[RETIRED] As we said farewell to 2023, it is also time to say farewell to the best horse I have had the pleasure to ride and have a part of the Jeffree Eventing team to date. Lily only attended two competitions in 2023 before re-injuring herself which has rendered her unable to make a return to high level eventing and concluding her competitive part of the story with Jeffree Eventing. She is now in foal to Contenda and will hopefully pass on her freak genes to her offspring.

I wanted to give Lily a proper send off post so very long post warning now but what a story our miss Lily has and what a journey she has taken us all on.

– – – – –

Lily first arrived at Jeffree Eventing towards the end of 2017 carrying a lot of weight and with no idea of how to be an eventing horse. I wasn’t sure what I had just taken on but I remember the phone call to her owners after I jumped her for the first time and I had said “she has absolutely no clue what she is doing but she is brave and very careful”.

I started to put some time into her and over the next 6 months I really started to realise there was something very special about this horse underneath me. She went about finishing in the top 3 at every event over that time, including a win at Camden which earned her the title of National Champion at EvA95 level, and all in all making her a very exciting prospect. Her owners wanted to sell her but I could not let this horse go. They kindly gave me a month to try and find another owner and secure her long-term.

I desperately wanted to keep the ride and wasn’t having much luck finding another owner but to my amazement and after much negotiation Fiona Mitchell purchased Lily and she was made a permanent member of the Jeffree Eventing team. To this day I am so indebted to Fiona, she took a huge leap of faith and trusted my judgement that Lily was a superstar in the making and destined for big things at the top levels.

By the end of 2018 Lily was competing at EvA105 (now 1* level), and had a CNC1* start (now 2*), and again not finishing out of the Top 3.

In the Autumn season of 2019 Lily was campaigned at 2* level, taking out 4 wins and culminating in winning the CCI2*Long class at Melbourne from a class of 79 entries.
For the second half of that year, Lily went to 3* level and again blew us all away when she and I were crowned the Bates Saddles National Young Rider CCI3* Champion at Adelaide in November and thus commencing the relationship between Bates and I.

Sam Jeffree & Woodmount Lolita take out the National Young Rider Championship at Australian International 3 Day Event 2019. Victory Lap photo by Brittany Grovenor

In 2020 Lily took out the win in the CCI3* class at Tonimbuk in March, after which lockdowns hit and for Lily, they hit hard at a critical time when she was just poised for 4 star. Like everyone, getting through the rest of the year was tough so I set goals for each horse and Lily still worked hard through the lockdowns!

At last in 2021 she got her chance and competed 4*. She took out wins at that level at both Wandin and Ballarat and taking out the award for Victorian Event Horse of the Year although unfortunately Covid put a stop to our hopes of a CCI4*L or any more events for that year.

In 2022 Lily had her time to shine again, and shine she did. She again finished in the Top 3 at four 4* events and earning her a place on the Australian Equestrian Team at the Oceania Championships in Melbourne. This was a dream come true to be representing my country and we were so proud of how far Lily had come. In the heartbreaking style that horses have refined so well, Lily had a run out on the cross country at this event. It speaks volumes that this was the first time in her entire career that Lily had ever incurred cross country jump penalties. Further investigation found that Lily had sustained a small tear in her suspensory branch but the outlook was good, and so we launched a conservative and slow 13 month rehab program to enable full recovery of this special horse.

The vets could not have been happier with Lily’s recovery and in September this year she made a return to competition and completed one event, only for us to discover that she sadly has another tear and the sad decision was made with Fiona under veterinary advice that Lily will not make a return to high level eventing.

Lily is now in foal and will stay in our care while she recovers from the injury and cooks her baby before reassessing where her next chapter might lay.

In her journey with me, Lily stole all our hearts. She was not bred to event yet does it all through heart. In fact her only problem under saddle was that she tried too hard at times – she was always up for the job, loved her work and would turn herself inside out to get herself over any jump no matter what.

