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19 April, 2021

Pony club president still competing

MACKAY Local News caught up with the Mackay North Pony Club's president to gain some insight about her experience growing up around horse.

By Jacob Cumner

Sonya McLeod has been the club's president for the last three years.

She started at pony clubs when she was 10 years old, but had been riding previously.

“I have been riding since I was about 3 around my grandparents’ farm” she said.

The young woman started her riding career through pony club in Dysart and eventually moved on to that of Mackay north Pony club.

Sonya’s biggest influence came from Olympic Champion, Guy Creighton she remembers as a young girl being taught by him and watching how he use to ride and the fact she would often study his technique.

“To this day I am still privileged enough to receive lessons from him when he holds clinics here in Mackay “she said.

“I remember watching the 1984 Olympic show jumping on TV and I locked my brother outside so I could wait and watch Guy Creighton ride… I got in a bit of trouble when mum and dad go home but it was totally worth it,“she added.

One of her most Memorable achievements would have made any young horse ride so proud as she was selected to try out for the Junior Olympic Squad when I was 14 years old.

When asked about her favourite disciple to train in Sonya answer has been the same his her younger days of riding.

“Show jumping, I am still actively competing Show Jumping, dressage and low-level Cross Country,” she said.

The toughest question to answers came while asking about a division she really love to watch

I thoroughly enjoy watching both – the younger riders achieve their goals. The smiles on their faces makes it all so worth while. She said “the most experienced riders – are great to watch as they can make it look seamless and you can always learn something by watching them,” she added.

When asked what is it about the pony club she loved her answer again was simple and sweet that she loved every aspect about it.

“It has taught me so much about horses and myself. And now I have the opportunity to pass this knowledge, support and enjoyment onto our next generations, “she said.

“Being grassroots Pony Club teaches the foundation skills that can be carried over into any discipline” she said. “Pony club is great for everyone who loves horses, whether you like to ride, learn or compete,” she added.

In Sonya’s opinion teaching these skills is amazing people are so keen and love having fun.

“As a coach you have to understand that each person interrupts what you say in different ways and everyone goes at their own pace “she said.

“Most importantly you must make sure they are safe and from there their skills will grow.

Along with all the other little champions I’m very privileged to be able to be teaching my grandchildren ride to,” she said.

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