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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Show Horse Council pulls off the perfect event

ABOVE: ABOVE: Lauren Farquhar on Revon Tuxedo. Picture: SHOWCATION

IT doesn’t happen often, but when the stars align, an event will shine so brightly that people will smile and talk about it for months.

That was the case with the Show Horse Council of Victoria’s Southern Stars Royal Gala and International Showdown at the Werribee Park Equestrian Centre in January.

The weather was perfect, the classes filled with quality and the addition of the Mountain and Moorland section with international judges had the regular showies whose classes had finished pulling up chairs to sit and watch them strut their stuff.

A full panel of Australian and British judges – Michaela Bowling (UK), Faye Ludlow (UK), Elizabeth Tomlinson, Kristy Glover, Leanne Corney, Melissa McCauley, Ashley Harris, Melanie Skinner, Robert Palm, Patrick Moloney and Cindy Anderson – dealt easily and thoroughly with the show classes.

The show was well supported by sponsors meaning that instead of the usual sash and rug being the winning prize, there were cheques of $500 to $2000 being handed out to supreme exhibits.

There was gentle humour, too.

When the tiny winner of a leading rein class was asked by commentator Lyndsey Douglas if she wanted to be a famous rider when she grew up, she replied firmly, “No, I am going to train Labradors".

A young boy rider placed in his class said he found sitting trot difficult because of “boy problems”.

It was that sort of day.

ABOVE: A study of concentration – Isabel Morphy and Flowerdale Basil. Picture: SHOWCATION

This time of year always brings out new, fresh faces and the entries in the newcomer and other introductory classes showed a lot of promise.

The Thoroughbred ring was a feature, helped none-the-least by show committee member Glenis Triffet and her daughter Rachel Stephenson being heavily involved in racing.

The led and ridden supremes in the off-the-track section have been successful in both lives.

Supreme ridden went to Natalie McKay’s St Andrews, sired by Sandtrap (US) from Nun's Chorus (NZ).

 In his former racing career the horse was trained by Marcus Williams and won more than $65 000 in prizemoney.

Supreme led was Jess Pattinson’s Diamond Oasis, sired by Lonhro, who who has so many of his offspring now in the showring.

Diamond Oasis won more than $500,000 in prizemoney and was previously trained by Patrick Star.

The hugely successful Mountain and Moorland classes were the work of committee member Andrew James and Mountain and Moorland promoter Karen Parrish.

With 29 competitors in the small pony class and 15 in the large, it was an entertaining display of beautiful ponies.

Mountain and Moorland breeds represented included Shetland Ponies, Welsh Cobs and Highlands.

The small pony champion was Welsh A stallion Vanoca Park Ladysmith owned by Ashley and Scarlett Porter, with Raevon Tuxedo owned by Lauren Farquhar as reserve.

In the big pony section, Bodynys Kaino (Imp) owned by Taylor Lee was the winner, with Nawarrah Park Magic Mike owned by Megan Howe the reserve.


(Click any image to expand)


Comments provided by UK judge, Faye Ludlow

“Michaela (Bowling) and I thoroughly enjoyed our judging at the show.

“We got asked a lot if there was any differences between the English and Oz format of the show, of which there were a few subtle ones, like the set workouts.

“The majority of the time in England pony jockeys can do as they wish. In horse classes it is only the hacks that do a workout as well as being ridden by the judge; all other classes they are just ridden by the judge.

“In all classes once competitors enter the ring to work on the circle they are asked to line up in the ring, normally in the judge’s preference before coming out from the line individually to do their workout.

“We were impressed with all the competitors’ turnout and turnout of horses and ponies and the majority were carrying the right amount of condition, just a small few we would like to have seen a little weight off.

“As judges we were looking for something that was conformationally correct, enjoyed being the ring, and for way of going, we want something to have a smooth action, covering the ground without being rushed and to be relaxed and taking the contact. It was important that we found them to be comfortable when we rode them.

“The Mountain and Moorland classes were hugely well supported and we were happy with our winners who were true to type for their breeds.

“There were quite a few horses and ponies we would happily have taken home.”


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