News / Community / Business / Sport / 9th June 2022
Rain, mud, cold ... must be Expo!
The North West Equestrian Expo and rain seem to go hand in hand - and this year’s 30th anniversary of the event was no different.
Regular downpours leading up to the extravaganza left the Coonabarabran Showground already soggy underfoot. With more rain on Friday, competitors,horses and officials were trudging through ankle deep mud.
However, Expo stalwart Rebecca Moxham said the weather failed to dampen the spirits of competitors and although some events were pushed back, officials were able to get through almost all disciplines unscathed.
“There was one class of show jumping that was cancelled and one phase of the pentathlon,” Mrs Moxham said.
“We got through everything else, although we had to reschedule and re-timetable a few events.
“Everyone was amazing though and they understood. All the students and teachers were very helpful in making sure it all happened.”
Expo committee president, Kevin Sharp said he appreciated everyone’s flexibility in dealing with the disrupted schedule and commended the community for making the event so successful.
“Without the community support this event wouldn’t go ahead so we thank everyone for getting behind it,” Mr Sharp said.
“While the weather wasn’t exactly ideal, everyone involved had a great time.”
A record number of schools were represented at this year’s 30th anniversary event, although Coonabarabran High School fielded a smaller team than in past years.
Despite the lack of local competitors, the small contingent of eight still performed far beyond expectations. A stand out was Alex Letts who, on her horse Bart, came third in the 16 years Working Horse Challenge and first in her division of the EvA 80 eventing.
One of the main attractions to the five-day event was the appearance of jockey and The Voice contestant, Robbie Dolan.
The Irish born Group 1 jockey and singer wowed the crowed on Saturday evening, performing several songs.
Dolan said he hadn’t visited Coonabarabran before, but praised the Expo for what it was doing for the industry.
“It’s a really great show and it’s great to see something like this put on for the kids,” Dolan said.
“It’s a great initiative for them to come there, compare their knowledge and have fun.
“One thing is, there are a million different jobs in the industry that you can do, you don’t necessarily have to be a jockey - there’s different careers out there.”
It was only a short visit for Dolan, who left early Sunday morning, but he didn’t rule out a return visit, particularly in October for the town’s biggest race day of the year - the Coona Cup.
“If there was a trainer that called, depending on what I was doing at the time, I don’t see why not. I’m usually pretty busy though, but you never know,” Dolan said.
While Dolan was at the North West Equestrian Expo to promote the equine industry, he said a career in music would be his ideal choice.
“I would say I prefer singing because it’s a lot less consuming on your body,” he said.
“But, I love racing and can’t wait to get back in the saddle.”
Warrumbungle Shire Council mayor, Cr Ambose Doolan, gave a glowing report of the event and said thepositiveimpactsarefelt throughout the year and not just during the week of the Expo.
“There was something like 570 riders and 700 horses brought here. That’s a lot of horse feed from our produce stores and that’s a lot of mouths for our cafes and shops to feed,” Cr Doolan said.
“But most importantly, it puts our little town on the map because families come here to this event and have such a good time and create fond memories that they come back at other times of the year to experience the rest of what our area has to offer.”
The North West Equestrian Expo concluded on Tuesday for another year.
PHOTO - Aerial view of Tuesday's final presentation at the 2022 North West Equestrian Expo. Image courtesy Zac Estens.