EquiFest Ambassadors Announced

Equifest Ambassadors Announced - Brett Parbery, Jess Stalling, Rhys Jones

Australian Dressage National Champion Brett Parbery and the newly-married super duo and World Cup Showjumpers Jess Stalling and Rhys Stones have been announced as the ambassadors for EquiFest 2017.

We caught up with these exciting and extremely talented riders to get the low-down on what attracted them to be part of this much-anticipated new four-day event featuring all levels of competition in Dressage, Show Jumping and Showing.

Jess Stalling (26), world cup showjumper and top Australian show rider

What attracted you to be an ambassador for EquiFest?

Definitely that the event will have both showjumping and showing. Those disciplines are what we base our business on, and we are both very keen to support this new concept.

You ride at an elite level in both showjumping and showing, which is your favourite?

Both! Showing is business for me and showjumping is pleasure. We’re also getting established in the breeding side of showjumpers and I am loving that. The showing side of our business is growing rapidly each year and we have an extensive waiting list year round. We always have a cracking team of horses and put 100% into everything we do. Quality is the key.

You and Rhys were recently married, what can you tell us about that special day?

The day was amazing. I loved every moment! It was held at Camelot Castle at Kirkham where they film A Place to Call Home. The best part was the photos with our horses . . . actually all of the photos were amazing. It was a very animal-focused wedding.

What is your five-year plan with your riding?

More of the same but better. I think 2022 WEG is the aim for my next superstar.

You have won so many Royal and National showing Championships, but what would you consider to be your best result?

Probably winning this year’s Champion Hack and Champion Lady Rider at both the Melbourne and Adelaide Royal Shows on two different horses, and taking out the Garryowen first-year competitor and placing second overall by one point on countback.

Rhys Stones (27), World Cup showjumper and number one groom for wife Jess with the show horses.

Why are you an ambassador for EquiFest?

It is a perfect match for our business J and R Equestrian. The two disciplines are complimentary and it’s great to see a new event like this launch in 2017.

What was the most memorable moment of your recent wedding?

Seeing Jess walk down the aisle. I didn’t cry but my best man Jack Luxford, a polo player, had a tear, so I had to give him a bit of a shove. He tried to pull the whole hay fever thing but then he shed more in the speech so we knew it wasn’t that.

What is your best result on the showjumping circuit in your career?

Winning the Elysian Fields Gold Cup on eight-year-old Oaks Altador, but sadly I just had to retire her. It broke my heart. I have had the horse since she was a yearling and I have always known she had the goods. That was her first major Grand Prix and we won. After Elysian Fields I turned her out in the paddock for a two-month spell. She had a minor issue, and then she came in with an incurable lameness. It’s broken me.

How involved are you in Jess’s world of showing?

I am fully involved in all the behind the scenes stuff. Jess does the riding and I do all the rest . . . well, sort of. It is a big team effort. We always have 10-15 horses at a show and have loads of ring clashes. It is a major operation.

What can we expect from you in the next five years?

I do have a really nice young horse who could be in the pipeline for the Tokyo Olympics but time will tell on that . . . he’s an animal not a machine so things will happen in good time.

Brett Parbery (45), former Australian Grand Prix Dressage Champion rider and trainer

What attracted you to become an ambassador for EquiFest?

I love to support new and exciting concepts that showcase our sport in innovative ways. Events like this should be supported by the industry. If I can contribute as an ambassador, then perfect – I will give it a shot. Hopefully I can entice my colleagues to come with me.

What will the next five years bring for you?

My goals haven’t changed. My daily goal is to train the horses to the best of my ability to get them to grand prix which leads to other things like World Equestrian Games and Olympics.

A lot comes down to management of owners’ expectations and all that comes with it. I am lucky I have good owners and good horses.

I want to ride my horse to grand prix and if that means Tokyo, then good.

We don’t have the luxury of going to Europe where there is stronger competition each week. We need to produce shows that people want to be part of and ones that push people out of their comfort zones.

What is your best-ever result?

Victory Salute and I were ninth in the world at the Alltech World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010.

EquiFest – Australia’s festival of equestrian featuring competition from amateur to elite in dressage, show jumping and showing with oodles of shopping, plenty of entertainment for all the family over four action-packed days at the Hawkesbury Showground, March 30-April 2, 2017.