Elite horsewoman Jackie Long has worked with show ponies and thoroughbreds but it's the Australian Stock Horse that has won her heart.
Story By Emma Mulholland
“She lives for them bloody stock horses,” says Jack Ivery, the pride in his voice barely disguised by mock exasperation as he talks about his daughter Jackie Long. Jack understands what drives Jackie out of bed and around the paddock on a dark and frosty winter morning. It’s the same thing that has the 83-year-old hand-feeding and rugging up her champion horses every day. “You’ve just got it in you, you know?”
Sitting in the family dining room, Jackie Long appears surprisingly laid back for a woman who works so incredibly hard at her passion. Recognised as one of Australia’s most accomplished horsewomen, Jackie has won more than 100 champion titles from royal shows across Australia. Her dedication means spending at least six hours each day working her horses, on top of her part-time accounting job and being a mother to her two grown-up children.
Working mostly with young Thoroughbreds and Stock Horses, Jackie is regarded as an all-rounder because she excels in a range of events and has earned herself a strong reputation for breeding, training and judging. But it’s no easy task to drag these achievements out of Jackie. It’s not because she isn’t proud of her wins – she is – it’s just that having competed for more than 20 years, she has lost track of her titles. “I suppose I should have written them down,” she says.
But Jackie’s achievements speak for themselves. Take the dresser in the family dining room where clusters of Jackie’s trophies vie for a place among the bits and pieces of China. All over her large homestead, the walls are filled with framed pictures of her horses, from an old sepia shot of one of her first ponies, ‘Raffles’, which her mother and aunt won in a $1 raffle, to the late Thoroughbred ‘Truly Time’ who won champion titles at Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney royal shows.
“He was such a dag,” says Jackie, pointing at the photo with Brisbane Royals’ Supreme Thoroughbred ribbon underneath. “The photographers used to hate it when he won because it would take 10 people doing somersaults just to get him to look forward with his ears up.”
Taking pride of place in the dining room is a hanging garland covered in bright silk flowers. It came with the R.M.Williams trophy saddle that she won for the Most Versatile Stock Horse Exhibit at the 2006 Sydney Royal, one of the most coveted prizes in the Stock Horse community. Designed to show off the versatility of the Australia’s horse, riders must be able to compete in led, hacking, working, station horse, time trial, campdraft and stockmen’s turnout events just to be eligible for the competition. Though Jackie was thrilled that she and her stallion ‘Heza Bruce’ won, she was overjoyed that the stallion’s three-year-old colt ‘Heza Star’ took second place by just one point. All things going well, Heza Star is set to be a very impressive horse. “He’s still a very cocky little boy at the moment, but all colts are at that age,” Jackie says. “I like them to have that because they show well with it – you just have to control it.”
This story excerpt is from Issue #55
Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2007