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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Heavy horses and heavy hearts but the show must go on

ABOVE: Darren Phelan with the Ironbark Clydesdale team (and friends). Picture: KATHRYN POTEMPSKI

THE National Clydesdale and Heavy Horse Festival went ahead last weekend with a heavy heart, marred by a road accident on the afternoon before the show began that claimed the life of one of its own.

Clydesdale breeders Max and Kristin Marriott were travelling down to the show from their home in north-east Victoria when their car left the Hume Highway and hit a tree.

Kristin died in the accident, while Max remains in hospital with serious injuries.

Organisers however, decided the show must go on and put on a cracker of an event to mark the 15th anniversary since it was first held at Werribee Park in 2008.

It's a weekend very much loved in Victoria, with heavy horse breeders using it not only as a showcase but to meet and chat at the trade stands and stables.

The general horse loving public enjoys it too.

ABOVE: Blakeley & McKeon put on a winning display. Picture: KATHRYN POTEMPSKI

The Clydesdales, as always, put on a magnificent display but the heavy horse breeds were also well represented, including a number that are listed on the rare and endangered lists both in Australia and internationally.

Spectators were treated to seeing the rare Suffolk Punch horses, Shires, Percherons, powerful black Friesians, Gypsy Cobs, Haflinger, Highland Ponies and Fjords performing in led classes, harness and under saddle.

When came down to judging of the supreme in hand exhibit, Lorraine Fritsch’s Clydesdale mare Lowan Vale Yvonne was chosen as winner from the top four champions in the breed challenge.

The harness classes – featuring drivers elegantly dressed in charge of jinkers up to four-in-hand teams with jingling harness and beautifully polished gear maintained by loving hands – never fail to impress.

A drive-past was held as a mark of respect for the Marriott family by the harness exhibitors.

The supreme champion tradesman's turnout went to Blakeley & McKeon, who were also awarded the Lloyd Cameron Perpetual Trophy, and the Supreme Champion Delivery Horse in non-Heritage Vehicle was Scott Finnemore with Winston.

The overall champion from the working horse ring was Katrina Klemm-Ellis and Wheelabarraback Flash Molly.

Charlotte Wood and Quickstep Diallo had a terrific show being names the highpoint dressage champion, novice dressage champion, supreme ridden heavy horse and champion Friesian male.


(Click any image to expand)

Other winners included:

Supreme Champion Drum Horse: Norm McCosker, Percius

Supreme Champion Haflinger: Kate Wingad, Manuka Ridge Moira

Supreme Champion Fjord: Rachael Smith, Black Wood Ridge Norton

Supreme Champion Gypsy Cob: John Smith, Wooly

Supreme Champion Highland Pony: Holly- Jade Praszczalek, Senlac Sunny Boy

Champion led Clydesdale Gelding: Peter Strafford, Samara Park Thomas

Supreme Champion Friesian: Rebecca Campbell, Elke

Supreme Champion Suffolk Punch: Andrew Lucas, Field Barton Charles

Champion Led Clydesdale Mare or filly: Lynette Fritsch, Lowan Vale Yvonne

Supreme Champion shire Gelding: Southern Cross Hamish

Junior Champion Led Clydesdale Filly: Gale Watson, Farleton Flash Sally

Champion Clydesdale Stallion: Will Lewin, Willis Park Clifford

Champion Tradesman Turnout: Blakely Family, Southern Cross Nickolas

Champion Tradesman Pair Turnout: Blakeley & McKeon

Champion Show Cart Turnout: Julie Barber

Junior Champion Led Clydesdale Colt: Lynette Fritsch, Lowan Vale Pheonix

Champion led Registered CCHSA Part Bred: Alison Richardson, Montgomery

Champion rider: Neveah WaetFord, Willis Park Ellen

CH Partbred Heavy Horse: Scott Finnemore, Churchill

Download working horse results:

National Clydesdale and Heavy Horse Festival 2023 - working horse results (ring 3)
Download PDF • 67KB

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