David McKinnon

David’s background in horses began in childhood with a pony at age 7. His Dad had played a bit of polocrosse and enjoyed horses with Dave, but nothing too serious.

A family friendship with Sarah Venamore and Mark Dowling was Dave’s first introduction to Dressage and he attended many events with them as groom. One of these outings was to the EA NSW Awards night in 2006 where he first met Robbie Soster.

Leaving school unsure as to a career path, David was employed by Mark Dowling of Centennial Vineyards in Bowral. Mark was a passionate dressage rider and warmblood breeder although at this stage Dave was employed to assist in the garden with some work with the horses. He studied a year of horticulture, but by this stage his passion was the horses.


Mark had given David the ride on his mare Woodside Lumiere and he qualified her for the Young Rider Championships in July 2009. Here he won the Scholarship test on her and in April 2010 they took out National Young Rider Elementary Champion at Werribee.

Later this year  at the NSW YR Championships, Mark also lent Dave his FEI horse, CJP Donnerkohl where he came 4th in the FEI YR individual test, his first rides at this level and his last chance to compete at a YR championship as he had turned 21.


Following this competition he and Robbie left for a trip to Europe to visit Dave’s brother in London. Whilst there, they attended the Bundeschampionate in Germany, and visited Brett Parbery who was training with Edward Gal in Holland. Here Brett offered David a position working with him in Penrose NSW on his return to Australia.


In late 2010 Dave started at Parbery Performance horses and worked for Brett and Mel for 2 years. Here he rode many different horses, as he was head rider during Brett’s overseas trips. He had much success on Bradgate Park Jatzz, gaining NSW State Elementary and Novice Champion 2011, and National Elementary Champion a few months later.

He featured as The Horse Magazine’s Rider of the Month, and was chosen to ride in the Master Class at Equitana with Edward Gal that same year.


Leaving Parberys at the end of 2012, Dave headed overseas for a break early the following year and returned to start his own business, McKinnon Sport Horses.

This he now manages along side his (now) wife Robbie McKinnon, and her mum Ali Sosters’ Robali Equestrian at Woodlands Road, Mittagong, NSW.


He has secured the rides on some outstanding horses in his first 18 months, thanks to some wonderful clients. More about them on the Horses page!


© 2018  Robali Equestrian & McKINNON SPORT HORSES

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