Equestrian Olympians

The featured image shows Dr Judy White AM PhD; 1996 Atlanta Olympian Nikki Bishop and 1964 Tokyo Olympian Bridget ‘Bud’ Macintyre. Interestingly Bud shared a billet in Tokyo with Dawn Fraser and Betty Cuthbert.

This is all part of the bigger picture. Scone and the Upper Hunter has produced many outstanding horsemen and women. Some have made the Olympic arena. My spouse Sarah and I were proud to sponsor the the event reported below. I duly acknowledge the article which appeared in the Scone Advocate. The link is included. Other Olympians include the incomparable Laurie Morgan (“Too Tough to Lose”: Warwick Morgan), Brien Cobcroft and the Oatley/Nist cousins from Muswellbrook.

Olympians help open horse centre

OLYMPIANS HONOURED: Founding committee member of the Upper Hunter Horse Centre, Judy White, 1996 Olympian Nikki Bishop and 1964 Tokyo Olympian ‘Bud’ Macintyre.


02 Aug, 2012 05:16 PM

While there were no horses hitched to the rail at the Scone Visitor Centre on Friday night, they were probably the only thing missing.

Fortunately there were plenty of world class riders, trainers and breeders from a multitude of equine disciplines there to take their place and celebrate the opening of the Upper Hunter Horse Centre and Hunter Equestrian Olympian display.

Minister for Upper Hunter and Minister for Tourism George Souris said the centre was a step in the right direction for tourism.

“This centre is exactly what tourists would expect to find when they visit ‘the horse capital of Australia’.

“Tourism is such a vital part of our economy, and as a tourism-led initiative this centre will enhance the overall experience visitors have when they come here.”

Guest speaker Anto White from Belltrees said he was overwhelmed to see so many familiar faces from the local equestrian fraternity under the one roof.

“I think it takes something like this to bring us all together,” he said.

“The horse industry is very fragmented, we rarely work together but hopefully this centre will see us come together more often and be proud of what so many have achieved.

“There are champions everywhere in our district and now we finally have somewhere locals and visitors can come and see what incredible talent we have.”

Two such champions, Olympians Bridget ‘Bud’ Hyem (nee Macintyre) originally from ‘Kayuga,’ Muswellbrook, and Nikki Bishop from ‘Wootton’, Bunnan, were guests of honour at the opening.

And on the eve of the 2012 London Olympics, the atmosphere was all the more special as the two home-grown Olympians were celebrated and acknowledged.

‘Bud’ was the first female rider to represent Australia at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and Nikki Bishop rode for her country at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Both riders have donated their Olympic uniforms to the centre.

Author of Horses in the Hunter, an in-depth look at the last 185 years of the horse industry in the Hunter, and founding horse centre committee member, Dr Judy White, of Belltrees, said the centre was vital to preserving the region’s rich equestrian heritage.

“We cannot be a horse capital of Australia and not have anything for people to see,” she said.

“When people come to the Upper Hunter they can now stop here and reflect on the great riders, breeders, trainers and horses that this region continues to produce.”

Upper Hunter Shire mayor Lee Watts said the shire was already looking to build a bigger centre in the future.

“This is just the start of a much bigger project,” she said.

“As part of our plans for the redevelopment of White Park, the interpretative centre will play a major role in attracting more tourists to the region.

“We just need funding support from the state government to get started.”