By Bev Morrissey.
A team of New Zealand Pony Club riders will be making their way to Ireland to compete in the 2016 International Tetrathlon in July.
They will join selected teams from countries including Australia, Canada, England, Wales, USA and Northern Ireland to take part in a four phase competition which includes riding, shooting, running and swimming.
The trip is self-funded and the confirmed girls team is Stormy Harris (Te Kuiti and Districts), Stephanie Jasperse (Mosgiel), Claudia Hurley (Waitara), Caitlinn Perry (North Wairarapa), and Lisa Milliken (Wakatipu); the boys team consists of Jesse Mahony (Waitara). The coach of the team is Emma Milliken.
The team arrives in Dublin on July 20 where they will stay with host families until July 23. A highlight during their stay is the opportunity to participate in the Royal Dublin Horse Show.Riders will be provided with horses for the Tetrathlon competition with the first competition on July 24 and 25. This will be over a cross country course, a maximum height of one metre.
All teams will then move to near Tattersalls in Co Meath for the Irish Pony Club International Exchange competition run in conjunction with the National Tetrathlon Championship on July 30 to August 1. The tour officially ends on August 2.
Two of the riders selected are from the Waitara Pony Club in Taranaki: Jesse Mahony, (16) from Inglewood High school and Claudia Hurley (16) from Nga Tawa Diocesan School in Marton. Both Jesse and Claudia are keen eventers and have just stepped up to the 1.05 metre classes. Jesse also does track work with racehorses each morning before school, which will enable him to adapt easily to different mounts during the Tetrathlon competition.
Waitara Pony Club President/District Commisioner and Jesse’s mother, Mandy Mahony, says the preparation has meant a lot of hard work and dedication for the riders who expressed interest for selection.
“It’s awesome for our club to have two riders selected. It gives other riders something to aspire to and work toward in the future,” she says.
She says Jesse is very motivated and works extremely hard to achieve his goals. He aspires to be like three star eventer, Fraser King. Fraser’s mother Yvonne King has been an amazing support, often phoning to enquire about Jesse’s progress.
Due to the trip being self-funded, the Waitara Pony Club has held fundraising events to help Jesse and Claudia. They have also had generous support from the community by way of donated goods for raffles, spot prizes – including an autograph signed by Beauden Barrett.
What is a Tetrathlon?
A Tetrathlon is a sporting contest in which each participant competes in four events, typically riding, shooting, swimming, and running. A Pony Club Tetrathlon is very much like a modern Pentathlon, which you may have seen in the Olympics. It provides Members with a challenging competition requiring practical horsemanship, general athletic ability and a steady hand for shooting. Tetrathlon originated as a competition for boys however there are now competitions for girls and for different ages groups.