The Northern Branch of the Australian Stock Horse Society (ASHS) celebrated the organisation’s 50th anniversary recently with two days of showing and challenges at Gunnedah Showground. 
COVID and wet weather had forced many equestrian events to be cancelled or postponed, so the opportunity for ASHS members to compete with their horses, attracted riders from Orange to Ebor. 

Gunnedah rider Jessica Moore rode her father Barry Moore’s young bay mare Starwaltz Miss Jessica to take out the champion novice hack, while Tiffany Allomes from Lake Keepit claimed the champion junior handler crown, after demonstrating her expertise in correctly showing show horses, prior to saddling up both her horses for the remainder of the day’s competition.

Branch spokesperson Barbara Lee said the Gunnedah Showground’s immaculate grassed central arena was the ideal ground to showcase the large number of competitors.

“The Gunnedah Pony Club members took advantage of their new catering facilities to provide a range of food for the competitors, committee and judges,” she said.

“The list of generous sponsors for this year’s show enabled the committee to be very generous with prizes and prizemoney. 

“First up on the Saturday morning were the led horses, where the youngest horse in the champion’s line-up  – the stunning black yearling filly owned by Ashley Whiting, Rosleapark Nightpearl – took out the Supreme Led Horse of the Show.” 

Horses were then saddled for the first ridden classes for the day, the novice classes. Large numbers of horses in the individual classes resulted in Hunter Valley rider Amy Wilson and her beautiful six-year-old bay mare, Glenview Chime, capturing the eye of judge Natasha Holland, to take out the champion open hack in a strong line-up of the class winners. 

“In ring 2, the working stock horse ring, judge Alison Bootes was impressed with the quality of presentation and education of horses working out before her,” Barbara Lee said. 

“Hunter Valley trainer Mark West laid the gauntlet down taking the champion ribbon, with the stand-out grey, Bellora Acres to You, showing the athleticism and calm mind needed to excel at their everyday work. 

“This ended in a ride-off between champion hack Glenview Chime and champion working horse, Bellora Acres to You, for the Tony Sherrin Supreme Ridden Horse of the Show trophy, the winner being Amy Wilson riding Glenview Chime.” 

The record number of entries in the station horse class, where horses demonstrate their education to the stockwhip, jumping over logs, opening gates and smooth paces between the allotted tasks, kept judge Jessica McLoud busy for most of the day. 

The ultimate winner of champion station horse was Charlotte Ramsden’s versatile bay mare Royalle Bohemian, with runner-up Ophir Maggie ridden by Manilla’s Kathy deJong. 

Recognising the use of the horse in everyday working and droving work, the Peter Eggleton Memorial Trophy is presented to the rider and horse dressed with daily necessities of work, including saddle bag, packed lunch, water, matches, fencing pliers, hobbles and raincoat. 

“Long term friend of Peter, Kathy deJong riding her bay mare Ophir Maggie was honoured to win the event, after completing a beautiful work out with full stockman’s regalia,” Barbara Lee said. 

Sunday’s events started with junior judging where the youth members of the society demonstrated their ability to assess a line-up of led horses. 

This was followed by handler classes, rider classes, hack classes and working horse classes in the two age groups – eight years and under 13 years and 13 years and under 21 years. 

“With eight separate ridden challenges for youth, encouragement and open riders; two, three and four-year-old horses, divided into hack, working, and then including time trials for the older horses, a full-day of competition highlighted the amazing attributes of Australian Stock Horses,” Barbara Lee said. 

“The coveted open challenge was won by Charlotte Ramsden riding Royalle Bohemian taking home the major prize of a set of horse panels donated by Peaceland Floats.” 

Following the COVID-19 break of two years, Barbara Lee said the committee members were thrilled to hold their 2022 branch show and appreciated the support of the many local businesses, volunteers and competitors needed to hold this showcase of Australian stock horses.

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