Livingstone (Hank), Hawley Bennett-Awad’s first team horse, campaigned at the advanced level for eleven years, running numerous four stars. Horses are far from disposable to Hawley, she explained, “I don’t have a lot of money so if these horses break that’s it, my toys are done. I have to do everything I can to protect them and help them along the way.”
“When I got Hank I only had the one horse and I came from a family with no money. If he broke, I had nothing. I never really ran him fast at horse trials, but every time he jumped or galloped, he was iced and wrapped. To this day I think it is very important to brush your horses and feel their legs and if something is different be aware of it,” she said.
Not only does Hawley love and care for her horses with great attention to detail but she also credits her amazing staff. “I have to be able to trust the people who are working with the horses and if there is something wrong they can trust to tell me. They are not going to get in trouble. They are just as aware of what is going on as I am. Sarah right now is my groom and she is amazing. She lets me know about every little thing and she cares about the horses just as much as I do.”
Kudos to patience
It is no coincidence that the WEG will be Gin and Juice’s (Ginny) 10th four star. It is a testament to Hawley’s horsemanship. Hawley and this unstoppable mare will be tackling their second WEG together. Placing 17th individually and walking away with a team silver medal in 2010, Hawley looks to be even more competitive at these WEG.
When asked whom she gives kudos to on her successful development she answered, “The word ‘patience’. I have been riding her for nine years and she is one of the best horses I have ever sat on and one of the most difficult horses I have ever sat on. She’s definitely taught me patience. There are days when you wonder why you are doing it. Then there are days where you have your personal best and realize that’s why. It has been a team effort for her. It’s the owners. Buck Davidson has had a huge role in it. He has been one of the few people who have been behind me with her since day one, through good and bad. Robyn Fisher, Nicki Clark and Susie Hutcheson have helped too. It has not been one person or one thing it has been a group of things coming together for her.”
Rebecca Farm dress..age rehearsal
The focus of Ginny’s training has been dressage. Hawley explained, “Ginny has been at the 4* level long enough now that I know she can jump all the jumps and do all the movements so it is just having the ride-ability on the flat and over the jumps and it all comes from basics of flatwork.”
Their dedication is paying off. At their final competition before the WEG, the CIC3* at Rebecca Farm, they led dressage with a 47.1. Hawley is aiming to repeat this test at the WEG and said, “If she did that in two weeks I would be very, very, very excited. I talked with Buck quite a bit before about a plan for her dressage and it worked and hopefully we will carry that through at the WEG.”
Team Canada – underdogs again
Canada is not a medal favourite for the WEG but that does not discourage Hawley. She said, “I think this is why we all do eventing, you just never know. We were ranked 12th going into WEG in 2010. Our sport is so unpredictable and we are sending four really good cross-country and good show-jumping horses. If we all do our job who knows what could happen. We all have to go there with the same mindset – work as a team, play as a team, be a team. You never know. I would love to get back on that podium. But honestly, it is nice not to have all the pressure on us. The Germans, Brits, New Zealanders are the guys who have all the pressure on them to win a medal. We don’t. If we go there and fly under the radar again, we could be a surprise!”
Thank you to Jessica Kerschbaumer aka Alberta Eventer for the great photos for this article.