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  • Writer's pictureFran Cleland

It's been fun and games for half a century thanks to Miss Kay

ABOVE: Zadock and Perez Lawson from Benalla Pony Club. Picture: MARTIN HOWELL

PONY Club Victoria’s Games, Flat and Musical Ride Pony Club Championships has celebrated its 50th anniversary, attracting a big field of happy riders to its annual June event, held this year at Bacchus Marsh.

The cutting of a celebratory cake was shared between East Gippsland Zone Representative and organising committee chairwoman Jan Bromwich and Charyn Carlton, who rode in the first State Games Championships in 1973 for the Dandenong Ranges Pony Club.

“Back in 1973 when Miss Kay Irving raised the idea of a State Games competition, it was to be a fun day for the many pony club members who had a wonderful pony who they could do all sorts of things on, but was not a specialist at horse trials, dressage, showing or show jumping,” Jan told the crowd.

“Age requirements were to encourage team work with older riders mentoring young riders.”

Jan said that apart from a few minor changes the event known for many years as the State Games Championships is essentially the same today.

ABOVE: Jan Bromwich and Charyn Carlton.

“Following Miss Kay Irving’s passing in 1993, (it) was renamed the Kay Irving Games, Flat Teams and Musical Ride State Championships in honour of not only Miss Kay’s dedication to the state games for 20 years, but also her nearly 30 years as State Chief Instructor – at one stage holding this position in five different states – and the many, many other tasks Miss Kay undertook for Pony Club for the benefit of the children.”

A team from the Mornington Peninsula Pony Club was the first winner of the title at the 1973 championships held at Healesville racecourse.

Pony Club Victoria coach Sally Francis, who is in London coaching a winning Riding for Disabled Australia team, was a member.

These days the championships comprises of four events: the Kay Irving Memorial Games for Club Teams, the Team of Four Flat Ride, the Team Pairs Ride and the Ian Wardell Memorial Musical Ride, done in fancy dress with amazing costumes.

The flat team of four event was added in 1976 and won by Barwon Heads. Orbost won the first musical ride in 1990 and Swan Hill won the first team of two ride in 2014.

Each year, zones conduct qualifying competitions to select their representative teams at the championships.

It’s a busy event with a lot of activity and a real tribute to a lady who realised that dressage and jumping was only a part of a young rider’s sport and that being a part of a team was important.

In the games, six riders make up a team, with eight different activities contributing to the event.

The winner this year was the Woodlands Jets from the Central Zone, with the Werribee Warriors second and Kangaroo Grounds third on a countback.

In the musical ride, the Bealiba-Snowy River team finished just two points ahead of the Woodlands Wild, Wild West team and in the team of four flat ride, Mornington Peninsula won from Stratford with Colac third.

The team pairs competition went to Bealiba from Mornington Peninsula and Mount Duneed 1.


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ABOVE: All images (except Smurfs) MARTIN HOWELL

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