Staff Profile - Tracey Vardy

Each month we introduce you to a member of the EA team. It's fun, a little bit serious and maybe more interesting than you’d expect...


Introducing Equestrian Australia team member

Tracey Vardy

Athletes Pathways Specialist

Tracey Vardy

What’s your favourite horse breed and horse colour? 

If I didn’t say chestnut Warmblood mare I would get in some pretty big trouble!  And that’s just from the horse!  We currently have a pretty awesome one that my daughter rides called “Gift”.  

Personally though, I like a good Quarter Horse temperament and I generally like big bay geldings, but had an awesome buckskin called “Docs Gold Spinner” when I last competed.   

What’s your favourite equestrian discipline?

Cutting. It wasn’t always - I used to event and show jump at pony club and Interschool.  I wasn’t very good at dressage, but I had to do it to go cross country. However, I now understand the importance of “flatwork”, even when cutting training – and I have a daughter who rides dressage despite me, not because of me.

What is your equestrian background?

I didn’t start riding until I was a teenager and I joined the local Pony Club at 13.  I represented my high school at the First Ever Interschool Competition in 1984, at Pine Lodge in Queensland, where we were very lucky to receive a medal from Captain Mark Phillips (then husband of Princess Anne).  Many of the riders from that era are parents of recent Interschool riders, so once you have the bug it is hard to shake it seems.

My father started riding and was introduced to cutting in his 40’s. I became interested and used to tag along and ride his horses.  I was hooked. I have not ridden for many years since having children, but I introduced my daughter to the sport at approximately 6 months old and she is still riding at 20, having done pony club, Interschool, EA dressage. She is now keen to try some eventing.  My Dad is still competing in cutting at 73, so I think that perhaps I should get back on and see if I can keep up with him.

What does your role at EA entail?

Based in South East Queensland, I work remotely as part of the National Athletes Pathway Team for Equestrian Australia, generating growth and development within the participation and grassroots portfolios.  Our department reports to Sport Australia as part of the EA Participation Funding agreement.

I look after the Sport Australia - Sporting Schools Equestrian programs as well as the Ride A Horse website and a suite of educational programs that include, Ready Set Trot, Ready Set Vault and Trot Canter Gallop.  We have programs to suit every level of rider right up to our first Intro Riding and Horse Management Levels.

The National Interschool Competition portfolio and National Interschool Handbooks are also part of my job description, where I work in collaboration with Interschool representatives in all States, to grow and deliver this educational and competition program within schools nationally.

Basically, juniors and beginners in our sport are my priority. I do whatever I can to assist participants at all levels as required, and I am always available to point people in the right direction if I can.

What’s the coolest thing about your job?

I get to meet some amazing Equestrians at all levels of the sport. 

From very young children, meeting a horse for the first time with their NEW Ready Set Trot coach, right up to having dinner with coaches, who have been in our sport for years; we are all as passionate as each other about these amazing animals and what we can do for our sport.  

Oh and of course last week I got to ride on the beach, that was way cool!

What’s the problem you most commonly solve in your role?

A common problem is there is never enough money to get kids on horses. So I have gotten very creative at making things happen on a low budget, thanks to coaches and riding centres who are invested in introducing their local community to the sport.

If you could pick a superpower, what would you choose?

What, I am not Wonder Woman?

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

My daughter says I am a lion.  But perhaps I am a seal, as feel like I jump through a lot of hoops almost every day.  I might try to be more of a lion.

What is the nerdiest thing you do in your free time?

Check Emails because I love being able to help people.