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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

Harcourt rises to the challenge testing riders of all ages

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

ABOVE: King of the mountain - Bianjka Hughes and Farkoolieo (aka Franjk). Picture: FELICITY CLAY

THE Harcourt Pony Club in Central Victoria is not one of the biggest in the state but certainly one of the most innovative and thoughtful.

It realises that in addition to teaching children the basics of how to ride and look after their horse, pony club also needs to challenge young minds and be fun.

Judging by the response to Harcourt’s Stockman’s Challenge Day held at Dunolly on the weekend, they certainly succeeded in doing that, and not only for the youngsters, but for the adult riders who attended as well.

“The day went exceptionally well, with many competitors remarking on our stockman’s challenge course and asking when the next one is,” district commissioner Peggy Mills said.

Club supporter Tony Thornycroft created a challenging but really fun course, with riders and mounts having to negotiate bridges, a river crossing, a big hill to climb, barrels and all sorts of tests in the 26-obstacle course.

It was open to all ages divided into groups, from the eight and under on a lead to the older pony club riders up to 25, plus an open section.

Mounts ranged in size from Shetlands to a Clydesdale and there was a lot of laughter and fun.

The program was complemented with showjumping (Peggy is also an accredited EA showjumping course designer), with heights ranging from 45cm to 85cm.

“The showjumping courses saw some great jumping from the young riders to the older riders,” Peggy said. “There were some close finishes.”

ABOVE: Isabella Kunde and Fizzy Pop. Picture: FELICITY CLAY

Results – Stockman’s Challenge

Eight years and under: 1st Emily Kirk riding Buttons.

Nine to 11 years: 1st Isabella Kunde riding Fizzy Pop, 2nd Alexis Weekley riding Fairlight Acres Fantasia. Twelve to 14 yrs: 1st Chloe Bourke riding Mithril Zanzibar, 2nd Melody Vranic-Hunt riding Razz.

Fifteen to 25 years: 1st Maddy Jackson riding Flicka.

Open: 1st Jude Schahinger riding Banimboola Rewind, 2nd Kelly Barnette riding Rocky.

Results – Showjumping

35-45cm: 1st Alexia Weekley riding Fairlight Acres Fantasia, 2nd Grace Monk riding Wingrove Illusion.

45-55cm: 1st Francis Wells, 2nd Isabelle Kunde riding Fizzy Pop.

55-65cm: 1st Francis Wells, 2nd Maddy Jackson riding Flicka.

65-75cm: 1st Harrison Wells riding Redman, 2nd Caroline Batters riding Eve.

75-85cm: 1st Emily Munro riding Koolaroo Magnum Force, 2nd Bethany Cole riding Prince Azkaban.

ABOVE: Bethany Cole and Prince Azkaban. Picture: FELICITY CLAY
ABOVE: Tilly Favaloro and Samantha's Crystal. Picture: FELICITY CLAY
ABOVE: Emily Monro and Koolaroo Magnum Force. Picture: FELICITY CLAY
ABOVE: Bianjka Hughes and Franjk. Picture: FELICITY CLAY
ABOVE: Beth Cole’s Prince Azkaban sneaks a reward. Picture: FELICITY CLAY

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