Pony Club NSW presented Terry and Mark Hart with a Volunteer of the Year Award at an informal dinner on Saturday night.
Held at the Zone 27 Regional Campdraft School, the Pony Club NSW Volunteer of the Year Award was for their many years of service and support to the Pony Club organisation locally, within Zone 27 and to NSW Pony Club more widely.
Zone 27 encompasses Braidwood, Goulburn, Marulan, Taralga, Crookwell, Breadalbane and Gunning Pony Clubs.
Mark Hart said he became involved in Pony Club when his eldest children started riding, and has remained active in the organisation ever since. His youngest, Jack, now 19, is still involved but Mark shows no sign of giving up.
The Campdraft School was held at the Braidwood Showgrounds over both days of the weekend, for young riders aged 10 and over under the guidance of Chrissie French, former champion lady rider in the Southern Campdrafting Association.
Eighteen young riders participated in the riding and campdrafting clinic on the Saturday and then action with the cattle on Sunday. Terry Hart provided the cattle, and Mark explained that with the drought and consequent destocking on many local properties, it is getting difficult to source cattle for these events. “You can only use each beast once at these events, and not more than once in a 12 month period”, he said.
Secretary of the Braidwood Pony Club, Judy Coe, said that the weekend campdrafting school was a great opportunity to thank the Harts for all the effort and time they have put in over the years in assisting, organising and running competitions and schools.
Ms Coe became involved in the local Pony Club when her granddaughter began riding. “It’s a great sport for kids”, adding, “you don’t see too many iPads and phones here”.
Mark Hart said that for young people, getting involved in riding is more than just a sport, it’s a commitment.
“A horse isn’t like a bicycle that you can put in the shed when you’re not using it,” he said. “A horse needs to be fed, groomed, exercised and cared for every day. It’s good for kids to learn that commitment.”
For the 18 young riders participating in the weekend event there didn’t seem to be any doubt about their commitment. Ranging in age from 10 to 19, the participants took to the arena with enthusiasm on Sunday to test the campdrafting skills they’d learned on Saturday.
The next event for the Braidwood Pony Club will be its annual gymkhana, on Sunday September 23 at the Showground with spectators welcome to attend.