June 20th & 21st 2006
Forty-one riders attended a two-day clinic conducted by the Bealiba & District Pony Club during the first week of the school holidays. The clinics theme was a “Certificate Clinic” with riders working towards their next level of certificate.
Pony club members have the opportunity of broadening their horsemanship and riding skills by working towards levels of certificates designed by the Pony Club Association of Victoria.
The first certificate is “D” for riders 8 years & above, this starts riders with the basics, being able to catch, bridle, saddle, and recognise some points of the horse, simple traffic rules and to take part in simple mounted games and rider exercises.
The next certificate is “D Star”, participants are required to know more points of the horse, harness, and simple ailments and demonstrate more advanced riding skills. The D Star Certificate is optional with riders 10 years & above able to sit for it.
The “C” Certificate requires further understanding of the care and management of the horse. Candidates must understand the prevention of common ailments as well as their treatment and recognise when to call the vet. Once members’ turn 12 years of age they may sit for this certificate, which requires a small written exam, plus attend a zone organized day where the candidates are examined in horsemanship, riding and jumping skills. The Pony Club Association has made it compulsory for riders aged 12 years and above to have passed their C Certificate if they are to compete in a state event. The only exemption is for riders that have not been in pony club for two years.
Once riders have passed their D, D Star and C certificates they have the option of going further with more advanced certificates such as their C Star, K, B, H and A. As riders pass a certificate level they are presented with a coloured disc and certificate. The disc is worn behind the pony club badge so that other pony club members can recognise the level of certificate that they have achieved.
Riders were placed into groups according to the certificates that they held so that the instructors could help them work towards the next level of certificate.
Show Jumping instructor Allan Mitchell had riders moving through a grid helping them with their position and control. Allan introduced a variety of different jumps, similar to those set out on a show jumping course. He continues to educate the riders about related distances, striding and impulsion required to successfully ride a course.
Dressage instructor Rosemary Harris instructed the younger riders in the basics of mounting and dismounting from either side, holding reins correctly, recognising diagonals and leading legs. Rosemary ensures that the young riders have a good understanding of the correct way of doing things so that they can become confident riders with a balanced seat, independent of the reins. More experienced riders worked without stirrups at the trot and canter. They were also asked to rise on the correct diagonal from a sitting trot and walk, trot and canter at a given number of strides. Riders also altered their stirrup length while on the move along with being asked to ride circles at various sizes.
On each day of the clinic Horsemastership was taught. Pauline Wallace spoke to participants about the importance of developing a fitness program. She also demonstrated how to take a horses pulse, respiration and heart rate. Feeding a horse in accordance to the amount of work they were doing was also discussed.
Zoe Mumford from Broadford has spent many years involved in Pony Club and now is a member of the Broadford Adult Riding Club, she is currently studying to become a vet nurse as well as working part time on a large stud that breeds thoroughbreds for the racing industry.
Zoe spoke about her experiences during foaling season, showing interested persons some of the equipment used for difficult births. She also had a well-equipped First Aid Kit that she showed to the clinic participants. Zoe spoke about wound care explaining what to do prior to a vet’s arrival. She also talked about the treatment of common ailments such as laminitis, colds, strangles, greasy heel and colic.
Samantha Ferrari from Macedon Pony Club is a keen Pony Club Games competitor as well as a member of the Australian Novelty Riders Association. Sam instructed lessons in Novelties, explaining the distances and rules, which differ, from the Pony Club Association of Victorias. Riders enjoyed taking part in the Bending Race, Stake Race, Flag & Barrel, Barrel Race and Stick Pegging. Samantha gave helpful hints to ensure a good turn, along with advice on how to hold the flag and stick pegging sticks to ensure accuracy when competing.
Debbie Browell set a course around the inside of the oval and measured the distance, she then worked out the time it should take for riders to ride the course if they were competing at Grade 3, 2 or 1 level of Eventing. While riders were comfortable riding at there own level of competition they found that they were required to ride at greater speeds to complete the course for higher levels. Participants enjoyed riding their horses at greater speeds ensuring that they came through the finish flags at the correct speed.
The clinic program catered for two groups of younger/inexperienced riders, they were given the opportunity to take part in an extremely challenging handy mount course under the watchful eye of instructor Dawn Bulger. The young riders were encouraged to ride their horses through a number of different obstacles. The first one being to post a letter into a letter box then ride through a barrier of tyres, walk their horses over a large piece of plastic, ride up and down a hill, negotiate a jump, plus carry an object from one drum to another. While some participants were fearful of some of the objects, with a little help from the instructor, they were soon able to negotiate every obstacle confidently.
The Bealiba Pony Club will hold a four-day clinic in September with a “Colonial Days theme”. Participants will enjoy lessons in show jumping, dressage, polocrosse, cross country and active riding along with some interesting unmounted lessons associated with the theme. The highlight of the camp will be a bus trip to Sovereign Hill where clinic participants and their families will view the multi-million dollar sound and light show “Blood on the Southern Cross”.