We learnt to live with her small quirks and her food obsession and she had us all wrapped around her little finger. She still to this day has all the dramatic and gymnastic moves on full display if you are ever late with her feed but will still give you a lovely demonstration of dancing from foot to foot as she begins eating. We are also proud of all the little things and the way she has gained confidence in so many ways over the years, from dealing with loud noises, to having hind shoes on, being clipped and tolerating ice boots.

We keep track of all the horses results and here are just some of the crazy statistics from Lily’s entire career with me:
• 39 starts
• 15 wins (38.5% win rate)
• 29 top 3 finishes (74.4% podium rate)
• 26 events without any jumping faults (66.7%)
• Average dressage score of 31.5 / 68.5%
• A total of 12 rails in her career

There are far too many people to be able to thank everyone but a few of the key people in our journey need to be mentioned. I cannot express enough gratitude to Fiona who has had such belief in myself and Lily and never doubted for a second that we could achieve anything we put our minds to. Thank you so much for everything.

My long term coach Will Enzinger, thank you for all of the hard work you put into both of us and thanks for putting up with me!

Thank you must go to Kurt and Sue from Elite Equine Veterinarians, you guys worked so hard to give Lily the absolute best chance at making a comeback!

To my parents Wendy and Mark who not only believed in me but trusted Lily to carry me around some of the toughest tracks I’d faced. You both not only put up with my antics but also accommodated Lily and all her quirks (even when it meant lining her entire stable in rubber as I wanted to bubble wrap her!)

To everyone else who who have stepped in to help us on our journey even if it was just cheering us on as we galloped past, thank you.

Also many thanks to all my sponsors and who made her journey to this point possible:
Bates Saddles
Flexible Fit Equestrian
James & Son Premium Horse Feed
Elite Equine Veterinarians
Natural Mobility
Sharnika Design
QJ Riding Wear
BetaVet Australia

And now the biggest thank you needs to go to this special horse.
Lily, you owe me nothing and I owe you everything. You turned into the queen of Jeffree Eventing. You have taught me so much and proven that heart should never be underestimated in an eventing horse. Thank you for taking me to new heights and allowing me to achieve so many of my goals. You have shown me how to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. I am so excited to be able to once again ride at least a part of you in the form of your future superstar foal.
Love you always Lil

Photo credits – Equine Images, Michelle Terlato Photography, Tazzie Eggins Photography, Britt Grovenor Photography




Watch Sam and Woodmount Lolita’s winning 4* cross-country round at the Australian Eventing Championships 2021.


Watch Sam and Woodmount Lolita’s CCI3*-S cross-country round at Tonimbuk Horse Trials 2020.

Watch Sam and Woodmount Lolita’s CCI3*** cross-country round at Australian International 3 Day Event, 2019.

Watch Sam and Woodmount Lolita’s winning CCI2** cross-country round at Melbourne International 3 Day Event, 2019.


Footage from the early days…



[Original article – 2019]

Woodmount Lolita, owned by Fiona Mitchell, is a 2008 warmblood mare by Alessandro (Sandro Hit). Lily initially arrived at Jeffree Eventing in November 2017, and officially joined the team in June 2018 when she was purchased by Fiona.

In her first season Lily showed great promise and quickly progressed to CCN1* level. Lily thoroughly enjoys her new life in eventing and has had success to match her enthusiasm – in her first year of competition in 2018 she won or placed at every event she attended!

In 2019 Lily stepped up to CCI2** level in great style, taking a win at her first competition at that level at the Australian Eventing Championships at Wandin. The season continued to progress in a similar fashion, taking 2 more wins at that level on her way to qualifying for her first long format competition at Melb3DE, where against almost 80 competitors Woodmount Lolita gave Sam his first International win! Having risen to every challenge, we dared to dream even bigger and set about preparing Lily for 3 star level, which she took on with gusto in the second half of 2019. In a fairy-tale ending to the season, Sam fulfilled a long-term dream when he finished 3rd overall in the CCI3*** class with Lily at the Australian International 3DE, and was named the National Young Rider Champion!