Gary Lawless, his horse Red and the day he met John Farnham
A man’s friendship with a great horse Best Mates: Gary Lawless and his horse Red, which recently passed away.
TweetFacebookA Rocking HorseGary told us about his horse Red, while contributing to the recent Topics theme of brushes with fame.
John Farnham singing with Little River Band at Bathurst in 1983.
Gary met singer and Aussie legend John Farnham at Tamworth in 2007, while attending the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity.
“I have been involved with horses for many years and, at the time, I was secretary of the Hunter Valley Cutting Horse Club. While I was never a successful competitor, I loved the sport and the camaraderie among the cutting horse fraternity,” Gary said.
“I have had to stop riding as I get older (to preserve both my body and my dignity), but I am still involved with horses to some degree.”
The futurity is an annual event that attracts horses and riders from across to compete for prize money and trophies.
“I was watching events near the warm-up area. John Farnham,along with other competitors, was getting ready for his competition run in the non-professionalclass,” Gary said.
Gary is not much of a music fan, but he was aware of the singer and his “enormous contribution to the music industry”.
John Farnham at Tamworth in 2007.
“He was then and still is, very popular, and I knew that he was regarded as a nice guy in the industry,” he said.
“As I was watching anevent, John stopped his horse next to me. Without any hesitation, he reached down for a handshake.”
With a smile, the singer said: “Hi, I’m John Farnham, how are you enjoying the futurity?”
“I was slightly gobsmacked to say the leastbut, after introductions, we got to talking about his horse’s chances in the coming eventand the level of competition he faced,” Gary said.
“He admitted to being a bit nervous about his run, which surprised me considering he regularly performed to thousands of people at his concerts.
“We spoke for a few more minutes, before he was due in the arena for his run.I stayed to watch with interest.”
John didn’t take home the trophy,but Gary saidhe was pretty handy on a horse.
“His novice horse made a few mistakes, which cost him winning points,” he said.
“I was impressed with John’s pleasant demeanourand his friendly and open personality. Later that night at the event party, he moved among the people there with a smile and a word for those whowanted autographs. He even sang a few numbers with the local band.
“While he certainly wouldn’t remember me amongst the multitude he spoke to that day, I certainly remember him. Helived up to his reputation as a slightly cheeky, friendlyand approachable celebrity.
“As my mum would say:‘He’s just a nice man’.”
Horsing AroundQ: How do you make a small fortune in the horse industry? A: Start with a large fortune.
If only Nathan Tinkler had known.