The North West Equestrian Expo, known to most people as simply the Coona Expo, began as part of a field day for students at Coonabarabran High School In 1991 under the tutelage of agriculture teacher the late Terry McGoldrick on the school oval.
The equestrian component proved so popular, it was held across the road at the Showground the following year with the school fielding its own equestrian team. Expo had begun.
It now attracts up to 600 riders and more than 700 horses annually to the town on the Newell Highway adjacent to the Warrumbungle National Park, home to the world renowned Siding Spring observatory.
Riders represent their schools and travel from state, Catholic and independent schools throughout NSW and southern Queensland.
Coonabarabran, 450 km north west of Sydney, comes alive for the five days of equestrian competition in late May/early June. Local businesses strongly support the event. Riders, their horses and horses and school support teams all stay locally. Many choose to camp on site while motels are often booked out. Horses are accommodated in stables and open yards.
Expo is run by an incorporated body of volunteers including representatives from the local high school and pony club, the Showground trust and members of the local equestrian community.
Expo aims to cater for riders of all abilities within each equestrian event. It’s not unusual to find a one star eventer trying their hand at polocrosse.
Trophies & Major Awards
Trophies to be presented at the grand parade on Tuesday. Riders must be mounted.
- “Salmonidae (Mackie) ODE Trophy” is awarded to the highest scoring team of 3 students from the same school in the One Day Event. Based on the top 10 placings in each grade with One Star Grade being the highest points, followed by A, B, C and D Grades.
- “National Australia Bank Shield” is awarded to the highest placed school team (all riders being from the same school) in the Team Six-Bar competition.
- “The Gower Family Perpetual Trophy” is awarded to the champion School Team of Four Riders.
- “The Coonabarabran Chamber of Commerce Perpetual Trophy” is awarded to the best presented large and “Jewels & Gifts Perpetual Trophy” is awarded to best presented small school in the Grand Parade.
- Age Championships and Runners–up for both boys and girls will be awarded based on overall point score for the four days.
- “Poole Family Perpetual Shield” will be presented to the school with the highest score, calculated by adding the four highest individual total scores over the four days of competition.
- “The Coonabarabran High School Perpetual Trophy” will be presented to the highest individual point scorer over the four days of competition.
- “The Clarke & Cunningham Team Dressage Trophy” is awarded to the best performed school team of three riders in the Monday Dressage competition.
- “The Keronga Sporting Trophy” for the four riders from one school who score the most points in the sporting events.
- “The Matthew Flinders Team Barrel Trophy” is awarded to the team of three riders from the one school with the fastest combined time for the event. This award includes trophy rugs for each team member.