Wild horses wouldn't keep us away

Luke Jones riding Proclaimer in the show jumping phase of the 2017 installment of the horse trials competition. PHOTO: Kilmallee Photography
Luke Jones riding Proclaimer in the show jumping phase of the 2017 installment of the horse trials competition. PHOTO: Kilmallee Photography

A pandemic won't stop the Barastoc Naracoorte Horse Trials.

Originally scheduled to take place in May, the popular trials were in jeopardy because of a ban on big-scale events and gatherings as COVID-19 hit our shores.

The event was rescheduled to take place sometime in October, but that was pushed back again.

It will now take place on November 14 and 15.

New chairman Wayne Copping has been involved with the Trials since its inception in 1975 when it was created by Graham 'Kanga' Parham - initially as a junior three day event.

An international course designer, this was the location that forged his career and took him around the world.

Despite the current climate, Mr Copping said the committee was determined to put on an event this year in order to keep its streak of 46 consecutive events intact.

"My daughter (event director Ashley Copping) was adamant we were not going to lose our status as never having run an event," he said.

"So we would have ran an event of some sort, whether that was just low level, but we were lucky."

The Trials are believed to be the only event in the world that runs continually at the same property.

The current situation with state border closures has thrown a spanner in the works but Mr Copping expected to still have around 140 entrants.

If Victorian borders were to open in time, that number could grow significantly.

However with other similar events around South Australia cancelled, this could benefit the Naracoorte Trials with riders desperate to compete.

It was also hoped that new competitors at Naracoorte would be drawn back next year after taking part in the iconic event.

Mr Copping encouraged anyone interested in being involved or just volunteering for the Naracoorte Horse Trials to get in touch with him through the Facebook page.

This could be everything from building jumps to flagging the course or even taking a position on the committee.

He said any new members would be welcomed.

On September 18 the committee announced that triple gold-medal winning equestrian rider Andrew Hoy would be supporting the event, while it was also announced that 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Sam Griffiths would be Event Patron.

Andrew and Sam were now based in the United Kingdom but both had competed at Naracoorte during their younger days.

It was fitting that two Olympians would take up role for the event given that the Trials would be Olympic qualifiers for this year's event and again next year for the usual competition in May.

The Trials take place at two locations on the outskirts of Naracoorte - the Stuart property "Strathyre" on Cadgee Road and the Hynam Polocrosse Grounds.

Dressage and show jumping takes place at Hynam while cross-country is held at Strathyre.