Showjump a jumping success

NOT only young riders like Rowena Barlow had to work hard as the Yeppoon Pony Club got under way at the weekend with the Yeppoon Open Showjump.

Sure, the riders were the ones in the middle of the action and they had also spent many hours preparing their horses, as they do all year, but as Paula Barlow, member of the club's organising committee indicated, there had been weeks of activity behind the scenes.

“We've had quite a lot of people painting the poles for the jumps,” she said.

The dedication of the volunteers was all worthwhile as the 30 competitors for the event all put on a great show over 160 jumping rounds.

The club has also been active in trying to hone the skills of their young riders by funding visits by former Olympian Ron Easey who is now in great demand around Australia for his coaching.

“He comes up once a month to coach showjumping,” Barlow said.

There was also a bonus for the club through this arrangement as Easey was in Yeppoon for a week designing and building the course.

However, it is the improvement in performance of competitors that is most pleasing as the work done by Easey brings rewards.

Barlow said her 11 year old daughter Rowena once had difficulties with even the smallest jumps.

“She was scared, but Ron has given her a lot of confidence,” she said.

Not only was Rowena on the winner's list at the weekend for both the 80cm AM7 and 90cm A1 events, she was continuing the form that earned her a gold medal at the State Titles at Blackall earlier this year.

Rowena was not an isolated success story as the Yeppoon Pony Club could lay claim to many medal winners at that event with Matilda Mills also claiming a gold, and Alexandra Barlow, Holly-Jo Pye and Dana Anderson silver.

Although not a member of the Yeppoon club, Nelson Smyth was another to attend the sessions from Ron Easey and he too earned a State gold.

Barlow said the success of the Yeppoon Open Showjump had prompted the club to look at future events.

“It is the first time we have run an open showjump for many years,” she said.

“We are now planning to run more next year.”

The next event at Yeppoon will be the “Gambler's Day” where each jump has points for the degree of difficulty and competitors choose which ones they wish to attempt.

Further afield and the program for competitors is beginning to intensify with the Zone 27 Showjump Championships at Gracemere, National Inter-school Championships at Victoria and the State Showjump Teams challenge at Caboolture all over the next six weeks.

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