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From Pony Club to the Olympics

Andrew Hoy - Holbrook Pony Club

Andrew Hoy attended Holbrook Pony Club.


From regional Pony Club to the world stage

How Australia’s oldest and largest equine organisation helped shape the lives of each member of the Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Teams.  

Australia’s most elite athletes have returned home from Tokyo, Japan, after testing their skills against the best of the best. Amongst these was the Australian Equestrian Team, which consisted of riders who all began their careers at Pony Clubs around Australia.

This lineup of riders cemented the notion that Pony Club gives its participants the foundations they need to succeed. Why? Because the peak of success comes when an individual represents their country at the Olympic Games. Standing on the podium, medal in hand is a dream that every young rider aspires to recreate.


Shane Rose - Pony Club Summer Camp Avondale Pony Club

Shane Rose, pictured here at a Pony Club Summer Camp for Avondale Pony Club.

So, this year after watching the likes of Andrew Hoy, Mary Hanna, and Edwina Tops-Alexander, children across Australia should realise these riders’ careers began at their local Pony Club; the dream is possible.

“For over 80 years, Pony Club has been the starting point for Australian Olympians. It provides an environment to develop riding and horse care skills for future careers, including elite competition,” says Dr Catherine Ainsworth, Pony Club Australia CEO.

Right across Australia, attending your local Pony Club has become somewhat a rite of passage for any horse-mad young rider. It is a place where budding equestrians can fine-tune their abilities, make connections and be taught the highest ideals of sportsmanship, citizenship and loyalty, thereby cultivating strength of character and self-discipline.


Simone Pearce - Bamawn Extension Pony Club

Simone Pearce went to Bamawn Extension Pony Club.

Australia-wide, there are over 800 active clubs and more than 40,000 members, which makes Pony Club the largest equestrian organisation in Australia, a testament to its educational and instructional programs.

“What a great institution - so many happy children and wonderful memories for over eight decades! I fondly remember my Pony Club days in Holbrook, and I am very much looking forward to the next generation of Hoys joining Pony Club too,” says Tokyo team silver and individual bronze medallist Andrew Hoy.

Within the Olympics, there are three equestrian competitions: dressage, show-jumping and eventing. To become an Olympic equestrian involves a long road of dedication, a willingness to seek out sponsors, and a commitment to the sport that often feels more like a way of life. It takes an entire team to get one individual to these top competitions, including coaches, grooms and veterinarians. It also requires an enormous amount of money to get from your back paddock to the Olympic podium. However, knowing each rider began their long journey to success on the back of a horse at an Australian Pony Club will inspire a generation of future equestrians to follow in their footsteps.


Shane Rose & Edwina Tops Alexander - Avondale Pony Club

Shane Rose and Edwina Tops-Alexander went to Avondale Pony Club.

“The Pony Club community cheered on the Aussie Olympic team, who were an inspiration to our current members,” Dr Catherine Ainsworth added. And now, we look ahead to cheering on our wonderful Paralympians, who also all began their days riding at Pony Club!

Here is where our Olympians started:

Andrew Hoy - Holbrook Pony Club
Shane Rose - Forest Hills Pony Club, Avondale Pony Club and others.
Kevin McNab - when children across Australia watched
Stuart Tinney (reserve) - Calliope Hack and Pony Club


Mary Hanna - Nambour Pony Club
Simone Pearce - Bamawn Extension Pony Club
Kelly Lane - Tallebudgera Pony Club

Edwina Tops Alexander - Avondale Pony Club
(Note Katie Laurie grew up in NZ)


Sharon Jarvis - Capel Horse and Pony Club
Emma Booth - Upper Pakenham Pony Club
Amelia White - Orange pony Club
Victoria Davies - Shoalhaven Pony Club

Source: Supplied by Pony Club Australia





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