A BRIEF TIMELINE
From the concept put forward by Fred Wiltshire and supported by Barastoc Mill Manager & EFA (Vic) Committeeman Peter Gahan a great partnership was created which continues today.
The inaugural show horse classes were introduced as a ‘filler’ for the Barastoc sponsored Victorian Showjumping Championships and held at the dog racing track at Olympic Park in the middle of Melbourne. The Barastoc Horse of the Year awards for top hack, Galloway and pony were established with entrants qualifying via a points system at agricultural shows.
Having outgrown the Olympic Park venue the show moved to the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds and the first set workouts were conducted, created by Peter & Marie Gahan (Marie a well known dressage rider).
The qualifying by accumulated points to pick the fields ceased and qualifying by championship commenced. The prestige of making the final classes at the show prompted sellers to suggest ‘potential Barastoc winner’ in their horse sale advertisements.
Mac Greaves’ concept for a national show horse championship was facilitated with the qualifying classes being held on the Saturday of Barastoc and the Victorian winners competing against the interstaters on Sunday. This concept set in motion the establishment of the Nationals of today. Qualifiers in the Victorian State title classes at Barastoc went on to represent Victoria at the Nationals.
Barastoc Horse of the Year 21st Anniversary show was held at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds on 17 & 18 February. The financial challenges of running the show at the Showgrounds, combined with record entries and the associated logistical problems determined that the organising committee look for another venue.
Barastoc Horse of the Year moved to Werribee Park, National Equestrian Centre, a larger venue providing more opportunity to grow and prosper.
The following years saw the show grow with many more classes, breeds and height splits. The demand to increase the scope of the show with new classes was well supported by competitors and societies. Some classes were ‘tried & tested’ but failed to garner the support necessary for longevity. The Barastoc organising committee dedicated much time and effort in developing a show for all competitors, always keen to try new classes with mixed success, but it remains the forerunner of the Newcomer classes which are now conducted in every state.
The decision was made that senior show jumping would no longer be part of the show. A hard decision but lack of sponsorship & space for that prestigious group was a determining factor. The school age riders still show jumped on the Friday of the show.
The Equestrian Federation’s National Show Horse committee determined that state title classes should be conducted by the states’ show horse committees which meant that Barastoc was no longer the State Title event enabling qualifications for the Nationals.
The show expanded to include Thursday to cope with increased entries and sections. In 2007 horse movement was stopped in the latter part of the year as Equine Influenza had been introduced via horses arriving from overseas. Show organisers decided to still plan for Barastoc 2008 but without the qualifying shows able to be run after August 2007 the decision was made to drop the qualifying requirement.
Barastoc Horse of the Year show went ahead to the relief and joy of many. The Gahan Trophy was introduced for riders 15 and under with great success.
The Ruby Anniversary booklet was produced celebrating a rich 40 year history of the show and the association with Barastoc.
Govenance Rules introduced in 2014 did not allow any competitor to hold any administrative position on a show’s committee. Equestrian Victoria commissioned its Show Horse Sub-Committee to conduct Barastoc. Since then the show has been run by Sub-Committee members who do not compete, or elect not to compete at Barastoc.
The State Titles returned to Barastoc as a result of the rule changes in 2014 and are once again qualifiers for the Nationals.
50th Anniversary 8 – 10 February