Ask anyone in the street what they think about Morgans and they are likely to say what fine British cars they are. Very stylish and beautifully put together.

Linda Shore is also a great fan of Morgans but these ones have hooves, not wire wheels, and originate in America. “It’s the only horse in the world which emanates from a single stallion,” explained Linda, 50, who has been training and showing this breed, along with several others, for many years.

“The stallion, named ‘Figure’, was owned by Justin Morgan who was born in Massachusetts in the mid 1700s. He was a horse breeder and a composer and was given the colt to pay for a debt. It grew to be a beautifully trained horse which could do almost anything.”

One of the Morgans trained and shown by Linda was Ranch Boss Cortex, imported by her neighbours, Greg and Kathy Lyons of Wilga Park Stud.

Linda established her own stud, River Range Warmbloods.

For the last 20 years she has been based at East Greenmount producing quality performance horses. “We’re also a training centre and welcome novices keen to learn riding.”

This is something Linda could not do when she received her first horse. Her father was given a pony mare as part payment for a job (a bit like Justin Morgan all those years ago!), and presented it to his 13-year old daughter. “We put her in the chook pen at our home in Rockhampton; she was only about 11.2 hands high. Linda got down on her knees, crawled through a hole and went visiting!”

Linda rode bareback all over the countryside until some saddlery was purchased and she learnt how to break in the pony. At 17, her father bought her a thoroughbred which developed into an accomplished performer. “And it was this horse which got me interested in dressage.”

Young Linda was on her way to becoming an all-round horsewoman. And, over the years, she learnt to shoe horses.

“And these days I also do a lot of barefoot trimming,” added Linda, who regularly spends time away from Greenmount giving clinics, showing for clients and doing ‘bridleless’ demonstrations at major events all over the country.

She’s no stranger to long distance travel — she once drove 2000 kilometres from Rockhampton to Werribee for a single riding lesson which she had won through a horse magazine. “It was with Kyra Kyrklund, a dressage international, who was the guest at a Victorian horse festival. Seven years later, I was in England and contacted Kyra — I wondered if she’d remember me. ‘How could I forget that Australian girl who drove so far for a 40-minute lesson?’ she said.”

As well as traditional dressage, Linda has been competing in recent years in cowboy dressage where top hats are replaced by Stetsons. “It’s all about riding for enjoyment while simultaneously improving your knowledge and skills. And I think it’ll continue to grow in popularity all around the world.”

 

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