David first became obsessed with horses and riding at age nine whilst growing up in the islands of Vanuatu. The riding experience was stimulated by the companionship of care-free Pacific Island friends and an idyllic beachfront location close to a river and tropical bushland. It became apparent that David had an innate capacity to relate well with horses and an instinct to get them to respond to him.
Returning to Australia as a teenager, David pursued secondary and tertiary studies, becoming an Electrical Engineer, lecturing and tutoring university students. For ten years, his passion for horses lay dormant until at twenty-four, the chance to ride emerged again. He began to pursue competitive ambitions at an amateur level. Initial success in show jumping and eventing, and the desire to own a top competition horse led into a breeding program, which, at one point, involved owning over 60 horses.
David’s foray into breeding diminished because it was taking too much time away from competitive riding and teaching. However he and his partner Rebecca still breed with a small number of their top mares.
Constantly thoughtful and self-examining, a cathartic moment came for David when pondering a question: Is it reasonable for a person to ride horses given that, although willing to be ridden, horses certainly don’t ask to be ridden; so, other than for our own personal gain, why ride? In answering this question, David became aware of the amazing gift that horses are to humankind. They offer the possibility for so much personal learning and growth; they provide an incentive for community experience; they offer adventure; they help to shape human identity … the list goes on.
The outcome for David is that underpinning his time spent with horses is imperative to do his best to care for these magnificent creatures. This means applying the best of human knowledge and ability.
David’s passion for horses, and his instinct to know and understand them has deepened over the years. He combines this with a growing knowledge of how best to work with horses in a way that reflects his admiration for their unique stature as animals. In addition to being an Accredited Level 2 NCAS Coach, David continues to compete at an international level in eventing and show jumping.
Highfield Equestrian Centre
Highfield Equestrian Centre has been boarding horses for over a decade now. In more recent times it has established itself as a centre for specialised training, modelled on similar centres in Europe and the US. This approach to training includes focused coaching programs and agistment for competitive riders at a range of levels.
Two additional streams at Highfield are the rehabilitation of horses – especially Thoroughbreds – and the training of racehorses in a manner that optimises their health and well-being.
Highfield is managed and run by Rebecca Alsop and David Prior. Their respective contributions to Highfield make them a formidable partnership in the equestrian world.
Below, please enjoy viewing David Prior riding ‘Highfield Luka K1’ in the CCI2 class at the 2019 Australian Eventing Championships at Wandin Park.