Shane Rose is a well-known Australian eventer, who rode for his country at the Rio Olympics. Yet he has never been to, yet alone competed at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
“Badminton has always been at a particularly bad time of the year for me work-wise,” explains Shane, who runs a busy and productive breaking and pre-training business in his native country.
In fact, when we speak, it is eight days before the first trot-up at Badminton and Shane only returned from Australia one day previously.
“There are very expensive Easter yearling sales at home, so we’re always busy with those and then breakers,” explains Shane, whose top event horses have been based with British based Aussie Sam Griffiths since November last year. “I hope Sam knows the way to Badminton, because I certainly don’t!” he laughs.
Shane brought three horses over to the UK almost a year ago when vying for a spot on the Australian Olympic team.
“I went to the Olympics on CP Qualified and then took the other two, Virgil and Shanghai Joe to Burghley,” says Shane. “I then thought I’d like to give the European circuit a bit more of a go, so left my horses here while I went back to Australia.”
Shanghai Joe (a.k.a Nugget), is Shane’s chosen horse for his first Badminton attempt.
“We actually bred Nugget to Flat race and then event afterwards,” explains Shane. “He’s by a staying stallion, Another Warrior, who ran in the Melbourne Cup three or four times. But it became clear pretty early on that Nugget wasn’t going to come to fruition on the racecourse until he was four or five, so we decided to miss that out and take him eventing straight away instead, where thankfully he showed more promise.”
The road hasn’t always been smooth for Shane who was kicked in the face in 2005 which saw him sustain multiple facial fractures. He underwent a number of operations including facial reconstruction and ended up with eight plates inserted in his face to help the bones heal. He has also recovered from thyroid cancer and another kick 18 months ago resulted in a split liver, a punctured lung, cracked ribs and a superbug infection.
Nugget, who is 11-years-old, has enjoyed several wins and top placings at three-star level in Australia.
“He might not be the most talented horse in the world, but he tries his heart out and is just a really nice person,” says Shane, who is hoping for a strong result.
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He purposefully hasn’t watched the Badminton cross-country course preview.
“The last time I watched one, I went home and tried to recreate some of the fences which ended up being a complete mess,” confesses Shane, whose wife Niki will be joining him at the Gloucestershire four-star, alongside Nugget’s co-owners, Lee and Bill Brydon.
“I would like to do a mid to low 40s dressage test and Nugget is brave, straight and fast across country — I want to finish on our dressage score — we should be competitive then.”
Read the full Badminton preview in Horse & Hound magazine, out now.