Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Heavy horses make light work of showgrounds

The Victorian Tradesman’s and Delivery Horse Annual Show came to Heathcote on the weekend.

BRONWYN BEYERS November 29, 2012 4:34am

The heavy horses were impressive at the Heathcote Showgrounds.

A little old-world charm made a return to Heathcote on the weekend when the Victorian Tradesman’s and Delivery Horse Annual Show came to the showgrounds.

Heavy horse enthusiasts travelled from as far as Albury and Adelaide to take part in central Victoria’s largest harness show and compete for championship titles in a wide range of categories, from classic Clydesdales to sports performance horses and Concours de Elegance.

Miniature horses and ponies were also on show and popular with junior riders learning how to drive a cart, with most eager to test their skills on the challenging obstacle course.

Kelsea Bullivant, 13, and sister, Keely, 9, of Albury said they were having a great time at the show, working as a team to put their pony and cart through its paces while their parents concentrated on displaying their heavy horses in the championship events.

‘‘We had a bit of trouble on the obstacle course to start with, but then we got around and I think we did okay,’’ Kelsea said.

Ros Bardsley, who travelled from Drysdale on the Bellarine Peninsula, waited in the shade with one of the biggest horses in the field, Ben-Koi Sydney, who was an impressive sight with his braided tail and polished harness.

‘‘He attracts a lot of attention and he likes it,’’ Bardsley said.

Heavy horses are often labelled as lazy or slow, but they were originally bred as war horses capable of carrying the weight of full body armour and chain mail, while maintaining the strength and stamina necessary to survive in battle.

On the Heathcote Showgrounds, the power of the equine giants was never more evident as several kicked up their heels impatiently, eager to get the competition under way, leaving spectators gasping and children squealing with excitement.

Joe and Rita Henrikson from Ballarat said watching the heavy horses in action was breathtaking.

‘‘You never really get a sense of how big they are until you see them up close like this, and you don’t realise how powerful they really are because they always seem so quiet,’’ Joe said.

‘‘They’re very impressive and seeing so many of them in the one place is really quite a sight.’’

‘‘My mother used to tell me about the milkman delivering the milk in the morning on a cart pulled by a Clydesdale, but those days are gone,’’ Rita said.

‘‘I hope people keep supporting these sorts of shows because, for many people, they’re the only chance they’ll get to see heavy horses in action.’’

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