THE introduction of farm machinery during the 1950s almost wiped out the heavy horse breed in Queensland.

One Roadvale family, the Ehrichs, endeavoured to keep the Clydesdale alive and are recognised as the saviour of the gentle giants' existence today.

The inaugural Scenic Rim Clydesdale Spectacular held in Boonah on Saturday honoured community stalwarts Pat and Col Ehrich, who bred Clydesdales since the early 1900s.

The competition attracted dozens of breeders from interstate to compete in the heavy horse event.

Brett Ehrich, grandson of Pat Ehrich, said his grandfather would have been proud to see the successful launch of a show.

"In the '50s when the tractors took over on the farm, my grandfather used to bring his horses to the Boonah Show and David Evans, the machinery merchant, used to say to my grandfather 'dog food, dog food, dog food' at his horses," he said.

"My grandfather would point and say 'scrap metal' to all his tractors.

"The tractors won in the end, but my grandfather kept his horses working when everyone was sending theirs to the doggery. He was the only farmer still working horses through to the 1980s."

Organiser Greta Stanfield said the Clydebuilt statue which stands at Boonah's entry point was dedicated to Pat and Col Ehrich who had the only Clydesdale stud in Queensland for a number of years.

Ms Stanfield, whose heavily pregnant mare Dugandan Emily won champion mare of the show, declared the event a success.

"This is the inaugural event of the show. We're going to it keep it going annually and it will get bigger and better," she said.

Mr Ehrich said although recent outbreaks of hendra virus had threatened the species yet again, it would be a disservice to his grandfather to not keep showing the magnificent beasts.


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