George Stewart Forbes MRCVS

George Stewart Forbes MRCVS

Featured Image: Profile for George Stewart Forbes MRCVS written by D G Hogben in ‘Thoroughbreds’: A Veterinary Bloodstock Agency Publication.

The late George Forbes was one of the most remarkable and eminently memorable of all the equine veterinarians I have ever met. I’ll explain his tenuous Scone connection later.

Quite simply George Forbes was a veritable but mildly ‘eccentric’ ebullient legend in the esoteric English speaking world of thoroughbred racing, breeding and sales. It’s an image one has to work at to sustain. George was inordinately successful. He epitomised the quintessential English gentleman.

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Horses of an Earlier Day

Horses of an Earlier Day

Featured Image:

Haydon Horses at Bloomfield, Blandford allowed to run freely as there ancestors did in order to expand the faculty of exercise and enhance the facility of flight. Note the typical ‘dry’ conditions experienced in rural Australia. This is ‘ideal’ horse country and belies the obsession, in the minds of some, for horses on green grass as in the European (‘English’) mode.

Excerpt, Letter to the Editor, Scone Advocate, 3 March, 1961; Reprinted in ‘Mac Bridge; The Man and his Recollections’ by Heather Ashford and Margaret Ashford-MacDougall 1983, Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society, 1983 Bi-Centennial Publication No. 2

About 2 years ago, through the columns of the Scone Advocate, I wrote mentioning outstanding qualities of a few utility horses whose owners were L E Wiseman of Gundy and Harold Doyle, who at the time resided at Invermien, Scone and a gelding bred at Segenhoe by the late Allan and Donald McDonald, that in the 1860’s fell into the hands of the bushranger Fred Ward, better known as Thunderbolt.

Also, a horse owned by the late Bab Haydon, of Bloomfield, Blandford, who won five races in one day at Jerrys Plains. The latter I believe could claim thoroughbred descent, he being by Tester, sire of those good full brothers, Harvest Home and Gentleman Jim, they being by Tester, dam a Somnus mare.

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Michael Crouch AC

Michael Crouch AC

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This is the welcoming letter written by Michael Crouch in an invitation to “Gavin Lockley’s ‘Ballads of the Bush’” presented by the Symphony of Australia in the City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney Australia on Tuesday 13 October 2009, 8PM: Gala benefit in aid of the ‘The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS)’.

Performances also on Thursday 15 October 2009, 2PM and 8PM and Friday 16 October 2009, 2PM and 8PM

Michael Crouch is a great personal friend who has also made a huge impact on Scone and District since acquiring Waverley Station from the Payne Family. His major contribution to the town has been to establish the gourmet ‘The Cottage’ restaurant in Kelly Street. Our respective families have mingled happily for nigh on thirty years with much convivial social discourse.

Memorial Service for Michael Crouch AC

The Memorial Service of Celebration for the life of Michael Crouch AC was held on Tuesday 20 February 2018 at St James’ Church, King Street, Sydney @ 10:30am.

It was a stunning occasion. The Rector of St James’, The Reverend Andrew Semphell and the Rector of Darling Point, The Reverend Dr Michael Jensen conducted the service. Tributes were made by Robert Thomas AM and Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery AC AO (Military Division) CVO MC (Retired). Son George Crouch delivered an outstanding and passionate eulogy about his father. The Readers were Andrew Murray AM, Professor the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, The Honourable John Howard OM AC and son-in-law Alex Warner.

Michael Crouch

Born 27th May 1933

Died 9th February 2018

Husband of Shanny, Father of Charlotte, Sarah and George

Grandfather of William, Camilla, Harry, Violet, Edward and Hamish

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Third International Symposium on Equine Reproduction

Third International Symposium on Equine Reproduction

Featured Image:

Front cover of the coloured brochure distributed to those attending the Symposium

The Cover

The cover shows ‘Golden Slipper’ winners Vivarchi and Fairy Walk with their 1979 foals at the Timor Creek Stud, by then relocated to Blandford. The painting was commissioned by Mr Brian Maher, owner of both Vivarchi and Fairy Walk, and was on loan to the Sydney Turf Club (STC) for display in the Committee Bar at Rosehill Racecourse during the ‘Golden Slipper’ Festival 1981.

