Deniliquin's George Hare celebrated his 90th birthday and 50 years with the Deniliquin Pony Club with a ride on Sunday.
Local identity George Hare’s 50 years of involvement with the Deniliquin Pony Club was marked with a special celebration on Sunday morning.
Gathering at the local club, family members and current Pony Club riders also helped Mr Hare celebrate his 90th birthday.
And what better way to celebrate than by getting back in the saddle?
Mr Hare, who hadn’t ridden since a bad fall six years ago, led a large group from the Pony Club grounds down through the club’s cross country course and along the Edward River.
Before heading off on the ride, Mr Hare reflected on his time with the Deniliquin Pony Club.
‘‘I’ve enjoyed these 50 years very much,’’ he said.
‘‘When you look ahead, 50 years looks so far away, but when you look back you wonder where the time has gone?
‘‘We’ve always had a good club here, and of course the instructors have been the backbone.
‘‘It’s very satisfying to see a young child who is nervous and short of confidence improve their riding.’’
Mr Hare, a life member with the Pony Club, has been around horses his entire life.
‘‘I’ve done polocrosse, showjumping, horse breaking and even rode in the odd bush picnic,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ve always been told that when I was just one year-old I fell off a horse and landed on my head .
Mr Hare has been involved with Deniliquin Pony Club since 1962, when his children joined.
He has been district commissioner, president and chief jumping and horsemanship instructor for the club for many years.
At regional level, he was Northern Zone president as well as a zone representative.
Mr Hare was also the instigator and developer of the showjumping grading system which the Pony Club Association of Victoria (PCAV) uses today.
This system commenced in 1966 and allows the grading of members by assessing the ability of the rider and horse as a combination into A, B, C and D grades rather than being grouped by age and horse size.
Mr Hare was also an accomplished rider in his time. He was well known in the showjumping circles and rode for Victoria many times in inter-state and inter-dominion contests.
His first victory was at the Sydney Royal Show in 1956 when he represented the NSW team. The prestigious feat was repeated three times in later years.
With several of his children and grandchildren being accomplished riders, Mr Hare’s legacy continues.
In 2009 a book telling Mr Hare’s life story was written and published by Deniliquin author Garry Baker.
Copies of the book, A Rough Ride - George Hare’s Story, are available from the Deniliquin Newsagency and Bookstore, the Pastoral Times and Peppin Heritage Centre.
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