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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Bits: Two farewells, a show is saved and judging initiative

ABOVE: For anyone a bit crafty this is available as a cross-stich pattern.

THE passing of John Wilsher is a huge loss to the showjumping fraternity. He was the man who had a vision of horses jumping in the centre of the Mt Gambier velodrome. This vision was the birth of Mount Gambier Show Jumping Club and the Easter Showjumping Festival that has been a favourite on the calendar for many over the last 40 years.

John’s vision grew to a dedicated Junior and Young Rider Carnival, a freshman’s arena with an amazing surface, monthly freshman’s days, an awesome Australian Championships in 2004 and one of his last ideas before retiring from the club was “mini Easter” for the club’s grass roots members.

The club would not be in the position it is today without the countless hours John spent building jumps, setting up the judges boxes and course building at the competitions.

John had an incredible passion for the sport and built courses everywhere, from the little local show in a sheep paddock to internationally.


ANOTHER sad loss is Warwick Toft, a leading light in the Arabian horse industry who died on April 11. Warwick dedicated his life to the Arabian horse because they were his passion, pouring his heart and soul into Bremervale stud and the horses he bred.

Bremervale had success in Australia and overseas for breeding quality endurance horses.


The 2023 NNSW SHA Hack Championships has announced it will appoint SHCA general judges to officiate in led, newcomer, preliminary and amateur classes on Friday morning when the event commences. These classes are not qualifiers for the 2024 Grand National.

This will mean that competitors who also compete in GN qualifiers will show under two different sets of judges. Fresh eyes will judge the horses.

This initiative by the NNSW SHA Hack Championships is providing opportunity of experience for general judges who are working towards the Royal/National Judges List. In the quest to improve, the committee believes this initiative supports both competitors and judges.


THE Boort Show will go on! The agricultural society was unable to fill two main secretary positions in 2022 and was struggling again this year as plans for the October event began. It said it would not be able to go ahead if these jobs were left vacant again. The show committee announced this week that as a result of its publicity campaign, they have been able to fill the positions. Horse competitors are urged to support the equestrian program when the show rolls around on October 14.


THE 2023 Adelaide Equestrian Festival stage is set to showcase Australia’s eventing superstars in the opening round of the five-star global equestrian series.

Held in Adelaide’s East Parklands from April 20-23, the four-day equestrian festival features the only Concours Complet International (CCI)* five-star event in Australia, the only event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and one of only seven events at this level held worldwide.

The Adelaide International CCI5* competition attracts the best horses and riders from across the Southern Hemisphere. With the Paris Olympics only a year away, the Australian Olympic selectors will have their eyes on the Australian who will be looking to secure their place on the national team.


THE Equestrian Victoria Coaching Committee Coaching Extravaganza Workshop on May 1 and 2 is searching for dressage, jumping and eventing demonstration riders for an incredible learning opportunity.

This is a chance to improve skills and receive valuable coaching at Werribee Park, with free facility fees and lunch provided.


IF you are around Ballarat in Victoria on May 5 to 7, the Marcus Oldham Ballarat International Horse Trials are coming to the Equestrian Precinct Victoria Park on Winter St in Ballarat.

It's free for all spectators! Don't miss your chance to witness the excitement of international horse trials.


SIMONE Pearce thrilled Australian dressage fans with her seventh place at the World Cup Dressage final riding Fiderdance. The Germany-based rider said she was very happy with the result. “Coming home with two times 7th place in the World Cup Final is pretty awesome,” she said. “Unfortunately, before the freestyle I was coming down with a bad virus, which has had me very sick over the last 48 hours, so I feel like I wasn’t riding as focused and strong as I usually do and some mistakes kept us from getting more points. However, riding my first World Cup final was truly a special experience and something I will remember forever with pride and gratitude.”


THE Melbourne Trail Horse Riding Club celebrated its 50th anniversary recently at Flowerdale in Central Victoria.

Just over 50 people, including 29 riders, camped on private property and enjoyed two days of riding over the local hills led by Alan Schulz.

The club’s first AGM was held on March 16, 1973, and the first camp and trail ride were held at Kinglake a few weeks later attracting 57 riders.

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