Welcome and Presidents Report 2016
Our twentieth anniversary has been run and won and by all accounts it was the best St Heliers we have even seen. The grounds were immaculate with all thanks once again to Norm Provost, Dale Riley and the boys from the St Heliers Correctional Centre. The weather played its part for yet another year and with the move back to May, allowed for some very pleasant camping with warmer than usual mornings, a much welcome change!
The change in date also bought with it many new members with numbers swelling from previous years being up by over 40 %. This is a terrific indication of people’s willingness to still show their horses in May rather than later in winter as well as the respect the Field Days has earnt as a Heavy Horse show in the past twenty years.
Horse numbers were also up this year with the official count being seventy four. The crowd’s numbers were strong and provided a great spectacle.
The committee worked very hard this year to streamline entries and had much of the work done prior to the weekend. This made Saturday morning a lot easier in the office and the competitors really noticed the difference. Many thanks to Kylie, Ruth and Colin for making Saturday morning run so effortlessly.
We were very lucky this year to have a horse works and chaff cutter in operation thanks to Michael Hedges from Yass. It provided a wonderful demonstration all weekend and people were enthralled to watch it in action. Many thanks to Michael and Lindsay for their tireless work all weekend in running the demonstration, the crowd really appreciated it.
Sponsorship was again at the forefront of the weekend’s success and it really showed in the prize money, prizes and stall holders that attended. We can’t thank our wonderful sponsors enough; they really dug deep and provide much needed support. Thirty one stalls in all gave the grounds a country market day feel and provided the public with plenty to do, buy and eat. This year Colin Lavender again excelled at chasing sponsorship dollars and with the help of Tony Parry and the rest of the committee, produced a wonderful result by the May weekend. Thank you all.
Many thanks must also go to our wonderful Judges, Stewards and helpers that made the weekend run so smoothly. These people are so vital to its efficient operation and strict time tabling. We had the biggest grand parade in our twenty year history and ran only three minutes late over four hours and twenty five classes in the lead up to the Parade. This is a true testament to the skill and discipline of our stewards and they are to be congratulated on a wonderful effort.
More than forty entrants paraded for the public with Mrs Heather Oxenham and horse, Benwerrin Park Lady Audra being awarded the winner of the Herbert Family Memorial Trophy for the Grand Parade. A notable inclusion to this year’s parade was Dean and Esmay Rheinberger’s Hitch wagon with passenger, Dr Harry Cooper from Better Homes and Gardens. Channel seven filmed segments for the TV show which we believe will be aired July 8th. We will post the date on FB as it comes to hand. We were very honoured to have Dr Harry on board for the weekend and he was very generous with his time having photos with both the public and our members.
Good numbers of horses turned out for working classes and ploughing on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday. It was great to see the ploughing strong again this year with numbers still rising and hopefully more to come. The biggest increase this year was in the ridden heavy horse with a total of sixteen entries in the open class and big numbers in all other ridden events. A wonderful sight to be seen.
The weekend concluded with the fun events such as Hay carting and pumpkin snatch on Sunday. These were great events as they were held as races this year and the public could really get involved, cheering for the winning teams and consoling the losers. All in all a very successful event.
2017 will see a change in our committee and we are sure that the Field Days success will continue. I will be standing down at the AGM in January and it’s been an honour to have been involved with this wonderful event. I have been attending St Heliers since 2001 and have had the good fortune to be the President for the past five years. I feel I have done all I can for now to bring this wonderful event into the spotlight and I would now like time to relax and enjoy the weekend next year with my partner Kylie our horses and friends. I have met countless wonderful people and made great friends through St Heliers and it is our hope we can continue to do so over many years to come.
Good luck and best wishes for a safe and happy year.
St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days