Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony 2000
Acknowledge: Australian Stock Horse Society 40th Anniversary Compendium & article by Kerry Grey
Featured Image: ‘Lone Horseman’ Steve Jefferys on “Woomera”
The tribute to the Australian Stock Horse during the 2000 Sydney Olympics Opening Ceremony was a moment the world will never forget. An audience of more than 3.7 billion people watched as Steve Jefferys galloped into the stadium, reared and cracked his whip. A further 140 horses were ridden into the Stadium and performed intricate formations to a specially written version of ‘The Man from Snowy River’ theme by Australian composer Bruce Rowland.
This was the culmination of a totemic event which had its genesis in Scone. Then Australian Stock Horse GM Brian Brown conceived the idea. He followed through his ‘dream’ with resolute determination, boundless chutzpah and a smattering of broiling braggadocio. He won! The caste of 140 riders plus horses were assembled in Scone and sworn to secrecy. Senior Sergeant Don Eyb (the ‘Don’) of the NSW Mounted Police was the inspired choice as Display Director/Team Training Captain. The first ‘Boot Camp’ was held at Scone’s White Park from 10th – 12th March 2000. If any questions were asked ‘they were making a TV advertisement for OMO’! Further ‘Boot Camps’ were scheduled for Scone in June (‘icy winds’) to be followed by a 10-day assembly at Castle Hill Show Ground.
The outcome was a total triumph for the eclectic corps. Bob Gunning, Tim Cone, Lynda Watson, Jillian Henderson and Susan St Clair represented ‘Scone locals’ among the five groups of riders (Group I ‘Blue’, Group 2 ‘Yellow’, Group 3 ‘Black’, Group 4 ‘Green’ and Group 5 ‘Red’). The Maitland Polocrosse Club was denuded of its talent for the occasion and Norfolk Island could identify three of its former pony clubbers. The inspector on the tick gate at Wallangara on the NSW/QLD border was beginning to recognise the seasoned travellers and chaperones as the Queensland horse stopped to be sprayed. My former Royal (Dick) Vet Colleague Roy Holland was the veterinarian.