Royal quality horses grace the arena

Melbourne’s Mark Kenzig with judge Beth Housenloge

Big name riders like Mark Kenzig and Eliza Green arrived in Batlow this weekend to compete at the Agricultural Show.

Ringmaster of the Batlow Show Craig Flew said organisers were thrilled to have the equestrian champions there.

“Mark Kenzig rides at Grand National level and he’s based in Melbourne,” he explained.

“He represents Australia in hacking, he’s pretty big. He won Supreme Hunter and his Open Hunter Class, which are the only two classes he went in.

“The highlights were definitely having those riders from Victoria, as well as the quality of the horses all round – and the weather!”

The show was a bit unlucky this year, being held on the same day as EquiFest in Sydney as well as other shows held on the same weekend around the state. However, as organiser Heather Forsyth said, “the numbers were down but the quality was up.”

Mr Flew agreed that the competition didn’t hold Batlow back.

“It was a bit difficult because there’s three big shows on this weekend, but the draw of this one is definitely the beautiful scenery, as well as the showground – it’s amazing,” he said.

“The atmosphere as well – it’s nice and small.”

Batlow also pulled its weight when it came to the judging, with Wagga’s Maree Walker among the top-quality names chosen to assess the riders.

Maree Walker.

She too said what the ring lacked in quantity and made up for in quality.

“The numbers could be better, which is unfortunate, but it’s the most beautiful show,” she said.

“What a beautiful day, beautiful grounds… more people should support it.”

Ms Walker has competed successfully at Grand National and Royal levels, and is off to the Sydney Royal Easter Show in two weeks to judge there, in categories including Lady Rider, Girl Rider, Leading Rein, and Parent and Child Turnouts.

She said after whetting her teeth on the agricultural shows, she’s looking forward to the hustle and bustle of Sydney.

“It’s one of things that I’ve had on my bucket list – not quite there yet because I’d really like to judge hacks at a Royal, but it’s a start. I’m very excited, really,” she said.

“It’s a very good sport to be involved in, and it’s a very family oriented sport as well. Mum and dad really have to come along to support the child as they’re going through the years.

“To compete at the Royals you need to qualify at these local shows – you have to have I think seven wins at agricultural shows, so it’s very good for a family to get involved in.”