Field Days event enjoys 35th year
IT all started when a small group of people met on a farm at Aratula to learn about working horses in 1974.
Now, nearly four decades later, a few informal gatherings has turned into the Annual Clydesdale and Heavy Horse Field Days that has a colourful history.
After the first few events, the amount of spectators and participants rapidly grew to something more and the first major event was held with great success. The next year it moved to Marburg for two years, then to Laidley for 11 years before coming to Gatton in 1992.
This year the Field Days 35th Anniversary will be honoured with many stories to tell.
Not to mention the colourful characters who bring their horses along each year, evolving into one of the largest and prestigious heavy horse shows in Australia, with about 150 heavy horses galloping in each year.
The Clydesdales are a reminder of the pride, spirit and tradition that helped to built Australia.
Thought to be more than 300 years old, the Clydesdale breed has played a vital role in developing early settlement in Australia as they were used extensively in the early days for pulling heavy loads in rural, industrial and urban settings.
One of the highlights at the Gatton Showgrounds this year is a “celebrity” Clydesdale and his owner are set to attend.
“Cathcart Lofty” and Samantha Weir will be competing in the Clydesdale classes.
The young girl dreamed to fly her prized heavy horse around the world and back for the upcoming World Clydesdale Championships in Maddison, USA in October.
Samantha and her Champion Clydesdale Stallion were at the Sydney Royal Easter Show earlier this month and Lofty was highest placed male at the Canberra Royal Show last month.
They dynamic duo have won a string of other accolades too and they are also preparing to head to other agricultural shows, from Gatton to Goulburn, despite their busy schedule.
This year, for the first time anywhere in Australia, there are 11 heavy horse breeds assembled in the breed display including the Suffolk Punch, one of the rarest draught breeds in the world.
Other rarities include one of only two registered Georgian Grande horses in Australia on display along with the Clydesdale, Shire, Percheron, Australian Draught, Highland, Drum, Gypsy Cob, Friesian and another rare breed in Australia – the Belgium.
The weekend will feature events such as ploughing, log snigging and slide driving which would have been an everyday sight on farms once upon a time.
The committee has been busy preparing, sorting, organising and confirming the many attractions, demonstrations and events for this year.
A wide range of displays and demonstrations will also keep visitors occupied including a sheep shearing crew and the animal nursery that are firm favourites every year.
A renaissance of figures such as knights, soldiers and commoners will also bring back a bygone era.
For lucky visitors, a parade will be held on both Saturday and Sunday so get your seats ready in time to catch the spectacle.