THE Briagolong & District Pony Club are celebrating their “best ever” results at a state event, including a podium finish.

Two teams of six riders participated in the Flat & Musical Ride State Championships, held on Saturday, June 25 at Woodlands Pony Club, near Tullamarine.

‘Team O’ proved strongest on the day, placing second against 25 other teams – including some very experienced and competitive riders from across the state.

Their previous best result at the championships was eighth in 2019.

Their counterparts in ‘Team X’ – most of whom were competing at a state level for the first time – also rode strongly, coming a respectable mid-field in placings.

Team X also put in a strong performance at the championships.

“We were so happy with our riders due to the strong competition, and most of the top four placings are against combinations that regularly compete at state and national level,” club president Susan Noble said.

“I’d expect they would have been very surprised that a ‘bush/country’ club would do so well.

“Our riders were practising in our dairy paddocks, not perfectly manicured arenas!”

As part of the championships, riders compete on horseback in eight different events which range from passing items such as batons, milk bottles and a skinny five-foot pole, to placing items onto drums, on top of poles and into small buckets.

The teams and their sequence of riders are carefully chosen, matching the horses best-suited to pass items to each other at speed.

Both teams qualified for the state championships after their success at the East Gippsland Zone event, which saw Team O emerge undefeated and Team X achieve third place.

Their riders range between the ages of nine and 23, and currently practice after school and on weekends.

The Briagolong & District Pony Club will compete in horse trials and showjumping events for the remainder of the year, before turning its attention to the 2023 State Championships.