No one would buy Ann-Maree a horse when she was a child. No one would pay for riding lessons. Daughter of a RAAF sergeant, there were no equestrian dreams coming true as she moved town every two years and attended 11 different schools.
But from her first riding lesson at 20, she became, four years later, a Level 1 EA coach, elementary dressage judge and FEI competitor with two self-trained horses. She doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘can’t’ and it is banned on her arena. From learning walk pirouettes out of a book against a barbed wire fence and teaching her horse to leg-yield against 44-gallon drums, she has forged herself into a three-time Grand Prix competitor, top coach and coach educator, and equestrian psychologist specialising in ‘achieving the dream’.
From a $400 galloway bought from the classifieds in 1985, Ann-Maree last year imported her second European stallion – no inheritances or miracles, and she survived a couple of divorces along the way! If you want it, you can do it. Byalee Stables has grown from 5 acres to a beautiful 50-acre stud in the Hunter Valley with a magnificent barn and indoor. As well, Ann-Maree is half of the partnership that is Auction of the Stars with Heath and Rozzie Ryan. Auction of the Stars is Australia’s longest-running and most successful performance horse auction company.
Ann-Maree has a reputation for encouraging riders lacking in confidence as shown in her monthly column in Horse Deals, ‘Psyched for Success’. Ann-Maree has been an accredited NCAS coach with EA for almost 30 years and is now a specialist Level 3 Dressage Coach and Coach Educator, drawing coaching candidates from all over NSW. She teaches at all levels from 3yos to FEI, as well as riders who haven’t ridden for up to 40 years. Ann-Maree also has more than 25 years of dressage judging to her credit and is currently an advanced level judge as well as being one of only two NSW mentor judges below FEI level.