Alison Soster and her late husband Robert originally founded Robali Stud as an Arabian breeding farm in 1977. A beautiful mare, Jadara (Argent x Miraya) was the foundation, and she went on to produce some very successful progeny. She was a multi champion and Australian Top Ten mare. Both Rob and Ali were involved in showing the horses, Rob in the halter ring and Ali in the ridden arena. Although Rob and Ali met in the Southern Highlands, the stud was moved to the Darling Downs, along with their now expanding family of 2 boys, Damon and Nathan. Here, Rob operated a small lucerne, cropping and commercial cattle operation near Toowoomba and Ali enjoyed breeding, breaking in and riding and also began her coaching career. During these years, a friendship with Coralie Gordon (The Cameo Stud) led to an introduction to the late Pat Slater, a world-renowned horse photographer. Many stunning photos of Ali, Jadara and her progeny graced magazines Australia wide, with one eventually used as a cover on the famous American glossy Arabian Horse World.
Ali’s interest in horses began many years before the stud was formed. As a young girl, her family moved to England for 8 years where she first learned to ride. Returning in her late teens, she worked with Bryce and Hilary Nichol of Talquah Stud and Heath Harris, who went on to become a very successful trainer of horses used in the movie industry. After finishing school and matriculating to Sydney University, she decided to take a year off and was employed by Madoroma Stud in Berrima, a stud famous for breeding Australian and Welsh ponies, and for producing ridden Arabians. Jim Delamont was the manager and rider for the stud, and he had a profound influence on Ali. Jim’s training methods and wonderful horsemanship skills really made an impression and Ali worked with him for 4 years, assisting with the breeding stallions, broodmares, young stock, ridden and show horses. Jim trained with Franz Mairinger, the former Spanish Riding School instructor who trained six Olympic equestrian teams for Australia. His methods were classically correct, and these are the principals Ali learned working with Jim.
After her marriage and the move to QLD, another influence was Ray Van De Drift (trained by Nuno Oliveira) who coached Ali for a couple of years.
Returning to the Southern Highlands in 1986 she began training with Miguel Tavora, also a disciple of Nuno Oliveira.
Sadly in 1989, Rob died from lung cancer and Ali’s daughter Robbie was born three weeks later. As Ali’s focus was now on raising her two boys and baby daughter, the stud had a very quiet few years.
At this time the stud was moved to its current location at Leicester Park in Mittagong, NSW. As the family grew up, Ali did her EFA Level 1 and began coaching seriously and started the agistment business. Ali trained every 2 months for many years with Miguel on a variety of different horses.
During this time she produced both Robali bred horses and others. Avondale Kahlua, Buckwell Park Ambition, Buckwell Park Picasso, Robali Renegade, Robali Nicolette, Buckwell Park Preview, and Robali Renoir all won Champions at National and East Coast level during this time.
Successful young riders trained by Ali included Melissa and Tamara Kerr, Abby Tipping, Elisha Cady, Alexa Mahony, Emily Sharp, Ellie Rocca, and Tess Harwood, and of course Robbie Soster! . Robbie showed a keen interest in the horses from a very young age, and it was inevitable that she would follow her mothers’ passion.
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