WORDS | Andrea Kelly, Peel Development Commission
The Peel region has a diverse equine culture and boasts an abundance of equine facilities and events that complement the region’s superb natural assets.
Whether you’re an equestrian fan or competitor, or perhaps you fancy an occasional day out at the races, and whether you live in the Peel, or are just visiting, there are some fantastic ways to experience the region’s equine highlights.
The broad array of equestrian events on offer in the Peel covers racing, polo, camp drafting, jumping, rodeo, carriage driving and horse-riding day camp opportunities. These events range from top level competition to agricultural shows for the whole family to enjoy.
As the premier equine region in Western Australia, the horse industry contributes significantly to the local economy and provides many jobs in the Peel ranging from racing and recreational pursuits, tourism operations, to breeders, vets, farriers etc. It is a thriving industry ingrained within our region’s history and culture and imperative to the region’s sustainability and prosperity.
Here are just some of the equine events and experiences that epitomise our vibrant equine industry in the Peel — for more Peel horse events throughout the year.
Pinjarra Trots — Pinjarra Paceway
Harness Racing (Trots) is a form of horse racing in which the horse’s race at a specific gait, pulling a two-wheeled cart called a sulky, occupied by a driver.
Pinjarra Harness Racing Club is a 1,000 metre harness racing track that hosts a range of race meetings and events throughout the year.
With magnificent views overlooking the track, the Paceway hosts Trots every Monday with the full TAB, Restaurant offering group meal deals and Bar facilities open from 12pm. First race 12:30–1pm start and last race 4:30–5pm finish. Free kids’ entertainment provided during school and public holidays. The Paceway Pavilion is also available for private function hire.
With the newly build Race Day Stalls, the $50,000 Pinjarra Pacing Cup is the premier race day event of the year in March. The Club is looking forward to a huge crowd on-course to enjoy a spectacular day of action packed trots, fun and entertainment for the whole family.
Other notable Paceway events include the Alcoa Family Fun Day has been celebrated in partnership between Alcoa and the Club for 40 years and the 4 YO Classic, a time honoured classic for Western Australia’s best 4 Year Old Pacers, and the Don Randall Memorial, celebrating Don Randall as a true friend and supporter of the Pinjarra Harness Club.
Magic Millions Ladies Day and Alcoa Christmas Family Day — Pinjarra Park
The historic Pinjarra Race Club was established in 1891 and has a long history of thoroughbred racing at one of Western Australia’s most picturesque racecourses.
With the Darling Range Scarp in the background, the shady trees and expansive lawns provide the perfect atmosphere for a great day at the races and completes the idyllic image of country style racing.
The variety of racing events throughout the year ensure there’s always something for everyone — like the Magic Millions WA Ladies Day, held in conjunction with the ever popular Fashions on the Field, conducted at Pinjarra Park for the first time in 2016 showcasing the rich prize money on offer for graduates of Magic Millions yearling sales in WA.
With $400,000 available across two races, the Magic Millions WA 2YO Classic and the Magic Millions WA 3YO Trophy, brings the total day’s prize money to around $750,000 — by far the richest provincial raceday in WA and one of the richest provincial meetings across Australia.
The Christmas Family Day celebrations featuring the Alcoa Grandstand Cup on 8 December is a fantastic day out for the whole family with live music, free kids entertainment, exciting Thoroughbred racing action, mounting yard previews and tips prior to every race and gazebos for hire on the lawn.
Further events and information from Pinjarra Park; www.pinjarrapark.com.au
Boddington Lion’s Club Rodeo
Since its inception in 1976, the Boddington Lion’s Club has successfully run the Lions Rodeo annually on the first Saturday in November each year. Recognised as the largest rodeo in Western Australia, the rodeo weekend has something in store for everyone.
Significant upgrades to the facilities in 2019 see an extension of the grounds and two brand new toilet blocks to keep up with this growing family-friendly event.
The Rodeo encompasses a range of events throughout the day including steer wrestling, camp draft, barrel racing, bull, saddle and bareback bronc riding, and is finished off by the annual Bushman’s Ball. Food trucks, live music, stalls and entertainment provide something interesting for everyone throughout the day.
As the Boddington Lions Club is a not for profit organisation, proceeds from the event are invested back into the local community through a range of projects and reinvested into the Rodeo grounds. Most recently this included a generous donation to the Boddington District High School which allowed the school to purchase a set of class laptops for the students.
For more information; https://boddingtonlionsrodeo.com.au/
Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale Equestrian
The local Serpentine Jarrahdale community have a long-standing history of equine culture. This has led to the establishment of a variety of equine businesses, including local expertise and alternative therapies. The area boasts a range of facilities, including the iconic Byford Trotting Training Complex. The Shire is also ideally located next to the largest thoroughbred hub, anchored by the Lark Hill Complex and positioning the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale as host to the fourth largest number of active Thoroughbred horses in the State. Collectively (between both Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing), the Shire is also the largest racing hub in WA.
The Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale already has a reputation for extensive trail networks that support trail riding and tourism, and local facilities that attract people from the region for events. The Shire has a large number of recreational riders that train and compete in disciplines under Equestrian WA, Pony Club WA, and Polocrosse. There is also a privately established Polo club and numerous riding schools
Alcoa International Horse Trials
The Alcoa International Horse Trials is one of WA’s premier Fédération Equestre Internationale (F.E.I., the world governing body of equestrian sports) annual events and takes place on the Alcoa farmlands at Fairbridge Village in Pinjarra. It’s a well-known and revered event that’s a favourite amongst riders and equestrian enthusiasts alike, boasting over 300 entrants in the 2019 event with competitors taking part in crosscountry, dressage, and show jumping over two days.
The Organising Committee (a group of riders) recognises and values the contribution of all riders but especially their grass roots and lower level riders as they understand that an event of this scale depends on a diversity of riding levels. So with the backing of some very generous sponsors, the committee introduced three new classes which were very well supported by the riders:
- Off the Track WA sponsored a specific class for retired racehorses which attracted 40 entries
- Amateur class which was the largest class of the weekend with over 44 entries
- Combined Training 60cm class, which had 30 entries
International Course designer, Ewan Kellett says that the Alcoa farmlands are a phenomenal venue in Australia and we are so lucky to have it — the terrain and the viewing is unlike many other venues in the world.
For more information email kate. email@example.com or visit www.equestrian.org.au/events/%20 alcoa-international-horse-trials-2017
This article was first published in the Peel Magazine, Spring/Summer – vol 5.2 – to read and download the full magazine, click here.