Stock Horse show back in saddle
THE Far North Coast Branch of the Australian Stock Horse Society will be conducting a two-day Championship Show and Futurities at Hawthorne Park, South Grafton, today and tomorrow.
This show has been at Hawthorne Park since 1995, when a state show was held on these grounds. It was so successful that the national championships were held at the same venue in 1997.
This year, competitors have travelled from Pittsworth in Queensland to Wollar in the Hunter area, as well as south to Gloucester and west to Wee Waa. Visitors are welcome to come along and see top competitors show the versatility of these athletic horses in various disciplines. Ages of competitors range from under-7 to adults.
Entry is free, with canteen facilities available.
The feature event today is the Shiralee Produce/Grafton Veterinary Clinic-sponsored Super Horse Challenge, where the stock horse has to perform in hacking, working, cattle work and two-handed cutting sections to give an overall score. There will be a full show program tomorrow, with led, hack and working events.
The Australian Stock Horse Society was established in 1971 in Scone, where the head office is today. The society is the largest of more than 70 individual horse breed associations in Australia, with more than 9500 members and more than 170,000 registered horses.
With the motto The Breed For Every Need, there are 66 branches throughout Australia, which hold competitions and activities for members in their area and assist in promoting the breed within the horse industry.
The horses were used in the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics, giving other countries a view of this outstanding breed of horse, which is so athletic and versatile.
This successful Australian performance horse is being recognised overseas, with exports to Britain, the United States, Canada, Africa, New Zealand and Asia.
The breed began with the arrival of horses with the First Fleet to Australia in 1788. Originally it was English thoroughbred and Spanish stock, crossed later with Arab, Timor and Welsh mountain ponies. Despite the mixed origins these horses developed into a strong, handsome type, which was eventually called the Waler (after the colony of New South Wales).