Rachel Malcolm is one of New Zealand's top show jumping rider's, having represented her country on multiple young rider teams and winning an individual silver & team gold medal at the youth Olympic festival.
Rachel has trained and produced sport-horses for over a decade with one of her primary goals being to produce some top quality athletes and boost the future of equestrian sport in NZ, and in turn globally supporting an industry that she is so passionate about.
Rachel is joined by her husband John, both very experienced equestrians who now run a successful business specialising in the education of young horses among thoroughbred and sport horse industries throughout New Zealand.
Providing specialist care and attention to detail is what has inevitably led them both to Peter Horobin saddlery and the StrideFree tree.
Rachel took a quick break from her busy day to tell us a bit about there exciting new partnership.
Do you and John find there to be many similarities between the showjumpers/equestrian sport horses and the breakers if so what are they?
We find there are many similarities between what we have learnt over our many combined years of riding sport horses and how we educate our breakers. Many of the principles are the same, we want both to work happily forward, be straight in their bodies, soft in their mouths and willing in their mind.
Have you had to change the way you do things?
No we don’t change much between how we would ride sport horses and working with thoroughbred breakers, apart from keeping in mind the level at which individual horse is capable of working. We also put extra focus on teaching the thoroughbreds to be confident working next to other horses and also in the barriers, as these are both very important to them in their racing career.
What are your thoughts on Peter's new StrideFree tree and the benefits to the horse and rider?
We love the StrideFree saddles, the way the tree is designed gives the horses ultimate freedom through their shoulder. I feel this helps us to teach the breakers and pre trainers to work forward and freely over their backs, as they are never restricted by their saddle. It definitely gives the show jumpers total range of movement over a fence, allowing them to perform at their best, and of course giving me as a rider ultimate comfort and support.
How did you find the experience of custom designing your saddlesand accessories?
It was so easy to order the custom saddles, I love that this gives you individual choices and is a real point of difference from anyone else. The only hard part was choosing the colours, there are just so many stunning options for the stitching and welting!
Obviously apart from a PHsaddle, as a rider what is the one thing that you can't live without?
My trusty breastplate on the young horses, definitely not to proud to use my “seat belt” when its required, and peppermints my horses demand them after they come out of the ring.
Your top tip for travelling away at competitions with horses?
Hand walking the horses as much as possible during the show helps keep their bodies and minds fresh and ready. I also religiously feed Neutradex during competition and travel to aid in recovery.
Do you come from a horsey family, and how did you get involved in riding?
My Mum used to compete in dressage, so she got me into horses originally and supported my passion for many years. Ive been hooked ever since.
Who are your equestrian influences?
Growing up i would have to say Mark Todd and Meredith Micheals-Beerbaum were my idols. But probably the two people that influenced my riding the most would be Kiwi show jumpers; Sam McIntosh who I trained with when she returned to NZ for a few years and Miranda Harrington, who I worked for briefly in Holland. They both have achieved so much themselves and helped to teach me what this sport/ lifestyle is about.
Best piece of advice you have been given?
Evaluate and learn from your mistakes, and then move on. That way you are able to focus on the present not the past.
Living and working together would be hard work, so what do you guys do to relax away from the horses in your spare time(if you ever get any)?
It can be tough some days but we are a good team and count ourselves very lucky to be able to do something we both love together. Honestly whenever get some free time we try to book a horse free weekend away, wherever is cheap flights, relax and go to a nice restaurant for dinner, as we both really enjoy great food. Queenstown is one of our favourite places to run away to.