Jennifer McKeen, a member of the Oshawa Pony Club, will compete at the Canadian Pony Club National Show Jumping Championships in Cochrane, Alberta, near Calgary, this coming weekend, September 10-12. Ms McKeen, 18, qualified as the 2009 Central Ontario Regional Show Jumping Champion at the Novice level. She will be competing against young riders from every other part of Canada.
As with all other national Pony Club championships, entries will be riding horses loaned to them by members of the host Region, as it is impractical to ship horses across the country at this level of competition. The first day of the event, Friday September 10, will centre on horse try-outs, followed by a big treat for these young riders, a trip to Spruce Meadows that includes a tour of the facility plus passes to the Spruce Meadows Masters and the Evening of the Horse. Saturday includes both a flat ride component and gymnastic jumping, followed by a banquet with Olympian Sandra Donnelly as guest speaker. On Sunday the competition wraps up with medal rounds. Medal classes involve judgement of the riders' equitation skills, not the horse or pony, in two phases - with and without fences.
This is not Ms McKeen's first foray into Pony Club national competition. A versatile young rider, she was last year's Training Level Reserve Champion at the Canadian Pony Club National Dressage Championships.
Pony Club is an international organization to promote riding and horsemanship skills among young people. It is believed to be the largest equestrian organization world-wide, with more than 100,000 members. Show jumping is the most familiar of Pony Club's activities to most spectators, but there is also competition in dressage, mounted games, rallies (which include dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping, plus stable management competition), tetrathlon (which includes swimming, shooting, cross-country riding, stadium jumping and cross-country running by the riders) as well as academic competition in quiz format.
For more details e-mail Bob Inglis, Central Ontario Regional Communications Chair, or call him at 416-493-1223 (office) or 416-491-4230 (home).