By Sally Reid
Photography: Mark Watson/Watson Equine Photography
Two chestnut sons of Team Nijhof’s Johnson, both out of Thoroughbred mares, have started the new season in scorching style in New Zealand. They are the nine-year-old Windermere J’Obei W (Johnson - Miss Pompeii xx x Pompeii Court xx), and 11-year-old Windermere Johanson W (Johnson - Miss Phillips xx x Kilimanjaro xx).
Both were bred by David Woolley, who was the first breeder in New Zealand to import semen from the superb KWPN stallion. Johnson (Jazz - Roxane x Flemmingh) himself was still a young horse at the time, so it was something of a gamble. However, it certainly paid off, as the result was Windermere Johanson W. By the way, David Woolley is also the first breeder in New Zealand to use Helgstrand’s stallion Revolution, and has recently welcomed a Revolution filly into the world, whose dam (by Rockstar - Westphalian) is a half-sister to Johanson.
Windermere Johanson W and J’Obei W are owned by Anne and Rodney Parkes of Windermere Equestrian and ridden (and trained) by 26-year-old Melissa Galloway, who is the Parkes’ daughter. The pair are currently first and second on the ESNZ’s South Island Grand Prix ranking.
Both horses excelled at Equidays in the North Island, but it was J’Obei who really shone, with convincing wins in the Grand Prix and Freestyle – at the fourth GP competition of his life. Judges weren’t the only ones who were impressed – during an Equidays masterclass, J’Obei also caught the eye of Carl Hester. A delighted Melissa Galloway posted on Facebook: “It’s safe to say this has been one of the most exciting weeks of my career! Firstly being so incredibly fortunate to be selected to ride in the Carl Hester Masterclass... a total dream come true. Then to have Carl be so positive and excited about our future. I couldn’t take the smile off my face, I really couldn’t sleep that night; it was just such a buzz. To top it all off, winning both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle with J’Obei with a personal best GP score of 73.89%. And I cannot forget my little Johnny (Johanson) finishing up third in the freestyle with a personal best score for him of 69.59%.”
Both horses then went to the Bay of Plenty Premier League Championships at the National Equestrian Centre in Taupo, where J’Obei won the Grand Prix title, with reserve going to Johanson.
Windermere J’Obei was outstanding last season, too. He was the overall winner of the FEI World Dressage Challenge (Prix St Georges), and the National Level 8 Champion. His many other titles include L4 Dressage Horse of the Year and National L8 Champion in 2017.
Windermere Johanson W was the Level 1 Champion at Horse of the Year in 2017, the Level 5 National Champion in 2018, and was 2018’s L5 Horse of the Year.
David Woolley has half-sisters to these two horses in his broodmare band, and Melissa Galloway has another of his youngsters; the excitingly bred Windermere Zephora W (Zonik - Scarlett Johanson x Johnson) who is now six, and was last season’s Level 3 South Island Champion.
Meanwhile, another Johnson son, the handsome Dutch Warmblood gelding Jax Johnson (Johnson - La Mode x Unrecorded), also bred by Woolley, is showing enormous talent with his owner/rider Gaylene Lennard. He was 2017’s Level 1 Horse of the Year, 2018’s L4 National Champion, 2019’s L5 Dressage Horse of the Year, and won the FEI World Dressage Challenge Zone 8 Senior I class in 2018. Jax Johnson is now nine, and definitely one to keep on the radar. n