The fourth paragraph in the Acknowledgements section of my book Winning Horsemanship begins with these words:
“The men and women who have influenced my equestrian, breeding and judging endeavours – knowingly or unknowingly – have my deep appreciation”.
Listed amongst them is the late, great Vince Corvi.
Vince passed away all too soon on 29 November 2016 and tributes have been flowing ever since. I expect there will be a huge turnout at the Memorial Service to be held at the Queensland State Equestrian Centre, Caboolture, on 11 December 2016.
As early as my Pony Club days in the mid 1960s through to the early 1970s, Vince was already a legend in the show ring and a household name in horsey circles. It was a pleasure to watch him ride. A gifted horseman and teacher, Vince sat every horse with a depth of seat and stillness that is rarely seen. He also excelled at showing horses in hand. Superbly mounted on his immaculate, trademark hacks, Vince was a formidable yet gentlemanly competitor.
You can imagine my excitement when I learned that “Mr Vince Corvi” was to be a guest instructor one wonderful Sunday at the Downs Pony Club in my home town of Toowoomba! At the time I must have been aged about 13 or 14 and actually thought of him as rather old – it was only upon his untimely death last month that I learned he was a mere 13 years my senior.
I especially remember two things about those couple of group riding lessons. One was that he missed nothing and worked us very hard on the basics of an independent seat and correct leg position with giving hands. The other was an unforgettable turn of phrase, spoken like a true Queenslander. “Bend your horse like a banana!” was the simple but effective catchcry as he drilled us kids in the art of flexion and impulsion.
When Vince retired from show hack and gentleman rider classes, he took up driving hackneys and excelled at that as well. In recognition of his enormous contribution to the pleasure horse industry, Vince was inducted into the Furlong Stud Equine Hall of Fame at the Toowoomba Showgrounds in 2009.
I am sure that Vince rode through the Pearly Gates, centred and straight, astride a magnificent horse which he had, as always, fed, conditioned, trained, polished, plaited and quarter-marked to perfection.
Vale, Vince Corvi. Thank you for extending your generosity to a horse-mad teenage girl and her pony.
From a very early age I have been able to tune in to what horses and ponies were thinking and what they were likely to do next.