On Thursday 7 February Valrie Mayger was awarded one of three May Campbell Medal Service to Sport Awards for her contribution to Equestrian sports in WA at the 2019 WA Sports Star Awards Optus Stadium, Perth.
Val’s passion for riding and for the equestrian sport of Show Horse resulted in her being one of the States leading Show Horse competitors from her first success in 1960, until retiring from riding in 2002. During this time the number of Championships won were numerous in almost every state including her greatest success, winning Australia’s premiere Show Horse event - the Grand Nationals in Sydney, 1996.
Val’s significant administrative contribution to equestrian sports in WA also started shortly after learning to ride in 1958, joining Perth Horse and Pony Club in 1959, and quickly becoming involved in volunteering by becoming treasurer in 1961. Val joined Equestrian WA (EWA) in 1964 and was elected to the Board in 1965 until 1977, then again joining the EWA Board in 1985 to 2011. During this time she helped guide EWA to become an organisation with over 2,300 members and 93 clubs across the state. In 1987 Val was on the EWA Board that had the vision for the building of the State Equestrian Centre, Brigadoon, which remains to this day one of the premiere equestrian facilities in Australia.
Val was also a very successful competitor in her own right, competing in Dressage and riding in the first official competitions in WA in the 1960’s. Val also trained horses to the highest Australia level of Advanced dressage tests and competed at two National Championships, while being a member of the EWA State Dressage Squad for 3 consecutive years from 1987 to 1989.
In the mid-1980s Val owned an Off The Track racehorse called ‘Millionaire’, who was bred at Coral Park in 1985 by Beau Sovereign out of L’Amourette, and raced as Jamaican Rum. He had 24 starts for a win at Northam and five places. Millionaire was bought at a clearing sale at Tony Oates Duncraig Stud by Terry and Pauline Van Heythesen who sold him to Val a few weeks later, for $500.
Millionaire competed successfully in Show Horse and Dressage for 15 years. His most notable win was travelling to Sydney in 1996 to compete in the Grand National Australasian Show Horse Championships and win the Show Horse over 15hands. This Show was judged by the renowned English Show Horse and Dressage judge, Jenni Loriston Clarke.
He won many Championships in Show Horse and won the Ernest Lee Steere trophy for the most successful WA bred thoroughbred at the Royal Perth Show on three occasions. He also competed successfully, against the more fashionable warmbloods, to Advanced level in Dressage. He was retired in 2000 and lived ‘like a Millionaire’ at the Newland family’s property at Harvey.
In 1984 Val became an equestrian coach for Riding for the Disabled WA (RDAWA) and was also patron of RDAWA 2001/2002, RDAWA Dressage Committee 2006/2018, team manager WA RDAWA Dressage team 2006/2009, as well as National Chair RDA Australia Dressage Committee. With the introduction of Para Equestrian at the Olympic Games Val was invited to be on the inaugural Equestrian Australia committee. This committee was responsible for the formation of the rules and guidelines for the establishment Para Equestrian Dressage across Australia. Val was a Para Equestrian Selector for the 2010 Paralympic Games, 2009/2018 Para Equestrian representative and Coordinator of Para Equestrian Clinics and Competitions. It was her guidance that resulted in EWA member Sharon Jarvis representing Australia at the Rio Paralympic games.
Val’s passion for young riders resulted in her being appointed Coordinator of the EWA Young Dressage Rider squad 1992/1996 and Coordinator of the EWA Show Horse squad 2000/2004. She was a member of the inaugural EWA Interschool Committee from their first competition in 2003 to 2013. Val was also a member of the national Equestrian Australia Show Horse committee from 2011 to 2017 and was president of the WA Horseman’s Association for 32 years from 1965. She was the Chair of the EWA Horse Council 1990, 1991 and 1992, and continues to be an active Show Horse and Dressage Judge.
Today, Val’s roles include Chair of EWA Show Horse Committee, Vice Chair Dressage WA Committee, EWA Horse Welfare Committee Member, Para Equestrian Coordinator, Orange Grove Pony Club Coach and Orange Grove Adult Rider Coach.