The Horses

Vivarchi: BM 1973 Wilkes – High Cost by Coronation Boy with 1979 filly foal by Ngawyni. Winner of the 1976 ‘Golden Slipper’

Fairy Walk: ChM 1968 Minor Portion – Lilting by Messmate with 1979 filly foal by Le Cordonnier; Winner of the 1971 ‘Golden Slipper’. This foal is a full sister to the brilliant racehorse and stallion Cheyne Walk. (I actually attended this 1968 foaling @ 2:30am at ‘Fairways Stud’)!

The Artist

Michael Jeffery was born and educated in New Zealand. Following two years spent studying equine portraiture in the UK, he returned to New Zealand in 1971. In 1972 Michael moved to Australia to take up the VRC ‘Racehorse of the Year’ commission. In recent years he has travelled to the USA, UK and Ireland to fulfil commissions, and is currently engaged in painting the 1981 ‘Golden Slipper’ and AJC Derby winners.

We are grateful to Mr Brian Maher for allowing the reproductions of the picture and for the brochure cover.


In the best Australian tradition Brian Maher proved to be a VERY colourful racing identity! He was the ‘big noise’ for some time after launching ‘Thoroughbred International’ with partner John Kelso at Blandford. He’d bragged publicly of his success with the ‘bottom of the harbour’ tax evasion schemes. This aroused the interest of Federal Authorities and incurred the wrath of government departments and law enforcement authorities. Suffice it to say Brian was ‘detained at Her Majesties Pleasure’ for a long period of time. He disappeared from the radar as quickly as he had risen.

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Greg Lougher

Greg Lougher

In the late 1960s a very different type of horseman and breed of horse brought their eclectic finely honed skills to Blandford. Greg Lougher and his family established the first Quarter Horse Stud ‘Cloverleaf’ on the Timor Road. The featured image shows Greg demonstrating his skills in the cattle yards at ‘Cloverleaf’. This is their story.

This article first appeared in a previous edition of Equestrian Life magazine.

A daughter remembers her father’s pioneering efforts to bring Quarter Horses and Western riding sports to Australia after falling in love with the wide brown land as a young G.I.


Photography supplied by AQHA & GAIL RITCHIE

Greg Lougher was ‘a natural’, an heir to the famed Californian vaqueros who made riding excellence both an art and a science.

The Australian Quarter Horse Association’s first Hall of Fame inductee became a legendary figure in this country as an extremely talented all-rounder.

From rescuing horses in epic floods and becoming a war-time farrier for pack horses traversing Himalayan mountains and mined rainforests in Asia, to riding Quarter Horse stallions in English fox-hunts while instructing top UK showjumpers, schooling 10 goal polo players and their ponies, and even riding the famous US bucking bronc, Five Minutes to Midnight, Greg Lougher lived for horses.

Here is a rare glimpse into the early days of his Australian adventure, as told by his daughter, Gail Ritchie, herself an accomplished horsewoman.

Could you tell us about the early days of Clover Leaf Stud?

Clover Leaf Stud was started by Gregory Lougher after he arrived back from World War II. He started his stud from one mare, Kamappeal. Prior to the War, Greg was studying to become a vet at the University of Davis, California, but upon his return found things had changed and he was unable to continue his education and he had to find employment quickly.  He took up what he was good at, training horses. He trained many different types of horses and many different breeds but, was always drawn to the newly developing breed, the Quarter Horse.  Greg crossed his Thoroughbred mare Kamappeal with the Quarter Horse Stallions he liked best and from this his stud developed.  Greg was a cowboy at heart (he was the national first inter college all around rodeo champion of the US) and always loved training Reined Cowhorses and Cutting horses.  He bred his increasing broodmare band to stallions he had either trained or trained progeny that had great cow sense and athletic ability.  He had great success with the horses he had bred himself, especially in cutting and cow horse classes on the west coast of the US.  Many of these horses were brought to Australia in 1967.

