Grand show marks 50th
The Northern Victorian Show Jumping Club will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with a grand prix show running from November 11 to 13.
The event, at WB Hunter Reserve, Shepparton, will host some of the best show jumping riders in Australia, some who have also competed at an international level and the Olympics.
2016 World Cup winner Stuart Jenkins, from Glenmorgan Vale, Queensland, will be returning to defend his title, and travelling down from Cooran, Queensland, is Billy Raymont, with an inform team of horses.
Sydney 2000 Olympic competitors Jamie Coman, based near Seymour, and Jeff Bloomfield, South Australia, are bringing a team of up-and-coming horses each, while riders will also travel from Tasmania, NSW and South Australia.
Local riders Stuart and Ingrid Abrahams will also bring a team of horses and their Saddleworld Shepparton and Bendigo stores are a major sponsor of this year’s event.
Life Members Ken Felmingham and Russell and Brad Hearn will all be competing at the show.
The weekend will also include a marquee and celebration of the club’s half century, with history and memorabilia included.
Past event secretary and treasurer Keren Fletcher recalls the early days when the entries were all done manually by post and draws written by hand.
‘‘We used to get about 70 riders to the training days at WB Hunter Reserve, it was a really great social community,’’ Ms Fletcher said, reminiscing about the training days held.
‘‘At the end of the day, we would use any broken rails to make a bonfire and all have a beer together.’’
Ms Fletcher also remembers the World Cup Shows at Shepparton, which had some of the biggest, if not the biggest, entries of all World Cup Shows in Australia at the time.
Original club member, past vice-president and president David Quick recalls the club’s origins.
‘‘The club was originally formed at Tatura. When they moved to Shepparton, we were located where the tennis courts are at the Sports Precinct. However, without any fencing, it was deemed too dangerous.
‘‘The club then moved to the centre of the velodrome before settling at the current location,’’ he said.
‘‘The first show at the ground was that hard we had to run a plough and discs over the ground, it was so dusty no-one could breathe.
‘‘Today the club members enjoy a top-class grass arena, which the World Cup class is run on, a small grass arena and two sand arenas.’’
Clearing all hurdles . . . John Ledger, from Wangaratta, rides Nobby. Some of the best show jumping riders in Australia will compete at the grand prix event in Shepparton.