The centre ring will be centre stage at Cowra show

Ringmaster, Steph Fowler, prepares her own horse for the competition.
Ringmaster, Steph Fowler, prepares her own horse for the competition.

There is a lot happening this weekend at the Cowra Show, and down in centre ring it will be no different. 

The hard working horse committee of the Cowra Show, including Steph Fowler, Jenny Bryant, Clinton Hedger and Peter Saville have pooled together their collective experience to create a new horse program for show horses and showjumping. The show horse classes over both days will include traditional English classes; hack horses and show hunters, along with classes for a variety of breeds, coloured horses and harness and carriage horses.

Ringmaster and Executive committee member, Steph Fowler took some time out of a busy week of show preparation to explain some of the horse classes ahead of this weekend’s competition.

“While hack horses and show hunter horses are both judged on conformation, manners and obedience, they are different types of horse,”she said.

“The hack horse is a finer, more elegant horse you would traditionally ride to town on, while a hunter horse is a sturdier horse more suited to galloping over the country side chasing after a fox.

One of the competitors from last year's show jumping competition.

One of the competitors from last year's show jumping competition.

“The horses in these classes are judged by their heights, including small and large ponies, galloways and horses.

“There’s also a variety of breed classes on show over the weekend from a range of well-known breeds including miniatures and Shetland ponies, Welsh ponies, Thoroughbreds, Warmbloods and Arabs as well as a few lesser known breeds including Friesians and some of the heavy horse breeds. 

“Each of these breeds has a breed standard and each horse is judged on how closely the animal shown reflects their breeds standard.

“The preparation which goes into showing these horses is different for each breed as some, such as the Shetlands and Welsh ponies, are not allowed to be plaited or clipped while others, such as the Thoroughbreds and Arabs, are.

“Coloured horses including buckskins, palaminos, cremellos are judged similarly to breeds, however any breed can enter. 

There is a standard coat colour in these classes too, they get judged on conformation but also coat colour. You have to know what you are looking for when you judge each colour, as the standard for the coat colour and way you present the horse to show it is different for each one,” she said.​

The horses aren’t the only thing being judged though, as there are many classes where the rider puts their skills to the test. 

A Clydesdale being displayed during last year's horse showing competition.

A Clydesdale being displayed during last year's horse showing competition.

Ringmaster, Steph Fowler, said in handler and rider classes, it was the skill of the person exhibiting the horse which the judges are assessing.

“These classes are important as it promotes the skills needed to successfully show the horses both in hand and under saddle,” she said.

“Just as at Sydney Royal, each winner of the show classes compete against the winners of other classes in their category for Champion and Reserve Champion titles and in some sections multiple champions compete against each other for a Supreme title.    

“The new Showjumping program has been eagerly anticipated with some of the old classes like the Grand Prix being added to and some new classes including a Six Bar. 

“Showjumping is pretty strategic as you need to know your horse and as you walk the course you need to work out the best way to get your horse around knowing their strengths and weaknesses,” she said.

Ms Fowler said they had received good numbers for this year’s competitions thanks to online entries, starting at 60cm, the heights will increase over the day until the Paint Place Cowra Six Bar at 4:30pm on Saturday and the PepperTree Equine Clinic Grand Prix on Sunday. 

“They are two classes which will definitely be a crowd pleaser,” she said.

“The Six Bar is new to Cowra Show and with 11 horses already entered is set to be a great competition.

“The course for the Six Bar is different to the other rounds, it’s six jumps in a row run in a knock out style competition. Starting at 60 cm, the jumps get raised after each competitor, if a competitor knocks a rail they are eliminated until the last combination wins,” she said.

Ms Fowler said the Cowra Show the horse committee wished to thank the support of the local community and sponsors. 

“We are really lucky to have such community support,” she said.

“None of this would be possible without the support of our large number of sponsors including major sponsors Peppertree Equine Clinic, Paint Place Cowra, Cowra Services Club, Energreen Nutrition, Equissage, Yandoo Equestrian, Giddy Up Bits and Gags, North Cowra Vet, Central West Chaff, Lachlan River Produce, Cowra Motors, C&S Equestrian and NRG Products”.