Horses and riders will be tested in every ring; from the world-class jumping course in the 2023 Melbourne Royal Prince of Wales Cup (first awarded in 1971), to the ultimate in presentation perfection, the Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout.
The prestigious Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout will celebrate its 89th year in 2023 with a prize pool of $11,000 — the biggest in the competition’s history.
The Garryowen is the most coveted show horse title for female riders in Australia and is named after a three-time Melbourne Royal Show champion saddle horse whose owner, 29-year-old Violet Murrell, died tragically while trying to save him from a stable fire in 1934.
Horses and riders are judged on manners and paces, riding, saddlery, conformation, soundness and general appearance.
The competitors dress in traditional English hunting attire: woollen breaches, black woollen coat, bowler hat, lanyard, stock, hairnet and, of course, a white gardenia pinned to their breast.
Ebony Lee, from Tamrie Park Stud in Yea, won the competition at last year’s show. At just 20 years old, Ebony was the youngest competitor in the Garryowen, and a first-time Garryowen entrant.
The 10-day Melbourne Royal Horses in Action Competition will be held from Thursday, September 21 to Sunday, October 1 at Melbourne Showgrounds.
The program includes saddle horses, riding classes, showjumping, stock horses, Clydesdales, hunting and harness.
Horse competitions have been an integral part of the Melbourne Royal program since the first competition was held in 1842.
The competition now sees more than 2300 entries and 400 exhibitors each year competing across more than 380 classes.
Entries have closed for the saddle, harness and stock horse classes, and will close on Friday, June 30 for showjumping and on Monday, August 7 for hunting.
For more information, go to: melbourneroyal.com.au/horses-in-action/