Sarah Parker is one of Australia’s leading endurance riders holding 5 Tom Quilty buckles, is 3* FEI qualified and as a Junior, rode in the UAE Presidents Cup. Wonderful achievements at such a young age.
Sarah resides in Dalton, NSW with Kristie and Rodney Curry forming the Bushgrove Endurance team.
In Sarah's own words:
My love of horses comes from my mum, who is quite possibly the kindest person you will ever meet, and horses feel that when they are around her. Mum taught me how to ride and how to put the horse first. After years of riding together, she suggested that I try my first endurance ride, this was in my home state of Tasmania in 2008 when I was 11 years old and basically I’ve been addicted ever since.
I have been lucky enough to have many mentors over the years but my biggest supporter and teacher was the late Laurie Nicolle and together with his wife Lyn they have bred some exceptional endurance horses at Lauralyn Stud in Tasmania. Laurie was my biggest supporter and taught me so many things, how to ride hot horses, how to strategically ride a race, but most importantly how to enjoy my time with the horse. His hilarious one liners still stick in my head to this day. The endurance community was left with a huge hole in 2019 when Laurie left us way too early, but his memory lives on through Lyn and the Lauralyn breeding.
I continued to compete in Tasmania riding our own horses plus riding for other stables trying to gain us much knowledge as I could and then in 2016, I was lucky enough to have to opportunity to spend 4 months in Dubai where I was able to compete in many races and soak up as much knowledge and expertise as I could. On my return home I had the endurance bug worse than ever before and told Mum that I was going to pursue it as a career, her answer to that was 'No way' but that I could continue to compete for fun while still gaining experience working in the ‘real world’. So, I found myself a job and enrolled to complete a diploma in business. At the time, I thought this was the most unfair thing my Mum had ever asked me to do but now I’m extremely grateful to have finished studying and taken the time to really decide what I wanted my life to be like, and surprise surprise, I ultimately chose endurance.
A wonderful friendship with Kristie Curry (Wright) began in 2017 when she offered me her extremely special stallion Cooroora Allyjah for an FEI 1* event. We immediately clicked and later that same year Kristie offered me the wonderful mare, Wybalena Lodge Aflirt for Tom Quilty 2017. I could never have dreamed that this chance friendship could turn into an opportunity to live my dream life but that is exactly what happened. In 2020, right in the middle of all the Covid lockdowns, Kristie offered me an opportunity that I couldn't refuse, and so I packed my car, my dog and my horse and off I went to NSW.
And that was the beginning of Bushgrove Endurance. For the past 3 years Kristie, Rodney and I have worked together training and preparing horses and I still have to regularly pinch myself that this is my life now. Bushgrove Endurance is our baby and we want to grow it to be one of the biggest stables in Australia, not by number of horses but by producing consistent results, strong beautiful horses and a team that is more like a family.
Over the next few years we will start to see our first Bushgrove babies, sired by Coorora Allyjah. Before starting with Bushgrove, the one worry I had was that if I started to work in endurance full-time, my love for it would shrink especially as we all know this sport takes over our whole lives. It has actually had the opposite effect and I am more driven and passionate about it now than I ever could have imagined. We have set ourselves some really massive goals for the upcoming years, and I can’t wait to watch them play out. I am 110% committed to making mine and Bushgrove's dreams come true.
Fave 2022/2023 Achievements:
- 7th Middleweight - 2023 Tom Quilty Gold Cup 160km
- 1st 1* FEI Open - 2023 Darling River Run 100km
- 3rd Middleweight - 2022 NSW State Championships 160km
- 2024 NSW State Champion 160km
- Equitime Essence Bridle
- Sport HG Technical Headband
- Sport HG Holstein Riding Tights
- Naroo N1 Sports Riding Mask
Photo Credit: Animal Focus