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Paris Hilton Wins First Place at St. Heliers Heavy Horse Competition!

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THE Clarke family of Kempsey has found a way to combine a love of restoration and horses with the thrill of competition. Sharon and Bill Clarke returned last month from the Hunter Valley, where they competed at the St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days. The two-day yearly event has been running since 1996 and is open to all heavy horse breeds. It features lead, ridden, slide, long rein, ploughing and carriage events as well as novelty events.


Sharon competed with her home-bred Percheron mare Paris Hilton and a sulky, which was restored by her husband Bill. They won the prestigious driving excellence trophy, a new award introduced at this year’s event.

“The trophy was awarded to the driver of a vehicle that the judges believe has displayed the best driving technique and skill during the two and four wheeled vehicle classes,” Sharon said. “Competitors travelled from Queensland to the Victorian border over the two days of competition.

"Most of them had been in the Sydney and Melbourne royals. This has topped off a successful year for Paris and I. We were very successful earlier in the year at Queensland shows and will be competing next at a driving championship to be held at Bathurst in the coming months.”

Sharon dresses up in period costume for the heavy horse events and uses as much memorabilia from the era of the sulky or carriage as possible.

Judges look at finer details such as if you have money from the particular era, or other personal items such as bibles. The unique competition is the perfect combination for the Clarke family, who live on the outskirts of Kempsey.

“I have the horses and he builds the stuff,” Sharon said. “It has always been a passion of ours. We have eight horse drawn vehicles at the moment and are currently restoring a four-wheel wagon.

“The horses we show we breed. We have 10 horses by our stallion.”

Earlier this year Sharon competed in a heavy horse show in Queensland, the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere and placed in every event.

“It’s the 'royal' for draughthorses,” she said.

The Clarkes are aiming to qualify for the royal shows in 2014.
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