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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Hall of fame needs a little love and attention

ABOVE: John Fahey and Bonvale jumped off for bronze at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.


AUSTRALIA'S success on the international sporting arena has earned the country a reputation as one of the top equestrian nations in the world.

The Equestrian Australia Hall of Fame was started in 2010 and honours EA's greatest achievers, but maybe it’s time the panel took a new look and added a number of greats who are missing from the list.

There’s little mention on the page of the horses that got us to Olympic Games, or that were outstanding in their national performance. There are only six eventers listed (Salad Days, Sunburst, Darien Powers, Mirrabooka, Kibah Tic Toc and Peppermint Grove), one dressage horse (Victory Salute) and just one showjumper (Kevin Bacon’s Chichester).

Our best placed showjumper, John Fahey’s Bonvale, who jumped off for the bronze medal at the 1964 Tokyo Games isn’t there, nor Sam Campbell’s April Love, who won major events in England after she was sold on. Then there was Jeff Evans’ magnificent Cygnet Rambler (no one who ever saw him compete could forget him) and Ted Dwyer’s big grey Ocean Foam.

ABOVE: Malcolm Barns riding Lure.

And what about our very first great mare Dumbell?

Dumbell and Bert Jacobs were taking Britain by storm in the lead up to the 1956 Olympics, and after it, like so many others, was sold by the EFA to cover their expenses.

She went on to be named showjumper of the year in England against the world’s best, but isn’t in the Australian Hall of Fame.

In dressage, Mary Hanna’s Mosaic and Margaret McIver’s CK would be worthy of recognition, as would the show horses Lure (owned by Donnie Wilson) and Vicky Lawrie’s Picasso.

There are people missing from the list, too.

Ern Barker, from our first Olympic eventing team and Allan Peach who won the first puissance in Australia and was described by Bill Roycroft as the finest rider he had seen. Allan was selected for the 1956 Games, but as the team was self-funded, he couldn’t afford to go.

None of our Para riders are recognised – Rosie Fahey who won bronze in 2000, Georgia Bruce who won two bronze in 2008 and Joanne Formosa, our first gold medal-winning para equestrienne in 2012.

There are 23 names in the Australian Stock Horse Hall of Fame and 15 in the Australian Paint Horse Society.

Equestrian Australia Hall of Fame deserves more attention than it gets. It would cost so little to do and would means so much to those who have given to the sport we love.

ABOVE: Australia's first para gold medalist Joanne Formosa.

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