We found a gap to chat to Kwesta ambassador, Bronwyn Short. She is competitive and just LOVES her horses.
- Name: Bronwyn Meredith Short
- DOB: 22 May 1984
- Nicknames: Bron
- Three words that best describe yourself: Confident, brave, headstrong (if I’m being kind).
- Give us a brief history on your riding journey. Childhood, disciplines, your move from George to Jozi etc.:
I have been riding properly since I was 12. I had a late start but I have never looked back. My parents were not keen on me riding but realised I was going to pursue my dream no matter what and eventually gave in by buying my first pony – a 14,3hh Nooitgedacht (who was the most stubborn pony in the world, ever!). I then went onto my first horse, a Thoroughbred gelding called Lafaminit. He was the gentlest creature who taught me how to do all disciplines at a low level (dressage, eventing, showing, equitation and jumping). He had the biggest heart and was always placed despite my novice errors. I then made a few poor decisions as far as buying the next horse went. I had good lame horses and unsuitable sound horses! This resulted in me being educated as to the importance of the correct, sound mount to succeed in our sport. My first proper jumper was a THB mare called Sweet Alma. I bought her from Ryan Sander, who is now my partner (that is actually how we met). I feel that this is a huge landmark because without a partner completely invested in horses it would have been impossible to continue to be relentlessly involved in the sport. Ryan competes with me at most shows, course designs, coaches, and is a great dad. He is a priceless asset that has always supported my riding and always picks up my slack. Sweet Alma was jumping 1m and took me up to the 1.35m fairly quickly. She is retired now in KZN. After this came I’m Tops (from Denny Sander) and Pryolita (imported mare). They gave me mileage and many prizes up to 1.45m). In 2009 we decided to move from George to Johannesburg because I felt the constant travelling was unfair on my horses. This was the best decision I could have made for both my showjumping and business careers. I started being coached by Gonda Betrix who took 2 gruelling years just to correct my basics – we have achieved so much since then. Currently I ride Font Charisma and Fountain of Love in the Open classes. The stallion, Capital Hamilton, that I rode for Capital Stud has recently been exported to Europe to further his international career. We have a beautiful property in Sun Valley that is a great base and home, thanks to the endless support of my parents.
- What was your first great equestrian moment? Wins, achievements, realisations etc?
Winning the Harare Grand Prix. It seems small now but I think it signified a turning point in my riding. After that it felt like I could exceed my expectations and realistically compete in the higher grades because I had the most phenomenal horse and had worked hard. It also gave me confidence in my future and system of training.
- Who is/was your “horse of a lifetime”?
I have been beyond fortunate to have had so many good horses that have taught me so much. Fountain of Love is the horse of my lifetime. She has given me her all and she is my whole heart when it comes to horses. She without a doubt made me as a rider.
- You’re a top rider, yard owner, instructor, show organizer, and have a (human) family. How, amongst all of this, do you ensure you are 100% prepared (mentally and physically) for a competition, and how at a show do you ‘step away’ from it all and get into the zone?
I must admit that sometimes I am not 100% prepared. Although I am a ‘professional’, sometimes life takes over. I find it is a juggling act at the moment. Between running a yard, show venue, family and jumping career I am often spread a little thin. I am guilty of putting my riding first and need Ryan to put the brakes on occasionally. Sometimes family just has to come first. I recently lost 2 members of my close family and this brought it crashing home that rosettes are not the most important thing in life. I firmly believe that as a rider I must be able to cope at a show with distractions. I perform best under pressure and don’t remove myself from daily life during a show. I do not struggle to get onto my horse and focus immediately. It is a conscious decision I made 4 years ago and implement every day. I used to use distractions as an excuse for poor performance. My riding evolved once I made the decision to take full responsibility for my performance. And decided to try not allow myself to fail to give of my best when I was on my horse or managing my horses.
- Plans/goals for the near future?
Short term I plan to buy some new horses and get learn to ride them so that my current horses have less pressure. Long term I intend on competing at top level for a long, long time. My goal is to be consistent at the top level.
- Lastly, equestrians make use of a variety of tools, equipment, and riding gear on both horse and rider, in their quest for the perfect performance. Do you have a favourite item/s at the moment?
My favourite riding gear – Kwesta breeches. I used to go through breeches like crazy. The Kwesta’s look so good and last like nothing I’ve seen to date. They all look brand new (even the white) and this is great because I am obsessed with looking smart even at home! If you look good you feel good. Essential tools for my horses are definitely my bits. I have hundreds and change often especially on horses I’m still getting to know. I also need a saddle that stops me flying out of it, as my legs are so short. My favourite is my Mark Todd that I won from Western Shoppe over 8 years ago!
Bronwyn and Fountain of Love. The competitive duo: