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Won by Vermont Junior in 1883

Vermont Junior was judged best coaching stallion at the 1883 Hawkesbury and District Agricultural Society Show. This 'bright bay stallion with black points' was imported to Australia with eight other trotting horses from California in 1881.

He was purchased by William Harris, and joined a number of other American horses at Harris's studs Killarney, near Mulgrave, and Mayfield at Moss Vale, New South Wales.

Front and back of a silver prize medal. The front has a laurel leaf border and text inscribed 'Hawkesbury District Agricultural Society, 1883, first prize for best coaching stallion, Vermont Junr, W Harris'. The back shows a rural scene with a horse, cow, pig and sheep.
Medal awarded for best coaching stallion

The Town and Country Journal noted Vermont Junior was a 'sure foal-getter' who as a sire combined the 'physique, pace and docility' required of trotting horses. A 'marked peculiarity' of the stallion was the 'wonderful uniformity with which he transmits his own remarkable qualities to his progeny'.

At his death in 1887, Vermont Junior was valued at £1250.

Agricultural show competitions

Agricultural show societies in Australia encouraged competition between horse breeders, with a view to measuring and improving the quality of local stock, from the mid-19th century.

Some classes focused on recognised breeds, others on the development of horses bred for purpose, such as 'best carriage pair', 'ladies hack' or 'heavy horse'.

Ribbons, medals and certificates were presented as prizes, often adorned with images of horses at work or on show.

Explore more Spirited: Australia's Horse Story

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