Hastings riders have discovered a creative solution to social distancing guidelines as the Port Macquarie Pony Club competes in a virtual showjumping challenge against riders across NSW.
The Riders Cup is scheduled to run from October 3 to 11 after Pony Club NSW cancelled the remaining State Championships for 2020 due to social-distancing guidelines.
The Port Macquarie event will take place on October 4 with different events being filmed and sent in for official judging, before all scores are collated to form a state wide point score.
Port Macquarie Pony Club president Maxine Abi-Saab said innovation is the way forward as riders continue to compete from their home clubs.
"The club had to shutdown for a while and because of the COVID-19 guidelines and nobody could work out how we were going to do anything for the year," Mrs Abi-Saab said.
"As we progressed the State Pony Club were very supportive and came up with these innovative ways of actually still competing.
"They have come up with this state event where everyone will do the same jump course and all the results will be collated. Telegraph Point Pony Club are helping us host it here and Hastings District Pony Club are also helping host it.
"It will be a showjumping event and the riders will be able to compete at the level they have been safely graded at. We are also looking at doing a fun event with a rescue relay, in which there are two riders completing a team jump course.
"There may also be a six-bar, which involves riders jumping six jumps in a row and each round the jump gets higher and higher."
Mrs Abi-Saab said the sport has become quite creative, similar to how most industries are adapting to continue doing business this year.
"We are allowed to have 50 riders with the four-by-four metre rule. Those 50 riders can come from anywhere in the zone nine region where we compete. We will have riders from Camden Haven, Wingham and all over the area," she said.
"It will be a pre-register system through MyPonyClub online and then they just turn up on the day. There will be ribbons given out on the day and I would imagine the overall state winners of the event would be announced by December."
The Port Macquarie Pony Club was established in the 1960s and has been situated behind the Hibbard Sports fields since 1979. The club is one of 18 clubs in the zone nine region and caters for all levels of riders from beginner to advanced.
"While horse riding is a great exercise, there is a real benefit of the connection with the animal and the peace of mind that comes with every ride," said Mrs Abi-Saab.
"If your child shows an interest in horse riding, encourage them and keep in mind that they will learn important life lessons, experience a boost in confidence, improve social skills and develop a great sense of responsibility by being around these amazing animals."