SHE is well known for her strong partnership with showjumper 'Twist', but Sue Ryan, Mount Pleasant, had a very different role at the Royal Adelaide Show this year - she was 2013 Horse Committee chairperson and Royal Show ringmaster.
She is the first female to take on the big role in the committee, and as ringmaster, but Sue is not fazed about breaking new ground.
She was the first woman to join the committee in 2001 and is the only Australian woman to be a fully accredited Federation Equestre Internationale showjumping judge and course designer.
Sue has a long involvement with horses - and the sport of showjumping - and coordinated the Australian World Cup League in showjumping for eight years.
Logistically, the ringmaster has a daunting task, with about 600 horses competing in the main arena during the show.
There are only 450 stables at the show, and to accomodate them all, showjumpers stay all week and about 200 horses and ponies leave during the week to make room for 200 more to compete.
"It's a lot of chaff and a lot of manure," Sue said.
Up to four rings can be run in the main arena at any one time.
Classes start at 8.30 to 9 in the morning and finish at 6pm, followed by tentpegging or polocrosse, which then wraps up at 8pm.
This year, there was a concerted effort to improve presentations on the big screens by using type to allow viewers to keep track of the classes competing or the person riding.
To ensure the video on the big screens was correct, Sue had to be in constant touch with the eight members on the Horse Committee, 15 stewards, 12 judges, up to 40 sponsors, 15 pit crew and eight to 10 broadcasters.
She was in constant radio contact with this huge team from the time she stepped into the showground at 6.45am, until 8pm at night.
"During the show week, from the Ringmaster's Office we monitor all of the traffic both on and off the arena," Sue said.
"The stewards and committee members are in constant contact with the horse office.
"We also need to look after sponsors and judges. We have a sponsoring steward, Di Goldsworthy, who helps host them, ensures they have something to eat and drink, that sponsors can sit out on the balcony and watch the classes they sponsor and hand out prizes or meet the prizewinners of those classes."
Sue said they also liased with the pit crew to ensure there were no hitches in the arena preparation.
"We get them to ensure cones are put in the right place, that the track is graded and that the flowers are in place at the placing bollards," she said.
While this can be a difficult juggling act, it pales in comparison to the grand parade held everyday during the show.
"Logistically it's a big deal," Sue said.
"The Wednesday parade is the big one, with the school led steers and goats.
"There might be 130 beasts, 120 goats, three rings of horses, then the harness horses come out after all the other animals are in place on the arena, and they also have to be the first to leave."
Up to 300 animals can be on the main arena during the grand parade.
"Livestock can be unpredictable at the best of times," Sue said.
"It's a very carefully coordinated effort to ensure it all goes smoothly."
Sue said that because the event was a city show, they were always pushed for exercise space.
To ensure competitors could exercise their mounts, the trotting track around the main arena was opened at 5.30am. Riders were also able to exercise their horse in an exercise ring at the back of the main arena.
Sue said feedback from competitors had been good.
"I don't have much contact with competitors in this role but those I have met seem happy," she said.
She was also pleased to hear positive comments about the renowned surface of the main arena, which she said was "the best in Australia".
"Our UK course designer said the surface of the arena was the best ground he had worked on in 38 years," Sue said.
With a World Cup Showjumping competition on Friday - when horses were expected to jump a course set at a height of 1.60 metres - Sue said it was important the course had a non-slip, springy, cushioned surface.
"Ten years ago we had torrential rain here and had to cancel the showjumping as the ground was not up to it," she said.
"After that they ripped it all up and spent a great deal of time, money and expense in replacing the surface.
"Now we could have a lot of rain and the ground would hold up."
Sue said it was important to have a good surface to look after the horses and their riders.
"With jumping, if the surface is poor then the jumping is poor," she said.
"These days showjumping horses are worth a lot of money and if the ground is not good enough, then the riders won't risk their horses.
"We get showjumpers from as far away as Queensland and Western Australia coming to this show every year because of the perfect going. The Royal Adelaide Show has always had a reputation for having quite a good ground."
Sue has ridden since she was very young, encouraged by her parents Jim and Barbara Munro.
"My first memory of the show was as a very little girl sitting in the members stand alongside my grandmother who had on her hat and gloves as it was all very correct in those days," she said.
"I can remember running up and down the stairs - which is something I try to avoid having to do these days."
* Full report in Stock Journal, September 19 issue, 2013.