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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Heavy horses and harness find a home at Heathcote

ABOVE: Heather McCormick navigates a very tricky obstacle course. Image: ROB'S PICTURES

HEATHCOTE in central Victoria has one of those beautiful, smaller showgrounds that are dotted around Australia. Classic in size and surrounded by huge shade trees, it’s the perfect example of cooperation between sports groups and the A&P Society.

The Victorian Tradesman’s and Delivery Horse Group does all sorts of maintenance on the sheds and surrounds during regular working bees and in return they hold six events there during the year.

These include a foal show, a championship show, education days and later in August there will be a sale of harness and equipment.

On Sunday, the group ran its second Extreme Sports and Driving Day after the first was such a success.

They were very happy with the turnout.

People of all ages brought their horses and ponies out to run through the amazing obstacle course, with lots of laughter, assistance and plenty of vocal encouragement.

ABOVE: Nathalia Pony Club member Maddison Files. Image: ROB’S PICTURES

There were hanging noodles that some of the bigger horses had doubts about fitting through or under, a see-saw bridge, keyholes to negotiate and gates of every shape and colour to open.

There were led, driven in long reins and ridden sections and for juniors and adults.

Many obstacles found each competitor testing not only their animals’ skills but their own in safely navigating the course.

The placegetters were shared around, with everyone going home with a ribbon of some sort and smiles on their faces.

The Victorian Tradesman’s and Delivery Horse Group was started after a small notice was placed in a newspaper in the winter of 2008 asking for those interested these type of horses and vehicles to meet at the Bendigo Showgrounds.

During this meeting the future of the traditional delivery vehicles, harness and horses was discussed.

They felt the history, heritage and traditions of these vehicles was (and still is) at risk of being lost due to the decline in exhibitors participating at agricultural shows throughout the state. An overwhelming number of people said they wanted to preserve this heritage and the group was born.

Along with preserving the traditions of tradesman's and delivery vehicles, harness and horses they aim to educate future generations on the importance of the horse-drawn delivery in the life of the past century.

Education days and weekends are held to broaden the knowledge of not only the traditions, but also the fundamentals of driving, preparing, showing and enjoying the harness horse.


Click link below to download results.

The Victorian Tradesman’s and Delivery Horse Group Extreme Sports and Driving Day - August
Download • 189KB

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