Equitana Melbourne



Where Are They Now – Skye & Maya (Part 1)

Where Are They Now – Skye & Maya

PART 1: TWOTH – From Challenge to Triumph 


Q: Congratulations on winning the TWOTH competition at EQUITANA Melbourne 2022! How does it feel to achieve such a prestigious victory?

A: Being a part of this competition was beyond anything I could have imagined for myself. It was very special to be out there with two amazing trainers, Hayley and Steph. To win this competition was definitely life changing but to bring Maya home with me and continue our journey together has definitely been the best part of it.


Q: Take us back to the moment of your win. What was going through your mind as you completed the final challenge of TWOTH at EQUITANA Melbourne?

A: I was so proud of Maya, she tried so hard in that final round even though the atmosphere and being out there alone was challenging her she continued to give me her best. 


Q: What does this winning TWOTH 2022 mean for you personally and professionally? How has it impacted your career as a horse trainer?

A: Personally, this event was huge for me. I have struggled with self confidence at times and Maya gave me the chance to believe in myself for the first time in many years. Professionally it has opened up many new opportunities, most recently judging the Colt Start at Australia’s Greatest Horsewoman.

The impact this event has had on me has helped me grow as a person and trainer. It provided me with new challenges and I now have a forever horse that I can continue to grow with.


Q: TWOTH involves working with untrained horses. How did you approach the training process to build trust and cooperation with a new or potentially difficult partner?

A: Maya made me work for her trust that’s for sure! I find these sorts of events are finding the horse’s strengths and working with them. Time limits definitely make it difficult but it’s achieving small goals and making adjustments to your program to suit the horse you have on the day. I find it’s really important to maintain a positive mindset and trust yourself and the decisions you make.


Q: Can you walk us through the initial decision-making process when you decided to participate in the TWOTH competition at EQUITANA Melbourne? What motivated you to take on this challenge?

A: I still remember the day I got the call to be asked if I would like to be a part of this event, I was out fixing fences. I was shocked, that’s for sure! There was no chance I was turning down this opportunity, the very first person I phoned was my friend Aimee and said you’re coming to Melbourne to be a Pen Wrangler!


Q: Building trust with the horses is crucial for TWOTH. How did you establish a strong connection and communication with Maya during the competition?

A: I am very lucky to have worked alongside some amazing horsemen and women over the years. From watching and learning from them I’ve been able to put together a starting under saddle program that works for me. I have particular exercises and milestones that I know that I need to achieve to comfortably put a first ride on a young horse but most importantly it’s about feel, finding that fine communication between you and the horse.


Q: What is your biggest highlight of being part of TWOTH at EQUITANA Melbourne 2022?

A: Purchasing Maya and developing so many new friendships throughout the competition from people watching the event, volunteers, the organisers and the other clinicians.


Q: How did Maya respond to the various challenges in the TWOTH competition? Were there any unexpected or special moments that stood out to you? 

A: There was something special about Maya from the moment she came off the trailer. I knew she was mine. Even in the moment before the random draw of horses, I said to Hayley and Steph that Maya would be mine and she was!


Q: What was your biggest hurdle/challenge during the competition? 

A: I would say the time limit, 60 minutes never felt so fast in my life!


Q:  What advice would you give to future contestants?

A: Stay true to yourself and the horse


Stay tuned for Part 2 – Life After EQUITANA Melbourne. 


RElated ARticles


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