Future Olympic Equestrians in Training
The prestigious Sydney International Equestrian Centre at Horsley Park again played host to the 18th Annual Pony Club Association of NSW State Camp from Sunday 9 January to Friday 14 January.
Sixty young riders between the ages of 13 and 24 were selected to attend the week-long camp to receive instruction from the countrys highest qualified instructors in the Olympic disciplines of Dressage, Showjumping and Eventing as well as international team event Mounted Games.
Riders of state championship standard travelled from all across the state with fifteen riders selected per disciplines.
Pony Club NSW President Di Cullen said the annual camp was an excellent opportunity for the states top riders to further develop their skills and a great stepping stone towards progressing to Olympic level.
“Several Olympians are former pony club members including Phillip Dutton, Andrew Hoy and Shane Rose just to name a few” Cullen said.
The daily routine for all riders involves jumping out of bed at the crack of dawn to feed their individual horse before sitting down to a group breakfast at 7am. Next, riders are divided into groups of five to receive one hour of instruction both in the morning and afternoon. Horses are again fed before sitting down to dinner. A daily roster is devised for washing up.
“The week is not just about instruction as everyone is responsible for their own horse as well as helping with clean-up duties which helps to promote proper animal care and team work” Cullen said.
“All the riders were great about completing their chores. They were all very responsible and nobody needed to be chased up” Cullen added.
The social aspect of the camp is also encouraged with a friendly volleyball tournament between the groups of five which can turn out quite competitive.
“Social volleyball was keenly contested with the final being played out by the Showjumping 2 team versus the Eventing 1 team” Cullen said.
Showjumping ended up victorious with each rider receiving an additional commemorative pony club t-shirt listing all riders names on the back. Team members were; Alex Watts of Wingham, Lee Yonge of Burra, Mitchell Carraro of Mangrove Mountain, Shannon Breen of Canberra Riding and Samara Johnson of Young.
After a week of instruction, as well as fun, NSW President Di Cullen is confident that each rider gained something from the experience and hopeful of their being one, or more, future Olympians amongst the group.
“All the riders rode really well all week and displayed great potential” Cullen said.
Overall the 18th annual Pony Club Association of NSW State Camp was a great success thanks to a co-operative group of riders, the qualified instructors as well as the volunteers.
“Thank you to everyone who attended the 2011 State Camp with a special thanks to the volunteers. Frank Kelleher and Kim Felton did a great job setting up the gear, looking after the stables and putting up the jumps. Thanks also to first aid officer Elaine Caswell and chaperone Jenny Frankum who also helped out in other areas throughout the week” Cullen said.
Riders who received dressage instruction from level 3 qualified instructor Judy Peel are as follows;
• Abbey Wicks, Denman Pony Club, Zone 7
• Lachlan Tudgey, Moss Vale Pony Club, Zone 10
• Monique Lowe, The Oaks Pony Club, Zone 10
• Rosie Maskill, Lake Albert Pony Club, Zone 12
• Jaime Negas, Narooma & District Pony Club, Zone 14
• Georgia Hope, Canberra Riding Pony Club, Zone 16
• Millie Burton, Geary’s Gap Pony Club, Zone 16
• Kristen Whiting, Cooma Pony Club, Zone 18
• Abby Stubbs, Wirlinga Pony Club, Zone 20
• Natalie Ford, Griffith Pony Club, Zone 21
• Kate Whitaker, Stoney Range Pony Club, Zone 22
• Sarah Munro, Toronto Pony Club, Zone 24
• Rebecca Johnston, Woodlands Park Pony Club, Zone 26
• Renee Moorley, The Vines Pony Club, Zone 26
• Stephanie Cormack, Woodlands Park Pony Club, Zone 26
Whilst several riders attended State Camp for the second time, it was the first for 15-year-old Monique Lowe of The Oaks Pony Club. An experience she hopes won’t be her last.
“I thought it was absolutely excellent and hopefully not my last. I honestly learnt so much and feel that I have improved my riding skills by far” Lowe said.
