Greenville – The United States Pony Club will host young riders from around the world for 10 days of riding competitions and cultural exchanges during the 2017 Inter-Pacific Exchange. Teams arrive in Greenville on June 28 with competitions taking place around the region.
Competitions will be held Friday, June 30 at Riverbend Equestrian Park in Greenville from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m; Sunday, July 2 at Windridge Farms in Mooresboro, NC from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Sunday, July 9 at Foothills Equestrian Nature Center in Tryon, NC from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.
The Inter-Pacific Exchange is a competitive and cultural exchange for Pony Club members who have attained their “B” rating and the age of 17. Participants are drawn from countries who border the Pacific Rim: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong/China, Japan, New Zealand, the United States, and, on occasion, Great Britain where the Pony Club began in 1929.
Members of participating teams must be active members in their local Pony Club branches, be between the ages of 17 and 25 and submit a video showing their riding abilities on the flat and over fences.
“While there is a riding competition that is part of the exchange, the main focus is to establish international friendships based on shared ideas and interests,” says Janna Ritacco, Inter-Pacific Exchange organizer and Greenville Foothills Pony Club coach.
The feature competition of the exchange is the Nations’ Show Jumping Competition involving teams of four riders from each of the nations. Additionally, there is a One Day Event (Horse Trials) for teams of four riders, which are formed by taking one rider from each participating nation to make “scrambled” teams.
Riders may not rider their own horses and the Exchange is borrowing about 60 horses from the horse community of the Carolinas.
U.S. Team members are Sarah Beth Hood, 20, of Athens, Ga.; Lizzie Massa, 19, of Lexington, Ky.; Samantha Messamer, 20, of Piedmont, SC; and Kiersti Wylie, 24, of Fallbrook, Calif. Team coach is Susan Thomas, of Athens, Georgia, and team chaperone is Alicia Henderson, of Hendersonville, NC.
For more information contact: Janna Ritacco, 864-238-1214 or Kara Paulk, media volunteer, 662-292-0181.