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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Bits: Healthy horses, important survey and eccentric jockey turns out to be a woman

ABOVE: Speaking of fat horses, have you ever read The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton? Princess Pinecone wants to be a great warrior. For her birthday, she asks for a great horse fit for a champion. What she gets is a small, round pony. Things don't look good for the upcoming battle (a warrior's favourite pastime) but Pinecone is set on achieving her dreams, and there might be something of a champion in the doughy little pony after all. More here:

THE Brits have decided their show horses are too fat.

Horses and ponies of a healthy weight are being celebrated in some showing classes at Royal Windsor Horse Show this week in a move welcomed by veterinarians.

Healthiest body condition awards will be presented in 14 classes, with horses and ponies being assessed by experienced equine vets Lucy Penrose and Jane Nixon.

“The awards are a great initiative, rewarding horses who are in a healthy body condition in the ring,” Ms Penrose said. “I am happy to support these awards at Royal Windsor because I believe they are, alongside work from societies, making a positive influence in competing horses’ welfare.”


THE Victorian Government is holding an inquiry into the impact of road safety behaviours on vulnerable road users – but it has left the horse community off the agenda.

Animal Care Australia in conjunction with Bitless Inc is preparing a submission regardless to make sure horse road users are not forgotten but they need help if they are to respond with current statistics.

They are asking anyone who rides, drives or leads horses on or across roads to fill in a 10-minute survey on their experiences on Victorian roads.

The government is interested to hear how road behaviour towards vulnerable users has changed since 2020.

The survey can be found here: survey

Information on the parliamentary inquiry can be found here: inquiry

Anyone who would like to provide information directly can email the Animal Care Australia livestock representative Karri Nadazdy at


WANT to run Melbourne Royal Show? Well join a competition committee.

Melbourne Royal is on the lookout for passionate individuals with relevant experience to join their Horses in Action, Dogs All Breeds Championship Show, Beef Cattle and Carcase, Alpaca and Poultry competition committees.

Information on how to apply, can be found here:

Expressions of interest will be received until 5pm Friday, June 9.


FOLLOWING on from the publication of our story about women in equestrian sport last week, we have come across more fascinating facts. Australia’s first licensed female jockey, Wlhemena Smith, was always known as Bill and lived her entire life as a man. No one knew her secret until she died. “Bill” Smith rode successfully in races in North Queensland in the early 1900s. Described as small in stature and eccentric in behaviour, it was not until his death in 1975 that it was discovered that he was actually a she, thus making her Australia's first female jockey. *

YAY Lyndal! Our leading international dressage rider never forgets her beginnings.

The Lyndal Oatley Scholarship will be awarded to three riders for enrolment in Brett Parbery's Dressage Breakthrough program from May to July 2023, with all tuition fees covered.

Lyndal has for many years been a passionate supporter of emerging riders and the sport of dressage more broadly, while competing at the elite level herself.

To apply for the scholarship, riders will need to complete the Solo Success System May 2023 Challenge, and then complete the scholarship application form. Successful riders may be competing at dressage at any level, with a demonstrated commitment to training, competing and learning, and for whom the standard tuition fees would otherwise prohibit enrolment in the program.

If you’re interested in the scholarship, in the first instance enrol (no fee required) for the Solo Success System (the pre-program before Dressage Breakthrough) via this link.



IF you have ever wanted to poke something with a weapon on horseback while riding flat out (admit it, who hasn’t) save the date for the Northern Zone of Pony Club Victoria’s tentpegging “have a go day” on August 5 at the Bahmah Racecourse reserve.

It’s a great family sport and all ages are welcome. More details to come closer to the date but here is a link for information on Tentpegging to find out more.


WHO doesn’t love a carboot sale, especially if it involves horse gear.

Bendigo Pony Club is holding a carboot sale on May 27 from 9am to 3pm as a last “hoorah” at its Bendigo Pony Club grounds on the corner of Breen St and Belle Vue Rd, Golden Square.

Come grab a bargain or make some money from your own car boot. Horse gear, clothes, whatever you like – $20 a boot.

There will be a sausage sizzle and coffee van. Applications for a site can be made via this link.


SHOWJUMPER Edwina Tops-Alexander riding Fellow Castlefield won the Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Madrid, stopping the clock at 77.25 seconds. It was the only clear round of the Grand Prix.

"I’m so thrilled and proud to win this difficult Grand Prix,” she said.

“It’s been a while but I always say never give up! Thank you to Athina for giving me Fellow to ride and to the team at Stal Tops and of course to my husband and this amazing horse, Fellow.”

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