Fellow dressage rider Rosie Maskill of Lake Albert Pony Club was pleased to return for another State Camp to catch up with friends.
“The highlights for me are catching up with old friends, making new ones, the top instruction that we receive and being able to use the indoor facility. Thanks to all the instructors and helpers for some great memories” Maskill said.
Showjumpers were fortunate to receive instruction from former Olympian and two-time NSW State Champion Jamie Coman. Riders were as follows;
• Amanda Jasprizza, Cowra Pony Club, Zone 2
• Melissa Jasprizza, Cowra Pony Club, Zone 2
• Samara Johnson, Young Pony Club, Zone 2
• Kelly Durkic, Lithgow Pony Club, Zone 3
• Jessica Bonello, Warren Pony Club, Zone 4
• Alice Woodlock, Warren Pony Club, Zone 4
• Alex Watts, Wingham Pony Club, Zone 9
• Philippa Lawson, Berrima Pony Club, Zone 10
• Lee Yonge, Burra Pony Club, Zone 16
• Sigi Schnieder, Burra Pony Club, Zone 16
• Shannon Breen, Canberra Riding Pony Club, Zone 16
• Anna Thrift, Toronto Pony Club, Zone 24
• Mitchell Carraro, Mangrove Mountain Pony Club, Zone 24
• Dana Seaton, Mt Sugarloaf Pony Club, Zone 25
• Brandon Beneke, The Vines Pony Club, Zone 26
Wingham rider Alex Watts was grateful for the opportunity to further improve his skills that took him to the 2010 State Championships where he was awarded the under 25 champion trophy.
“The showjumping instruction was excellent. The whole week was great” Watts said.
The 2010 under 17 State Champion, Kelly Durkic of Lithgow, was also in attendance and enjoyed both the instruction and social aspect of the week.
“The highlight was getting the most out of the lessons and meeting new people” Durkic said.
Fellow showjumper, 15-year-old Alice Woodlock of Warren Pony Club shared in Durkics views.
“I learnt a lot and Jamie (Coman) was a terrific coach. Camp was a terrific opportunity to make new friends and improve our riding” Woodlock said.
Brandon Beneke of The Vines Pony Club was excited to receive a last minute call up to attend the camp, after one rider was unfortunately unable to attend, and really made the most of the opportunity to learn from former Olympian Jamie Coman.
“Jamie (Coman) was great. In just a few days I learnt a lot about my position and riding the showjumping course not only classically but effectively as well as achieving an active forward canter” Beneke said.
Pony Club NSW State Coach Sam Lyle was responsible for instructing the eventing riders. Mr Lyle has been with the association for a number of years conducting Zone schools throughout the state as required. Riders under his professional tutelage were as follows;
• Georgina Mutton, Cudal Pony Club, Zone 3
• Elizabeth Hoy, Nyngan Pony Club, Zone 4
• Cale Rushton, Wongarbon Pony Club, Zone 4
• Jessica Cormie, Coonabarabran Pony Club, Zone 5
• Cassandra McCarroll, Mudgee Pony Club, Zone 6
• Karla Wicks, Denman Pony Club, Zone 7
• Hayley Menzies, Condobolin Pony Club, Zone 11
• Laura Field, Bungendore Pony Club, Zone 16
• Laura Pearce, Bungendore Pony Club, Zone 16
• Frances Barnard, Canberra Riding Pony Club, Zone 16
• Eleanor Miller, Canberra Riding Pony Club, Zone 16
• Lauren Slater, Wamboin Pony Club, Zone 16
• Kieran Hume, Griffith Pony Club, Zone 21
• Natalie Schultz, Forest Hills Pony Club, Zone 23
• Victoria Temm, Forest Hills Pony Club, Zone 23
This was the fifth State Camp for talented 16-year-old Lauren Slater of Wamboin Pony Club but her first in the discipline of eventing. At such a young age Slater is already a veteran of Mounted Games being part of the successful NSW junior squad to take out Nationals last year. Slater then went on to represent Australia at the Pony Club International Mounted Games Exchange where the team finished runners-up to host nation Great Britain.
