Local Eventing star Tessa Sharman-Farrelly sat down for a chat with Equestrian WA to reflect on her equestrian journey - including her early days in the Wheatbelt, what she loves most about the sport and her future ambitions!
Tell us about how you became involved with riding and equestrian sport? When did you start and who introduced you? Were there any particular things that influenced you getting involved?
I grew up on a farm in the Central Wheatbelt, and my Mum was horsey, so it was just a way of life for us. From before I could walk, I was sitting on a horse, I have photos of me in nappies riding on our ponies, and my love for the horses grew into a love of competing and producing horses as I got older. I am lucky enough to come from a family who always supported my passion. My Mum, although she never competed to the level I have, always encouraged me to keep aspiring to be better and supported me in every way. And even though my Dad never really understood the ‘horses’ he always supported me financially until I could support myself.
What are the things that you love most about riding and equestrian sport?
From the riding side of things, I love the sense of achievement when you produce a horse from scratch through to the high levels of the sport, in any discipline. At the start it always seems impossible to think the horse will ever be able to perform to those levels, but slowly and surely with the right education they get there and before you know it you are achieving things you never thought possible. And from the sport side of things, I love the community and friends that I have from the sport. I am lucky enough now to run a business in the Equestrian industry, along with being on a number of committees, so that has thrown me further into the sport, and the support and friendship that has come from both of these avenues is massive and means a lot.
Can you tell us more about your horse/s and what they mean to you?
I currently have two horses in my stables. Rita is my main horse, and she is incredibly special to me. She came into my life when I felt a bit down and out in the sport. I had two top level horses that just weren’t what I had hoped they would be, and I wasn’t sure where to go next. Then Rita came along - an opinionated pushy mare, that has talent to burn, and she really set my soul on fire again to train another horse through to the top level. And the baby of my stables is a lovely gelding called Cuba who I purchased in January from Caitlin Bolger at Riverwood Lodge. He is only four (4) years old, so I am currently just training him lightly and competing at low level while he finishes growing. He is a very exciting prospect for the future, and is already proving to be a little superstar.
What level of competition are you currently competing at? How many times a year do you compete?
I am currently competing at 2 star level eventing with Rita, she will upgrade to 3 star at her next start later this year, and Cuba is currently competing at 80cm eventing. Somehow we find ourselves at a competition most weekends. Eventers like to branch out and go to showjumping or dressage days to work on those phases.
What is your proudest achievement so far in equestrian sport?
Hmm this is a tough one, as I have lots of moments that I am proud of over the years. Most recently though it would have to be my trip to the Melbourne International Three Day Event. Rita & I finished 2nd in the 6 year old Young Event horse class, and then 13th in the CCI2* L from over 70 starters. I was so proud of my amazing horse for her performance at that event.
What are some of your future goals and aims within the sport, both short and long term?
I am hoping to qualify for and compete at the Adelaide International Horse trials next year in April with Rita in the CCI 3* L class, and then maybe we will be back there in the next few years to contest the 5 star. I would love to start in a 5 star event one day, so hopefully I have the horse currently in my stables that will help me achieve that goal.
Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement or providing inspiration?
Growing up, my Mum was my support with my horses, and although she isn’t involved now like she use to be, she is still very much there in the background. And of course my amazing husband is now my biggest supporter. He attends every event with me that he can, and in addition to the moral support, he is also the best groom around. The horses absolutely love him, and although he didn’t grow up in a horsey family, he is very skilled with the horses and is able to help me with them at events. I don’t ever really compete with a groom, even when I have multiple horses, and I can only do this because Gerry is there and always ready to help with whatever is needed.
Can you tell us something interesting about you that we don’t know? How would someone describe you?
Haha I would prefer not to know how people describe me!! That’s their business not mine!!
No seriously, I think most people see me as a straight shooter, some appreciate it and some don’t, but I am a loyal person who will always stand up for what I believe is right and will support others when needed.
Something interesting…I have a Bachelor of Commerce Degree with a Major in Accounting and worked as an accountant for several years before moving to work at Horseland. All of this how led me to where I am now, owning my own business - Spooks Riding Australia.
Above: Tessa on the cross country course
Credit: Waylib Photos
Below: Tessa and Rita flying high
Credit: Tilly McDonald Photography