When the threat of bad weather caused the postponement of the 40th Hakaru Pony Club anniversary last September, it only served to increase enthusiasm for the event and allow organisers more time to catch up with old members and associates in the hope of making the day more memorable.
Celebration day on May 23 will consist of riding demonstrations and games by the kids, hopefully a display by some of the big contingent of adult riders, dinner at the RSA, a display of old photos, and a good time with old friends.
“I’ve had time to send out more emails, make more phone calls and been able to find some old members with whom we’d lost track, so we’re hoping for good weather and a big turnout,” says chief organiser Delwyn Lusty.
The clubs inaugural meeting in November 1974 is evidence of how all small clubs begin with the attendees, committee and officials generally made up of husband and wife groups promoting their own interests, getting their kids involved in true country style. Now, those young kids are returning as senior or adult riders and their grandkids are going through the same process. Horses tend to do that to you. Christine Bygrave, Judith Larsen and Kerry Underwood (Linton) are just three who have stood the test of time on behalf of the club.
The edict was always, and still is, about kids having fun on ponies, being safe and learning to take care of themselves and their animals. While its all about fun there are also those who take their riding very seriously, with experienced instructors and coaches such as Elaine Knox-Thompson, Robyn Ireland and Olympian Blyth Tait coming in on occasions to sharpen up several riders.
Over the years many have performed to the highest levels competing nationally at the Horse of the Year Show and other prominent fixtures both individually and in team events. Of those, Paula Bygrave made considerable progress in competing at the Pony Club Championships as a 16 and 17-year-old with her horse Espionage who later gained considerable kudos when sold to a Canadian and competed at the Olympic Games.
Memories of camps and treks at Oneriri and Ireland’s farm at Otioro Rd also brought lots of fun and will no doubt re-kindle lots of yarns.
A common bond of friends and horses has seen the club prosper over the years from its home at the Hakaru Domain where it has been fortunate to remain throughout its life, and though friends become fiercely competitive at event time they are all willing helpers for the cause.
n Hakaru Pony Club 40th anniversary celebration, Settlement Rd, Hakaru, Saturday May 23. Contact Delwyn Lusty for details, 431 2119 or email email@example.com.
EARLY DAYS: Hakaru Pony Club’s humble beginnings back in the 1970s.