What was your father’s motivation for coming to Australia?

Greg was posted to Southeast Asia during the war – mainly in India, China and Burma. While there he contracted malaria and became very ill.  He spent some time in Australia on R&R and simply fell in love with the country. He had developed a successful horse training establishment in Clements, California and when he was in his mid-fifties decided he wanted to get out of horse training for the public and perhaps buy a cattle property. He was looking to move from California to somewhere he could buy land that was a bit cheaper and he could run cattle.  He then thought back to his days in Australia and what great land it was for cattle.  So in 1963, Greg took a trip to Australia, just to have a look and once back in the Australian bush he knew it was the place for him.

What were his first impressions when the family arrived?

Greg arrived first in Australia and his wife, Carmel, and two daughters Lori (and I) were left in Clements to sell the property while he took 31 head of horses by ship to England for quarantine, which was supposed to take six months. Things didn’t work out the way Greg and his family expected as the shipping company that took Greg and his horses from the wharf in Stockton, California, to the docks near London made an unscheduled stop in France. There was a quarantine on horses from France to England at the time and Greg and his horses were told they could not land in England.  After much drama, Greg was sent to Belgium for an additional three months quarantine until he was able to enter England and an additional six months in England before he could be shipped to Australia.

At the same time all this drama was unfolding in England, Carmel and the daughters were trying desperately to sell their property in California.  They all had to work hard to keep the property running so it would look its best to sell.  It did finally sell, and the girls set sail on the P&O Oriana for Australia in December 1967.

Greg had arrived in Adelaide with the horses about six months earlier and eventually settled at a lovely property in the Upper Hunter at Murrurundi, NSW.  He thought it was great horse and cattle country and was so taken by the beautiful valley.  The girls arrived and were also surprised at how pretty the valley was. The first sound they heard as they got out of the car from their long drive from Sydney was a Kookaburra laughing.  It took a little while to get used to the Aussie bush, but they were all so busy with non- stop visitors and exhibitions they did not have much time to miss their old home.

What were you and your sister’s first impressions on arrival – what did you see as the major challenges and successes in promoting the working cow horse events?

When we first arrived in Australia the only people who rode western were rodeo riders and the odd person who had been to the US and brought a Yank saddle back.  I was 16 and Lori was 12 when we arrived and it was not easy to be different at that age. The Clover Leaf horses were asked to do exhibitions from Adelaide to Brisbane at Royals and Country shows. Greg only had his two girls to help him do the exhibitions as Carmel had stopped riding when she got married.  So, Greg and the girls became “those yanks on those quarter horses.”  We sort of built up an exterior of being untouchable, or aloof, but in reality it was just a defence, simply because most people would just stare and walk around us looking at the horses but were never really all that nice to us.  There were some people who were very nice and some who, I have learned later in life, were just too shy to talk to us.

It was tough in the beginning although, the Murrurundi property had thousands of visitors who called in to see the quarter horses and Greg Lougher’s legendary horsemanship skills.  Greg, Lori and I would demonstrate cutting and the cow horse along with most other Western type disciplines at the property on weekends, sales or schools.  It took about four to five years for western riding to really take off, as Australia had a strong English culture and did not see any advantages in other forms of horsemanship.  However, when a few well-respected Australian horsemen and women started to breed quarter horses, or adopt the Western horsemanship techniques, there was a slow but steady swing to the alternate horse and riding style.

When Greg had a serious riding accident in the early 1970s, which incapacitated him, the running of the stud was now put in the hands of Lori and I. The horses still had to be promoted. There were lots of other quarter horse breeders now importing horses that were trained in Western events and they were competition to Clover Leaf.  So, Lori and I had to travel from Murrurundi all over the east coast showing what Clover Leaf horses and the stud could do without Greg.

