A celebration of baroque horses has brought Kryal Castle’s arena to life, despite rain keeping attendance numbers well down on Saturday.
The Baroque Horse Festival showcases breeds including Andalusian, Friesian, Iberian, Lusitano and Warlander through displays held across the weekend.
Organiser Phillip Leitch said there was a great atmosphere on Saturday despite the weather.
“We’ve probably lost a lot of people that might have just been coming to the castle on an off chance, but the people that came are well and truly into it,” he said.
“We know we can do most of our displays in almost any condition, so we felt confident we were going to be able to get at least 95 per cent of the shows across the line.”
While it is the fourth time the castle has held the festival, it is the first time the event has run across the entire weekend.
“Accommodation for the castle starts to fill up at least a year in advance – it is just a shame there was so much in the media about bad weather so a lot of people decided not to come,” Mr Leitch said.
He said all arena displays were performances from volunteers who wanted to showcase “non mainstream horse activities” to the public.
Spectators and volunteers came from as far as Queensland and Tasmania.
Mr Leitch credited the successful event to his wife Lisa, who he said had been the driving force behind it.
He hoped there would be a bigger crowd on Sunday with more favourable weather.
‘Having life challenges you re-evaluate everything’, horse owner
Rach Blizzard from Yellingbo is the proud owner of black stallion Noble Shadow Kesara, a descendant of star attraction Valiant.
She said the beloved horse was a gift she received earlier this year after reaching the milestone of being five years breast cancer free.
“I got a bit teary before and a bit nervous – it’s our second public outing after the Lilydale Show,” Ms Blizzard said.
“I always had that passion for horses and I always wanted to get back into it, I think having life challenges you re-evaluate everything.
“Once you’re out there it’s actually good fun and it’s a different atmosphere (in Ballarat) because there is an audience and you’re in a castle.”
‘I thought it was the perfect weekend’, spectator
Miranda Heaney from Carrum Downs received a pass to Kryal Castle from her sister for her birthday and had been waiting all year to use it.
“I saw they were having a horse festival and I love horses, so I thought it was the perfect weekend,” she said.
“It’s my first (horse) festival… it’s so special to see the certain horse breeds and I’ve never seen a joust before.
“We were worried they weren’t going to go ahead (because of the weather), but we’re happy to come along in the rain – it’s just water.”