Six pony clubs combine for event

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Sunny skies greeted visitors taking part in the Central Otago Pony Club’s inter-branch competition last week at the Cromwell Racecourse.
President Geoff Hewson said six pony club branches from across the region took part, with about 40 entrants ranging in age from 5 to 19.
The competition disciplines included classing, dressage, showjumping, trotting and games.
Some of the riders in last week’s competition would be aiming to qualify for the New Zealand Pony Club Eventing Championships, taking place in Cromwell on April 16 to 19.
The championships rotated around the different regions in the country each year.
‘‘Every 14 years we get the opportunity in Otago/Southland to host it.’’
‘‘We expect pony club riders from Northland right through to Bluff to turn up here for that.’’
The club was fundraising for about $120,000 to be spent on a full rebuild of the cross-country track to bring it up to national standard.
‘‘It is a big deal for us.’’
When completed, the track would feature about 90 jumps and would be an asset for the next 20 to 30 years that would be open to the riding public all year round, Mr Hewson said.
Last week’s competition was also an opportunity to honour lifetime member Sharon Robertson, who died last June.
District Commissioner Billie Tohill, of Clyde, said Sharon was a stalwart supporter of the Hawea-Wanaka Pony Club and the Central Otago Pony Club.
‘‘She was just an ordinary pony club mum when she began, and she became very valuable for us in Central Otago because of her ability for scoring and running events.’’
She had a ‘‘great passion’’ for younger riders and was a ‘‘great organiser’’.
‘‘We will really miss her,’’ Mrs Tohill said.
‘‘Her great consideration was for the younger riders, and she wanted everyone to have a fair go.’’
A table with a commemorative plaque was unveiled at the championships, which will be placed at the Hawea-Wanaka grounds.

 

Riding high . . . Central Otago Pony Club member Danni Buchanan (14), of Cromwell, takes Pedro through his paces. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON