New Australian Stock Horse Society national chairperson Lorna Fanning at the Warwick Sculpture of the Horse
New Australian Stock Horse Society national chairperson Lorna Fanning at the Warwick Sculpture of the Horse Gerard Walsh

After 40 years of volunteering, now Lorna is at the top

HORSE SPORTS: After 40 years of involvement with the Australian Stock Horse Society, Lorna Fanning has been elected national chairperson of a body with 8500 members.

Ms Fanning hails from Warwick and remembers when she started announcing at Eastern Downs ASHS.

She has been on the ASHS board for the past three years and has just been elected for a second three-year term on the board. She is the first woman from Queensland to lead the national body.

"I am excited and proud to be elected chairperson of such a wonderful society and will be leading 8500 members across Australia,” she said.

"I want to unite the board and membership.”

The annual general meeting of the society is held in a different state each year and Ms Fanning was elected at this week's meeting in Brisbane.

"The ASHS is strong in all states, even Tasmania. The stock horse is known for its versatility and great temperament,” she said.

"There is nothing you can't do with an Australian stock horse. Stock horses are mainly 14 to 16 hands, 14 is the minimum.”

While Ms Fanning is now the foremost campdrafting announcer in Australia, she recalls competing on the circuit.

"I won a campdraft at Texas,” she said.

"The stock horse competes in many different sports from endurance riding to hacking, polocrosse and polo.”

The ASHS has a representative on the board of the Australian Horse Industry Council.

"We work with national sporting bodies,” she said.

If someone told Ms Fanning a year ago she was a future chairperson of the society, she would have laughed at them.

"I had never thought of going for chairperson of the national body but was approached to stand this week,” she said.

"Chairperson is almost a full-time job but is a volunteer role. I love travelling and plan to put a lot of passion into the role.

"There are many great people in our membership.”

She still plans to fit in some announcing.

Ms Fanning will announce at the Queensland State Show of the ASHS this weekend at Nanango and at a campdraft at Millmerran the following weekend.

She is a volunteer who has worked for decades with grassroots people in the organisation.

Currently, she is secretary of the South Queensland Management Council of the ASHS and has been president, secretary and treasurer of the Eastern Downs branch, which covers from the border to west of Inglewood and Millmerran, north to Cambooya and east to the Great Dividing Range.

While there are 8500 members of the society, there are 190,000 horses registered, an average of more than 20 a member, which shows the acceptance of the breed in livestock management and sport in Australia.

She knows where to find the largest number of ASHS members in the one place, the Warwick Gold Cup in October.

"My guess is more than 80 per cent of the horses in the Gold Cup are registered Australian stock horses,” she said.

This week, the new board made decisions around member benefits, a Loyalty Program, a Heritage Stud Book, implementing a Base Register for horses that are not currently eligible for Stud Book Registration and the 50th anniversary celebrations and a whole lot more."

The ASHS has more than 1000 sires now tested for genetic disorders, that only around one per cent had come back testing as a carrier.

"This gives us an opportunity to manage the problem within our Stud Book,” she said.