Kate Chadderton

Over three years ago I left Australia to search for fame and fortune in America and while I’ve found a little bit of the former I’ve also found a LOT of everything else!

Making the move with me was Margaret Warwick’s palomino Saddlebred gelding Canyonleigh Sirecho. When we landed in Newark (one of New York’s airports) all we literally had was a suitcase for me and a bag of rugs and bandages for Rocco … and without a ride to our new home! My fault, sometimes I miss some important things! Once that minor detail was sorted out (don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t hitchhike with a horse) we arrived in the middle of the night in our new homestate, Maryland. Maryland is about as close to Washington DC as you can get and many of my clients live and work there. It’s also in the heart of the American summer eventing circuit, very much like NSW (sorry Victoria). In the winter I live in Aiken, South Carolina, which is where the eventers all go as soon as the first snowflake falls.

The move south each year is quite common among the professionals, but that fact doesn’t mean that it’s easy! When I go I typically take about 12 horses, three people (including myself) and two dogs. I leave behind a fully operational, large barn, which I then have to manage from afar. The key is to have great staff who can act in place of me and as though they were me and I’ve been fortunate enough to find such people. The drive to Aiken is 11 hours and I sometimes have to make the trip three times in the first week we move. I get to see a lot of route 95 and the entertainment it has to offer: Who’s the genius that thought of combining a gentleman’s club AND a breakfast menu?! And who’s the genius who advertises it every 5 miles for 100 miles! Not fun when one of your working students is a 20 year old guy who begs to ‘please let’s just check it out, for life experience’!

One of the things I used to do is spend quite a bit of time bagging out people for losing their accents when they move to a different country, I’m quite conscious of the direction mine is taking. Firstly it turned a little English where I was annunciating and being very correct with my grammar. Then I reverted to my original country Queensland accent. Now I’m somewhere between QLD, NSW (obviously the least desirable of the two), Kiwi (I don’t know how), South African (watched Blood Diamond too many times?), Northern American (how the President speaks) and Southern American (how the Beverley Hill Billies speak). As you can imagine I cop a lot of flack when I’m back in Woodford, Queensland for Christmas!

On the horse front it’s been quite a ride to build a team of horses that are of an International quality and it taken a lot longer than I had planned. I essentially started from scratch canvassing anyone and everyone to let me compete their horses. I was successful at that and now have a loyal group of owners who are very supportive. Along the way I’ve had some experiences that I had never thought possible - the stand out one being a failed eventer by the name of Mario. Mario wasn’t scared of jumping but he was scared of almost everything else, including galloping across a field! Bad news if you’re an eventer! So I started showjumping him in my spare time. Lo and behold next we know we’re competing at Grand Prix! Jumping clear around Grand Prix’s is definitely NOT something I thought I’d be doing!

Anyhow, I look forward to bringing you stories from the U S of A of my many and varied adventures. I hope you find them interesting! I currently have some great top quality horses from Advanced down to the first level, beginner novice so at the moment life is very exciting.