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Racing developing closer ties with pony clubs

11 August 2017, 6:37 p.m.

It won’t be just the top thoroughbreds who will be in action at Riccarton Park this weekend.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, in consultation and co-operation with New Zealand pony clubs, will also welcome pony clubbers and their horses to Riccarton.

Over the next two Sundays, members of the Christchurch and Springston Pony Clubs will bring their ponies to the Riccarton Park Racecourse for the “Ride to Time” Pony Clubs Training Day.

The programme is designed to train young riders to ride safely to set times over a given distance.

Riding instructors and jockey coaches will work side-by-side to teach fitness, strength, control balance, holding position, listening to instructions and safety. Competent riders will be given an opportunity to ride to time on the racetrack.

Former champion New Zealand jockey David Walsh will be joined by top jockey Samantha Wynne and apprentice jockey tutor Amy Johnson to mentor the young riders on and off the track. Pony club coordinator Trish Johnson, from the Springston Pony Club, will join the racing coaches to provide expert instruction to the riders.

The programme will educate the riders about racing and give them an awareness and ability to control how fast they are travelling at a safe and balanced rhythm and speed. This leads to safer riding and more accurate time keeping, as applied to trackwork and cross country eventing.

A second programme will be conducted at Wingatui on August 27 and September 10. Riders from the Taieri District Pony Club will participate in the programme. Local jockeys Jacob Lowry and Courtney Barnes will assist David Walsh and Otago Racing’s Noelle Supple on the coaching panel.

NZTR would like to acknowledge the great support of the Canterbury Jockey Club and the Otago Racing Club for allowing their tracks and facilities to be available for the programmess.