Be­yond the bar­rier

Ex-rac­ers find suc­cess

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS - KAROLIN MAC­GRE­GOR

WEST­BURY Show has earned a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the state’s big­gest horse shows and when the ac­tion starts next week long-time show com­peti­tor Jo Geard will be there.

Ms Geard has been rid­ing horses since she was seven years old and has be­come one of the state’s most com­pet­i­tive show jumpers.

Still at pony club stage, Ms Geared had the op­por­tu­nity to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia as part of an in­ter-Pa­cific team in Ja­pan.

She also spent two years work­ing at an event­ing yard in Ire­land and started showjump­ing in the 1990s.

“My horses weren't as good at event­ing be­cause my scores in the dres­sage weren’t al­ways high enough, so that’s when I started to do more show jump­ing,” she said.

A lot of Ms Geard’s suc­cess has come with giv­ing ex-race­horses a new ca­reer.

Up un­til re­cently all her horses were Thor­ough­breds.

“My first de­cent showjumper was Dubbo and I took him from hav­ing done not much to the top level in one sea­son, which is pretty un­usual.

An­other ca­reer high­light was win­ning the Emerald Se­ries at the Aus­tralian ti­tles in 2013 on Un­reach­able Star, an­other Thor­ough­bred.

“There is a bit of a stigma around ex-race­horses, but if you get one with the right tem­per­a­ment they are re­ally com­pet­i­tive,” she said.

“A big part of it is find­ing out all their lit­tle quirks. I’ve worked with them for a long time and I don't have too many prob­lems.”

Ms Geard’s main com­pe­ti­tion horse now is Smudge, who will be at West­bury Show.

“I think the best thing about West­bury is that they have so many dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines.

“It’s a good at­mos­phere too and they’ve put a lot of work into the grounds there to make sure they’re good to jump on.”

About 250 horses are ex­pected to com­pete at the show from Novem­ber 9-10.

From minia­ture ponies to draught horses, West­bury is one of the few shows that caters for three rings of sad­dle horses and two rings of showjumpers, hun­ters and stock horses on the main arena.

On Fri­day the Aus­tralian Stock Horse So­ci­ety will hold its an­nual state show. Draught horses are a fea­ture this year, with a pa­rade on the Satur­day.

Recog­ni­tion will be given to Thor­ough­breds with lo­cal studs spon­sor­ing hack and rid­den stan­dard­bred classes.

Show jumpers will re­turn to West­bury in De­cem­ber for the Tas­ma­nian cham­pi­onships.

Pic­ture: KAROLIN MAC­GRE­GOR

SUC­CESS: Show jumper Jo Geard and Smudge pre­par­ing for the West­bury Show.

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