Wendy Schaeffer


At just 21 years of age, Wendy Schaeffer represented Australia at the Atlanta Olympics and gained her place in the record books as the youngest woman to have won Olympic equestrian gold.

Wendy finished the leading rider in our team of world-class equestrians - Phillip Dutton, Andrew Hoy and Gillian Rolton.  Together they became Australia's most successful equestrian team ever. In fact, this team has been inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame (November 2005).

The Australian team dominated the three-day event despite significant setbacks.  Wendy rode her much loved horse Sunburst aggressively even though she had suffered a serious break in both bones of her lower leg just nine weeks before the games.  She rode with the leg heavily strapped - a screw and plate holding the bones together.

Atlanta was yet another stunning success for the young equestrian who just ten years before was riding Sunburst at Pony Club events.

At 17, Wendy was the youngest winner ever of the Advanced Level Senior Three Day Event, Gawler 1992.  She followed with a selection for the World Championships, The Hague, Netherlands 1994, at 19 again as the youngest competitor.  She took 9th place in the Open European Championships in Italy,1995 and was the best placed first-time competitor at Badminton 1996 in the lead-up to Atlanta.. 

Wendy now lives and trains in South Australia where she manages an Equestrian services Company, Sunburst Equestrian in order to pursue the riding and training of elite Three Day Event horses.  She has also managed to fit in University studies, completing a Physiotherapy Degree at the University of South Australia in June 1999 and more recently has completed a Masters in Animal Physiotherapy to transfer her skills to horses and dogs. Research undertaken in the equine exercise physiology field - specifically the physiological demands placed on event horses in training and competition - was of particular interest and may well be the subject of further study if funding can be arranged!

Wendy has been generously supported throughout her career, since 1986, by Bonnetts Saddlery. Current product and service sponsorships, from Lauckes Feed Mills and their Cool + pellets, Virbac Animal Health pharmaceuticals and Morphettville Equine Clinic with support from Animal Therapeutics Online, are also essential to maintain prime equine health and  performance. Waproo (Joseph Lyddy) horse care products and Zilco providing horse rugs, bridles, boots and accessories keep the horses looking their best - while Mt Barker Gym, Mt Barker Sportspower and Fat Pony Equestrian Apparel keep Wendy looking at her best.  J & J Signs keep our sponsors acknowledged with signage on our  Horse Truck. Wendy's newest sponsors are DVE Business Solutions who have designed & built this new Website and Echunga Earthmovers with their expertise in Equestrian Arena construction and renovations.    

- Olympic Gold medallist in the Equestrian Three Day Event at the 1996  Atlanta Olympic Games and winner of the CCI4** class at the 2002 Mitsubishi International Horse Trials 3DE and the CCI3* class at the 2005 Sydney International Horse Trials 3DE. 
- Winner of the 2007 Melbourne International Horse Trials 3DE CCI3* class and 2008 CIC3* W (World Cup qualifier) class at Melbourne International 3DE. Also winner of Show Jumping World Cup Qualifier class at 2008 Melbourne Royal Show. First rider to win an FEI World Cup Qualifier in both Disciplines (Eventing & Jumping) in the same year.
- Winner of the 2009 Sydney International Horse Trials 3DE. Winner and third placegetter in the 2010 Australian International 3DE CCI4* class at Adelaide.
- High profile Equestrian Athlete having experienced extensive media coverage and public speaking engagements.
- Professional horse trainer and trainer of both competition and amateur riders both within Australia and Internationally (NZ, UK & USA). Also performs occupational training in preparation for future employment in the equestrian competition industry.
- Equestrian Physiotherapist, being the first South Australian to have graduated with a Masters in Animal Physiotherapy (University of Queensland).
- Director of Sunburst Equestrian

Matriculated at Pembroke School (1991), Kensington Gardens, SA
Score 91, Order of Merit, English Studies

ACHIEVEMENTS (other than in direct equestrian competition):
    South Australian Young Achiever of the Year - SGIC Sports Award Winner 1996
    Australian Young Achiever of the Year - Sports Award Finalist 1996
    SASI Best Female Athlete 1996
    SA Sportswomen of the Year 1996
    SA Eventing Rider of the Year 1997, 1999, 2002-7, 2010
    Channel 7 Sports Star of the Year finalist 1997
    Awarded Order of Australia Medal for Service to Sport 1997
    Awarded Australian Sports Medal 2000
    Winner Saddleworld Eventing Leaderboard 2002
    Inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame 2002
    Member of 1996 Atlanta Olympic Team inducted into the Team Sport Australia Hall of Fame 2005

Equestrian - Equestrian Federation of Australia Coach - National Coaching Accreditation Scheme Level
- Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy
- Master of Animal Studies (Animal Physiotherapy)

Equestrian Life Member, Equestrian Federation of Australia (SA Branch)
Professional Member Animal Therapy Special Interest Group

Wendy lives in the second residence on the family property "Sunning Hill" near Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.
Her hobbies include gymnasium workouts and triathlon training & competition, the highlight being the completion of an Olympic distance Triathlon, Kingston 2000.


Australian International 3DE, Adelaide SA 2010     1st CCI4* - KOYUNA SUN DANCER 3rd CCI4* - KOYUNA SUN SHINE  Lakes & Craters 3DE, VIC. 20091st CCI*** - KOYUNA SUN MAGIC 3rd CCI*** - KOYUNA SUN DANCER  Australian International 3DE Adelaide SA 2009 1st Australian Team Trans Tasman on KOYUNA SUN DANCER  Australian Reserve Rider 2008 OLYMPIC GAMES, BEIJING, CHINA on KOYUNA SUN MAGIC Melbourne International 3DE VIC June 20081st CIC***W - KOYUNA SUN DANCER  Sydney International 3DE, NSW, April 20083rd CCI*** - KOYUNA SUN SHINE 4th CCI*** - KOYUNA SUN MAGIC 5th CCI*** - KOYUNA SUN DANCER  Melbourne International 3DE, VIC 20071st CCI*** - KOYUNA SUN DANCER 3rd CCI*** - KOYUNA SUN SHINE  ROLEX Kentucky International 3DE, USA 20077th CCI**** - KOYUNA SUN MAGIC  Adelaide International 3DE, SA 20063rd CCI** - KOYUNA SUN DANCER   1st CIC** - KOYUNA SUNSHINE  Australian Reserve Rider 2006 WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES, Aachen 2006 on KOYUNA SUN MAGIC

To see the full list of her acheievements click here.

To watch some cool videos of Wendy in action, go on her Youtube channel by clicking on the Youtube logo

To go to Wendy's website, click on the Sunburst Equestrian logo




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