Our father had passed on much of his knowledge to us, but we were both still relatively young. But, it put huge pressure on us having to go out and train new horses and show them without Greg. Luckily, the horses were talented and Greg had been a good teacher.

What was Australians’ reaction to Clover Cherry when they first saw her in action?

Clover Cherry was a 14.2 hand cherry red chestnut mare who worked totally different to any horse most Australians had seen. In today’s world, she would have been considered “very cowy” as she had a tonne of expression but back then, she blew their minds.  When we would arrive at a show where we were to put on an exhibition, we would unload the horses and immediately a group of people would gather round.  They would look at Cherry and shake their heads and say, ‘she’d never be able to move to catch a cow’, but then after the exhibition when they would see her hold tough cow after tough cow they would return to the stall or trailer and say to Greg, ‘I never saw a horse do that before and we have to give you credit, these quarter horses may be alright after all’.

Who were the major characters you encountered when you arrived?

When Greg made his trip to Australia in 1963 he met John Stanton. John was partly responsible for Greg’s move as he showed him so many wonderful horses and introduced him to the great horsemen of the time. John remained a good friend to Greg and when he arrived enjoyed riding a few and exchanging training ideas.

The property we bought at Murrurundi was adjacent to one of Australia’s most respected horsemen, Jim Hayden. He was instrumental in inviting many well know horsemen including, Ken Mackay, who was at that time the ringmaster of the Sydney Royal. Ken rode Clover Lori, the other mare that was exhibited alongside Clover Cherry, who was a California Reining Cowhorse and was so impressed, he became instrumental in the RAS inviting the Clover Leaf Horses to be one of the main attractions for the main arena displays. After those displays, the horses and Greg, (and even Lori and I) became famous in the Australian equine world.

Another person who was also instrumental in Greg moving to Australia and on arrival in Australia was Jack Reilly. Jack was heavily involved in Australian Quarter Horses at the time. He then introduced Greg to Sam Horden who was generous and invited Greg and 31 horses to stay on his property near Penrith while Greg was looking for a permanent home for the horses.

What would your father think of the popularity of Western riding in Australia now?

He would be overwhelmed to see what it has grown into as far as the size and popularity, but Greg was a true horseman. He admired all types of training and all breeds of horses and he would be also impressed with the growth of all equine disciplines. There are some styles of training in western disciplines he would think have lost the true nature of a horse’s natural way of going, but as he would often say, it’s only a fad and as long as you are breeding a good athletic type of horse, you’re always on the right track.

This article first appeared in a previous edition of Equestrian Life Magazine.

International 10 goal Polo Champion Sinclair Hill had a very high opinion indeed of Greg Lougher’s special expertise.


Keeping the Utility Horse to the Fore

Keeping the Utility Horse to the Fore

Featured Image: B Haydon’s Champion Blood Stallion ‘Tester Bay’ by Haydon’s Tester from Somnus Mare, ’Bloomfield’, Blandford winning a sash at a local race meeting; or possibly a Blue Ribbon at the RAS of NSW Royal Easter Show?

Excerpt, Letter to the Editor, Scone Advocate, Tuesday 29th May 1962; Reprinted in ‘Mac Bridge; The Man and his Recollections’ by Heather Ashford and Margaret Ashford-Macdougall 1983, Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society, 1983 Bi-Centennial Publication No. 2

Keeping the Utility Horse to the Fore

It was a pleasure to read in the columns of the Advocate on 8th May 1962, of the success achieved at the Sydney Royal Show by Jill and H B Haydon of Blandford, in the Saddle Horse Section.

The success calls to mind having on numerous occasions heard my father, William Bridge, express toe opinion that best saddle horses in the Upper Hunter were bred by the McDonald brothers, Alan and Donald, whilst in occupation at Segenhoe, in 1850’s and 1860’s, and the Haydons of Bloomfield, Blandford.

