About Helen Blomquist / Morphett
I purchased my first Andalusian stallion, Poderoso, in 1991. My heart went out to this Horse as he was in very poor condition and living in a chicken pen when I found him. In just 3 years he was transformed into the winner of the Andalusian Horse Association of Australasia (AHAA) National Supreme Titles, judged by world leading authority of Spanish Horses, Lady Sylvia Loch UK. I have bred and trained many other horses, including Cassablanca, who achieved the title of National Champion Spanish Female and Reserve National Spanish Female, the following year.
I am featured in the book “the Bushies” by Alan M. Nixon, along with Pro Hart MBE and other identities. The feature was titled “Horses and Hot Rods”. Before the horses came along I restored and old motor vehicle and was featured with this vehicle in magazines in Australia, England and France (front cover and pin up photos). I also appeared on TV and was interviewed in the vehicle at the 3AW radio station by Neil Mitchell. This vehicle also won the radical custom section at the Hot Rod Nationals in South Australia.
When I first encountered the Art of the ‘Garrocha’ I was immediately fascinated and began researching the training techniques of this discipline. With much trial and error due to the VCRs being in Spanish (which I do not know a word of) I became more proficient in the sport and in a short time, performed basic demonstrations at the Adelaide Bushing festival and International Horse Trials and Street Parade through Adelaide. The horse was seen at the end of each TV station news program that evening in South Australia. She also displayed the ‘Garrocha’ in various venues around Victoria. Mary Rose USA is one of that small and honored group who has her place amongst the Fellows of the British Horse Society (F.B.H.S.) came to visit my stud after traveling to Mary Hanna’s stables etc and I was sent a letter, “Mary in particular, was most impressed with the standard of your stallions and your knowledge and interest in keeping the Spanish horse true. She also made comments on your handling of your horses and your methods of communication between the horse and yourself and has instructed me that your methods are certainly something I should be aiming for”. This was written by Mary’s Australian contact. I also was involved with Alchringa Dancing horses being the first line dancing horse with people at the Tamworth Music Festival. From that experience I taught a 1stX andalusian to do the Tennessee Waltz in Blues Ute Pub in northern Victoria. The Alchringa horses were sold to NZ to perform in Lord of The Rings. Through David Williams (Alchringa), Harley Young NZ (horse trainer) phoned me for more Spanish white horses and I put him onto a horse that had been well trained in its early days, then came to me for more work because the owner could not handle it, she was scared of it. I loved the horse it was so smart and well educated. Any way after negotiations with the owner etc., it went to NZ, its name was Chirnside Harmony and he ended up by being the horse ridden in the film bridle less. The last I heard, after the film, the horse was purchased by Harley Young because he thought its potential was brilliant too.
Due to an unforeseen horse accident I got out of horses. Then unbeknown to me a friend forwarded a tape to Leanne Davey at Equus Promotions. After the tape was viewed (early 2002) I received a phone call asking me to do a performance in the Mane Event in November 2003. So I had to find a horse, train it and have it performing in less than 12 months. I found BHM Black Thunder and got him home in January 2003 and our training program started. We worked nearly every day to get there. Richard Tedesco played magic Spanish Guitar he especially put together for the event. We opened the dressage and performed each night. Leanne and Colleen were very, very happy with the public response. Manolo Mendez came around to our stable area and complemented us every night. Said it was done correctly and had nothing to criticize (he was the Garrocha champion in Spain). I was the first female to perform the ‘Garrocha’ in Australia, and I do not know if it had ever been seen in Australia before Equitana 2003. We were used in 2003 and 2005 promoting the Mane Event on TV, in many magazines and on the internet. Rosemary Parcell NZ was so inspired by the Mane Event performance she went home and painted us performing garrocha selling paintings all around the world for $4,000US. I sold BHM Black Thunder, but still do some demonstrations on him and giving his owner riding lessons so she can do the Art of the Garrocha on him. They are willing to come to Equitana 2010 as part of a demonstration on Garrocha and training methods.
I have since trained up another horse which performed at the AHAA Royal Horse Gala at Tatura in 2007, Wildcroft Friesian Stud open day 2005, 2008 Equitana breed display, on the Saturday. I have also done Education and training Demonstrations on him.
Spanish mare Lyngara Fillypa is being trained as a ‘Garrocha’ horse. She will excel. She is coming along a lot more natural than the others have. First backed in November 2008 she did her first National Show under saddle including the opening with flags flying to the Baroque Horse Gala performing ‘Garrocha’. For the past couple of years I have been my father’s carer, he had cancer and passed away in August 2012, I had not been doing a lot with the horses in that time. I have just recently gotten back into it.
ANZAC weekend 2012, I went up to Black Horse Manor to purchase a Spanish black rising 2 year old gelding BHM Blacks Allstyle (Jake), not only did he come home with me, BHM Silver Diamontina rising 4 year old Spanish mare did also. To top it off BHM KittyKat, a 2012 black Spanish foal is also going to be part of the Caballeriza family once she is weaned. All these Black Horse Manor, Pura Raza Espanola progeny are by (imported) Galero XIV.
BHM Silver Diamontina was credited with ‘Elite’ in the Equipre 2010 Breed Evaluation Assessment for the P.R.E. Horse by Colonel Alberto Zapatero Gaton, Spain.
BHM Silver Diamontina has started her Garrocha training. She recently attended Equitana 2012 in the Breed Barn for the Andalusian Horse Association of Australasia, her first time out under the saddle in that type of environment. On the Saturday she did the breed display with the other breeds ridden, on Sunday a 15-20 minute on ‘How to start the Garrocha discipline’. Very, very successful, her stable area after those two showing was very crowded. She accepted it all in her stride. The comments that she got as she left the arena, “Beautiful”, “That was absolutely beautiful”, “I would have loved to have seen more”. We even have had people email us praising her disposition.
I have been also getting information to be come an accredited instructor in Working Equitation Australasia. I will be concentrating on that in 2012.
Also I have started writing a, ‘How to start Garrocha‘, book and video which will hopefully be ready soon.
I am now getting ready for the 2013 Andalusian Horse Association Nationals in Tatura, Victoria next March. Then will be going to Spain in April.
I am currently giving riding lessons and garrocha lessons from our property approximately 10 kilometres out of Broadford, just off the Hume Highway along the base of Mt Hickey.