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We want to introduce you to the first of our two sponsored riders; Vanessa Veart-Smith. Join us in following her journey with us!

In this blog, you’ll find Vanessa’s rider profile where she tells us about her horse, background, goals and achievements. We will keep this page updated with photos and other updates throughout the year. 

The Redback Agri Team were overwhelmed with the response to our newly launched sponsorship offer and found it difficult to pick just two riders to support for the season. However, we were lucky to find two talented individuals who are just as passionate about their sport as we are about our arena grooming product range and we are thrilled for them both to be part of the team. 



Rider Profile – Vanessa Veart-Smith

Main horse

Name: The Notorious Fez
Current Level: Prix St George – Level 7 – Small Tour

4yo Prestige VDL x Urban Mare. We have show jumped to Pro Am level and done a couple of Mini Prix until last season when schooling at home alone became quite difficult with a toddler and wanting to jump bigger heights, so I made the move with my “dressage bred” horses to Dressage as I could train confidently at home on my own and go to competitions more confident and competitively.

We had previously done some fun dressage shows to level 4 and have moved quite quickly to Level 7. We are green at this level both of us, however we are finding our feet.

Ferro is his paddock name and he likes a belly scratch which he lifts a hind leg like a dog, he hates other horses but gets so upset if they disappear (he is a bit of a bully in the paddock so has to be a loner), he looks easy but man if you see his grumpy days (only a select few have) then not many want to hop on, but we love each other so much he cracks me up when he is grumpy! In jumping if I couldn’t warm him up because he was dolphin diving and squealing excitably I knew my round was a winning one. If he was quiet and easy we would be sluggish.

I’ve been very lucky to have Ferro come into my life when my beloved horse Jedi Skywalker passed away suddenly whilst I was out hunting him one day, Ferro was there to heal me and I’ll always be grateful to him and Monique Franklin who allowed me to care and own him.

Ferro brightens my day every day with his squealing and droopy lip look he gets when he is happy! I’m so lucky he tries so hard for me when he must be thinking oh dear what is she doing!

The early years

I moved quite a lot as a young person, Whangārei till I was 8yo then on the Gold Coast where I was a surfy till I was 14yo. Moving back here we went North Shore, Whangārei back to the North Shore then finally to Muriwai where I found horses as an 18yo.

I didn’t really get my own till I was 21yo and quickly moved into Western riding. I have a love for this and if I could compete two disciplines I’d have a QH too!

I then was lucky to meet and babysit for the Joustra family where I bought Haka (who only passed this year at 35). He got me into eventing and bits of everything. A few years later we looked for a young horse and the first horse I saw I wanted was a beautiful white grey by Magistad – we purchased him as a 5yo from Anna Low and Merlin was my heart horse (my mum was scared witless of him) but we had something special. I wish I knew now back then but we went places together regardless! We had an absolute blast! From show jumping to showing winning Horse of the Year working hunter horse and rider of the year as well as dressage, show hunter and eventing.

The rest and the horses along the way are history! Now with my two F Boys Ferro and Freddie, I am unbelievably lucky! Freddie is a Rheinland Westfarlian and I was gifted him by Debbie Williams – both Debbie and Monique I owe everything too!

Career highlights

 – Horse of the Year Working Hunter Rider of the Year 2012
 – Horse of the Year Working Hunter Small Horse of the Year 2012
  – Competing and winning placings at multiple HOY in Showing / Show Hunter / Show Jumping.
 – Winning Takapoto Amateur Class 2017
 – Winning Champion Level 2 Waitemata Dressage Champs
 – Winning the raising Star Dressage Horse of the Year Level 2 Novice 2022-23 season
 – Winning reserve Champion Amateur AMDG champs and placing in advanced classes
 – Just qualifying recently for HOY in level 7

Inspiration & role models

I’m probably a bit different to most. Young Riders inspire me seeing their determination and positivity and new ways of learning. Christine Weal – what a wealth of knowledge and amazing rider / coach / human! I love watching lessons / seeing the updates etc! Jenny Gherke in Australia – what a phenomenal rider / coach and human! Right now Phillipp Oxenious is really inspiring me regarding horsemanship and training the horse – it’s a harmony with your horse that is really wonderful!

Athletes or individuals that have inspired me are all of those that have helped me along the way with Eventing, Show Jumping and now embarking on Dressage. They know who they are each has given me tools for my toolbox!

Training and routine

A typical day has a plan, I don’t have much time working full time and with Braxton my 4yo son, so we need a plan and a goal. Mostly I have my weeks planned. Each horse gets 20-40 minutes and it’s before or after work if I can. We have the focus and we warm up, train and warm down. Right now I have a method that is working with each individual horse to strengthen their weaknesses and mine. I’m working with my trainer to ensure that we get better cadence, elasticity, engagement and movements are correct.

Rituals that are important is to ensure both myself and the horse are in the “mood” and the zone, we all have off days so I am fluid with my plan if this happens and there’s nothing wrong with a good hack instead to blow some cobwebs off. I don’t argue with my horses I listen.

Favourite aspects of the sport

I absolutely love the technical difficulty and precision needed! It’s so much harder than it looks! There’s always more to learn! I find the small wins like getting a great transition or the horse straight a celebration at the moment, having the feel is something I’ve always wanted and now I’m finally getting it! Being a better horseman is key – not taking our frustration out on our horsey partner and having them to want to do it and enjoy it too! So much gratitude!

Goals and aspirations

This year is to be consistently placed in level 7 and training for medium Tour.  The event plan for the year is:

 – Auckland Champs
 – Northland Champs
 – Auckland Amateur Champs
 – Then early next season
 – Taupo
 – Waikato
 – Takapoto
 – HOY

This photo gallery will be updated during the year to include photos of Vanessa and her team out & about!

Media Updates

Read about Vanessa in the March Horse & Pony Mag 

Horse & Pony Mag March Cover 2024

Horse & Pony Mag March Cover 2024

Horse & Pony Article


Horse & Pony Mag March Cover 2024