Maree Tomkinson on Cloud Nine after Winning 2012 Australian Grand Prix Title

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 19:40
2012 Australian Dressage Championships

Dominating the World Cup Qualifier and taking the national Grand Prix title at the 2012 Australian Dressage Championships one month ago in Werribee, Australia, Maree Tomkinson is on cloud nine now that she is Australia's number one domestically competing Grand Prix rider. Maree describes the victories on her sparkling mare Diamantina (by Diamond Hit x Campari M) as "fantastic".

"Diamantina has been such an amazing horse for us, from young horse level right through Prix St Georges, and now at Grand Prix," Tomkinson told Eurodressage. "She has had the most amazing success, made even sweeter by the fact we have had her since she was 4 years old and produced her ourselves."

Owning the 10-year old Oldenburg mare together with Lyn Sultana, Maree claimed victory with a score of 67.021% and 69.450% and knows this is just one more high on a very enjoyable road to the top.

"Winning the national title was another step on the wonderful path Diamantina has taken us on over the past 6 years," she said. "I could not wish to have made this journey with better people or a more talented horse."

Hoping to keep the horse sound and eventually take her back to Europe to compete again Maree aims to represent Australia in the World Cup, the 2014 World Equestrian Games and maybe even the 2016 Olympics. It would be a dream come true for her. Working on achieving even higher scores than she is currently is getting, Maree is optimistic about the qualities her mare has to offer.

"She has three super paces, not just good, super,"  said an enthusiastic Tomkinson. "The canter is outstanding, changes for scores of 9 or 10 no problem, and really the whole canter tour is very good. The trot is now as good as the canter and the walk also. She has excellent trainability and rideability and is very good in the test, focused and concentrated. And she is always better the bigger the event! The bigger the crowd and the more heightened the atmosphere, the better she feels. It is like she clings to me. We are in a bubble of concentration and harmony while a storm of energy, power and grace carries us through the test. It is really an amazing feeling and I totally trust her and she me. I think this more than anything is what makes her special."

Considering all this ability Maree thinks it is certainly possible for the mare to be getting regular scores in the mid to high 70's over the next year or so. She knows that with this she will be competitive in Europe. However, with some family issues to tackle Maree with be staying at home in Australia for the moment, working on the horse's future.

"I would like to make some things in her training better before I take her back to Europe," she said. "I spent two years in Germany with Koschel training and competing and next time I go back I would like to be truly competitive. Training in Europe is expensive on many levels and I do not want to waste anyone's time or money unless I truly believe we have a good chance of being competitive against the best in the world, meaning we would want to be making it through to the freestyle at every competition."

Maree's 2013 will focus on pure training and making her tests better and more consistent. She hopefully will be giving the judges the confidence to award the pair higher scores more frequently. 

Unable to train overseas due to budget restraints, Maree stressed she needs to be able to make a living, which she cannot do in Europe.

"I have established a good little business here in Australia with great clients and owners and cannot afford to lose that and still pay for training and competing in Europe," she admitted. "I could only go with funding from my federation, sponsors etc. So I would need to be selected on a team or squad for that. Thus, I need good scores. Hence the training, training, training!"

With no doubt in her mind that Diamantina has international potential the pair must wait until the opportunity arises.

"The training and the competition and the exposure in Europe is great, but I do think to compete in Europe you need a very good support team behind you and I do not have that at this point in time," she said. "You need a team to promote you, support you, and guide you, to help you make the right decisions about what competitions to go to, and to help you make a plan. I am not sure how to go about finding that support."

With some other talented horses in work, Maree is kept very busy down under.

"I have a super Dimaggio mare owned by Sarah Lloyd that was purchased as a 3-year old from Vorwerks. She is now 7 years old and doing all the GP work," Maree explained. "She has super piaffe ,and while she is not as expressive as Diamantina, she has such a lovely way about her,so soft and everything looks so easy for her. We also have a 4 year old by Royal Hit owned by Lyn McCallem and he is a super horse, beautiful, tall, elegant with three amazing paces and a canter like Diamantina for a 10."

Tomkinson also has Diamantina's foals as well as youngsters from Diamond Hit, Jazz and Dimaggio. Her student Lilah Nieuwland is currently riding Maree's 8-year old mare Wajama, which she purchased with the help of the Koschel family. This horse has earned Lilah a place on the National young horse squad. Wajama has two foals by Diamond Hit.

With all that on the way Diamantina is still Maree's number one lady and with the breeding technology of today, she hopes their may be some more diamonds coming!

"We have two foals from her so far and hopefully we will be able to keep doing one ET with her each year," Tomkinson told Eurodressage. 'One is enough; we are not greedy! We have two Totilas fillies so far and will use Negro or Dimaggio this year. Maybe we can breed ourselves another Diamantina."

by Sarah Warne for Eurodressage
Photos © Derek O'Leary - Peter Stoop - Astrid Appels - Franz Venhaus

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