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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Bits: Death of a legend, new voice for Adelaide Royal and nominations

ABOVE: Bruce Dennis crossing the Alfred Bridge during a flood. Picture courtesy of Gundagai Library.

BRUCE Dennis, known as Australia's last postman to deliver mail on horseback, has died, aged 95.

He began delivering mail in 1950, travelling the 18-mile route six days a week until he retired in 1985. There is a plaque mounted in Gundagai's main street bearing his name and he featured in an episode of the legendary “Ask the Leyland Brothers” program, which aired on the Nine Network in the 1970s and ‘80s.


THE baton has been passed ... Jeremy Roberts who is becoming well known as a show announcer and event compere will take over the broadcast position at the Royal Adelaide Show next week. He will take on this big job with a good store of knowledge. “I definitely appreciate and acknowledge those before me – they are very much mentors of mine. Big shoes to fill,” Jeremy said.


PADDY Balfour-Brown died this week.

A lovely and charming character and mother of showjumper Harley Balfour-Brown and wife of the late John Balfour-Brown (editor of the Herald Sun), she was a great support to Harley in his early days before he moved to the US where he and his wife Olivia run a successful equestrian business.

Harley reported that Paddy died peacefully in her sleep and that he will come home to celebrate her life with family and friends.


MOONEE Valley Racing Club is hosting the state championship finals of the ride-to-time program this Saturday on the Cox Plate qualifier day.

Twenty graded riders from pony clubs across Victoria have qualified and Moonee Valley has extended an invitation for all pony club members and their families are invited to attend.

The riders will compete between 11am and 12 noon and there will be extra activities on offer for children, including face painting, pony rides, balloon artistry and sports activities.


LIVING on the other side of the world from most major equestrian events has been a trial for dedicated horse lovers ever since we joined the international scene in 1956. Through the years to follow it’s been a matter of lying awake in the middle of the night to listen to a radio broadcast, or waiting for news a few days later. The internet brought streaming services if you were willing and able to pay for them, but it hasn’t been cheap and we’ve suffered some really biased commentary.

So, when Seven Plus broadcast the dressage world championships free last month there was cause for celebration. We had a great front seat and could cheer our riders in real time, even if it was in the middle of the night.

The news that the Seven Network is picking up broadcast rights to the world’s best equestrian events, including the FEI World Championships 2022 featuring up to 100 hours of event coverage to be streamed live, free and in HD, on 7plus is music to fans’ ears. On-demand content will be available for streaming on 7plus.

The eventing begins at Pratoni on September 15. Then we can watch nine-times World Champion Boyd Exell and fellow Australian Tor Van Den Berge compete in the World Carriage Driving championships from September 21-25.

Seven is also broadcasting the Global Champions League Showjumping events and the Endurance Championships in Italy in October.


EQUESTRIAN Australia has announced the combinations selected for the 2022 FEI WBFSH Dressage World Breeding Championships for Young Horses to be held on September 8-11 in Ermelo, Netherlands.

The combinations selected are: in the five years old section: Jayden Brown riding Willinga Park Miana (KWPN), owned by Terry and Ginette Snow.

In the six years old section: Maree Tomkinson riding her own home-bred, Friday IV (HHSA), owned by the rider and Mark and Lyn Sultana.

In the seven years old section: Jayden Brown and Willinga Park Fangio (Oldenburg), owned by Terry and Ginette Snow.


THE Endurance riders are also getting ready to wave the flag for us with Equestrian Australia confirming two combinations to represent Australia at the FEI Endurance World Championships to be held in Verona, Italy from October 19 to 23.

Riding for Australia will be Andrea Laws-King on Heathfield’s Bin Sadaqa and Jodie Lee Salinas on Baroud Rio.


WITH ongoing floods and wet conditions right down the East Coast of Australia, several groups have provided good advice for those affected. The Australian Carriage Drivers have shared a comprehensive fact sheet by horse veterinarian John Khonke and the Australian Veterinary Association has a list of several places to go for assistance. Click links to access.


THE Horse Riding Clubs Association of Victoria (HRCAV) is seeking expressions of interest from clubs willing and able to host the TTT Horse Trials in 2023. Contact the office for further details, phone (03) 9877 0330 or email info@

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