Chief attracts army of fans
TOBY and Anita Barton thought Chieftain the Clydesdale was a special horse when they bought him a decade ago - and his international army of fans certainly agree.
The gentle giant has achieved fame as Queensland's only registered dressage Clydesdale.
He has more than 500 Facebook fans, and will likely attract more at the Ekka next month.
Chief's rider Dr Anita Barton said he was quite dainty for a large horse.
"Despite his size, he's quite light on his feet," Dr Barton said.
"I'm a dressage rider and showing Clydesdales is more Toby's thing, but I started riding Chief to help put muscle on him before a show.
"He was great and remembered everything, so I decided to test him at a show, which he won.
"We just went from there."
Dwarfing fellow dressage horses, Chief last year lived up to his larger than life reputation by nabbing four wins from four advanced-level dressage starts, as well as two Advanced Championship Titles.
Dr Barton said she hoped Chief's Facebook page and dressage demonstrations would promote the Clydesdale breed.
"Many people think of Clydesdales as a working horse, but Chief is proof they make great riding horses," Dr Barton said.
"We have people come up to us at shows and say they didn't realise that you could ride Clydesdales.
"It's important to promote and preserve the breed."
Chief will only appear in led classes at this year's Ekka, after illness and a new addition to the Barton family - week-old baby Alexis Grace - warranted a break.
Mr Barton will show Chief and in-foal mare Valmont Katarina under the Windsor Park name at the Ekka.
They will be judged from 8.30am on Sunday, August 12.
CHIEF'S FAN CLUB
- 584 people like the Eucalypt Park Chieftain - Dressage Clydesdale Facebook page.
- He attracts a large real-life fan club at regional and state shows.
- Chieftain competes in advance level dressage and led classes at shows, and also performs dressage demonstrations.