Pony Club tetrathlon riders seeking loaner horses

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Animals needed for upcoming events, which take place next week

MILL SPRING — They have come to North Carolina from Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, Canada and across the U.S. to compete in a tetrathlon — but they need horses to ride.

Pony Club International Tetrathlon Exchange organizers are asking area horse owners to loan capable horses for the competition.

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Tetrathlon competitors will be riding next week at the Tryon International Equestrian Center and at Windridge Farms in Rutherford County. Windridge Farms owner  Alicia Henderson said riders need as many as 32 horses, both for the show jumping competition and the cross-country competition.

“Hunt horses, eventers or hunter/jumpers would all work well,” Henderson said. “We would love to have well-schooled horses that can do more, but we’re not looking for the perfect horse.”

Henderson, who served as Pony Club regional supervisor for North and South Carolina for 10 years and on the U.S. PC Board of Governors for six years, said the show jumpers need to be able to jump 3 feet, 3 inches. The cross-country is a beginner/novice 1,000-meter course, in which the horses need to be able to jump 2 feet, 7 inches.

There are 10 to 12 fences in each course, with no horse jumping more than two rounds in a day.

The competitors are teenagers who all hold a C3 Pony Club certification or above, which means they are competent riders capable of riding different horses and jumping 3 feet, 3 inches or more.

“These riders are tested on horses they are not familiar with, so they are used to riding different horses,” Henderson said. “The horses will be well cared for at TIEC and managed by Pony Club volunteers.”

In addition to the riding phase, the tetrathlon includes a 3,000-meter run, a 200-meter swim and an air pistol shooting competition.

The Pony Clubbers will experience various aspects of the area during the visit, including touring the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. The youngsters will also tour the North Carolina State Vet School, and work on a service project with the North Carolina Therapeutic Riding Center in Mebane, North Carolina.

Spectators are welcome at both horse events, and owners who loan their mounts will have the opportunity to ride the cross-country course before the competitors.

The cross-country event will take place from 9 a.m. until noon on Wednesday, July 25, at Windridge Farms, located at 882 Goodes Creek Church Road, Mooresboro. The show jumping will take place starting at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 27–28, at TIEC, 25 International Blvd., Mill Spring.

Anyone interested in loaning a horse may email Henderson at windridgefarmsnc@gmail.com or may call 828-595-3950.