CORNER Inlet Pony Club members who are riding over solid fences will now be safer, thanks to a set of eight new protective vests.
Especially designed for equestrians, the adjustable vests help shield riders’ shoulders and torsos in the event of a fall while jumping or travelling at speed.
Corner Inlet president Tiffany Jones said a Pony Club Australia national gear rule has made wearing such body protectors mandatory for all Pony Club members training for or competing in cross-country events.
“Vests meeting the required BETA Level 3 standard are expensive, and Corner Inlet Pony Club is grateful to receive a grant from South Gippsland Shire Council, which was very kindly matched by Nikki Comber of South Gippsland Saddlery and Clothing,” she said.
“The generosity of both the Shire and Nikki has meant that the Pony Club hasn’t had the burden and the expense of purchasing the vests, which our members now have to wear every time they ride across country and over fixed obstacles.”
Tiffany said the Club chose vests in a range of different sizes to fit as many members as possible, from the smallest child through to a young grown-up.
“Our youngest members are six and seven years old and our oldest is in their mid-20s and about to go on to join an Adult Riding Club once they turn 25,” she said.
“We’ve got a good amount of members at the moment, which is great considering a lot of Pony Clubs are folding.
“Corner Inlet currently has 27 members, and it’s really good to see so many having fun and learning a lot at our rallies on the Pony Club’s grounds at the Bennison Recreation Reserve,” Tiffany said.
“The Club is growing, too, with three new members coming along at the start of the new financial year.
“Corner Inlet Pony Club meets once a month, on the second or the fourth Sunday of each month,” she said.
“Our calendar has a little bit of flexibility so we can fit in with school holidays and still have a monthly instructional rally.
“A rally always starts with a gear and safety check to make sure all equipment is compliant and that everything fits both the rider and their pony or horse properly.
“There are quite a number of activities at our rallies and they generally include flatwork and dressage, show-jumping, cross-country, and horse and pony husbandry.
“We like to keep everyone involved and happy, and our members also play mounted games, take part in sessions on theory and horsemanship, and enjoy going trail riding from time to time,” Tiffany said.
“New members are always welcome to join our Pony Club and we look forward to meeting more young riders and their horses, and their families, too!”
Corner Inlet Pony Club District Commissioner Annette Rerden expressed how much everyone at the Club appreciated the practical contributions given by the South Gippsland Shire and by South Gippsland Saddlery and Clothing.
“It really is marvellous being able to fit our members with our own set of proper body protectors,” she said.
“Thank you very much indeed to the Shire and to Nikki for providing us with this essential safety equipment.”
Nikki said she had been happy to help Corner Inlet Pony Club obtain the right type and quality of vests for its young riders to use.
“South Gippsland Saddlery and Clothing is proud to help the Pony Club in this way because so many local horse people support me, including the Club’s members and their families, so I’m glad to be able to support them,” she said.
“I reckon it’s a win-win situation!”
For more information about the Corner Inlet Pony Club and its activities, see the Club’s website at www.cornerinletponyclub.org.au