Sappho joined the Ryan team in 2006 as a young SA rider who had enjoyed Pony Club and done some work experience at local riding clubs and also with some well known identities ie Megan Jones. Sappho has always had as her goal, making the Australian Olympic Team in the Eventing discipline. Sappho has come from a very different background, being fluent in the languages of French, Chinese ( Mandarin) and of course English. Sappho in an earlier life was very musical and has featured in public performances playing the cello. Since being with the Ryans Sappho has worked her way up through the grades in the Eventing discipline to FEI Two Star level. Three star is the next level and it is at this level that riders become qualified for the Olympics. Sappho will endeavour to be competing at Three star level at the end of 2011. Sappho is also training seriously in the dressage discipline and both her horses Bonza Troy (photo on left) and Hey Mish are currently competing at medium level dressage. Booth of these horses should make Prix St Georges dressage level by 2012. Sappho typically rides some 6 horses a day.
In 2008 at the end of March Sappho accompanied Rozzie and Donna Carrera as groom to Holland to compete in the World Cup Dressage Final at s'Hertogenbosch. Rozzie went on from there to be travelling reserve for the Australian Olympic Dressage Team at Beijing China in mid August, and again Sappho took on the responsibility of travelling with Donna Carrera and looking after her.
Sappho is heavily involved with the breeding programme at the Ryans. She has been in times gone past largely responsible for maintaining accurate mare records and also for organising the day to day management of follicle testing, preg testing, foaling, weaning and sale preparations. Sappho is also very competant in handling the stallions during live cover procedures which is a very serious responsibility. Probably more than anyone else at Ryans Sappho knows each mare and youngster by sight and can recite, off the top of her head, their breeding. Sappho has her own little breeding programme in place. In actual fact it is bigger than Ben Hur and not such a "little" breeding programme. Some of Sappho's mares are straight Dressage mares carrying the JIVE MAGIC and REGARDEZ MOI bloodlines and so far she seems to have been very astute in organising which mares go to which stallions and the resulting progeny demanding premium prices. Sappho also has her own little gamble going where she has invested in eventing mares with a view to producing a supply of superior eventing horses for herself to ride in competition and also with a view and an educated guess that premium eventing stock in the near future are going to become very valuable.
Sappho is a very hard worker, naturally bossy and in reality holds down a managing position here at Ryans. Sappho has sat and passed her NCAS Level I exams and so is a qualified Riding Instructor. Sappho is an invaluable member of the Ryans team.
Photo on left: Sappho with a broken leg having fallen off at the Scone ODE on the 13th March 2011. From left to right in the background Hazel Shannon, Gordon Pratt and Emma Armstrong, all trying to cheer Sappho up. Difficult to do considering no weight bearing for 6 weeks and no riding for 12 weeks!
Ironically the photo below is just seconds before the break occurred. Sappho is riding Hey Mish and jumping fantastically just to fall some 10 metres afterwards by slipping over on wet ground.