Proud club riding high after 60 years
ONE of the Clarence Valley's most-loved equestrian groups, the Grafton Pony Club, is turning 60 this month and celebrating the milestone with a big bash.
Angela Hughes joined the club in 2007 with her mum Lyn Gosling and daughter Tara Kelly and now she has first-hand knowledge of the great work the club has done for the horse riding community.
"Tara at the time was seven and loved pony club, she's made great friends and loved the opportunity to try different disciplines," Ms Hughes said.
"Her riding ability, skills and confidence had improved. In 2008 Tara had a horse riding accident at home and her confidence was gone.
"It was the perseverance, encouragement and patience from the instructors at the club, especially Anne Goodwin, that built Tara's confidence back up."
That perseverance paid off and in 2013 Tara claimed a state tile. The following year she was named Supreme Champion Rider at the Grafton Show. In 2015 she was Champion Girl Rider at the Toowoomba Royal Show and she competed at the Grand Nationals in Sydney this year.
Ms Hughes' other daughters, Chelsea and Charlotte, also ride with the club.
"They love the pony club for the great friendships they have developed, the many different disciplines they are taught, they love the horse riding camps," she said.
"They love to share their passion for horses with other people."
The Grafton Pony Club was formed on December 7, 1956.
"They were known as the Clarence River District Pony and Hack Club then," Ms Hughes said.
"The president-elect was Mr DV McLennan, father of well-known horsewoman Maxine Brookes (nee McLennan), who remains involved with the club today.
"The founding members were a group of well-respected local horse people whose vision was to share their enjoyment of equestrian sport, provide a background in all equine disciplines and good horsemanship."
Since the first official meeting the club has undergone a lot of changes but it continues to be a strong community of horse lovers.
The club has 175 members with 130 of those riding members.
The club will host an awards ceremony and celebration at Hawthorne Park on December 10 to mark the 60th anniversary.
All past and present members are welcome. To RSVP, phone Kathy Sullivan on 0427 948 605 by December 3.