War Hawk - an eventing horse owner's journey

Corinna and Darren Huskinson decided to become owners of an eventing horse after watching the eventing at the 2012 London Olympic Games. They bought a new mount for Stuart Tinney and Tinney Eventing so they could enjoy being an owner and being part of a competitive preparation within an Olympic stable, and hopefully see their horse be selected for Rio. War Hawk’s first season has started on a very encouraging note, and in her own words Corinna takes us through the first part of his competition season. 

Stuary Tinney War Hawk

       The beautiful War Hawk

My husband and the two kids (ages three and one) went along to see War Hawk at his first competition at Wallaby Hill Horse Trials on the weekend of 9th and 10th February.  This was his first competition since he had joined the Tinney yard from New Zealand late last year; he was entered in the Pre-Novice and we were excited to be supporting him as owners. 

It was an overnight road trip for our little family, heading down to Mittagong fairly early on Saturday morning and we had a good run so decided to stop and have breakfast at a café once we got to Mittagong. Despite having had his own breakfast earlier my one year old convinced me he was starving so I gave him a bit of mine. To my horror within a few minutes he was rubbing his eyes like crazy and his face was swollen and blotchy, oh no - ALLERGIC REACTION!  We ran down the main street to the town pharmacy to get some antihistamine, asked where the hospital was (Bowral!) in case it got worse and waited.  Thank goodness we could see within 15 minutes that the anti-histamine was working, so we jumped in the car to head on to Wallaby Hill while the little one had a sleep.

Unfortunately that little incident has made us quite late, so when we arrived at Wallaby Hill I had literally seconds to spare before Stuart and War Hawk were due to be in the ring for the dressage test.  We hadn’t driven all that way at the crack of dawn for me to miss the dressage test, so Darren dropped me at a fence in line with the indoor arena and I did the bolt, running through various paddocks which were part of the cross country course (luckily no cross country comp today!) climbing through fences (avoiding electric tape) and making it to the arena just as Stuart was ushered in to ride.  Turns out they started running a tiny bit late or I would have missed the whole thing.  So it’s a blazing hot day, my one year old is soldiering on but getting incredibly hot and miserable in his stroller (refuses to leave his hat on despite my best efforts so can’t come out of the stroller), my three year old has seen a few horses do a few things and that’s enough for him, the flies are driving everyone nuts so we decide to head to the motel, and spent the rest of the afternoon ensconced in air-conditioning. 

On the Sunday we were doing quite well, breakfast done, all gear packed up and in the car with plenty of time, or so I thought!  Turns out I had got the wrong time in my head for War Hawk to be showjumping and we now (again) were going to be lucky to get there in time. What a nightmare, we’d come all this way!  We had a horse float in front of us on the long windy road to the property with no way of safe overtaking, we had no idea where to head once we got there so, again, the day saw me running cross country, but today I had my three year old along for the run while my husband parked and sorted the baby out. 

VIP tent Wallaby Hill

       The VIP tent at Wallaby Hill - a great place for owners but especially those with children

We must have been a funny sight, but bless my three year old he’s a trooper and he went as fast as his little legs would carry him.  Karen was texting me as I was running, telling me he’s about to jump and I had to be quick, well I was doing my best!  Lo and behold we got to the ring just as the bell rang.  We saw him jump a great round then there was some wandering around while we waited for the cross country to start.  We were lucky enough to be guests in the VIP tent and that was fabulous, but by about 3pm the kids had had enough and we had to call it a day and head back to Sydney.   My last-minute arrivals must have been a good omen as our wonderful War Hawk was the WINNER in the Pre-Novice, we are very proud and really glad we made the effort to be there to watch his first event.  Thanks to Karen and Stuart for a great first event, no doubt Stuart’s prep with him in the last couple of months is what made War Hawk perform so well.

Weds 20th and Thurs 21st Feb saw War Hawk compete in Pre-Novice in the Mid-Week at SIEC Horsley Park.  We couldn’t get there for the dressage on the Wednesday but dragged some family members along for the Thursday to watch the showjumping and the cross country.  Another hot day for the kids, really can’t wait for the one year old to walk so he can get out and about without having to sit in the stroller all the time.  Who knew there was such a massive walk from the lunch area to the water jump, well we didn’t, and everything takes longer with a stroller and a three year old and we would have probably missed War Hawk come past – A big THANKYOU to Jean Findlay’s partner, Herman and his wonderful minivan – in we hopped, stroller and all, and got a ride all the way there and then all the way back again.  War Hawk had faced incredibly stiff competition in the dressage on the Wednesday but still had a good result.  On Thursday his showjumping and cross country did not let us down and by the end of the day War Hawk was 4th in his class! Another great result.

      It was sooooooo wet at SIEC

Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th February the Sydney One Day Event at SIEC Horsley Park saw War Hawk entered in the ONE STAR!  He’s graduated to a new grade of competition, how exciting.  Unfortunately Saturday saw another day of massive downpours that had started on Friday. War Hawk and Stuart had a dressage test fairly early, and we couldn’t get out there in time. They did their test in the pouring rain, and Stuart was very happy with War Hawk’s test. It was still pouring with rain on and off on the Sunday, they pressed on with the show jumping and he had a few unlucky rails down.  It was so wet that the cross country was called off early on Sunday morning, so the event became a Combined Training event. I’m surprised they kept going, honestly, who of us can put their best foot forward in the pouring rain? I can’t!  I really admire all of the competitors (and their horses!) who push on and do their training and their competing no matter what the conditions, it is such dedication.  War Hawk ended up 8th and Stuart was happy with his performance, he’s improving all the time so that’s great.

Saturday 9th March and Sunday 10th March saw Stuart and War Hawk competing in the ONE STAR at Scone Horse Trials.  We didn’t get there (didn’t get myself organised enough for another overnight trip and we had family commitments early Saturday) and there was no mobile phone reception so no running updates as the competition progressed.  However another successful weekend with War Hawk finishing fourth in his class! 

On the 16th and 17th March Stuart and War Hawk competed at the NEGS ODE in Armidale and WON the ONE STAR! Fabulous result, we even got a trophy! 

Stuart Tinney war Hawk

      Cross country at the QLD Int 3 Day Event

From 21st-24th March Stuart and War Hawk and three of the other horses from Tinney Eventing headed on to Warwick in QLD for the Queensland International 3 Day Event which starts with a trot-up on Thursday.  War Hawk competing ONE STAR, he did a fabulous dressage test, jumped fast and clear cross country and jumped clear in the show jumping. He came second - a fantastic result, very exciting as this was a HUGE event, so for us he is really proving himself to be a bit of a star. 

Stuart Tinney War hawk

We are loving this fabulous horse and the partnership with Karen and Stuart!

Until next time

Corinna Huskinson

The next planned event for War Hawk is Equestriad at Camden on May 25th and 26th. AEL will be videoing the cross country there and we can’t wait to video this exciting young horse




Beautiful article Corinna on the darling Raffles aka War Hawk. Got to see him at Tinney's and gave him a huge cuddle. Gosh I miss that naughty little smirk he has on his face. Very very luck to watch Stuart schooling him and my goodness he is going incredible!