A pony club ribbon would be fine, by George
GEORGE Sutherland is just nine years old, but this weekend he'll compete in the Zone 15 Pony Club Jamboree in the hope of bringing home a ribbon or two.
The jamboree will be held at the Maclean Showground, and George's mum, Tammy Sutherland, said it was the perfect chance to see what pony club was all about.
"Pony club is all about getting the kids involved. We try to promote good sportsmanship, horsemanship and teach the kids about animal welfare," Mrs Sutherland said.
"Right from a young age, we like the kids to associate with their horse - from brushing them to saddling them up, and taking care of their water and feed.
"It's a responsibility that a lot of kids won't have unless they have animals... It teaches them to care for things."
Mrs Sutherland is the publicity officer for the Lower Clarence Pony Club, which will be hosting the jamboree. She said the competition had a strict selection process, and only the most dedicated riders from throughout the region were able to compete.
"Pony club has helped to bring my son, George, back to reality," she said.
"He's got to work hard to achieve what he does. If he wants to ride his horse, he's got to saddle him up and look after him. If he wants to win a ribbon, he's got to do the work to deserve it."
Every local pony club holds a gymkhana throughout the year. To qualify for a gymkhana, competitors must have ridden at three of their local pony club's rally days.
Each competitor needs to have attended two gymkhanas in order to qualify for a jamboree.
"All the competitors have travelled to gymkhanas throughout the year to be able to attend this weekend's event," Mrs Sutherland said.
With 120 competitors lined up for the weekend, Mrs Sutherland was hopeful the town of Maclean would reap the benefits of visitors to the area.
"There'll be 120 competitors, plus their family members and spectators," she said.
"It all brings a little bit of money back into Maclean."
The club canteen will be catering for competitors and spectators over the weekend, and Mrs Sutherland said the club tried to keep business local.
"We try to keep all of our shopping to the Maclean area," she said.
"They support us a fair bit so we like to support them back - what goes around, comes around, doesn't it?"
Mrs Sutherland encouraged locals and visitors alike to come along and enjoy the spectacle of the jamboree.
"It'd be a great sight from the grandstands looking over the showground full of competitors and their horses," she said. For more information about the jamboree, contact club secretary Tracey Moran on 0427 115 635.
TOMORROW and Sunday promise to be a spectacle for horse enthusiasts, but Tammy Sutherland said a few events would be highlights of the competition.
The Presentation Four event to be held first thing on Saturday morning is certainly worth a look.
The competitors get into a team of four and do a set routine in front of the judges.
"It's great to see the kids doing their workout together," Mrs Sutherland said.
"It's judged on the kids' presentation, the presentation of their horse and gear, and how they work together as a team.
"From go to whoa, the kids have got to be on the ball."
Also on the agenda is a bareback riding class.
"There's no saddle to keep the competitor on the horse's back... it definitely sorts out who can ride well," Mrs Sutherland said.
"It'd definitely be worth watching, too."
The bareback event starts about lunchtime tomorrow.
Presentation for the jamboree will be held about lunchtime on Sunday.