“I am always looking to learn,” she says. “Every vet and farrier I use, I watch, study and ask questions – why, how, what works. I just want to be continuously learning and improving what I do.”
She’s been helping horses all her life, but it is only in the last decade her equine therapy skills have been given a name.
“It started when (Olympic and World Champs showjumper) Samantha McIntosh recommended an equine therapist. It was for a pony who had been to Massey University and we had been told we would never be able to pick up his back legs again. He had been diagnosed with shivers. We were a bit sceptical to be honest. We had people look at him but no one could pin point why we couldn’t pick up his back feet.”
She turned to equine chiropractor Dan Erickson and within 45 minutes of him treating the horse, they had shoes on those back feet. “This is a horse that no one had been able to even trim his back feet for four years and I had got him because he was apparently dangerous.”
That horse is Showtym Spotlight – her star demo pony who hasn’t missed a beat since he met Erickson.
Erickson has become her mentor – he’s the person she turns to for advice when she is stumped. “He is just amazing. I can call him, describe what I am seeing and he just says do this. Straight away I am dealing with a different horse.”
Wilson says the feedback she has had from owners of horses she has fixed is nothing short of incredible and makes her world. “There are a lot of body workers in the equine world and I don’t believe you can just limit yourself to only one way of doing things.” She can watch a horse trot across a paddock and tell immediately where it is sore. “It makes it very hard now to watch a showjumping class or a dressage test and I can see where the horse is not happy.”
The horses she has worked with have become case studies for her, and as word travels, so too does the demand for her clinics, with more booked in the United States, Australia, Canada and Europe.
“Whether it is a brumbie in Australia or a showjumper elsewhere – it is all about helping horses and giving the general public knowledge they can fill their own tool boxes with.”
Wilson has been invited back to the colt starting event for next year. “It is an incredible competition – especially when you go there not expecting anything and the competitors were so strong this year.” With 8000 very vocal and loyal fans – some of whom travel five days to get there and others who have been coming each of the 15 years – it is hot house of emotion and atmosphere. “I wasn’t riding fit for it this year, and that was hard. I really had to look after myself after the surgery and had only started one horse the week before as a practice.”
She brought her horse Kentucky home on the back of her first winner’s cheque and would have done the same this year had one of the judge’s not asked to have the horse.
“It is huge and life changing prize money – I can’t complain."
Wilson is now in the throes of creating an elite rehab programme at her new base in Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand.
Wilson has 15 mares foaling a year at the property alongside her competitive team. “I love starting horses,” she says. She still has her sights set on competing offshore at top level.
But for now, she has to take a little time out as her own body recovers from a second surgery on a troublesome shoulder. It was injured in a fall some years ago and exacerbated with more damage. She had surgery on both her shoulder and hip in September last year but re-injured her shoulder when running to help at a car accident in December. She had it really well strapped for her successful defence of the colt starting comp but knew more surgery was needed.
It’s hard to sideline such an active and driven horsewoman, but she knows if she wants to achieve all her future goals, then a little time out won’t go astray.
Book your tickets to EQUITANA Melbourne here!
For more information on Vicki Wilson, head to her website – www.vickiwilson.nz
JUMPING TRAINING FEATURE
FRIDAY 10AM - THINK FENCING ARENA
FRIDAY 11.30AM - THINK FENCING ARENA
SATURDAY 12.15PM - GRAND HALL ARENA
SATURDAY 1PM - GRAND HALL ARENA
SUNDAY 3PM - BARASTOC ARENA
SUNDAY 3.45PM - BARASTOC ARENA