Jessica Stalling's lifelong passion for horse riding, which began while she was still wearing nappies, has culminated in a remarkable victory as she claimed yet another Garryowen Trophy at the 2023 Melbourne Royal Show.
Riding Verdict By Direction, owned by lawyer Melissa Giles who also competed in this class on Beyond Reasonable Doubt, this remarkable achievement adds yet another jewel to Jessica's emblazoned equestrian career, marking her as one of the finest in the field.
Sydney’s Jessica Stalling won the prestigious Garryowen Trophy at the 2023 Melbourne Royal Show for the second time in her career.
The Garryowen Trophy, one of Australia's most prestigious equestrian events, has a profound history rooted in the ultimate sacrifice made for the love of a horse.
It is named after the three-time Melbourne Royal Show champion saddle horse, Garryowen, whose owner, Violet Murrell, tragically lost her life while attempting to save him from a stable fire in 1934.
The prestigious Garryowen Trophy
This legacy of dedication and bravery continues to inspire competitors in the modern era.
Jess stands out as one such dedicated rider who is one of Australia's most accomplished show riders, having secured the Garryowen trophy in 2019 riding on horse Mikimoto and placing second in the event twice previously.
Her accolades also include an impressive record of 14 NSW Rider of the Year titles and a remarkable 35 Royal Show Championships. Notably, she has won the Australian Champion Rider title three times, achieved the Runner-Up position twice and has represented Australia on the international stage on five separate occasions.
The Garryowen Equestrienne Turnout is not just about its grand champion; it's also a celebration of the many achievements of its exhibitors and contributors.
Among the distinguished awards this year, Kate Halliday riding Kalimna Quickhit stood out as the Best First-Year Garryowen competitor.
Melissa Gillies, astride Beyond Reasonable Doubt, claimed the prestigious McKinnon Medallion, while Brynie Lee, sister of the 2022 winner, Ebonie Lee, impressed with her performance on Wynara Signature (the same horse her sister campaigned to victory last year), securing the second overall position. The third overall spot was claimed by Ultimate PPH, skillfully ridden by Ali Berwick.
This year also introduced a new accolade for the top placed off the track thoroughbred which was awarded to St Andrews, ridden by Natalie McKay, showcasing the diversity of talent in this remarkable event.
The Garryowen Lucky Prize Draw was taken home by Kristin Brennan on Just Magical Dreams, who won an $8,000 saddle supported by County Saddlery.