Young Armidale riders have been busy preparing for the biggest event on the Zone 13 calendar – the annual Jamboree – and are ready to make an impact on the competition.
Armidale Horse and Pony Club and Martin’s Gully Pony Club will be part of around 150 riders will make their way to the town on Friday for region’s championship event and prove their versatility in the saddle with 11 different events on offer from show riding through to campdrafting.
Armidale will have a full team of 20 under 17 riders and six 17 to 25-year-old associates and chief instructor Nat Meredith said hours and hours of hard work have gone into getting ready for the massive competition.
“The team have been working really hard in there preparation for the up coming weekend,” she said.
“Everything from campdrafting dressage show jumping to their team of fours and every thing else.
“The kids are really looking forward to competing for their club and having fun with friends.”
Clubs from Tenterfield in the northern part of the Zone through to the most southern club in Walcha will field teams for the annual event.
Zone 13 chief instructor Belinda Williamson said it is the pinnacle competition for the region with so many disciplines on offer over the three days.
“There is no other equestrian sport for the value for money that you can ride your horse in 10 or 11 different events,” she said.
“Starting on Friday with the jumping, by the time we finish on Sunday with the finals of the flag and the bend there will be well over 1500 runs or events completed.
“It is a culmination of our season, of our instruction, our learning, competition, it's our grand final.
“It is the best of the best, they have been selected by their clubs.
“They are going there to represent their club, to ride well for their club and to hopefully win the Jamboree.”
The tough team of four event is a highlight of Jamboree.
“The team of four events is a long-standing tradition in pony club and over the years teams of four have gone to Brisbane and Sydney,” Williamson said.
“It tests the control of your horse because not only do you have to get all your riding correct, you have to think of where three other people are.”
Points are tallied at the end of the weekend and the club with the highest number will secure the prestigious Sinclair Cup.
Glen Innes are the reigning champions but Guyra and Armidale have full teams this year and aim to upset them.
While the competition in the arena is fierce, a highlight for the riders in the social aspect out of the saddle.
“All the kids have a good time. Apart from the competition, it is a yearly get together for kids who across the Zone don't perhaps get to see each other until Jamboree. There is that great friendship and camaraderie at every Jamboree between the riders,” Williamson said.