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  • Writer's pictureRepublished with permission

Vale: Two-time Garryowen winner Kath Metherall

WELL-KNOWN horsewoman Kath Metherall passed away peacefully in Nagambie, Victoria, in June. In accordance with her wishes, this was not announced until after her memorial service some time later.


ABOVE: Kath Lucas aboard Seafarer.

The two-time Garryowen winner and Alice Laidlaw winner went to her first show aged five, and her determination to ride and compete apparently started there and then.


After leaving school Kath Lucas went to live with Joan Pearson and Mary Williamson at Narre Warren helping on the farm and assisting with their successful team of show horses. Kath had great success on Seafarer at Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne Royals.


Kath Lucas, as she was then, won the Garryowen in 1947 on the massive grey Seafarer, and again in 1949 on Treasure.


It seems after Kath won in 1947 the general appearance judging section was added, due to her being very small on such a big horse. She also placed second twice and sixth once.


Treasure was owned by Roy Hicks. Kath used to go down to their stables at South Melbourne to ride and educate him. She rode on the tan track around the Royal Botanic Gardens and around Albert Park Lake - imagine doing that now.


Kath was said to be more interested in the jumping, and won the Lady Rider over Obstacles - the coveted Alice Laidlaw trophy in 1948, when she commented that adding a jump to the Garryowen workout would sort out the riders.


After she retired from the event Kath did a lot of judging in various sections at many shows. She judged sections of the Garryowen event in 1967, 1971, 1994. She was inducted into the Garryowen Hall of Fame in 2013, and in 2017 the RAS celebrated the 70th – yes, 70th – anniversary of her first win, and again two years later.


ABOVE: Kath Metherall - 1927-2022.

She also over the years gave inspirational talks to the Garryowen competitors. Kath wrote the Foreword to “Violet Murrell and Garryowen” by Marion McKinnon published in 2001 and launched on the Main Arena by Gillian Rolton.


Kath married noted horseman Rupert Metherall in 1950 and they lived at Tempy in the Mallee, then Tooradin, Springhurst, Wangaratta and after Rupert passed away in 1991 Kath later moved to Benalla and spent her final years in the Nagambie Nursing Home.


Kath is survived by her son Ian and daughter Anne, and their families.


In 1970 Kath, Michael Field and Anne started the RDA Victoria at the Wicks Reserve, Boronia.


Known as humble but determined, Kath earned the respect of many for her riding and commitment and she will be missed.

* Story courtesy of the Metherall Family and Equestrian Memories Australia.

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