“THE horse breed that built a nation.”
That’s how Jondaryan Woolshed volunteer Ian Stewart-Kosker describes Clydesdale horses.
As the main breed of working draught horses used in Australia’s past, Clydesdales will play a key role in this year’s Jondaryan Woolshed Working Draught Horse Expo, which will be held this Saturday and Sunday (June 12 and June 13) at the famous Woolshed, 45 kilometres west of Toowoomba.
The expo will highlight the way horses were once integral to Australian society. Whether it was the ploughing of fields, deliveries of milk, distribution of beer, the construction of fire breaks, or transportation of resources like coal and timber, working draught horses – and particularly Clydesdales – were essential to getting the job done.
“We all take advantage of modern technology – but it’s easy to forget that in decades gone by, not that long ago, we were reliant on horses to do a lot of the important work that machines do today,” Mr Stewart-Kosker said.
“It’s very easy to be complacent and take what you have for granted.”
That complacency will be challenged this weekend when Jondaryan Woolshed features ploughing, log snigging, harnessing and competition driving using horses. Public interaction will be a key feature of the weekend, said Mr Stewart-Kosker.
“Some places put horses behind barricades for exhibitions like this because of public liability fears,” he said. “But we feel it’s important for members of the public to be able to experience the horses first-hand and the action up close.
“Having said that, we take safety seriously and all the horses involved have experience with the general public and a safe track record at these events.”
More than 100 horses will be involved in the expo, mostly Clydesdales, but also a smattering of other breeds including Shires, Gypsy Cobs and even donkeys.
“Draught horses were widely used until the 1950s when tractor salesmen made a concerted sales pitch to farmers to update to motorised ploughing,” said Mr Stewart-Kosker.
“They’re [only used] in a few places in Australia now. Carlton United Breweries use them in Melbourne to deliver beer, there’s a tourist tram line in Victor Harbour, South Australia that uses them to pull the trams. They haven’t been used on a large scale in Queensland since the Fairymead Sugar Mill near Bundaberg phased them out in the 60s.
“The Working Draught Horse Expo is a unique event, and it’s one of the few ways the general public can get to appreciate the contribution these magnificent creatures have made.”
As well as much “horsing around”, a market selling old-school country goodies (arts and crafts, traditional foods) will be set up this weekend, giving visitors to the woolshed yet another way to experience the joys of a bygone Australia.
The 2010 Working Draft Horse Expo (8am-5.30pm Saturday, June 12 and 8am-4.30pm Sunday, June 12), sponsored by Amalgamated Pest Control, will be held at the Jondaryan Woolshed, 264 Evanslea Road, Jondaryan, Queensland.
Admission per day $13 per adult, $11.50 concession, $8 per child and $38.00 per family. Group discounts (12 people or more) also available.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (07) 4692 2220.
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