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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Every horse has a story - here are three from Barastoc

ABOVE: Jahnae Parrish and ‘Tippy’ share a special bond. Picture: EQUINE PROMOTIONS AUSTRALIA

THE original Horse of The Year Show in Australia – known around the country simply as “Barastoc”– has cruised serenely through its 55th running at the Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre.

The grounds filled with hundreds of horses competing over the four days.

There are stories attached to every animal, but this year there were three standouts in three different sections.

Warrawee Impresareeo

ABOVE: Warrawee Impresareeo and Elizabeth Krog. Picture: DEREK O’LEARY

The elegant black hack Warrawee Impresareeo scored both the Melbourne and Sydney Royal Show championships in 2022 when he was just six, and this year at Barastoc, he notched up his second win for his new owner, long-time show hack exhibitor,  Brian Scholes.

Brian has won at Barastoc in the past, and knows how special it is.

“I was so impressed with Warrawee Impresareeo the first time I saw him at Barastoc Horse of the Year,” Brian said.

“He went from winning newcomer hack to winning the open Barastoc HOTY at the same event – he was breathtaking. I saw him again at Sydney Royal when he again won best novice and went through to win his open class and champion hack.

“He put me in mind of the beautiful Flying Hercules owned and ridden by Mary Asimus back in the mid-1980s, the sort of horse you can’t forget.  Special qualities that leave their lasting impression on people.

“These sort of horses are why I love show horses, it’s in my blood.”

Elizabeth Krog, his rider, is a true professional in the care and presentation of this beautiful horse.  

“When Elizabeth told me she would sell him to me I punched the air and yelled ‘I’m going to win another Barastoc’,” Brain said.

And with Elizabeth riding, Brian did just that.

Riegal Manolete

ABOVE: Riegal Manolete and Emily Murray. Picture: DEREK O’LEARY

The show hunter galloway champion Riegal Manolete – AKA Nigel – brings pleasure to two well-known show families when he performs.

Bred by Nicole Riemer and shown by Fiona Mardling and Emily Murray, at just nine years of age he has won six consecutive Barastoc open championships and four Barastoc champion child’s ridden titles.

“Nigel was bred as I wanted a show hunter galloway … I had a large hunter by Strinesdale Matador, so I decided to breed another by him, and that was Nigel,” Nicole said.

“As a breeder I always hope for my horses to be loved, cared for and treated well (but) success is never guaranteed. Well Nigel is such a success story and honestly makes me so proud that I purposely bred what he came to be, and a successful one at that.”

Fiona said that, at the time, she really wasn’t looking for another horse.

“I already had three special ponies being shown,” she said.

“You never say no and in my own way of finding a horse, I like to take my time and investigate and ensure I have absolutely no doubts about what I purchase.

“I first heard about Nigel from my friend Sheree Greer who had seen him at a measuring day at Werribee Park in August of 2018.  Sheree told me about this really nice newcomer hunter, bred by the Riemer family, who had actually been purchased the next day by Terry Van Heythuysen and Greg Mickan of Romsey Park.

“Not long after Sheree’s call I received a call from Greg to tell me they had bought this “ripper” little hunter galloway and he could be perfect for my Emily, who was struggling with the debilitating neurological syndrome Common Regional Pain Syndrome.

“As he was not long broken in, Greg and Terry’s plan was to do some work with him and do a few shows and find out what they had and they would keep me updated about his suitability.

“Several more calls from my friend Sue Thompson nagging me to do something and as Romsey Park were headed to the Show Horse Council of Victoria Horse of the Year I decided to have a look for myself, and yes he was an impressive three-year-old, and already such a typey hunter.”

At the 2019 Barastoc Nigel won his first championship in both the open and child’s small hunter classes and stamped his name on those events for the first time. 

The following week the Romsey Park team headed to Canberra Royal and as Fiona had already planned to fly up for the day to watch her pony, Owendale Valencia, compete, she was looking forward to watching Nigel at another show.

“Happily sitting in the stands and the calls start coming, first to say someone was at the stables riding Nigel and think they want to buy him, then Terry called to say ‘we need to speak to you, can you come to the stables’,” Fiona said.  

“I hot-footed it around to the stables and in a now-or-never conversation Greg and Terry said they had a very good offer for Nigel to be sold and leave for South Australia the next day, but as we had been talking for months about him, we still had the first option to purchase. 

“Decision and commitment time was now, always works well when you haven’t got to the point of discussing with your husband the need for another horse.

“Nigel became ours and he got to stay at Romsey Park and continue to be produced and cared for by Terry and Greg – we couldn’t ask for a better team to be a part off. 

