Horse trials to celebrate 21 years this weekend

RIDING: Sarah English, pictured on Grand Andi at a Warwick Horse Trials Club event, will be in action this weekend.
RIDING: Sarah English, pictured on Grand Andi at a Warwick Horse Trials Club event, will be in action this weekend. Gerard Walsh

EVENTING: Absolute credit for the creation of the Warwick Horse Trials Club goes to Sylvia Roberts.

Due to her drive, it was on January 30, 1996, that Sylvia, Roger and Jolene Roberts; Mick, Cherry and Cassie Lawlor; Simon Goddard and daughter Alison; Possum Richards, Reg Weatherill, Sue Weatherill (nee Grzesiczak), Katie Grzesiczak, Jan Walker, Anne Sands and Katie Skinner met at Morgan Park and it all began.

The club would grow from nothing to a membership of more than 300, with assets valued at least $1 million and would provide access to eventing for many, many people. Perhaps just as important were the enduring friendships, the experiences and the memories.

Possum Richards was president in 1996 and then Simon Goddard took over from 1997 and went through to 2007.

During this time, Cherry Lawlor put in a massive job as treasurer for the duration. Sylvia and Roger Roberts were always on the committee in various roles, as was Mick Lawlor.

We were well-supported by Bruce Green, then mayor of Warwick, and through some good business planning, a lease was secured and loans arranged.

We hired the polocrosse grounds from 1996 until 2007 as a base for events and this helped us put funds into the course.

To top up funds, we borrowed jumps from the pony club and ran training clinics until the course proper was constructed. Rob Bondfield was the contractor who cleared the first course. During the construction, there were 70 full weekend working bees in two years.

Our first big event was the State Championships in 1999.

We were getting quite a reputation as a top-level course and we bid for the State Equestrian Centre. Sadly, this was highly political but we became known as the State Eventing Centre. The year 2001 saw the club run the National Championships, a massive event with more than 360 riders.

In 2003, we moved into the big league and started hosting the Eventing World Cup qualifiers.

To see the club name up there, beside clubs in Russia, Poland, the USA and at least 15 other countries was a huge thrill. The winner of these events travelled to the final in Europe.

Quite some advertising for Warwick. We contracted to host five World Cup qualifiers. However, the event in 2007 was cancelled due to equine influenza (EI). We had the biggest quarantine in Australian history, 255 horses, an average of 155 people, six weeks.

After EI, the club decided to build its own clubhouse and all required facilities. Gary McKenna took over as president and, with a fantastic team, set about constructing a clubhouse, 250 yards plus stallion yards and wash bays, toilet blocks, power and lighting, water right around the grounds, trot up track, administration office, arena, new tracks to yards, warm-up arena and fencing.

There was reorientation to the start and finish of the cross country, changes to the course, a new entrance with ticket box, commentary box at the water jump and a covered entertainment area/shed at the water.

The original committee was still there but joining the club on this massive expansion was Warwick Jones (Waz), Wally Mapes, Russell Whear and Barry Hounslow.

Partners were all actively involved as well.

We ran another World Cup Qualifier in 2008 but by then we were all out of steam. However, the club was independent with its own facilities and could sustain itself into the future.

Gary McKenna was president from 2007 to 2010 when the massive move to independence was done. Since then, Paul Charlton was president from 2010 until 2013, Michael O'Keeffe led the club in 2014 and was followed by Richard King until 2016. Taking the current committee into the future with a revamped constitution and strategic plan is Mike Reed.


Thanks to past-president Simon Goddard for writing this history for the Daily News as a forerunner to this weekend's 21st anniversary celebrations

Topics:  eventing morgan park simon goddard warwick warwick horse trials club whatson

Woman refuses to leave RSL

FINED: A woman was fined at Warwick RSL for refusing to leave.

A 46-year-old was slapped with a $630 fine

Drumming up a fiery spectacle

HOT ROD: Jason Green (third from left) talks to friends about his award winning Hot Rod fire drum.

Killarney's night of nights and the big winners

Warwick High seniors showcase fashion

Fashion students Tania Nielsen, Chloe Riley, Montanna Dillon and Demi Grayson.

They've taken their classroom learning out into the open.

Local Partners

Pride on show for Carbal Art

Carbal Community Art Group formed in 2015 after the Jumpers and Jazz Festival, and they're back for another year.

Referees' night a must in touch

REFS NIGHT: First season senior referee of the year Caitie Teo with Warwick touch president Justin Nolan.

Touch team reminded - referees' night is compulsory

What's on at Jumpers and Jazz today: Tuesday

LEARN CRAFT: There are plenty of workshops happening around town today.

See a masterpiece come together or learn a new craft

Why crowds are loving Happy Kanye at Splendour

Danger Dave and Melissah Marie with the artwork Happy Kanye at Splendour in the Festival 2017.

By Barcelona-based artistic collective Hungry Castle

How many triangles are in this picture?

The simple illustration has been shared thousands of times on Facebook after leaving viewers scratching their heads.

VIDEO: The 'Disco Boob' trend at Splendour

Rachael Millen, of Newcastle, sporting the fashionable chest peace of glitter at Splendour in the Grass 2017 near Byron Bay.

VIDEO: Festival organisers forced to clarify policy on nudity.

Bieber quit tour to set up his own church?

Justin Bieber on stage during his concert at ANZ Stadium in Homebush.

Bieber is calling it quits on the rest of his Purpose World Tour

Bachelor hopeful ‘didn’t realise how naked she was’

The Bachelor Australia‘s Leah

Her dress was certainly daring, but she wasn't aware by just how much

Phelps shredded over shark race fiasco

"Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White," with Phelps testing his speed against that of a great white shark.

People are genuinely upset at the way the race was run

Film boss marvels at Sunshine State

FOR REVIEW AND PREVIEW PURPOSES ONLY. Mark Ruffalo and Chris Hemsworth in a scene from the movie Thor: Ragnarok. Supplied by Marvel.

Thor: Ragnarok success may mean more Marvel movies for Queensland.

ABC's Q&A: Should 16-year-olds be allowed to vote?

Opposition Health Minister Catherine King on the Q & A panel, left, and right, Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg.

But there was one thing the students weren't discussing.

TENANTS FROM HELL: See the mess left by evicted couple

DISGUSTING: Mess left by evicted tenants. Owner of the Mongogarie property Christine Beatty has been left at least $5000 out of pocket.

Couple were 'living large' while not paying their rent

How Gladstone's cheapest and most expensive homes stack up

SPECTACULAR: This home on Springs Road, Agnes Water, is selling in the mid-$2 million range.

With the market currently low, now is the time to invest.

'We’re goin' to Bonnie Doon!' and now you can too

How's the serenity?

The experience will have you exclaiming “how’s the serenity?”

New life for Bree and historic Oddfellows Hall

TWO CHANGES: Bree Dahl with her new baby Ivy in front of the historic Oddfellows Hall she purchased at auction and will renovate into a house.

Historic hall to be turned into home