17 April 2024

Goulburn stud trots into history with 70-year record of Royal Easter Show competition

| Sally Hopman
Start the conversation
Woman harness driving

Pat McCormick takes out Reserve Champion with Redacres Mario in the 2015 Canberra Show harness driving event, supported by her daughter Rae O’Brien. Photo: Supplied.

In 1954, Peter McCormick competed at his first Royal Easter Show in Sydney, winning the two-year-old filly class with Redacres Karen. Today, Redacres Shetland Stud, at Goulburn, is still in the winners’ circle, celebrating 70 years of competing at the Sydney Royal.

It’s a remarkable achievement for the well-known Southern Tablelands stud. Much of its continued success was made possible by a partnership established in 1987 when Peter, who had graduated as a vet, married Pat O’Brien.

Pat’s daughter Rae said her mother, now 81, had “just wrapped up another Sydney Royal Easter Show with success”, with all her ponies placing and winning the group mare class.

“She doesn’t want to talk about it, and she’ll probably be angry with me for talking about her, but my mum is a superstar and an amazing inspiration,” Rae said. “She is also very humble.”

Peter and Pat were an “awesome team”, Rae said, running the horse stud and the veterinary practice for 15 years until Peter died suddenly in 2002.

READ ALSO Redfern children’s five days on a Goulburn yurt farm

A horseman all his life, Peter grew up at Rosehill, Sydney, “surrounded by the racecourse and from a very early age he spent most of his time with the horse trainers, learning to ride and handle the racehorses and establishing his great love of all things equine”.

The breakthrough came when a friend of his father Frank, Allen Biggar, mentioned that his wife Coral had a Shetland pony she needed help with.

“Frank said to Allen, ‘my boy Peter will look after it’.”

The pony, Nioka Whisky, moved into Peter’s backyard – and a passion for the small horses was born.

In 1951, Mrs Biggar and Peter bought a grey mare Fenwick Katherine, who was in foal – and Redacres stud was on its way.

Man and woman

Peter and Pat McCormick on their wedding day in 1987 in Goulburn, a powerhouse couple in the equine industry, with Pat, today, at 81, still bringing glory to the family’s Redacres Shetland stud at Goulburn. Photo: Supplied.

Pat, too, was never far from the stables. She grew up on the family property at Braidwood, working with station-bred ponies, stock horses and racehorses from an early age.

“She also bred some lovely Welsh ponies and took us kids to pony club, the local shows, one-day events, picnic races, campdraft – as we had different horse interests she was very busy as well as working full-time to support her four children.”

The Goulburn stud’s greatest success story was Redacres Jonathon who had a great show and stud career, including as Supreme Shetland at the Sydney Royal in 1976, 1977 and 1978 and Supreme champion three times at Melbourne’s Royal. He sired 75 foals before his death in 1997.

Man in kilt with woman in hat and pony in show ring

Pat McCormick is congratulated by Duncan Macintyre for taking out champion Shetland at the 2021 Sydney Royal Easter Show. The Macintyre family sponsored the event. Photo: Supplied.

Despite losing her partner suddenly, Rae said her mother, never one to give up when times were tough, concentrated all her efforts on her work and children. She also worked hard on causes she believed in, including the Riding for the Disabled Association.

She continued to run the Goulburn stud and took on all the Shetland pony breeding – “she is very knowledgeable about all Shetland lines”, handling, training and competition in both led and harness classes.

“She competed at the Sydney Royal Easter Show for 39 years and has won many major awards in that time and has won the Most Successful Competitor numerous times – the most recent in 2022,” Rae said.

Original Article published by Sally Hopman on About Regional.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.