My father was employed as a stockman in 1863 – 4, and had thirty horses allotted to him, and therefore had ample opportunity to try them out.

It was whilst at Segenhoe that he met Bob Haydon and had many a stirring gallop through the bush alongside that great horseman. I believe the gallops took place on Glengarry, a property on the Pages River, at present owned by members of the Croaker family. This would be when horses and cattle strayed from Segenhoe. Of course fences were few and far between a hundred years ago.

It is nice to find that the Haydon family are carrying on with the good work, and keeping the utility horse to the fore.

Excerpt, Letter to the Editor, Scone Advocate, Tuesday 29th May 1962; Reprinted in ‘Mac Bridge; The Man and his Recollections’ by Heather Ashford and Margaret Ashford-Macdougall 1983, Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society, 1983 Bi-Centennial Publication No. 2

Old Racing Days Recalled

Old Racing Days Recalled

Featured Image: ‘Old’ Scone Race Tracks

Excerpt, ‘From Old Satur Racecourse Recalled’, Letter to the Editor, Scone Advocate, Tuesday 27th June 1961; Reprinted in ‘Mac Bridge; The Man and his Recollections’ by Heather Ashford and Margaret Ashford-Macdougall 1983, Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society, 1983 Bi-Centennial Publication No. 2

Half a century ago racing history was made on the old Satur (Scone) racecourse.

The old course is now part of Sledmere, three miles from Scone on the Bunnan Road. The old track, which was classed as one of the best in the State, had a circumference of eleven furlongs with a testing straight of upwards of two furlongs. Meetings on the old track drew entrants from all parts of the State, including Sydney.

History was made a long time ago when the third horse was placed first. The Friar ran first in a race from Lanoline, with In Doubt (a Nandowra owned gelding) following the pair a few lengths in third place. When The Friar was about to take the lead a short distance from the post, from Lanoline, ridden by George Courtney, the latter caught hold of the bridle reins of The Friar. Even this did not stop the leader from running home in first place. Courtney was sent out for two years for his share in the breach, and his mount was eliminated from the placings.

A whisper went the rounds that The Friar was a ring-in. An inquiry by the officials confirmed the whisper.

Result: Winner and connections ousted for a long stretch. The twenty to one In Doubt moved up from third to first place.

The late Ernie (“Stump”) Marks, well known identity around Scone about the turn of the century, recalled the times when he was bookmaking with Dan Lewis. He said Lewis came from New Zealand and carried his swag from Sydney to Scone. The two became partners in a bookmaking venture in 1910. He said Lewis won his first race with a horse named Graphite at Spring Ridge, near Quirindi (probably this horse was ridden by Fred Snell of Scone).

Later, Dan Lewis was a successful trainer at Randwick. The winners he trained were legion.

Marks said he wanted to be a jockey but his parents ruled otherwise, and apprenticed him to the saddlery trade under the guidance of Edward Solomons. Two he mentioned who served their time with him were Frank Thrift of Parkville and Arthur Fox of Bunnan.

More than seventy years ago Marks rode track work on Scone’s first race course, now part of the site of Scone Hospital. He said the best horse he rode was a 14.2 bay stallion named Dunwell. Before his owner, Jim Hardcastle (familiarly called Old Bussen) knew the pony could gallop he was one of the four in hand in the mail coach that plied between Scone and Moonan Brook. Ernie said in those days horses never broke down or became touched in the wind, and blamed the hosing down of horses on winter mornings for the wind ailment. Horses worked in blanket rugs and were thoroughly dried after working.

The only hors eh ever owned was Pantheist, bought for £20 and sold for £40 after winning a Merriwa handicap. Charlie Dodds, a Newcastle trainer, rode Pantheist.

Marks told a humorous story about a race meeting he attended at Rooty Bank, between Moonan Flat and Ellerston, many years ago.

