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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Versatility show a first for ranch riders at Benalla

Updated: Oct 17, 2023


THE Ranch Horse Association of Australia’s first Versatility Ranch Show at Benalla was a success for competitors and enjoyable for spectators.

The first of the horses entered the arena for the first class at 8.30am with 30 more trail runs on a technical course judged by Robyn Smith, assisted by her scribe, Kerry McFadden.

Judy Johnston, winner of the intermediate rider ranch trail with her mare Little Miss Curly Cat, had the highest scoring trail run of the day with a score of 70.5.

In ranch riding, riders ran a combination of patterns one and eight, with modified walk/trot patterns for the green rider and equestrians with disabilities (EWD) classes.

There were some great scores on the board, with Pinky Collins and her Appaloosa mare Sure To Be Playful taking out the win in the open all age ranch riding on a score of 75.5, the highest ranch riding score of the show.

Ranch On the Rail classes followed, with spectators treated to a top display of up to 10 horses at a time being exhibited on the rail at the forward moving gaits required of the ranch horse, including the extended trot and extended lope. It really was a great sight to see this new class in action, with good scores.


Marlene Holahan and her mare Freedom Patti Brown deserve a special mention for their win in the EWD ranch on the rail class with a lovely run.

The final ridden classes for the day were the ranch reining events, with some respectable patterns with solid manoeuvres.

Reiner Deb Ross was showing at her first ranch show with her husband’s gelding Lil Ripper Whiz, taking out the intermediate horse ranch reining on a score of 72, the highest reining score of the afternoon.

The ranch conformation section was to be the decider for the high point awards.

Horses had a rapid change out of their saddles, bridles were swapped for rope halters and given a quick brush down ready to be exhibited at halter.

They were then trotted out and stood up for the judge to evaluate their overall form, movement and soundness at the end of a day’s work.

To qualify for the high point a horse/rider had to be entered into at least two ridden classes plus the conformation class.

The high point winners were:

High point youth – Ella Van Leeuwen

High point green horse – Gunna Shines Guns

High point intermediate horse – SVQ Good Asset

High point amateur – Carolyn Allen

High point intermediate rider – Jessica Soulsby

High point green rider – Jenifer Donnelly

High point equestrian with disabilities – Marlene Holahan

High point all age open horse – Justa Promise

The next show at Benalla will be the RHAA Victorian State Show from January 12 to 14.


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