“He went on to be Equestrian Australia’s national champion child’s small show hunter in that year with Emily on board confirming Greg’s initial opinion to be right – he was just perfect.”

River Valley Tiptoes

ABOVE: River Vally Tiptoes and Jahnae Parrish. Picture: EQUINE PROMOTIONS AUSTRALIA

Over in the Mountain and Moorland classes was a pony many of us had not seen since Black Saturday in 2009, when he stood as part of the service held at Barastoc for the fire victims ridden by Jahnae Parrish and held by Norm Clark.

River Valley Tiptoes, AKA Tippy, a New Forest stallion, had been shown successfully as a four-year-old by Jahnae and he was her first love, but he, like many others was trapped in the devastating Black Saturday fires. He was saved by Norm, a family friend, who led him through the embers to safety.

He was shown after that by Norm and did well in dressage before Norm moved to New Zealand and Tippy went to the paddock at Arnwood Stud.

“A few years ago I went and visited Tippy just to say hello and boy did his face light up, Jahnae said.

“I shared some special moments in his paddock with him and to be honest, I really didn’t want to leave him again.

“A few months ago I got a call from Jaccy (from Arnwood) saying I should come have a ride on Tippy soon as she decided to bring him in and give him some light work.”

At the time Jahnae was struggling with work, other riding commitments and the weather and it didn’t eventuate.

“It felt again like I was defeated by the world,” Jahnae, who like so many still carries the mental scars of Black Saturday, said.

“When two Mountain and Moorland events were added to the Show Horse Council’s international showdown at very short notice, Tippy crossed my mind but I didn’t think to say anything because mum would have been busy getting this show together.

“Then mum called me at work and her words to me were “how would you like Tippy to come home?

“I felt like a child again.

“We knew Tippy at 22 was an old man now so we weren’t sure we were going to be able to, but as Tippy got fitter and looked a million bucks we decided to keep at it.

“At the international showdown we placed in the top 10 and getting Best of Breed (New Forest) put us third overall out of 15 exhibits.

“At Barastoc, he was APSN runner up, Mountain and Moorland led champion and APSB champion ridden Mountain and Moorland.

“It was such a happy day.”

Other results

In the main ring at Barastoc, Whitmere Popping Candy ridden by Maddison Backman with Emma Richardson handling won the leading rein show pony class, then went back in the ring to win the open small pony class ridden by Annabelle Richardson.

Annabelle was back on board in the medium pony class, winning with Tuscany Petite Serenade and rounded out a very successful show with KP Dance On Air in the small galloway hack class.

Melody Park Royal Quartet a charming, soft-going brown gelding won the large galloway hack ridden by Greg Micken for Blaine Perkins.

There was a lovely lineup in the small show hack class where Briony Randle on Royalwood West End won from Royal Consort and Reece Lawson with Wynara Signature ridden by Bryine Lee, third.

In the show hunter classes, Bordershow Charlemagne ridden by Maddison Backman and led by Alicia Cutugno was the winning leading rein pony, and as in the show pony section, appeared again in the small show hunter pony class, ridden by Annabelle Richardson for Alicia Cutugno, won that class.

Lynlea Print Design, Jenna Backman, won the medium hunter pony and Monte Cristo V was ridden by Ali Berwick for Janine Orpwood to win the big pony hunter class.

Riegal Manolete, featured above, won the small galloway show hunter and in the large galloway section Daizi Plumb rode her father’s DP Royal Ascot to win.

Global PPS was ridden by his owner, Stephanie Barrington to a win in the small show hunter hack and Ali Berwick rode Olivia Pihan’s Donna Carmella to win the big hunter class.

The owner rider classes are becoming more important, with many shows recognising the need for them.

The winners in the show horse section were Langtree Unique (Annie Aikman), Rosedale Popeye (Marley Thorpe Heal), Royal Astro Boy (Lucy Silinzieds), Hannaley Top Girl (Lauren Ellery), Kp Simply Exquisite (Charlotte Falckh), Taughton Vale Henley (Susan Bufton) and MP Chess (Kerri Imrie).

In the show hunter owner rider section, the winners were Eagle Park Crystal Roulette (Milla Romeo), Bells Mountain Paparazzi (Paige Heffernan), Rivington Sunday Secret (Charlee Latham), Beauparc Vegas (Monique Calleja-Goodman), Gentry Park City Lights (Charlee Latham), Notice Board (Brooke Sweeney) and F1 Soliloquy (Madelon McDonald).


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