Angela Tiede recalls the debut of Fisher and Pearl at the inaugural Victorian Brumby Show in 2009. Image: Angela on Newhaven Fisher
Fisher and Pearl are foundation Newhaven station Walers, which means they can also be brumbies for the purposes of showing. So, why not enter the first brumby show run by the Victorian Brumby Association? Well apart from it being the first ever show for Pearl (just green broken) and the second ever for Fisher (with just half a dozen outings to adult riding rallies and one agricultural show under his belt). And my riding career having just really started when I bought them in 2006. We can always just come home I said, which of course was not really the plan given it took hours to get to Beaufort from Clarkefield. And my friend Jill Brown who had agreed to show Pearl had come the day before as she lived in Gippsland.
We spruced up horses on the Saturday and set out on Sunday 6 December for the show. So far so good, we found the property. The jumping castle looked a bit of a challenge, and it was as they started pumping air into it just as we were trying to get our tickets at the entry table right next to it. Pearl was pretty chill, but Fisher was not having anything to do with it, so I got my tickets delivered to me at a safe distance. Keep calm and carry on as they say. We were rather noticed, as all the other brumbies there were small and weedy in comparison. I was starting to feel a bit like an interloper already.
We entered everything we could, why not. Jill did a sterling job with Pearl at her first ever show, and Fisher was trying his best to be cool, which he has always found a challenge. The line-ups were difficult for them both as they were living a very quiet life at Clarkefield, but they gave it their best and looked the part.
We won ribbons galore, which barely tied around their necks, much to the delight of the judge who just loved the two Walers. There were led, ridden, egg and spoon, and fancy-dress classes. I knew that the horse with the thickest tail was my event, and sure enough we won easily, sent straight to the head of the line. Prior to the show it was the only class I thought we might get a ribbon for, so low were my expectations for keeping Fisher from dropping his bundle in all the excitement. I thought Pearl would handle it OK as she is very gentle and laid back most of the time (a trait passed on to her son Ezekiel, lucky for me), and sure enough she did.
I had decided the fancy dress entry would be as a pair of funeral horses, reasonably easy to get them looking the part so not too much mucking around between classes. It was a very hot day so we got hotter and hotter in our black winter coats and hats, and there were a lot of flies: something had died somewhere for sure! And yes, I gave Jill the choice of hats and got the most ridiculous one for my efforts, it was very hard to navigate from underneath it with a fractious Waler who kept shaking his head and losing feathers off his plume. Try anything once.
We came third, to a child complete with beachwear, shade umbrella and sunglasses on the pony, and another child wearing a wrapped Christmas present on a festively decorated pony. Well, they had their mums at their beck and call all day after all. Hardly fair, LOL.
A good day was had by all. Fisher and Pearl much admired, good stories to tell, and many ribbons to show for our efforts. Our first and last brumby show, my Walers stuck out a bit like sore thumbs so I decided to let Victorian brumbies be Victorian brumbies.