Pony Club Association of NSW State Combined Championships: Respected figure warns parents push kids too hard | The head of the daily newspaper in the North



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Behind the immaculate outfits and the sharp precision, the great spectacle of the harmony between man and horse, hides the less glamorous face of non-competition of the equestrian. The hundreds of participants at the Pony Club Association of NSW State Combined Championships in Tamworth over the next eight days will have the privilege of witnessing the end result of all of this hard work – the countless hours it takes to reach this level and progress further. In many cases, as in other sports, parents act as coxswains to motivate their children. But one of the region’s most astute equestrian figures, Jude Alston, the Pony Club Association’s Chief Area Five instructor, has warned that the pressure parents are putting on children has reached alarming levels. “A lot of parents put a lot of pressure on kids to perform… I don’t agree with the concept that parents pump kids – you have to win because we spent all that money on your horse. and your equipment and so on, ”said the Scottish outspoken. Alston said pony clubs were not built on hyper competitiveness. But she believes society has evolved to make this behavior the norm. “Back when my kids were at the Pony Club, you used to take your pony out of the paddock and go have a fun day and come home. “And it didn’t matter if you didn’t have the most expensive horse or the most beautiful horse or the most expensive saddle. “The whole concept of the Pony Club has become very competitive. Despite his concerns, Alston said the sport instills discipline in children – the type needed to control a horse – and helps produce successful adults. “Because it’s sportsmanship, friendship, all kinds of things. These are the basics of the Pony Club,” she said. The State Combined Championships begin at AELEC on Saturday with showriding. Show jumping on Monday, dressage on Wednesday and show riding on Friday will follow. There are nearly 400 competitors. Zone five of 14 clubs consists of Tamworth, Bendemeer, Nundle, Kootingal, Quirindi, Gunnedah, Boggabri, Barraba, Manilla, Narrabri, Coonabarabran, Baradine, Currabubula and Wee Waa. Alston said it was exciting that the Combined State Championships were being held for the first time at AELEC and that she believed it would give local competitors an edge. But above all, she wants the riders to have fun. “It’s very competitive, but as long as they’re having fun,” she said. This is the second year that the Combined State Championships have been held. The Pony Club Association said: “This event format gives our 13,000 members the opportunity to participate in more state events than ever before, as well as bring together many members from across New South Wales to Tamworth for a fun, competitive and high quality event. . “

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