Based at Cedar Lodge in the Southern Highlands, you’ll usually find Brett and Mel in the saddle or coaching, Jake climbing a tree or causing chaos (officially known as ‘bomb-proofing your horse) and a multitude of dogs and horses running our lives.
Cedar Lodge is 90 minutes south of Sydney and houses a 60x20m indoor dressage arena with a Soiltex fabric surface, kitchenette, large meeting/seminar space with fireplace, and an adjoining 2-bedroom apartment with lounge and ensuite.
An outdoor dressage arena and a large grass show jumping arena is complete with a full show jump course, cavalettis and poles.
The horses stay comfortable in stables with walk-in/walk-out yards attached overnight, and timber post and rail paddocks to ensure the greatest care and enjoyment for the horses throughout the day.
Brett and Mel aim to create a horse-friendly, safe environment where their horses’ care and management as well as their training and fitness is of utmost importance.
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 the cattle horse sports of campdrafting and cutting. From a young age Brett was involved in stable life helping his father ride and train the horses before and after school.
Weekends were spent competing at everything from campdrafting, polocrosse, pony club and showing, including at various local agricultural shows and the major royal shows. Brett’s love of Rodeo was sparked at those agricultural shows, where, in NSW, Rodeos were 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 wanting to be a saddle bronc rider. All I wanted to do was be a cowboy and to ride bucking horses, so as soon as I had the chance that's what I did!”
Brett rode saddle broncs nationally and internationally from 1989 to 2000, becoming one of the Australia’s regular top 20 bronc riders. However, the love of training horses was still deep inside and two years before finishing his Rodeo career, he decided the world of Dressage would be his next challenge.
Brett then decided if he wanted to be one of the best, he had to learn from the best so at the end of 2000, he moved to Europe. “I spent three years in Europe working for a number of the top trainers, then at the end of 2003 I decided to come home and start my own stable”.
Since returning home Brett has made regular trips back to Europe to continue training and building relationships with the worlds best. Regular 3 and 6 month stints through until 2016, have been part of annual planning for the Parbery stable as each Grand Prix horse is bought to the world stage.
Brett has now been professionally riding, training and coaching dressage since 2000, with the pinnacle of his achievements being at the World Equestrian Games in 2010. Brett topped off an outstanding European competition season where he finished 10th in the World Cup Final, 6th at Aachen CHIO, 3rd at Rotterdam CHIO and winning the Grand Prix Special at Hickstead. Brett with his top horse Victory Salute, a home bred Australian horse bred and owned by Carolyn Lieutenant completed the 2010 season with an 8th place finish at the best World Games of all time at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Some of Brett’s other achievements include winning over 30 individual Australian Championships across all levels including 4 x Australian Grand Prix Champion. Brett has represented Australia on 2 occasions at the World Games in Kentucky and Tryon 2018. In 2008 and 2016 Brett earned a spot in the final 5 for selection to those respective Olympics, with misfortune on each occasion denying the opportunity. At the London Olympics, Brett was on staff as the Dressage Coach to the Australian Eventing Team and after dressage had the team well positioned in 1st place over all 5 team scores.
Brett is now devoting his efforts towards the production of young horses and to education for all ages through his new initiative – “The Parbery Program”. The Parbery Program is an online education program taking people of all ages and stages through his training system via an initial 6 module – 6 week program, and then following through with a year long subscription based support network for those committed enough to join the Gold Member group.
Mel grew up in a "non horsey" family and from a young age annoyed her parents with the typical "I want a pony for my birthday." After her parents gave in and let her start riding lessons at a riding school, they never realised what they got themselves involved in as the novelty never wore off.
Years of travelling around the countryside to Pony Club and Agricultural shows the ponies turned into horses, backyards turned into acreage and the floats grew in size. Enjoying a variety of disciplines in her teens she ventured down the dressage path after being lucky enough to buy a wonderful "schoolmaster" off her coach at the time, Pip Longworth.
Finishing school she went on to study Graphic Design while also completing her Level 1 Coaching accreditation. She is now in a fortunate position to combine both passions of horses and design, coaching and riding, while running a small freelance design business from Cedar Lodge.