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Ron Males

Words by Natalie Tindall


What do you write about a man who was a legend in his own lifetime? The first horse Ron bought was an Anglo-Arab and he always aimed to breed Arabians ‘because they had something special about them.’ He met Val when she was a teenager, also with a passion for the Arabian horse. She had always wanted to breed Arabs ever since watching the stallion class at Sydney Royal Show. They married when Val was just 18 and soon after that the Ralvon Stud was born, a combination of their names and passions. It is impossible to think of one without the other. 

The story of their stallion Ralvon Pilgrim, born on Ron's birthday, is also legendary, that he should travel across the globe with Ron and Val and win the Supreme Championship at the AHS International Show against the strongest competition from 18 countries. But he could not have done that without Ron’s horsemanship. 


The equestrian story of Ron Males is full and varied; he was in at the start of competitive endurance riding when the first Tom Quilty 160km race was run and he went on to win an unsurpassed 21 Quilty buckles that now lie together in a simple wooden drawer. There were so many achievements in his career, both in the show ring and on the endurance tracks but Ron was far sighted too. Long before many people thought of such things, he was involved with research into what made successful horses, studying heart size at Sydney University.


But his achievements and Val’s were not restricted to horses; they shaped the lives of many young people who attended their horse camps and families who they welcomed to the stud. The story I remember was of a young family who came to learn to ride. Sadly, the husband was in a wheelchair after an accident and one day as his wife and daughters went off to ride he confided to Ron that he would like to learn to ride secretly to surprise them and to be able to share in something that they could all do. Ron didn’t hesitate. He began to train the stud’s family pony and constructed a ramp for the wheelchair out of old doors. The look on the family’s face the day that the husband rode around the corner on the old grey pony must have been incredulous. And Ron made that happen. But as always, he was very unassuming about it.


Ron believed that horses should be both functional and beautiful to live a full life of the greatest worth. And, despite his successes, the trophies and buckles he won meant less to him than the memories of the horses who achieved them. It was a privilege to meet and spend time with him during and after the WAHO conference in Australia and talk horses. As he told me the story of the night Pilgrim died tears ran down his face and mine as he recalled his last moments with the horse that taken them all so far in life -as Val had once predicted the moment he was born. That was his great loss. Now they are together again.

For us to lose Ron is ours, a true champion of the horse world and a gentleman through and through. I shall treasure those memories of our time talking horses forever.

Rest in peace Ron - truly a life of great worth well lived. With all our love and prayers to Val, his family and friends.

Ron and Ralvon Secret.jpeg

Ron Ryan with Ralvon Secret in 2019


This photo was taken on our trip to visit Ron and Val at their home where we were made so welcome and where we were lucky enough to see Ron, the consummate horseman, at work.

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