In Memoriam

25th October 2015 Vale – Annie
Gawler River Pony Club Equine Family Member

As most people know, on the 25th of October at Mountain ODE I shockingly lost my pony Annie while on the cross country course. We were in first place in Grade 3 after a great dressage test the day before and Annie was feeling amazing in the cross country warm up and the first half of the course, flying over scary jumps at maximum height and width that I was worried about. All of a sudden after jump 11 I felt Annie go lame in both back legs so I pulled her away from the next jump and started to walk over to the jump judge to tell her I was retiring. Annie then started to feel wobbly so I jumped off and as soon as my feet hit the ground she collapsed and started thrashing around. I immediately burst into tears because I knew something horrible was happening.

I will save everyone the details. I’m just thankful that my mum and I were both there while Annie drew her last breaths and that it happened quickly without her suffering. The vet that was present at the event advised that Annie most likely died of an aneurysm, which could have happened at any time even if she was standing in the paddock at home. All of the jump judges, members and committee at Mountain were absolutely amazing. They handled such a horrific situation very professionally and were incredibly supportive toward mum and I.

Annie came into our lives at the end of 2009 when I was 14. We bought her directly from Kerulen Stud and she had just been broken in, having only had 10 rides. To say that Annie was a handful is an understatement; she was always quiet but very opinionated and strong whenever I rode her. Kylie Watson (Gawler River member) did a lot of the initial education work on Annie as I had no idea what I was doing. It took me a long time to get Annie going properly, especially since I always had Rocki who was a much easier option and more fun to ride. But over the years I had Annie she taught me so much, more than any horse ever has.

Annie certainly was a character, she was always perfect for mum to trail ride on but some days she just refused to work properly and would not listen at all so on those days we went for a hoon out in the vineyard where we live and of course she was fine! Some days I couldn’t catch her and she would gallop around the paddock even when I had a bucket of food! Some days Annie would stop at small, simple fences without warning, almost sending me flying over her head. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t have changed that special little pony for anything in the world. When she was good, she was amazing; she was so special to me and I loved her more than anything. I miss her cuddles and her very loud neigh whenever I brought her food. I miss riding her and her huge extended trot.

Annie made me so happy and she always gave me the best cross country ride, she was just so trustworthy and bold. I always crossed the finish line grinning and hugging her around the neck; it was something we both loved. Although Annie was taken way too young at least she died doing something she loved. Rest in Peace my little pocket rocket pony who had a heart of gold, I will miss you forever.

Bree Peters.


31st August 2015 VALE- Iris Stephenson
Gawler River Pony Club Life Member

A lovely lady now in gods care. Passed away on 9th August 15.  Iris was a huge supporter of her club and the Pony Club movement in General.  Always ready to help in any way-Painting rails for show jumping and and when PCASA ran the Gawler three day event, Iris in her trusty Morris 1100 was there.  She will be sadly missed

Iris Street Parade 2 Iris Street Parade


Vale Graham ‘Kanga’ Parham

31st August 2015 Gawler River Pony Club was  saddened to hear of the passing of equestrian stalwart Graham ‘Kanga’ Parham.

Graham was a lifelong servant of the sport and his contribution to the equestrian community is unrivalled. In 2013 he was honoured for his services to equestrian sport receiving an Order of the Medal of Australia.

Best known as the founder of the Gawler Three Day Event (which moved to Adelaide in 1997 and is now known as the Australian International Three Day Event), Graham’s desire to bring high level eventing to South Australia inspired a new generation of eventers, particularly when Gawler secured the right to host the 1986 World Eventing Championships.

“It was his idea, his conviction and his ability to gather like-minded people around him that successfully brought this elite level of eventing to South Australia,” said author Maggie Dawkins.

The Gawler Three Day Event is the focus of the book Horse on Course, which was written by Dawkins after “persistent requests” from Graham.

“Graham (was) a self-effacing gentleman who has not been known to blow his own trumpet. He (went) about his business in a quiet methodical way.

“When asked what he considered to be his greatest achievement, Graham said he is most proud of his appointment as one of the Chief Technical Officers for all equestrian disciplines at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.”

Graham dedicated his life to providing opportunities for emerging riders to reach their potential, also establishing what is now known as the Naracoorte Horse Trials (where the 1 star class is named in Graham’s honour) and establishing the first Trans Tasman Young Rider team’s competition.

He was also an accomplished rider and was considered for selection to Australia’s trailblazing eventing team that competed at the 1956 Olympic Games.

In later life he served the sport as a high ranking FEI official as an FEI Course Designer, FEI Technical Delegate and FEI Chief Steward. He played a key role in bringing FEI World Cup Show Jumping to the Gawler Show which continues to attract Australia’s leading riders and was held in 2015 the day before Graham’s passing.

Graham was 86 years of age.