Rochester’s young horse and pony lovers are honing their riding skills thanks to the creation of a new safe soft fall sand arena at the Rochester and District Horse and Pony Club (RDHPC) thanks to a FGM Community Grant.
The riding club which is situated in a small rural community in Northern Victoria, has been in operation for 60 years and currently caters to a passionate group of junior members. These juniors are supported by a dedicated group of parents and carers, who volunteer their time and skills, to nurture a love of horse and pony riding in their community.
“Given the club’s high proportion of young members, we needed a dedicated area where riders can safely transition from lead riding to riding independently,” said Michelle Jones, Secretary of the RDHPC.
The arena has a thick layer of sand which, similar to walking in the soft dry sand at the beach, helps to slow down the horses and ponies while at the same time acting as a safer surface to fall on to, on the odd occasion that it does happen.
“The grant from Fosterville Gold Mine allowed us to create this arena, which would otherwise have taken a few years for us to fundraise towards,” explained Michelle.
Since completing the arena, the children have improved their riding skills and are more confident about progressing to independent riding.
“Everyone at the RDHPC would like to thank Fosterville Gold Mine for making this arena a reality for the club … it has without doubt lifted everyone’s spirits and brought smiles all around,” Michelle concluded.