Larry Cutler is a fourth generation cattleman and horseman and runs “Karraba Park” with his wife Glenda and three sons Cameron, Jarryd and Riley. The stud is situated in Gippsland Victoria nestled into the foothills of the Mt Baw Baw Ranges at Tanjil South.
The Karraba Park Stud was established in 1979 with the purchase of our first stallion “Rokal Shannon”. He was a bay stallion by “Austock Beranghi” out of a very good mare Lawn Brava. In May 1979 work as a cattle stud manager took Larry from Inverell to Warragul in Victoria, the horses went with him.
In the early days of the ASH there were not many classes at the shows for Stock Horses so Shannon competed in the Open rings against all comers and won numerous Championships as a Led Galloway and Ridden Galloway and on one occasion winning Supreme ridden horse of the show.
Campdrafting was the preferred sport and Larry competed very successfully around the North West NSW before joining the Southern Campdraft Association in 1980 -81 season and competed mainly in Gippsland.
Larry competed on three horses at the time Rokal Shannon , Karraba Park Nevertire and Swagman. Larry had a great deal of success with all of these horses. “Karraba Park Nevertire” was used when Larry decided to give Polocrosse a go and played for Trafalgar. Nevertire loved the game and when Larry decided to go back and concentrate on campdrafting he sold Nevertire to Phil Jolly who won a number of awards on him and the combination represented Victoria at the Nationals.
Shannon left his mark by siring a number of elite horses including Markita Downs Dreamgirl who won yearling, 2 year old and 3 year old futurities for the McLachlan family who Larry managed for. Markita Downs Cavalier was another very successful horse by Shannon emulating his sister by winning all three futurities. Shannon was sold to David Robinson “Spring Creek Past.Co. at Kingstown NSW in 1985 where he continued to Campdraft and sire horses.
Larry then moved to Marulan to manage the Wyndlorn properties at Big Hill . It was during this time that a friend told him of a bay stallion that was sitting in the paddock doing nothing. Larry bought the horse sight unseen and when he arrived on the truck it was a shock to see the horse not in very good health. The stallions name was “Master Bill” he was by Bills Crocket out of a Chan mare Lana.
When the opportunity arose to move back to Victoria to manage a Charolaise Stud on the Mornington Peninsula, Bill came with Larry. Bill was a beautiful natured horse and a lovely comfortable horse to ride. After 12 months of riding and TLC Larry took Bill to the Victorian Championships for his first show. They came away with Champion Ridden and Reserve Champion Working. This was the start of a short but successful show combination. The next show was at Glenormiston and it included a Campdraft. Bill won in the show ring and came 3rd in the Maiden draft and won the Novice draft.
The Cutlers only had Bill for 3 years before he developed cancer and had to be put down. He is still fondly remembered by many people who saw him. Unfortunately the cancer affected his fertility and we never got a foal by him. Our only regret.
A friend of ours then put us onto a truck driver (Carl Sherlock) who bought an ASH colt out of Dandenong market. The colt was supposed to be a good type so we went and had a look. To cut a long story short it was “Glen Lee Rivoli Zig Zag” who had been shown with success as a yearling and then the owner had an argument with the ASH Society over classifying some horses and dispersed his stud. The colt was one of a number of well bred horses to be sold in the dogging pens. Luckily for Ziggy he found a new home.
Zig Zag had hardly been ridden so Larry started him again and after 6 months of work he attended his first show winning Champion Led , Ridden and Working. This was a feat he would repeat on numerous occasions. Larry also drafted Ziggy and while he never won a draft he showed a lot of promise. It was during this time that Larry bought two very influential broodmares. Giralang Bonnie by Boxhurst Abbeys Mark and Rivoli Corona by Rivoli Ray out of a Commandant mare to compliment Karraba Park Midnight Dream who was a very classy Black thoroughbred mare that played polocrosse and campdrafted with success.
Bonnie’s first foal was Marksman a brown colt who combined the bloodlines of Abbey, Chan and Nabinabah The Gun. Marksman went on to play A Grade polocrosse for Stephen Ford at Sale and later became a solid junior horse for the family. Bonnie then produced the stunning filly “Karraba Park Jedda” by Rivoli Rex who went on to win the yearling ,two year old and three year old futurities before being sold. Jedda became a very successful campdrafter and is now owned by Paul MacLennan at Grafton NSW and is a very successful broodmare. Larry recently used a son of Jedda (Orarapark Mystique) over the brood mares at Ebony Lodge Stud.
Rivoli Corona produced a beautiful black colt by Rivoli Zig Zag but unfortunately he drowned in a dam. She then produced a filly for good friend Graeme Cook called Ravensleigh Mysty who has won in the show ring and Campdraft arenas for the Cook family.
Midnight Dream produced Dusty who became an Open campdrafter by the age of 5 and won 9 Open campdrafts. He was retired due to injury but was resurrected to do Pony Club at the age of 18 for the McLean family at Yarrawonga. Work commitments again changed and Midnight Dream was sold to Jenny Neave of Traralgon who bred some very successful horses.
Moving from Yarrawonga to manage Ebony Lodge Stud was the start of a new adventure and lots of hard work that did not involve horses as the property had been run down and it was Larry’s job to build it back up again. This he has done, but at a cost, as he almost lost a hand in an accident with a post rammer and a recurring back injury saw the sale of all of our horses. After five years of no horses Carole Ralston, co-owner of Ebony Lodge Stud decided to start a Stock Horse Stud. Larry suggested that they go up to the Dalby sale as there were a lot of horses and bloodlines to pick from. The rest is history as they say.
The colt Beau Polo was Larry’s first selection followed by Vet School Ophelia and Vet School Glamour mares that fitted Larry’s criteria of quality, temperament and ability. All three were just broken in and ready to be educated. Ebony Lodge also purchased Star Lu Lu a seven year old Star Black Minstril mare who became a breeding sensation. To avoid any conflict of interest the horses were all owned by Ebony Lodge and campaigned by Larry. Beau Polo was brought along steadily and won the Victorian 3 year old futurity and Branch Championships before being sent to Joe Gibson to be prepared for the 2001 National Futurity. Polo came 5th out of 64 horses and this was followed up by winning the National Champion Ridden Stallion or Colt at Albury as a four year old in 2002 ridden by Larry.
When the Ralstons sold Ebony Lodge they gave Beau Polo to Larry as the pair had become such a successful team. Together they have won Campdrafts, Led, Working and Ridden events and Dressage under a different rider as Larry says they don’t make jodpurs in his size. Beau Polo is now the resident stallion for Karraba Park as we start to build the stud again from scratch. We will be keeping an eye out for mares that would contribute to our program. Ebony Lodge stud is on the market as the owner recently died and his family have decided to sell. We are hoping to secure some of the broodmares from there.
Larry’s philosophy is the same as his dads and grand dads “Breed good working horses with a touch of class”. Larry’s father Bob Cutler and uncles Mick and Ross are all good horsemen and have passed on generations of knowledge that has been adopted and utilised at Karraba Park.