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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Bits: A true legend gone, Vicki Roycroft update and an auction for a great cause

ABOVE: If you have never seen the work of equine artist Jaime Corum, head to her website at and take a look. Prints and original commissions available.

THE Australian equestrian world paid tribute this week to Art Uytendaal, who died aged 92. An outstanding showjumping rider and coach, he changed the face of the sport in Australia.

Art’s family has stated there will not be a funeral but made the following suggestion for anyone who wishes to mark his passing: “By request we are not having a funeral, but if anyone would like to remember him and his achievements we would love you to give a few dollars to help an underprivileged young rider reach their goal. Anything is possible with a little help.”


ABOVE: Vicki Roycroft looking well with a "therapy Dachshund".

SHOWJUMPER Vicki Roycroft continues to improve in hospital after her collapse at Royal Sydney Show. While still in intensive care and suffering memory loss, she has full body movement and is talking.

Friends who have visited Vicki say she’s looking better every day. She’s very appreciative of the hundreds of messages sent. Her short-term memory is still fragile, but her long-term memory is fine. She is up walking to the bathroom and has finished her antibiotics, so everything is heading in the right direction. She’s soon moving to a ward! Her friends have permission to tell that she’s been moved to the naughty corner in ICU for “being disruptive!” They add, they aren’t surprised.


ABOVE: The mural at Birchip celebrating the horse troughs.

LOVERS of the Silo Art Trail in Australia, especially those showing horses, will enjoy Birchip in Victoria's newest mural by Maha, painted onto the Birchip Historical Society wall. This mural commemorates the story of Bills Troughs and depicts two horses drinking.

George Bills and his wife Annis Bills always had a fondness for animals. In 1908, they began installing horse troughs in Melbourne and donating money for hitching posts, so that working animals could stop for water. When George passed, his will directed that income from his estate be used to provide watering troughs for horses. More than 500 water troughs were provided from these funds, with some even overseas. Some of these troughs still remain, with "donated by Annis and George Bills, Australia" marked on them.

This mural was painted as a part of the 2023 Mali Heart Street Art Festival in Birchip. *

AUSTRALIAN dressage riders are showing good form overseas.

William Matthew won the opening event of the Louisdor Prize, at Horses and Dreams Entertainment in Hagen, Germany.

In strong company he rode Madeline Winter-Schulze’s nine-year-old gelding Freischütz 5 to score 74.404 per cent to win, with German Olympian Isabell Werth and Gut Wettlkam's Chuck Bass behind him in the placings.


WORLD Champion carriage driver Boyd Exell continued on his winning way at an event at the Kladruby National Stud in Czechoslovakia, marking the start of the outdoor FEI Driving Season in Europe. He also started his new young team, which finished in seventh.


RIGHT – it’s hands-in-pockets time for a neglected cause.

Australia has selected three riders to represent us at the 2023 Virtus Global Games in France on June 4 to 10.

This is the first time the Virtus Global Games have included equestrian as a sport. The discipline is dressage.

The Virtus Global Games are for intellectually impaired athletes. Andrew Driffield from Scone NSW, Sarah Sherwood from Tallebudgera Valley QLD and Sui Watts from Mitchell Island NSW are the three Australian riders.

Andrew, Sarah and Sui pay the same for their membership with Equestrian Australia as everybody else and to get them to France and back home again safely with one parent supporting each rider will cost $70,000.00.

There will be an auction of the donated products as listed below.

  • Bates Saddles Australia has donated a saddle up to the value of $6195. A saddle of your choosing. Jumping or Dressage. Top of the range.

  • Prydes Easifeed has donated eight packages of six bags of Prydes Easi Result feed. Each package is worth $240. So the eight packages have a total value together of $1920

  • Gidgee Eyewear has donated 10 pairs of sunglasses valued at $145 each, with a total value of $1450.

  • Kelato (Suzanne Clark) has donated product over the value of $3,000.

  • Ryans Horses have donated three stallion service fees to BML Totality (worth $2200), Drumming R ($2750) and Coolness R ($1650). The service fees will be sold with no reserve. The total value is $6600.

  • Olympic Dressage rider Sue Hearn has donated two dressage lessons.

  • Triple Olympic Gold Medallist Matt Ryan has donated two eventing lessons.

  • Acting CEO of Equestrian NSW Vireena Peacock has donated a custom painting, painted by herself for the auction.

  • Paul Slattery (Pine Park Farrier services) has donated two standard full shoeings valued at over $300.

  • Sharon Jarvis, a three-time Australian Paralympic Rider and World Championship double Bronze medallist, has donated Olympic clothing which will be framed and autographed. has donated an auction platform and all of the administration work towards this $70,000.00 fundraising effort. Bids can be made using this link: Virtus Global Games auction

The auction closes on May 12.

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