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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Bits: Free feed, a death, a birthday & remembering the fallen

ABOVE: Free feed is on offer for harness competitors. Picture: VTDHG website

HERE’S something you don’t see every day. A bag of feed will be given to every competitor at the Victorian Tradesman's and Delivery Horse Group’s championship show at Heathcote on November 25 and 26.

The Victorian Tradesman's and Delivery Horse Group was established about 15 years ago to preserve the history and heritage of delivery horses, the magnificent vehicles they pulled and the tradesmen who worked with them.

As such, these shows are great spectator events for all ages, with the level of detail and care shown by enthusiasts protecting this heritage worth a drive to see, particularly the turnouts.

The judges for the two-day show will be Leicester Dewsbury, Rick Jones and Raymond Mitchell.

For further enquiries contact John Mullenger on 0412 700 068 or email

Visit the groups’ website for more information.


2023 VT&DHG Inc November Show Program
Download PDF • 1.43MB


ALL-ROUND horseman Keith Urquhart has died aged 94.

From Hexham in the Western District area of Victoria, Keith was the founding president of the Australian Stock Horse Society in Victoria

Keith first joined the society in 1973 and just last month received his 50-year diamond membership badge. He was a founding member of the Western Victoria branch.

Keith gave a life’s work to the Australian Stock Horse Society and registered 69 horses under the Boonerah prefix.

Keith was also member of the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) Council since 1977.

He also spent many years on the Horse Committee, including as chairman between 1991 and 1996. He worked at the show as a judge and spent many years working in the ringmaster’s office including a stint as assistant ringmaster.

He leaves behind an indelible legacy.


THE Londonderry Pony Club on the western outskirts if Sydney is about to host the Pony Club International Mounted Games Competition, where riders from Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, the US and Canada will ride for their country.

Representing Australia will be Keira Dowding (Swan Valley Horse and Pony Club, WA), Ashlea Rees (Birralee and Districts Pony Club, TAS), Charlie MacKenzie (Rylstone Pony Club , NSW), Ryan Bissicks (Yarrambat Horse and Pony Club, VIC) and Denver Vivian (Darwin Horse and Pony Club , NT). The team is coached by Dan Foster (Orange Grove Pony Club) and managed by Niree Weybury (Woodlands Pony Club).

The action starts on Saturday and you can follow it here.


HAPPY birthday to Joyce Brook (mum of jumping star Colleen Brook) who turned 100 yesterday. Joyce was born in 1923 on November 14, a birthday she shares with King Charles who will have sent her a card to mark the achievement.

Joyce has been a driving force in Australian equestrian sport throughout her life. With 100 years of experience to share with family and friends, Joyce is the model of aging gracefully and still lives independently, cooking and caring for herself in her home on Colleen’s property. Read about her amazing life - so far! – on the Equestrian Australia website.


THE FEI has released its November ranking across the disciplines.

Boyd Exell remains at the top of the FEI driving world rankings for four-in-hand competitors, while three Aussies are in the top 50 FEI eventing world athlete rankings. There are 14 para riders within the top 50 of the FEI para dressage world individual rankings for their grades.


THE Pony Club Australia results for nationals showjumping and tetrathlon are now available on the Pony Club WA website. Results link

If you have a query please email PCAWA (not phone) but understand they are short staffed and doing their best. They will update dressage and showman results as soon as possible.


AN organisation has been set up to assist in recuing foals impacted by aerial culling of brumbies in the Snowy Mountains.

“Silver Springs Equine Services” is seeking donations to help with this work. Further information can be found on its Facebook page.


ENTRIES for the HRACV’s top teams showing competition are low, according to reports on social media.

Anyone interested in putting a team together or competing in a composite team is urged to think about entering, even if it’s not your usual discipline. It’s a fun weekend and without support it risks being cancelled. It on December 3 at Werribee Park.


EQUINE Pathways Australia, which helps equestrian athletes reach their goals, will receive $35,000 from fundraising during the Spring Racing Carnival. An auction of Damien Oliver’s saddle and a surprise donation from Gai Waterhouse (lunch with the legendary trainer) contributed to the final amount.


DRESSAGE Victoria will present a very special Victorian Dressage Festival on December 8-10 at Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre. It's the Christmas break up for dressage fans and record entries including 14 for the Grand Prix will provide plenty of excitement with the Paris Olympics getting closer.

Not only will the event crown the state champions at each level but it will host two masterclasses with five-time Olympian Steffen Peters. Born in Germany, Steffen Peters became a US citizen in 1992.

He has been one of the country’s top international dressage competitors ever since, having represented the US at five Olympic Games, six FEI World Equestrian Games and two Pan American Games.


DRESSAGE Tasmania’s northern zone newcomers' dressage competition at Thirlstane has been run and won.

Winner of the newcomer for 2023 was Scarlett Burns riding Wally, second placing went to Charley Freeman-Finn riding Odyssey Gotchagood and third placing went to Sharon Cure riding Mithril Allegra.


AN extra class has been added to the EA Australian Show Horse Championship. The off-the-track class is open to horses already entered in the event that trialled or raced and must be ridden by an EA member.

There is a prize pool of $1000. Pending entries this class may be split.

To enter, please complete this form to enter. Entry is free.


FINALLY, with Remembrance Day just passed, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the contribution of the horse in war.

These words are from Australian artist Peter Barnes, who specialises in paintings of Australians in conflicts.


“This Remembrance Day, we remember an extraordinary animal ... the horse.

The photograph was taken in December 1916, of an artillery horse used for transporting ammunition to the guns and its unidentified Australian driver on a duckboard track between Mametz and Montauban, on the Western Front.

The military used horses in WWI mainly for logistical support. They were better than mechanised vehicles at traveling through deep mud and over rough terrain.

Horses were used for reconnaissance and for carrying messengers, as well as pulling artillery, ambulances, and supply wagons.

The presence of horses often increased morale among the soldiers at the front.

The value of horses and the increasing difficulty of replacing them were such that by 1917, some troops were told that the loss of a horse was of greater tactical concern than the loss of a human soldier.

I have read, approximately 60 per cent of the horses used by Australian soldiers, died during the war and only one was repatriated to Australia form the thousands that were sent.

By the end of the war, even the well-supplied US Army was short of horses.”

Lest we forget.

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