horse class at this year’s Melbourne International 3 Day Event.
Remi is one of several young horses Simon is training and is a serious stand out. A Thoroughbred Warmblood cross by Lauries As, he was originally slated as a dressage horse but proved too much for the original owner who decided he needed to jump!
With the right training and good dose of luck, Remi’s future as an eventer couldn’t be brighter but Simon knows all too well that with horses there’s no certainty. It’s always a gamble because there are so many variables. We had a youngster put his leg through a fence as a two year old which was a setback, and then there’s always the risk that the horse doesn’t want to event. Talent aside, if they’re not brave or don’t have a good work ethic, it’s not going to work.
Nice paces, a trainable temperament, brave for cross country, careful for show jumping and a level head! On top of that there’s the physical development and crucial balance between providing the right nutritional balance for growth and strength to support a gradual increase in training workload.
The level of training is determined by both physical and mental development, more mature horses can handle a tougher workload and the nutritional support we give them also depends on their maturity and whether they’re still growing.
Simon has been sponsored by Kelato Animal Health for over four years, the Australian company having recognized his talent and potential even before he became a full-time professional rider. For Simon and wife, Jessica, also an eventer and partner in Kia Ora Performance Horses, it’s been a dream partnership, providing them with advice and support on the right balance of nutritional products that have proved not only successful but vital in terms of maximizing the health, appearance and performance of their horses.
For the young horses in particular, Kelato’s ZanoBOLIC concentrate is a key part of their diet. It promotes muscle development and growth; it builds topline and encourages appetite, so all our youngsters look fantastic. They’re eating well and at the end of the day, they’re all performing well.”
Simon has recently sold his 3* horse Just De Manzana to New Zealand and has eight currently in work, from the young ones just starting their training to Secret Liaison at 2* level. With ZanoBOLIC setting them up with a solid foundation of strength and power, Simon also incorporates what he refers to as an ‘insurance policy’ into their feeds.
Eventing is high impact. The stress level on the leg tissues is significant. We give all of our horses NutriFLEX regardless of their age or competition level. It’s exactly that, an insurance policy and a way we can increase their chances of staying sound and avoiding injury by strengthening tissues, joints, ligaments and tendons.”
Simon is in no doubt the formula is working! Our horses have to look 100%. They’re advertisements for our business and we’ve found that the supplements not only ensure they look good, but that they feel well, and time and time again, they’ve proven to us that if they’re feeling good, they give their best performance.”
Ironically, horses going as well as Remi can throw up a dilemma! While the gelding was originally seen as a financial asset with the plan to sell him when he was successfully out eventing at EvA 95, Simon is now keen to see just how far they can go together. He’s already had a few starts at 95, is scoring around 80% in the dressage and showing great jumping technique. I can definitely see him stepping up the grades to the stars classes in the years to come.”
Simon’s own goal is to reach 4* and qualify for team selection to represent Australia, his key to success, not just riding on Remi, but having a stable of potential young superstars with genetics, training and nutrition fundamental to their development as competition horses.
For Simon, his goal to ride on the world stage may not be so far off.