Friday, December 8, 2023

Having the best of both worlds

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When Logan Massie finished school he followed his dream and headed to Europe where he lived and breathed showjumping for a few years. These days he’s back working on the family farm but, as Colin Williscroft found, he hasn’t given up on returning to Europe to ride.
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The saying goes that if your job involves something you love doing you’re far more likely to be successful, 

Logan Massie is taking that to the next level by combining two jobs he loves: working on the family farm and running his own showjumping business. 

He sees no reason why the two can’t work together.

The 25-year-old is operations manager on his family’s 1100ha effective sheep and beef operation spread over half a dozen blocks northeast of Dannevirke.

It’s a job that keeps him pretty busy with the farm carrying 3000 ewes and 4500 hoggets over winter, of which about 2000 will be mated. There’s also 350 R1 bulls and 200 Wagyu bulls along with 100 carry-over dairy cows.

The farm’s main income comes from finishing cattle and lambs though there’s also a focus on breeding ewes, some of which are bred and some they buy, before selling them as two tooths in December for clients to mate and build up the productivity of their own flocks.

All day-to-day work on the farm is either overseen or done by Logan though his father Grant is still working on the farm, always available to provide his expertise and help out.

Logan says he has enjoyed farm work ever since he was a youngster growing up on the farm. 

“I’ve always liked a challenge and farming is definitely that. Every day there is something you can do better on the farm. There’s never nothing to do.

“Dad’s been a very good farmer and I’ve been lucky enough to pick up a lot of things off him,” he says, adding he has also learned from the farm’s former managers and stock managers and from working on neighbouring farms where he’s had a variety of summer jobs over the years. 

“I’ve had plenty of experience on different farms and different operations but in the near future I’m looking to really challenging myself, how I can make this farm better and more productive.”

He’s fortunate the way the farm is set up and run is flexible. It’s never been a place where things are done because that’s the way they’ve always been done. All ideas and opinions welcomed.

Competitions are split into a range of different classes. Logan competes mainly in the age group series, where horses jump against others their own age. The Grand Prix series has jumps 1.5m high. In each series we accumulate points throughout the season to find an overall winner.

On top of that there’s the World Cup series. Only six World Cup rounds are held in NZ and the goal is to qualify for the World Cup final, which is usually held in Europe or North America,

This year Logan’s competed in all six rounds of the World Cup’s NZ rounds on his best horse, Intellect, finishing eighth of the 26 riders. It was a step up for the horse in height and technicality and Logan was happy with how he performed.

“It was pretty exciting, given that’s as big as it gets.”

Then in March he won the six-year-old Horse of the Year title on Double J Kelvin, a horse bred by his business, 

One of the most rewarding aspects of working with horses is when all the hard work, attention to detail and management pays off, targeting a big class then winning it.

There’s nothing more rewarding than putting in all that effort and work, travelling to the show, everything going to plan and pulling off a win or even coming very close to what you wanted to do. 

“I mean that’s pretty exciting and that’s pretty cool for everyone around you because it’s not just you and the horse, there’s grooms, there’s my parents, there’s supporters and owners, there’s plenty of people who have backed you to do that.”

On the world stage NZ has a fantastic reputation in eventing circles but more showjumping riders are needed for that part of the sport to grow.

Logan would like to be part of that and in future would like nothing more than to take some of his own horses on six-month European campaigns.

“It’s about being the best the best you can be and hopefully in the near future representing NZ on the world stage, getting horses back over to Europe that are good enough to jump at the top of the world – the Olympics or World Equestrian Games.

“That’s what every competitive showjumper here in NZ is working to do. We’re a long way away from where the action happens but we can get there. It has been done and everyone’s aiming to do that. 

“That’s what we’re striving for.”

That and getting the most out of the farm.

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