• Fran Cleland

Pony clubs join forces as urban sprawl eats up grounds


ABOVE: Kandi Parslow, Olivia Logan, Clara Greenwood and Nina Ryssenbeek from the Macedon Pony Club are all smiles after taking out the team of four flat riding class.

PONY clubs began in Victoria with the Mountain District Horse and Pony Club in Croydon in 1944. It grew out of an article in the English magazine “Riding”, which was popular in Australia.


Victoria is divided into 10 zones comprising 210 clubs. Each club is organized and arranged separately, but the zone also has an organising committee.


While horse riding is as popular as ever, the ever-expanding city of Melbourne has put great pressure on the clubs situated in the Central Zone, especially those in the inner-city area.


Truganina club, situated at Braybrook, has been a strong club for 65 years, but soon faces having to find a new ground, and recently three northern city clubs also found it necessary to leave their traditional homes.


The once strong clubs of Tullamarine and Keilor lost their ground to housing estates. The famous Oaklands Hunt Club has also been sold, and the traditional “hunting pink” jumpers worn by the young riders won’t be seen any more.


Luckily for the three clubs, Woodlands Park, just a kilometre up the road from Oaklands Club, is now the home of Woodlands Pony Club, created 12 months ago by a group of people who merged the three clubs into one.


Woodlands was already functioning as a riding club with excellent arenas and a solid cross-country course – and now 50 very happy young riders call it home.


The State Games and Musical Rides championships will be held there on June 25 and 26.


The zone held its qualifying classes there on the weekend.


In a strong section, Macedon’s team or four Shetlands showed that size simply doesn’t matter, winning the flat riding teams class to the delight of the crowd.


The Musical Ride, won by Riddells Creek, was ridden in fancy dress with truly amazing costumes on show.


Woodlands A placed second, Werribee B third, Woodlands B fourth, Werribee A fifth and Gisborne sixth.


The Games section was curtailed after a young rider fell from her horse and needed ambulance attention and the following events cancelled.


It was decided the central zone team ribbons/pendants would be awarded based on the results from a complete set of races at state championships.


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Emily and Katie Bartlett of Woodlands Pony Club; Georgina Cavanagh, with mum Cara ; the full teddy bear's picnic team of Georgina Kavanagh, Oliver Kavanagh, Ava Saliba and Astin Leggett with their helpers; Gisborne Pony Club members; and Woodlands Musical teams with their ribbons left to right - Angus Kerr, Harry Brennan, Jaimi Hammill, Tara Murphy, Tyler Gamble, Jeyda Gunes, Isabell Woodvine and Hector Brennan.


CLICK ON IMAGES TO VIEW FULL SIZE IN GALLERY