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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

HRCAV members gather for celebration of the year

ABOVE: Helen Van Diemen surrounded by family and friends from her club.

THE Horse Riding Clubs Association of Victoria (HRCAV) awards night is the highlight of the year for members who stretch from clubs located across the length and breadth of Victoria, southern NSW and the eastern regions of South Australia.

The association developed from a meeting of riding clubs in 1981 and now has 254 member clubs and more than 5000 individual members.

The HRCAV caters for a wide range of riders who enjoy the social aspect of club membership as well as having access to the extensive competition system.

There is a club within reach of most Victorians where like-minded riders meet for social activities, lessons/rallies or competition.

The HRCAV caters for beginners, right through to experienced competitors, with a level assessment system that ensures that riders compete against others of similar experience and ability. The annual awards dinner notes exceptional performances in several categories.

The Meritorious Service Award is presented to members who have made an outstanding voluntary contribution to their Club and the HRCAV community over many years and this year’s winner was Helen Van Diemen, who was nominated by her club Pakenham Upper Adult Riding Club.

The 100 point awardees were Pamela Kennedy, Julie Campbell, Hayley Graham, Glenda Castles, Christine Darby, Pam Hall and Fiona Pepper (all dressage).

The top club awards recognise active clubs that host rallies, activities and competitions and whose members represent their club with success at HRCAV events.

This year’s top club was Echuca and District Adult Riding Club, with the top regional club going to Goulburn Valley Equestrian Club and top small club Cashmore Adult Riding Club.

The winner of the Off-the-Track Thoroughbred of the Year is selected by the Off-the-Track team at Racing Victoria from stories published each month in the HRACV newsletter, Chaff Chat.

This year’s winner was Always The World (Benny), owned by Lisa Brown and family.

Benny didn’t make it as a racehorse but has led a full life as a much-loved member of the Brown family for 13 years. He has been the trusted go-to mount for Lisa and her daughters, attending HRCAV events and rallies, pony club and open events. He loves his trail rides and rounding up the cows on the farm. With his reliable nature he is a confidence booster for nervous riders. Some of his ‘achievements’ have included a TV appearance as the mount ridden by Billy Brownless on a footy show stunt, and attending kinder dressed as a reindeer. He double dinks, has been used as a support/lead horse for young racehorses and loves giving the grandkids rides. Now 19 years old – Benny has a home for life with his family.

The Tricia Read Award is presented to retiring accredited HRCAV officials who have provided 20 or more years of voluntary service.

Tricia has been a dressage judge and level assessor, providing outstanding voluntary service to the HRCAV, both in the field and behind the scenes. A passionate supporter of the HRCAV, she retains a keen interest in the organisation.

The 2022 recipients were:

Adrian Wright – showjumping course builder and judge

Reg Cleland – showjumping course builder and judge

Robyn Watkins – level assessor

Jenny Bartlett – level assessor and dressage judge

Benita Mcdonough – level assessor

The winners in the champion rider section were:

Level One Champion: Christine Darby, Bloomfield Fursten Wonderment, Warranooke RC Reserve: Mandy Edwards, Tye Dye, Yarra Glen ARC

Level Two Champion: Amanda Lithgow, Belcam Aladdin, Yarra Glen and Lilydale ARC

Reserve: Abby Benaim, Asham Sunset, Dunolly HAC.

Level Three Champion: Charlotte Ware-Dickens, Nielton Spielberg, Cobram Braooga EC Reserve: Mikayla Perceval, Broadway Doll, Bullengarook ARC Level Four Champion: Christine Demers, Angel, Doongala ARC Reserve: Vicki Halsall, Mirabella Park Morgana, North Eastern RC Level Five Champion: Aria MC Leod, Gemma, Mt Duneed ARC Reserve: Jennie Epstein, Morningside Exception, Westcoast ARC.

The Top Ten Awards recognise the most successful combinations in the different HRCAV disciplines over the course of the competition year.

The Top 10 winners for their disciplines were Sue Johnson (Navigation), Amanda Lithgow (Horse Trials) and Christine McMurray (Three-phase equitation), Christine Darby (Dressage), Steveb Gibbons (Showing), Amanda Lithgow (Combined Training) and Mikayla Perceval (Showjumping).


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