San Andreas & Jayden Brown of Australia on the Big Stage in Europe

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San Andreas being competed by Jayden Brown at the World Young Horse Championships. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
San Andreas being competed by Jayden Brown at the World Young Horse Championships. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

VERDEN, Germany, Aug. 12–After San Andreas dominated the Sydney CDI 6-year-old division in May, Jayden Brown figured he may never get to sit on the horse again let alone compete the gelding in the final of the World Young Horse Championships.

San Andreas was moved to Europe to be sold. But when the Hanoverian by Sandro Hit out of a Walt Disney mare was invited to join the 40 combinations from across the continent and the United States at the championships in Verden, Germany owner Beau Dowsett asked Jayden to be the rider.

“It’s a nice bonus to be here,” the 25-year-old rider from Queensland told dressage-news.com. “He’s the best horse I’ve had to train. He’ll definitely be missed.

“When you see the horses in training in Australia he stands out quite a lot. With the quality here, there are so many horses of such a high standard, it’s nice just to be competing with them.”

After arriving in Germany, San Andreas was out of work for a month recovering from the effects of travel and still not at his best when Jayden arrived just a week before the championships. He would have liked to have been in Germany sooner but rode in the Brisbane World Cup event.

The odds were loaded against the pair making it to the big final, and the first qualifier showed just how long when they placed 16th.

However, in the small final the following day Jayden and San Andreas were third. As the top three moved to the big final of the top 15 combinations, the duo achieved more than was expected. The down side was that by making the big final, the horse competed for three straight days.

The final result was 7.36 and 14th place.

Nerves at being on the big stage didn’t get to him, he said–he was more paranoid about learning the championship test that he hadn’t ridden before.

For the record, he did not go off course.

Jayden Brown - San Andreas IMG_8209

The Verden championships was not Jayden’s first competition in Europe–he competed at the Young Rider World Cup Final in Frankfurt in 2008, an experience that he admits was not the greatest as he was ill and his condition was not helped by the bitter winter cold, the opposite of the sub tropical weather of his home in December.

“It’s a little more fun to be here,” he said, “not freezing cold.

“I’m enjoying this a lot more. I’m also a lot better at handling pressure so I’m not quite as nervous.”

The German trainer who has worked with San Andreas since the horse arrived in Europe with a couple of others to be sold had done a great job preparing the gelding in Jayden’s riding style to make it as easy as possible for the rider to compete in the championships.

“He had not changed too much so I could have an easier job of it,” he said..

This s Jayden’s last year in the increasingly competitive Under-25 division that is rapidly growing as it is aimed at helping bridge the gap between Young Riders and the senior ranks.

He got into horse sports with hand-me-down ponies and horses from his three older sisters. He took up eventing with a horse that was so bad at jumping that Jayden decded on dressage that the horse was only marginally better at but that got him into the sport.

The horse was sold when he finished high school.

He went to university for a short while but quckly realized riding was more his thing and now has 16 horses in his stable, 10 that he rides.

His nine-year-old Grand Prix horse that he candidly admits is a “bit challenging” as a prospect for Australian teams is his main focus following the young horse championships. However, he is spending a few days in Germany and the Netherlands looking for possible mounts before heading home.

Jayden wants to come back to further his development as a rider and preferably with a horse that could be a contender for his nation’s squad.