Combined training sounds simple enough but is just what its name suggests, a competition over multiple discipline. Each of these disciplines puts emphasis on different aspects of riding. And, at Arcadia Pony Club, it is definitely more than just a dressage test and show jumping!
“We use our combined training competition each year as preparation for the Zone One Day Event (ODE), which is a very popular Zone event both within our Club and our neighboring Clubs in the Sydney area” says Leanne Davies, Senior Instructor, Arcadia Pony Club.
“As our pony club grounds don’t have a permanent cross country course, we use the showjumping phase of the combined training discipline to create more of a Derby course with some of the same technical challenges you could be faced with out on the cross country course.
This means adding in our portable x-country fences and spooky fences such as walls, straw bales, water trays, gates, tyres, barrels and pipes to the show jumping. Our riders then need to be accurate, to ride to time and also understand the technical nature of the jumps. This is all excellent practice for the Zone ODE” said Leanne.
“This year our course designer put in the ‘T’ jump which separated the accurate technical rider from the balance of the class”, said Leanne. “Overall, it was jumped well “ said Paul Cairns, Course Designer for the event, “and most riders gave it respect it deserved, executing flawlessly, such as Ryan Haste on Chief Bearhawk in B grade.”
“And, we also have a separate combined training competition for the led and ungraded riders. Instead of a jumping course they have an obstacle course where control and execution of various tasks such as bending through poles, trotting over trot poles, moving a flag or a mug are all part of the course. This builds confidence and control whilst they are having fun”, said Leanne.
The competition really paid off for the riders as practice for Zone ODE, said Leanne. Arcadia riders won Champion in every grade and in every age group they were entered in coming away with the Point Score prize for the top Club of the Zone for ODE.