Due to the unusual age classifications for the junior and senior mounted games team, where riders turning 17 are excluded, Slater was unfortunately ineligible for both but pleased to be given the opportunity in eventing.
“The highlight was learning useful skills in my instruction and being inspired to aim high. Thanks to all the people who helped at camp” Slater said.
Also in attendance was the 2010 under 25 State Champion Kieran Hume of Griffith Pony Club who had a fun time throughout the week.
“Using the big cross country course was a highlight. We had a good and fun group with very good instruction” Hume said.
Fellow eventers also appreciated the fantastic facilities on offer at the Sydney International Equestrian Centre.
“A highlight was being coached by a world class instructor around one of the best cross country courses in Australia”, Cassandra McCarroll, Mudgee Pony Club.
“The last 2 hour lesson out on the cross country course was excellent because we don’t get to practice on jumps like that usually”, Georgina Mutton, Cudal Pony Club.
“I enjoyed my lesson on the cross country course with Sam (Lyle). I received great results from my horse and very positive and helpful feedback”, Frances Barnard, Canberra Riding Pony Club.
Whilst not currently an Olympic discipline mounted games is a highly contested international team event consisting of 21 separate games. State, and Australian, coach David Harris along with the assistance of Brooke Diemert and Phil Logue conducted training with the following riders;
• Danielle Blanch, Muswellbrook Pony Club, Zone 7
• Amelia McInness, Canberra Riding Pony Club, Zone 16
• Joel Jordon, Canberra Riding Pony Club, Zone 16
• Emma Sheargold, Michelago Pony Club, Zone 16
• Zoe Walker, Murrumbateman Pony Club, Zone 16
• Ally Durr, Wamboin Pony Club, Zone 16
• Penny Slater, Wamboin Pony Club, Zone 16
• Joshua Martini, Hawkesbury Valley Pony Club, Zone 19
• Georga Bovington, Figtree Pony Club, Zone 22
• Naomi Alves, Figtree Pony Club, Zone 22
• Becky Papantheofanous, Stoney Range Pony Club, Zone 22
• Christopher Syme, Forest Hills Pony Club, Zone 23
• Kristie Nixon, Forest Hills Pony Club, Zone 23
• Mitch Beale, Forest Hills Pony Club, Zone 23
• Matthew North, The Vines Pony Club, Zone 26
Mitchell Beale of Forest Hills Pony Club enjoyed both the quality of instruction and facilities on offer as well as the socialising aspect.
“The highlight was having the opportunity to improve my riding skills by having expert instruction and fitness training. It was great to meet the other riders from other disciplines and socialise during down time. Pony club riders are very lucky to have Olympic facilities made available to us for the week at little cost to our families” Beale said.
Fellow club member Christopher Syme agreed with Beale about the instruction.
“The highlight was receiving top quality instruction from world recognized instructors” Syme said.
Whilst the instruction was great, 2010 State Mounted Games junior squad member Penny Slater of Wamboin Pony Club made the most of the social aspect of the camp.
“Highlights were the volley ball tournament and meeting new people” Slater said.
Riders now nervously await the announcement of the state mounted games junior and senior squads who will represent NSW at national level with five individuals being chosen for each. Matthew North of The Vines Pony Club, who attended his third state camp, must feel confident of his selection having already been chosen as part of the Australia team to attend the Pony Club International Mounted Games Exchange later this year.
“The highlights were meeting new life-long friends as well as getting selected for Internationals” North said.
All riders can now look forward to another exciting year of Pony Club events starting with the State Dressage Championships from Saturday 22 to Sunday 23 January at Hawkesbury District showgrounds. The date for the 2012 State Camp is still to be confirmed but is likely to be Sunday 8 January to Friday 13 January.