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Posted by Sydney CDI on 14/03/2024.
Lucy Cochrane and Gymanji at Boneo Park.
Image credit: James Abernethy, 2023

A splash of colour at the Sydney CDI - Gymanji & Lucy Cochrane

“It’s definitely exciting to be sprucing up the dressage scene with a bit of colour!” 

Making their debut at the 2024 Sydney CDI U25 Grand Prix is Lucy Cochrane and Gymanji, affectionately known as “Splash” at home. Bred by Ros Beck of Canterbury, New Zealand, Gymanji boasts a pedigree that blends warmblood heritage (by Gymnastik Star, out of an Anamour mare) with an intriguing link to Sundays Sensation, a Grand Prix appaloosa Stallion on the dam line. This unique lineage is evident in Gymanji’s striking appearance – his gorgeous blanket of white spots that sets him apart in the dressage arena. 

Lucy Cochrane, Gymanji’s owner and rider, shares the story of their remarkable journey. “Mum [Anne Cochrane] tried to purchase Splash as a 2-year-old but unfortunately missed out on him,” Lucy reveals. “His younger years consisted of hacking out, adult riding club, and cowboy challenges.” Despite missing out initially, Lucy and Anne kept a watchful eye on Gymanji, finally acquiring him six years later as an eight-year-old.

Gymanji’s transition into the world of dressage was not without its challenges. “When it came to my first ride on him in 2018, he couldn’t even canter a 20-metre circle,” Lucy recalls. Determined to unlock Gymanji’s potential, it was time for boot-camp. “Within six months, we had our first one-star eventing start,” Lucy proudly states. “We also had a very successful season in the preliminary and novice dressage classes.” Another season went by, and the duo found themselves almost unbeatable at Medium but, almost as a respectful nod to the versatility of his sire, were also successfully competing 1.30-metre showjumping classes. However, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a shift in the duo's focus. “We decided to retire him from jumping so we could focus on his dressage,” Lucy explains. “Although he was multi-talented, his future lay in the dressage arena.” 

Under the guidance of coach Vanessa Way, Gymanji flourished, showcasing his talent in FEI-level competitions across New Zealand in a dominating dressage campaign. At the end of 2022, Lucy was presented with a riding opportunity in Australia. She leapt at the opportunity to also take Gymanji with her. “Not only did we compete in Australia, but we also achieved our biggest goal – stepping up into the Grand Prix.” 

As they prepare for their debut at the 2024 Sydney CDI, Lucy reflects on the remarkable journey they’ve shared. “Although the Grand Prix work is green – it’s only our fourth start – I love that I can show a diverse-looking horse at such a high-calibre show,” Lucy says. “It’s definitely exciting to be sprucing up the dressage scene with a bit of colour!” 

“I’d like to thank Splash’s breeder Ros Beck, my parents Anne & Pete Cochrane, as well as my coach Vanessa Way. It’s a very rewarding process having produced a horse from the beginning as a young rider, so I’m very grateful for each step we take.” 

Article by Amiee Cupitt




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