A bookmaker went up against the favourites and could not pay. The bookie and clerk had planned to escape in a buggy if the worst happened, which it did. They jumped into the buggy, slashed the horse with the whip. It jumped clear of the shafts and bolted. Someone had undone the harness. They were then left to the mercy of the crowd. The majority only got their money back and the police took charge of the two men.

A quartet that raced about the Upper Hunter in the 1890’s was Sylva, by Zeno (bred by James Campbell of Arden Hall), Lagoona, Hesitation and Lazy Girl. Breeding of the latter three is unknown to the writer.

The last named, Lazy Girl, won a Scone Cup on the track near the present hospital. She was given the back-breaking weight of thirteen stone. The rider was that good horseman, ‘Jimmy’ Smith. When it came to the weighing out, it was found that there was not enough lead in Scone to make up the difference between the weight James and saddle and thirteen stone. Wet corn sacks were brought into use.

The reaming trio won a great number of races. The four were stabled in premises on the southern side of St Aubins Street, between Guernsey and Hill Streets. The horses were given their light exercise work on the flat between Hill Street and what is now the farm on the eastern bank of Kingdon Ponds.

Another good mare that won races throughout the Colony was Cyanide, owned and raced by Jim Hardcastle, at the run of the century mine host at the Railway Hotel at Scone, now the Royal Hotel.

Cyanide in 1900 competed in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups with profit to her owner.

James had two half brothers, Jack (‘Rooty’) and Ernie (‘Boodle’) Willis. Once Jim took the mare to Newcastle, one half of the brothers accompanied him, and, on seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time, mistook it for a vast Lucerne paddock and said, “Jim, what a paddock to turn Cyanide in for a spell! Not even a stump she might hurt herself on. You know, Jim, there are too many stumps in Bakewell’s Paddock where you turn her out for a spell. I’m always afraid that someday we will find her crippled”.

‘From Old Satur Racecourse Recalled’, Letter to the Editor, Scone Advocate, Tuesday 27th June 1961;

Dan Lewis was in charge of the billiard room at the Willow Tree Hotel, Liverpool Street (now Morgan & English, Lawyers). In Scone at the turn of the century M H Bridge mentions that Dan Lewis conducted a billiard room where Elders Office is now located in Kelly Street.

The Royal Hotel remained in Jim Hardcastle’s hands until he sold it in 1928 to S G ‘Stan’ Keene.

Blandford Races 1900

Blandford Races 1900

Mrs ‘Tiger’ Batterham (April 2018) has just told me she remembers going to the Blandford Races; they were known as ‘The Spurts’!

Featured Image: Blandford earliest documentation; Blandford today has about 330 residents and us situated astride the New England Highway north of Scone and just south of Murrurundi. It is bounded by many important thoroughbred studs and this is the major local industry. It has a public (primary) school which has produced a great array of talent covering several generations.

Excerpt, Letter to the Editor, Racing at Blandford in 1900, Scone Advocate, Tuesday 4th April 1961; Reprinted in ‘Mac Bridge; The Man and his Recollections’ by Heather Ashford and Margaret Ashford-Macdougall 1983, Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society, 1983 Bi-Centennial Publication No. 2

Racing at Blandford in 1900

Easter Monday, 1900, was the first time I saw racing at Blandford. The main topic at the time was talk of a previous meeting, when a horse owned by Bill Greer, and ridden by Albert Hussey, failed to take the turn into the straight, and sprawled over the fence and finished up in the middle of the metal road. I do not know how the horse got along, the rider was hurt and badly shaken – no swabbing at that time! But it has been said caffeine would not have been found, but traces of something purveyed by Johnny Walker.

However, at the Easter meeting, 1900, the double was won by a horse named Trial, owned by the late Harry Hall, of Willow Tree, ridden by Dooley Sevil. One of the bookmakers on course was the late Dan Lewis, spoken of as Dismal Dan. Dan Lewis later became a trainer of some note at Randwick and led in the winners of five or six Sydney Cups and the winner of one Melbourne Cup. (I’ve been unable to verify this; but let’s not spoil a good story with ‘alternative facts’!)

