OLYMPIC equestrian rider Megan Jones stopped by Wonthaggi last week for a very special two-day coaching clinic. Young riders from all over West and South Gippsland participated in the camp, which covered tuition in show jumping, dressage and theory sessions. Based in the small town of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, Megan, a silver medallist at the 2008 Beijing Games, travels around Australia conducting clinics whenever she’s not training for international competitions.
West Gippsland Zone chief instructor Jenny O’Sullivan said Megan also conducted a clinic at Wonthaggi Pony Club last year and is nothing short of an inspiration to the members. “What I love about Megan is that the exercises she uses aren’t the usual ones we see from other coaches,” Jenny said.Megan said she simply concentrates on the basics at her clinics. “It’s all about getting a clearer partnership between the horse and rider,” she said, adding that there is a lot of focus on balance.“Having true balance with a horse and then implementing exercises correctly is important.” Megan is currently training and hopes to be selected for national championships next year in France. As was widely publicised as the time, she unfortunately had to withdraw from the 2012 London Games early due to her horse being unable to shake the effects of a foot abscess. “It was devastating,” Megan admitted. “But you cope with it because it’s just horses and this stuff happens. “If you don’t cope with it you can’t do this sport.”