Brett Parbery was born to ride, growing up in a family of devoted horse people in Dorrigo, NSW. His father professionally broke in and trained horses, with a focus on campdrafting, cutting and polocrosse, so from a young age Brett eagerly mucked out horses before school, then did everything from catch, tack up and help train after the home-time bell rang.
Weekends were spent competing at everything from campdrafting and polocrosse to hacking, including at agricultural shows and the major royal shows. Brett’s love of rodeo was sparked at those agricultural shows, where, in NSW, rodeos are often run as the night-time entertainment of the show program.
“I would find myself glued to the arena fence watching the action of the bucking horses,” he says. “I had my eye on a career in professional rodeo. All I wanted to do was to ride bucking horses, so that's what I did!”
Brett rode saddle broncs nationally and internationally from 1989 to 2000, becoming one of the Australia’s top 15 riders. However, two years before retiring from the professional rodeo circuit, he decided dressage would be his next challenge.
The turnaround was challenging — Brett went from being at the top of one sport to the bottom of another and riding a borrowed horse, which “Wasn’t easy on the ego,” he says. “But I stuck it out and developed my riding to a point where I was confident that I could come home and start riding for clients.”
Brett has now been professionally riding, training and coaching dressage since 2003, achieving his lifelong dream of being in the top 10 riders at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. Other achievements include:
- 12 Australian Championships
- Competing on 3 Australian teams
- Being in the final 6 for Olympic selection for Beijing and London.
More recently, Brett has added a new challenge to his “to-do” list, to become a world class dressage coach. He is currently dressage advisor to the Australian Eventing Team and enjoying the process of honing his skills through the Australian Sports Commission’s NCAS program, with the ultimate aim of helping Australian dressage riders to win international medals.
Brett uses Kieffer saddles on all his horses, including his namesake Kieffer Parbery, which he loves for its deep, comfortable seat and supportive position.