Brigette Tack of Wonthaggi is up and over these 80cm freshman jumps in a test event on her horse Private Dancer at the Wonthaggi Pony Club Gymkhana last Sunday. M212517

Waiting for their chance to compete at the gymkhana in Wonthaggi last Sunday are Bryn, Campbell and Tanya Jackson with Snoopy. M222517

Winner of the tricks event at the Wonthaggi Pony Club Gymkhana last Sunday was Kayla Milkins receiving her ribbon. M232517

Josie Green had no trouble getting over the hurdles on her young, inexperienced horse, Felix, who nonetheless completed a flawless round. M242517

A big crowd of riders turned out for the Wonthaggi Pony Club’s fundraising gymkhana last Sunday. M252517

CARLY Heislers of Kilcunda is off to the USA next week to compete in the biennial International Pony Club Inter Pacific Exchange (IPE) event in North and South Carolina from June 28 to July 12.
Needless to say she’s excited.
But last Sunday, there was work to be done and that involved being the main driving force behind a fundraising gymkhana, hosted by the Wonthaggi Pony Club, for all comers.
Carly wasn’t riding. She was too busy for that. Actually she was even too busy to stop for a quick bit of publicity but with the chance to mention her generous sponsors, it was a chance too good to pass up.
“They’re some of my sponsors there; the Kilcunda General Store, Straight Up Plastering, Vuiller Shorthorns, Van Den Berg Equitation, Newhaven College, Wonthaggi Adult Riding Club, Wonthaggi Vet Clinic, Saddle-Up Saddleworld, and a number of others.
“This year there will be four riders going from each of Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Canada and the USA,” said Carly.
“The main competition is a show jumping competition (1.10m), and there is an eventing competition where teams are scrambled, to be made up of riders from the different competing countries, as well as other riding and non-riding activities including hiking, white water rafting, zip lining and tours.
“For the riding events we compete on borrowed horses which could be a bit daunting.
“Being selected to compete in the Inter Pacific Exchange is the highest honour available to pony club riders with candidates being selected not only on riding ability but also ambassadorial attributes. To apply for the IPE, riders must have gained their B Efficiency Certificate and have proven competency at grade 1 horse trials and A grade show jumping levels (or 1.10m+). Those who make the short list are then required to sit an interview where they must present and conduct themselves in a professional manner, and show knowledge of pony club and its origins in Australia and in general, as well as general information about their own country and the host country (politics, significant events, geography, landmarks etc).
“I have been in pony club for 15 years, starting out at Findon Pony Club before moving to Wonthaggi Pony Club. I have participated in anything and everything available to me including mounted games, ride-to-time, show jumping, eventing, dressage, showing and tetrathlon (running, swimming, shooting and show jumping). I have used this wonderful opportunity provided by the West Gippsland Zone to help grow and promote this sport which is new to Victoria, including organising the first ever tetrathon competition by a Victorian pony club in January 2017.”
Carly was named as an emergency in the IPE team for 2015 but this year she gets her chance, albeit in unusual circumstances as a member of the Canadian team!
“It takes a bit of explaining how that happened, but I’m delighted to be going all the same.”
Last Sunday’s Gymkhana was a well-attended event for pony club kids of all ages and proficiencies with a broad range of jumping and novelty events on offer.
Carly goes with the best wishes of all local riders for a great experience in the USA.
Carly hopes it is a stepping stone for something even bigger as she works her thoroughbred ‘Mia’ through the three day event grades, hopeful of one day representing her country it that most challenging of sports.