Tegan's Tough Choices
The phone at Tegan Fitzsimon’s place has been running red hot since the Christchurch rider won the New Zealand World Cup series earlier in January. The win propelled her eight-year-old horse, Windermere Cappuccino, into the international spotlight and the offers have been pouring in.
The horse has never put a foot wrong, capturing every national age series title on his way to the top level of show jumping competition in New Zealand. He also added some further national titles and Canterbury titles to his haul, and has been on fire again this season, having just one rail down in four rounds of World Cup competitions.
Tegan knew she had a super horse when he arrived at her Sandy Knolls place as a four-year-old gelding. After taking him to just two shows, she purchased a 40% share of “Vollie” off owner Sarah Parkes, who is part of the Marlborough family who bred the horse at Windermere Farm. "He was pretty cool, I had a good feeling about him but I didn't think he was going to be quite this good,” she said. Vollie is a beautifully bred gelding being by Corofino II out of Vespa who is by Voltaire II.
For Tegan, coming to terms with selling the horse has been a challenge, but the money being discussed is life-changing for the 29-year-old. “I would like to keep the horse forever, he is my horse of a lifetime but at the end of the day, he could set me up as well,” she said. "If I owned him fully, no he wouldn't be for sale, but that is part of what happens when you ride for other people."
Tegan wasn’t keen to declare that the horse had everything needed to reach the top of the international competitions but has a lot of confidence in him. "He has a lot more left in the tank. I know that the courses can be even bigger overseas, but going round the World Cups here, he didn't feel like he was maxed at that height."
Of course there are veterinary checks and further negotiations to be done before any deal is sealed but at this stage she is planning on competing him at the National Show Jumping Championships to be held in Christchurch on 1-3 February.
"It depends on the offer I guess, and the conditions of sale. Ideally I would love to compete him for the rest of the season but at the end of the day you have to be realistic. I may have to keep him wrapped in cotton wool!"
If Vollie does head off overseas, Tegan has plenty to keep her going here in Canterbury. As well as Double J Monarch who is also jumping at Grand Prix level, there are also more young horses coming up the ranks. “I have got lots of young horses in the paddock, we have been stocking up so I have them constantly coming through and we have some really nice ones there, so fingers crossed something will jump!"
Tegan is a dedicated fulltime equestrian. After leaving school, she started working full time at Canterbury Equestrian, staying with them for over five years before making the decision to set up her own business riding horses. "I have a really good client base now, and I do a little bit of teaching of regular clients, but I just mainly ride for owners and take on the odd schooler."
As to how many she owns or has shares in, Tegan says it is about fifty-fifty. "It depends on what the owners want to do, and how good the horse is. If it is really good, then obviously I would like a bit but it does depend on what they want."
Tegan herself has some aspirations to go overseas to compete. "Ideally I would like to do it on my own, and if I went over there, I would pack up and leave for a couple of years, I wouldn't just go for a few months. But at the moment I am quite happy here. I have built up a good business and have really good owners, so I think for me at the present, if Vollie was to sell, then I am quite happy here."