An Eventful Life - The book
About the Riders
The book, An Eventful Life, provides a written and pictorial insight into the lives of five elite Australian eventing riders; Megan Jones, Sonja Johnson Shane Rose, Wendy Schaeffer and Stuart Tinney. They are all Olympic medallists, they are all aiming for further medals and they are all based in Australia. An additional chapter on an up and coming rider, Emma Scott, gives an insight into how younger Australian riders view the world of professional equestrian sport.
The blonde and bubbly pin up girl of Australian eventing. Few people realise the hurdles that Megan has overcome since childhood including eye and ear operations, a bad stutter and dyslexia. Megan is a team silver medallist from the Beijing Olympics who narrowly missed out on winning the individual gold medal – a mistake she intends to rectify in the future! The story of Megan’s rise to the top of her sport is inspiring, sometimes hilarious and often endearing.
The silver Olympic medallist who regards herself as a sheep farmer first and professional rider second! Read about how Sonja manages her equestrian career from the remote area of Albany, Western Australia and combines winning medals with managing her family’s merino stud, coaching and public speaking. Sonja’s story reveals a feisty, amusing and enthusiastic woman who is determined that a balanced life can be achieved at the top of any career
The likeable Australian larrikin who is well known for his bravery, not only in his riding but also in overcoming life threatening situations. Most event riders incur some injuries through their sport but Shane has recovered from the devastating effects of being kicked in the face by a horse and has had to deal with the emotional and physical trauma of thyroid cancer. Despite this, Shane won a team silver medal at the Beijing Olympics and he is determined to go one better next time and win gold.
At twenty one years of age, Wendy was the youngest gold medal winning Olympic rider. Having broken her leg only nine weeks before the Atlanta Olympic Games, many doubted she would be able to compete. But against all odds, she triumphed and the story of Wendy and Sunburst, the horse she had ridden since she was eleven years old went into the history books.
Wendy now competes at international level not only in eventing but also in showjumping and must be one of the few people in the world to win a World Cup showjumping qualifier and World Cup Eventing qualifier in the same year
The quiet hero and family man. Having travelled all around the world with his horses to earn the right to compete for Australia, Stuart won a team gold medal a few kilometres from home at the Sydney Olympics. Despite this achievement, he is unfortunately probably best remembered overseas for jumping into the crowd at the prestigious Badminton event!
Stuart’s story demonstrates how a man whose first love is his family can still be the best in the world in his sport.
The young rising star, Emma has two horses competing at elite level and looks set for a bright future
About the book
The equestrian sport of eventing is one of the world’s most demanding and thrilling sports, requiring athleticism, bravery and a special partnership between horse and rider. It is also the only Olympic sport in which men and women compete directly against one another. Australia’s eventing riders are admired around the equestrian world. Their medal winning achievements at multiple Olympic Games and other international competitions are testament to the quality of eventing riders produced in Australia.
But what is it that makes these riders so special? This book, An Eventful Life, provides a written and pictorial insight into the lives of five elite Australian eventing riders; Megan Jones, Sonja Johnson Shane Rose, Wendy Schaeffer and Stuart Tinney. They are all Olympic medallists, they are all aiming for further medals and they are all based in Australia. An additional chapter on an up and coming rider, Emma Scott, gives an insight into how younger Australian riders view the world of professional equestrian sport.
Equestrian journalist and writer Alison Duthie spent time talking to these riders about their lives, their horses, their ambitions and their businesses. She visited their homes, followed them at competitions and met their partners – both human and equine! Their backgrounds, personalities and approaches to life vary but there are recurring themes of determination, passion and ambition. The result is a fascinating book comprising of six compelling individual stories which, when combined, provide an incisive overview of the sport of eventing in Australia.
Each of the five Olympic riders has a section dedicated to their story consisting of 32 pages of text and 16 pages of colour photographs. The section featuring young rider Emma Scott consists of 16 pages of text and 8 pages of colour photographs. The book also contains a chapter providing a background to the sport of Eventing and a record of Australian achievements in eventing at the Olympic Games and the World Equestrian Games to 2009. The book was written by Alison Duthie and published by Palmer Higgs Publishing.
An Eventful Life is the concept of Debbie Higgs and a project of Palmer Higgs Publishing. Whilst working on a book about top performers in business, it occurred to Debbie, an equestrian enthusiast, that it would be interesting to create a book about top performers in the sport of eventing. A friend had also commented that she would like to read more about the lives of Australian riders, rather than the usual “how to ride a horse” books. Bearing this in mind, the concept of the book was created and equestrian journalist, Alison Duthie was commissioned to interview the riders and write the book. As there were plenty of Australian Olympic eventing medallists to choose from (a lucky country indeed!), the decision was made to feature five riders - Sonja Johnson, Megan Jones, Shane Rose, Wendy Schaeffer and Stuart Tinney – based on the premise that they lived in Australia, were Olympic medallists and still competing at a high level. A sixth rider just starting out on the path of National selection, talented young rider Emma Scott, was included as a contrast with these seasoned campaigners. Despite the fact that all of the riders have hectic schedules, they were enthusiastic about the project and willingly agreed to subject themselves, their partners and their family (especially mums and dads) to seemingly endless questions and scrutiny! Old photos were unearthed, ambitions were outlined and memories – both happy and sad - were brought to the surface as the stories unfolded. Being English, Debbie is luckily totally oblivious to the Australian ‘tall poppy syndrome’ and she is delighted that this book celebrates the talent, perseverance and skill of these amazing Australian eventing riders.
Alison Duthie was born and grew up in the UK where she evented with (what she describes as) occasional success to Two Star level while working for the international eventing rider Ian Stark (MBE). Alison was Ian's groom in 1988 when he came first and second at Badminton with his great horses - Sir Wattie and Glenburnie - and also won a silver medal on Sir Wattie at the Seoul Olympics. During the next few years Alison worked for many other top event riders at European and World Championships. She was a team groom at several British Young Rider Championships during the era of Pippa Funnell, Tina Cook and Willian Fox-Pitt and she went on to become William's head girl. After meeting her Australian husband, Peter Gillis, who was eventing in the UK, Alison moved to Australia in 1996 where she continued to work in the horse industry with her husband. At this time Alison decided to combine her knowledge of horses with her journalistic skills and became the Australian correspondent for the UK magazine 'Eventing'. She is now also the editor of 'The Eventer' magazine - the official magazine of Eventing New South Wales - which has grown to be a popular publication and is the only magazine in Australia dedicated to eventing. Alison has also written for Horse and Hound and UK Riding magazine, is the writer of Stuart Tinney's book "Making the Time' and co-authored "The Groom's Handbook" with Emma D'arcy. Alison lives at Penrose in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW with her husband and her two young sons, Thomas and David.
An Eventful Life - Life Stories of Eventing Champions is a soft back book of 304 pages. It is also available as an eBook for all major eReading devices.
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