The Australian Stock Horse Society is set to launch a new commemorative book to mark the 50th anniversary of the organisation which passed in 2021.
The Breed for Every Need: Celebrating 50 Years of the Australian Stock Horse Society, honours the history of the nation's largest pleasure horse breed association and the many thousands of people who have bred and protected the heritage of Australia's own home-bred horse.
More than 50 studs, which have each traced their indelible histories, the book will be unveiled at an annual general meeting in Toowoomba where ASHS members from all states and territories and as far afield as Canada will gather for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.
"It is incredible to think that for 50 years, we have been a Society registering the breeding and protecting the heritage of the Australian Stock Horse," says board chairman Lorna Fanning.
"It is a credit to all of our members and our breeders that we just go from strength to strength."
The ASHS is home to more than 200,000 registered horses and draws its origins from the Thoroughbred and Spanish stock imported with the First Fleet in 1788, which were to become the 'Walers' ridden to war by Australian and British troops in the Boer War and the First World War.
Today the versatile Australian Stock Horse shines in disciplines as varied as polocrosse, campdrafting, dressage and showing.
Honorary life member Joy Poole OAM says some studs included in the book had existed for more than 100 years before the ASHS was established, breeding horses that took part in the Battle of Beersheba, while others were new when the Society exploded onto the scene in 1971.
"We now realise what a massive thing it was for those people in 1971 to get together and try to keep the genetics of this breed," Ms Poole says.
"They had never tried to do anything like this. But they were passionate, that was the most important thing.
"And they weren't going to be beaten."
Ms Poole describes the 50th anniversary of the Society in 2021 as "emotional."
"You think of all the people that tried to do it... it was like raising an army. They were very taken with the idea of having the Australian horse identified as one of the breeds of the world," she says.
"The thing is they just kept turning up. The only reason this Society worked is because there would be dozens and dozens of people that have given their lifetime to making sure it did."
"And it has been worthwhile. To go to a Stock Horse show and to see all of these beautiful horses coming in, certainly the effort has been worthwhile."
The Breed for Every Need: Celebrating 50 Years of the Australian Stock Horse Society, will be on sale for $49.95 and is available through The Australian Stock Horse Society website.
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