At a meeting on Boxing Day, 1900, the late Harry Kenny entered his horse Brolga in a race, but was so much under the weather he failed to get the horse ready and Brolga was still tethered to the fence whilst the race was being run. Brolga, later that season, was killed on the Murrurundi race-course whilst competing in a race.

At the Blandford meeting, I remember three satchel swingers, Dan Lewis, Rufe Naylor, who later took Winooka to America for a racing season, and Jim Kennan, who also ran a horse named Burdekin at the meeting.

During the Boer War, Ted Corbett, auctioneer of Scone, journeyed to Blandford for the purpose of purchasing remounts for the Army. A fair number of settlers turned up with horses for sale. The meeting place was the yard at the Plough Inn. Tom Gilshenan was there with a brown gelding by Tester (cannot just recall the name of the gelding), which was not for sale, but appeared to be there in the hopes of licking up a quid by running a quarter of a mile match race. Tom said “I’ll run anything for a quarter of a mile for a pound”. Charlie Hartman said “I’ll have you on if you will wait till I get Quiver out of Bill Greer’s Lucerne paddock”. This was agreed. Charlie Hartman’s brother, Mick, rode Quiver, but I forget who rode Gilshenan’s horse. Ted Corbett acted as judge, and Bill Greer as stake-holder. In the run, Quiver, by Stockwell, was declared winner, and before the riders dismounted, Tom Gilshenan and Charlie Hartman were engaged in a bout of fisticuffs. A fair amount of gore was spilled, but no one badly hurt. When it was over Ted Corbett was heard to say “There’s no doubt this is a good place to come for free entertainment”.

At this time, Blandford boasted of a hotel, the Plough Inn kept by Mrs Dougherty, and three wine shops were kept, one each by Anthony Schumaker (known as old Shuey), one by Mrs O’Brien and the third by one Heiler.

I saw Jack Norvill ride his Tester gelding, Pardon, in a bridle race over a quarter of a mile. Jack was riding so vigorously and had such a lean on, some said he wanted to reach the post before his mount. The answer was that Jack was emulating Tod Sloan and was forcing him all the way.

Tod Sloan was an American, whose success in America and England, with the crouched-seat racing position, first introduced by Australians Tot Flood and James Barden, convinced the racing world of the advantages of the crouch style, and led to its general adoption. ‘Tod’ Smith, son of ‘Advocate’ Smith was given that nickname because he rode in the same style.

“Looking Back, Looking Forward”

Featured Image: The late Murray Bain with ‘Birthday Card’ in 1964. The latter won the Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill in 1962.

Murray was great advocate of Continuing Veterinary Education (CVE) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD). It’s an inherited mantra I’ve also tried to pursue. This is my story of it’s rapid ‘evolution’ in Australia over the last 50 years. Please fofgive the purple prose!

“Looking Back, Looking Forward”

Retrospective Ruminations of the Australian Equine Veterinary Association (AEVA)

Prospective Dyspeptic Rumblings of Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA)


Prior to the 1960’s many equine veterinarians had languished for many decades in the arcane world of whimsical ephemora! There was a practiced mystery about matters equine partly designed to protect the assumed ‘special knowledge’ of its major proponents. They were ‘expert emissaries of elliptical communication’! A thinly disguised and rather calculated mystique prevailed. During the enlightened ‘60’s a few real scientists began to fully examine ‘what makes a horse good’ and what ‘makes a good horse’? This process involved the unraveling of esoteric paradigms and elucidation of the first principles of equine diseases and degrees of health. This period also coincided with the greatest ever exponential population growth in thoroughbreds in Australia probably associated with the introduction of TAB betting and its ‘flow on’ effects. Horse or equine practice emerged as the ‘flavour of the decade’ during the ‘70’s.

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