Over 200 pony club members took part in the tetrathlon championships at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire last week (21-23 August), no doubt inspired by the silver medal won by Samantha Murray at London 2012.
The pony club tetrathlon involves running, cross-country riding, shooting and swimming and is a great introduction to modern pentathlon, which is the Olympic event.
The Percy Hunt branch in Northumberland (area two), had a great show. Steph Courty won the open girls individual on a score of 4,392, which also helped secure the open girls team title, along with Lizzie Pettifer and sisters Suzanne and Rebecca Barwise-Munro, on a final score of 12,880 points.
Three Counties (area nine) also enjoyed great success over the two days, with three of their branches winning titles. Ledbury Hunt took the top slot in the intermediate girls team, with sister's Libby and Millie Walker, Alice Harper and Camilla Barnes finishing on a score of 12,238.
The boys were also on form, winning the open team and intermediate individual. It was the VWH branch, comprised of two sets of brothers – Rory and Paddy Gilling and Oliver and Greg Hall – who took the team event on a score of 12,482, while George Screuder from the Cotswold Vale Farmers won the individual with 4,460.
More individual honours went to Aylish Paisely who won the intermediate on a score of 4,332, and Oliver Christopher who finished on 4,457 to take the open. Both riders had made a big trip to be there – coming from the Eskdale Branch in Dumfriesshire, Scotland and the Pentyrch Branch in Wales respectively – but they certainly made it worth their while.
Alongside the competitors – as well as the enthusiastic pony club mums – were a number of ex-Olympic and world class pentathletes, acting as mentors over the course of the two day show.
The tetrathlon mentoring scheme was introduced at last year’s championships and aims to help young riders reach their full potential when competing. Kate Allenby MBE, Emily Bright, Neil Gibson and Andy Mackenzie were on hand offering advice on topics that included winning habits, and working with setbacks and nerves.
“We enjoyed at least twice the number of athletes taking up the mentoring during the championships this year”, said Kate Allenby. “Of the competitors we saw, each managed at least three of the topic cards we use for the scheme, so overall it was really pleasing.”