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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Horse lovers in paradise with something for everyone

ABOVE: Flinders Greenwood, 19, placed second in the liberty class. Picture: LISA GREEN of MANE MEMORIES

TRY to describe Equitana to someone who has never been.

Wikipedia says “Equitana is a trade fair organisation for equestrian sports. This bi-annual trade fair first opened in 1972 in Essen, Germany, and holds events in Germany, the US and Australia”.

In practice however, it’s so much more and “horse lover’s paradise” is probably a more simple but accurate description.

There is shopping, displays, education and competitions to watch, and for the horse-loving child, the chance to get up close and personal with their favourite breed.

There’s colour, noise, great outfits, famous people and so much to see and do.

The hardest decision was where to start.

Maybe the horse lines, with so many breeds of horses on display with breeders happy to show them off and talk about them. At one end of the row was the great racehorse Hartnell, winner of more than $7 million on the track. He was known in racing not just for his talent but his beauty and there he was graciously accepting pats from wide-eyed children and appreciation from those who had seen him race.

ABOVE: The lovely Hartnell.

With his current carer Sheralee Patterson, he was named Equitana’s Champion Breed exhibit in the Breed Village grand parade competition.

In a small arena in another part of the exhibition space, some unbroken young horses were learning their first lessons in the “World of the Horse” competition. Won by Skye Liikanen, she liked the young horse she worked on so much she bought her.

In other arenas there was speed eventing, showjumping, games, indoor dressage and showjumping.

Equitana has become a tradition for horse lovers, something to do and see at least once in a lifetime.

It ran over four days at the Melbourne Showgrounds celebrating everything equine, with features including Olympic medalists, stunt riders, world-renowned educators, Australian Stockhorses, world cup dressage, an elite equine competition program and more than 300 exhibitors making up the largest equine shopping spree in Australia.

The fires and lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 have shown us that nothing keeps a horse lover down so the return of Equitana this year was a real celebration of the horse industry.

It will be back in 2024.


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