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The Rock-itt : October 2010
Held each year on the third Sunday in September, Gannon's Park at Peakhurst comes alive with the Lugarno Lions Club Spring Festival. This event, which commenced as a small Education Week function in 1979, is the second largest festival of its type in southern Sydney after the Royal Easter Show. Sponsored by Hurstville City Council and the St George & Sutherland Shire Leader, the event has become a firm date on the local community's calendar of events with a crowd of over 40,000 attending each year. The festival promotes community spirit and raises money for charities such as research into Prostate Cancer and includes a Show Jumping Spectacular supported by Equestrian NSW and Northside Riding Club. This year the Sydney Vaulting club also came to perform a demonstration of this World Equestrian Games Sport. Vaulting coach Lyn Lynch was able to postpone heading to WEG in Kentucky, USA for a couple of days to bring her junior team to the Festival to show off some of their acrobatics on horseback, a definite crowd pleaser. Phil Bates of the Lions Club along with David Lawrence of Equestrian NSW and Jane Robinson of Northside Riding Club again organised the showcase of show jumping providing spectators and riders with the ideal competition. A respectable start time of 1pm teamed with fast and furious action kept the audience on the edge of their seats. Crowds were able to line the arena, getting up close to the action as the horses leapt over fences 1.25m high and up to 1.6m wide. Thirty elite horses and riders competed in a two phase power and speed competition for a share in the $1750 prize money alongside the carnival rides, jousting displays, brass bands, emergency service displays and the impressive classic motor show. Four divisions of riders that included juniors, young rider, amateurs as well as the professional thrilled the crowds that lined the four sides of the arena. Jenny Sheppard of Maroota won the class on Licara, Young Rider James Arkins won the young rider division, Shannon Omeara from Sutherland and My Sweet Revenge won the Amateur division and Sarah Louise Macmillan from Yarramalong was the highest placed junior rider. Local junior rider Steph Mackillop from Terrey Hills, who is a regular at Northside Riding Club events, was the youngest rider on course, competing against the legends of the sport such as Olympian Vicki Roycroft. Steph and her super pony Alcheringa Tradition bounded over the massive fences and weren't too far off the pace. A week earlier Steph and her brother Riley won a number of the classes at the Northside Riding Club monthly competition held at the St Ives Showground. One of the key organisers of this 'jump in the park', Jane Robinson from Manly, is also a valuable volunteer at Northside Riding Club and devotes her life to the promotion of equestrian sports. Jane recently competed both her horses, mother and daughter Rain and Hail (the weather girls) in the long format Preliminary Class at the Sydney International Three Day Event held at the Olympic Equestrian venue in August. Jane's talented little black mare Rain placed third in this prestigious event. "I love this atmosphere," said Jane as the Jump in the Park winners circled the ring. "I can't wait to do it again next year. Maybe we will run a few more classes too. It's so good to be able to show off the sport to such a diverse audience." A Busy Month for the Local Equestrian community and Jane Robinson of Manly! Story and photos by Rachel Smith at www.furdography.com.au