By MICHELLE SLATER
A BASS show rider has achieved every horse-mad girl’s dream by winning a broad sash in Australia’s most prestigious event at the Royal Melbourne Show, the Garryowen Equestrienne turnout.
First time competitor Elizabeth Krog came second in the ultra-distinguished event on her glossy seven-year-old Arabian warmblood gelding Warrawee Impresareeo.
“I only said I would go to the Garryowen if I had the right horse, I knew I had everything pretty much spot on,” Ms Krog said.
“I’m exhausted but really happy, my main concern was the work out and the rest would pull itself off and set a standard. This was all I could hope for.”
The Garryowen turnout is a women’s hacking class steeped in tradition held at every Royal Melbourne Show.
Horse and riders are judged on a strict criteria including general appearance, attire, saddlery, riding ability, horse manners, paces and conformation.
The event is named in honour of 1920s horsewoman Violet Murrell, who was a champion jockey, hunt rider, showjumper and showie who won the most trophies of any woman in the world.
But she was killed in a stable fire in Mentone while trying to save her horses, including her top mount Garryowen.
Today, competitors plan their outfits to the utmost perfection, with traditional woollen breeches, garter straps, polished silverware, hairnets and gloves with pearl buttons.
All clothing and saddlery has to fit just-so. The saddlery must be plain and the strapping must fit to middle hole.
Ms Krog wore vintage hand-made attire, and had the bridle especially made for the event.
“I never go out unless everything is 100 per cent. I want to get it right as I’m a perfectionist. Showing has taught me a lot, like how to be organised and how to be prepared,” she said.
“You can only get out of it what you put in.”
Ms Krog grew up in the show ring alongside her mum Joanne, who was also a champion rider.
She fell in love with Impresareeo when she saw him as an unbroken colt while visiting Warrawee stud and took him home just two years ago as a green-broken gelding.
“When I first got on him he was petrified of everything, and he was wary of me on him. But I had this feeling that there was something about him, I can’t explain it,” she said.
“It turned out he has it, it’s taken a lot of work but he is amazing. He has this explosive look and this is what makes him so eye-catching.”
The pair went on to win a handful of Horse of the Year awards including at Barastok and the Show Horse Council, as well as winning Champion Hack at this year’s Sydney and Melbourne royals.
Ms Krog said she kept everything simple leading into the Garryowen preparation, and plaited his mane and tail two hours before they were due to enter the ring.
“Many people make a big fuss before a show, but the less fuss, the easier it is. I’m very lucky,” she said.
“I just kept him going and once he finished I could take a breath. He was great.”