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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Irish Draughts put on a spectacular show

ABOVE: Weng Yi Wong and Green Isles Galway. Picture: Lisa Green of MANE MEMORIES

FAITH and Begorrah, it’s show time for the Irish Draught and Sport Horse Society of Australia’s Victorian group.

Their annual competition was held at Elcho Park Equestrian Centre at Lara on the weekend, with a real taste of Irish weather.

“We would have loved to have had larger numbers of Irish horses attend but we completely understand that Victoria has been hit really hard with terrible weather this year and a lot of horses are still water-skiing around their paddocks in some parts,” secretary Ali Greeves said.

ABOVE: Georgie Birrell on Fonzi. Picture: MANE MEMORIES

The Irish Draught breed has an interesting history and dates back many hundreds of years with a distinct Spanish connection.

Ireland and Spain were regular traders for many centuries, with Ireland exporting wool, hides and butter, and receiving wine, cloth, horses and specie (money in the form of coins, rather than notes) in return.

The class of Spanish horse introduced was the Andalusian Barb, brought to Ireland’s shores in the 16th Century.

The first purebred Irish Draught to be imported into Australia was Bantry Bay in 1976 by

Dr Arthur Young, a veterinary surgeon from the western district of Victoria. Bantry Bay stood for his first season in 1977 and his last foal crop was 1983. He was bred only to Thoroughbred mares and produced some lovely stock, competing in eventing, show jumping, hunter trials and on the hunt field.

He died of colic in July 1983. Unfortunately, also in 1983, most of the yearlings and two-year-olds by Bantry Bay perished in the Ash Wednesday fires. The Australian society, inaugurated in May 1989, has an Irish Draught Stud Book and an Irish Sport Horse Register.

ABOVE: Indy Kos and Shanghai Silent Knight. Picture: MANE MEMORIES

At Elcho Park on the weekend, the mare Tir Na Belle shown by Julie Doherty was named supreme exhibit after winning her led class.

Christopher Doherty’s Tir Na Brylei was champion ridden mare and Cayden Doherty rode Tir Na Belle to win the Ridden Golden Oldies class.

Bridie Troy rode LSR Skibbereen to a win in the class for riders 18 and under and in the child’s class. Green Isles Galway put in an immaculate performance to win the senior sidesaddle class for his rider, Weng Yi Wong.

Ava Martin’s KilKenny Cat was champion gelding.

Winners in the jumping included Valiant Star and Nellie Rogers, Terminal Velocity and Georgie Birrell, Alyssa Calaby’s Thiacan Don Royale, Alyssa Taylor’s Wallace the Brave and Grimstrand ridden by Karen Dabbs.


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