War Hawk - a new eventing owner's perspective | An Eventful Life

War Hawk - a new eventing owner's perspective

      Stuart puts War Hawk through his paces at home

Last month Tinney Eventing announced that they had a new addition to the stable; War Hawk. War Hawk (or Raffles as he is known at home) is by the German Holsteiner stallion Ramirez, is currently competing at Pre-Novice and will shortly be out competing with his new rider, Stuart Tinney.

When Karen Tinney told me that someone had contacted them after the Olympics, out of the blue, to buy a horse for Stuart to ride, she was understandably excited. Stuart had, of course been a hot favourite for the London 2012 team until his top horse, Panamera incurred an injury which put her out of contention for selection. Ironically, it was watching the Olympic eventing on television that inspired Corinna and Darren Huskinson to purchase a horse for Stuart to ride.

Although it has been a few years since she has ridden, Corinna has had a passion for horses for over 30 years. During that time she did a bit of everything, including eventing, with her beloved Thoroughbred x Quarter Horse Mondy, a fabulous all-rounder who was with her for almost 15 years.

      The Huskinson family

“After watching the eventing at the London Olympics on Foxtel it reminded me of the trust and unity I had with Mondy, and it made me think of the bond these Olympic-level eventing riders must have with their horses” says Corinna “My horse had been my best friend .  Now that I am married, have two young children, a nearly-3 year old toddler and a 10 month old baby, and my husband and I run our own business, I just don’t find the time to ride as much as I would like to, even though I have a lovely mare in the paddock who is very patiently waiting for me to ride again. At this point in my life I will probably only ever pleasure ride, as a mother, I no longer have a cavalier attitude, there is more of an understanding of just how dangerous this incredible sport that I love can be, and I have lost some of my nerve.”

It occurred to Corinna however that are other ways to enjoy the sport. Although Darren is not particularly ‘horsey’ he was supportive when Corinna suggested that they consider owning a competition horse and they decided to contact Stuart Tinney. Tinney Eventing is located close by and this was an important factor so that Corinna could occasionally visit their horse and have a small involvement

“Darren and I had a meeting with Karen and Stuart, and we walked away knowing that this would be a fabulous way to be involved with eventing and competing. We felt it would be incredible to be a part of that as an owner and to support Stuart in campaigning a horse to possibly represent Australia at Rio or the World Championships in Normandy”

It didn’t take long to for Karen to have a shortlist of suitable horses – a shortlist which included a grey (which Corinna was excited about as the venture was also a legacy to her grandmother, who loved greys) and within a few weeks, Corinna found herself on a day trip to New Zealand with Stuart and Karen! 

“We were on a plane at 6.30am, on the ground in Auckland at 12pm local time, and I was back in Auckland to fly to Sydney at 6.30pm, arriving at home at 10.30pm (whilst this was a professional investment, I still wanted to see and touch the horse!) Karen and Stuart stayed overnight and Stuart put War Hawk through his paces again the next morning.  On their return I was very pleased that both Karen and Stuart felt he had passed the test and could be the horse we were looking for.”

“ Ultimately the decision of which horse to buy was up to Stuart and Karen, as they are the professionals who know if the horse we were looking at was going to make the grade, but I am really glad War Hawk came out on top. From the minute I saw his photo, amongst all the other horse profiles Karen had been sent, I secretly hoped he would be the one to take us on this incredibly exciting adventure, there was just something about him.  As you can imagine it is incredibly hard to find the right horse at the right time, it could have taken us months, so we were very lucky to find exactly what we wanted so quickly.”

      Corinna is so happy he's a grey!

Now that War Hawk is happily settled into life at Tinney Eventing, Corinna and Darren are looking forward to watching him compete at events

“Over the last few years I have done some volunteering at SIEC for various events including Interschools, the Sydney CDI and Sydney 3 Day Event, just to stay involved, which was good fun but attending events as an owner to watch Stuart compete War Hawk will be amazing. Hopefully we will be a little more involved in the social side of things through Karen and Stuart, and it will be great to meet like-minded people who are also passionate about horses and competition and supporting the sport”

Although they realise that it is a long way to make the top grade and plenty of unforeseen things can happen along the way, Corinna and Darren are looking forward to the journey as well as, hopefully, an Olympic or WEG destination. However, although War Hawk is a source of enjoyment for their family, he is undeniably also an investment

“Obviously there are also other very talented horses in the Tinney Eventing stable but we are excited that, with our purchase of War Hawk, we are able to increase the odds that one of the Tinney horses will go to Rio. After that, we will have to see. I am very emotional when it comes to horses, so it would be hard to let War Hawk go if the time comes.  However he is a very valuable asset, so realistically the venture is a long term investment, with the end goal being he hopefully goes to Rio and then we may sell him.”

In their post-Olympic blog for An Eventful Life, the Tinneys asked the question “How do we gather the strength of the other countries in horse power?”

The answer may lie with owners such as Corinna and Darren who are prepared to back Australian riders and help boost the horse power available in this country whilst enjoying a unique experience in the world of eventing