Shae Hanger wins the 80th Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout at the Royal Melbourne Show.
love a good chestnut with bling
The Garryowen is so intense like they have to wear $2000 breeches & the gear requirements are so strict
wow i watched the live stream of it last night and holy shit you are right
Fuck some horse people are so pretentious, $2000 dollar breeches oh hey instead how about we buy the standard 100-300 and with the other 1700 we feed poor people for like a year?????? Shame on the organisers of this comp for being such assholes
the-byzantine-swansong The breeches would not have cost $2000 I really think that is an over reaction… The organisers of this competition are not assholes. And the if the people who compete in it choose to spend the money on their attire so be it. I had a friend who wore her mother’s old turnout breeches and bridle in the class and placed highly with both things that were handed down to her. And let me tell you why the Garryowen is held..
Back in the late 1920s early 1930s, Garryowen was a horse—a horse who won numerous prizes and titles including many of the big show titles at the Royal Melbourne Show. He was owned and ridden by Violet Murrell, who was considered one of the top show riders of her day. One night in 1934, the stables at Violet’s home in Mentone, Melbourne, went up in flames and in a desperate attempt to save her beloved Garryowen and other animals, Violet ran into the stables.
Tragically, at the age of 29, she died in the fire and in a second tragedy her husband, Bill, who had tried to help his wife, died a few days later from the injuries he sustained. It was a story that touched the hearts of the Melbourne people, whether they had an interest in horses or not, and the story has lived on in the show class that was named after Violet’s horse. Such is the memory of the tragedy that while other horse sports struggle to get a few lines in the papers, the Garryowen is covered every year in all the mainstream Melbourne papers.
"As Stephanie starts to explain what is involved in dressing the horse and rider for the Garryowen, I can’t help but think it is all very traditional English hunting gear, simply what you would have expected to see any well-dressed rider wearing in years gone by and sometimes still today. “Essentially that is exactly right,” agrees Stephanie, “but because we are sticking to the traditional costume it’s not the sort of thing you can go and buy off the shelf. We spent hours scouring the internet, following up different sources to find the best costume and equipment we possibly could.”
From a rider’s point of view, woollen breeches (no Lycra in sight) are worn with three buttons above the boots showing on the breeches and the garter strap of the boots sitting between the second and third button. The well-polished boots, complete with spurs, have to sit just below the knee. “A friend of mine polished my boots for me. Her dad was in the army so she learnt how to use the ‘spit and polish’ technique and spent an hour on each boot until they were gleaming.”
The white shirt must have cufflinks (Stephanie wore her grandfather’s) and then there is the checked waistcoat and the traditional black woollen jacket. “My jacket belonged to the late Karen Chipperfield. I have been a close part of Karen’s mother’s family for a while now, so to wear her jacket and win was pretty special for all of us. We didn’t even have to alter it, it fitted like a glove.”
Then there is the white stock, which must be tied to perfection. “We had three stocks ready to go just in case one of them wasn’t quite right on the day. Mum had put in hours practising how to tie my stock and she made a perfect job of it.”
Hair has to be put up, hairnets worn and jewellery of any sort is out of the question while the only move away from tradition is the wearing of a velvet safety hat. To complete the outfit, traditional gloves with pearl buttons are a must. “It took me about two hours to get dressed,” Stephanie admitted, adding, “it’s really important to get everything just right.”
It is of equal importance for the horse to be ‘correctly dressed’ and, like the rider’s outfit, the horse’s tack reminds me of how you would expect to see a well turned out horse on the hunting fields of England.
“Everything has to match. The bridle, saddle, saddlecloth, stirrup leathers and girth and all the buckles on the bridle and the girth should be on the middle holes. We packed four girths, which were slightly different sizes, just in case LA lost weight during the show. We ended up using the second biggest girth, which was perfect. My saddle was bought from Pam Ahern and had originally belonged to Vicki Lawrie, so it had already won numerous Garryowens, and it was the most wonderful saddle to ride in. But because the saddle was older than my stirrup leathers, I had to spend a lot of time working on the leathers to get them the same colour as the saddle. You ride in a double bridle with a plain cavesson noseband and plain browband. All the silverwear, like the stirrups, bits and spurs were sent to a polisher so they looked amazing.”
This event is held in memory of Violet & her husband Bill and I find your comment highly disrespectful do you research before making comments like you just did. It is a TURNOUT class. So the people who compete in this understand the time and dedication (including sometimes financial dedication) needed. They are specific requirements for gear and rider/horse turnout needed. It’s just what this class is about. If you can’t be bothered or don’t want to go to the effort then you would just go do a regular hack class.
This class is wonderful to watch and the tradition that is displayed is fantastic. Competing in equestrian sports will always be costly, especially showing as turnout is paramount.
Because these people choose to dedicate a lot of their time and money for something they love doing does not make them bad people and it especially does not make the organisers assholes. They are doing this in memory of two wonderful people and a champion horse.