Isabella Hughes, a dedicated member of the Hinton Wallalong Pony Club, NSW, recently graduated from the Pony Club Australia Leadership Certificate program. Designed for members aged 14 to 18, this program helps develop leadership skills and personal growth. It includes four main parts: skill development, community engagement, leadership growth, and reflection. It’s not just about horses; it also teaches important life skills.

Isabella’s journey through the program shows her dedication, enthusiasm, and growth.

Building New Skills: The Art of Showjumping

One of the most important skills Isabella learned was how to build a showjumping course. Guided by experts David Lawrence and Katie Stanley, she learned about the logistics of course construction. Isabella reflects, “I found it really interesting to learn the behind scenes of a course and how much logistics were required. This skill has allowed me to further understand showjumping and has helped me to become more aware of certain factors when I’m riding it, such as related lines and measuring the distance in between.”

With this new skill, Isabella can now build courses for her club’s rally and competition days. She can also teach others, improving the quality and frequency of showjumping at her club.

Volunteering and Innovation

Isabella’s commitment to her club goes beyond learning new skills. She volunteers by coaching, cleaning the club for rallies, helping in the canteen, and painting jumps. She has also led projects to help the Pony Club.

One project was creating a new handbook for Pony Club members. “I thought this was a good idea because not all people who join Pony Club are necessarily horsey,” Isabella explains. The booklet covers topics like how to join, what to bring for the first rally day, a brief history of Pony Club, horse care, and the various disciplines available. This booklet helps new members and serves as a guide for current members and a promotional tool for the club.

Isabella also checked her club against a Pony Club NSW safety checklist. “If you find that anything doesn’t then you can take action immediately to ensure that horses and riders don’t get hurt,” she says. This helps keep everyone safe.

Developing Personal Leadership Skills

The program also helped Isabella improve her personal leadership skills. She created a volunteer jobs list for rally days, considering what each person was comfortable with and their schedules. “I feel as though I became a lot more aware of other people’s time,” she notes. This experience has made her more considerate and effective in assigning tasks.

Embracing Growth and Learning

The Leadership Certificate Program has had a big impact on Isabella. She shares, “Being part of the Certificate has helped me to grow as an individual and as a learner. It has further developed my skills of communication, problem solving, and teamwork.” These skills have not only helped her at her Pony Club but also in her everyday life. Isabella has become a better listener and a thoughtful team member, ready to handle challenges.

Advice for Future Leaders

Isabella encourages other Pony Club members to join the Leadership Certificate Program. Her advice: “Begin your certificate work as soon as you join, so you can work on it little by little. Do something you really enjoy in your club and just enjoy the process.”

Looking Ahead

Isabella plans to keep using and improving the skills she gained from the Leadership Certificate Program. She wants to stay active in her Pony Club and seek more leadership opportunities at school or in sports. Her goal is to help others succeed and make sure their clubs or groups are the best they can be.

Isabella’s journey through the Pony Club Australia Leadership Certificate program demonstrates the incredible growth and positive impact young leaders can achieve. Her story highlights the importance of enthusiasm, commitment, and the willingness to learn and give back. As Isabella continues to apply her skills, she sets a powerful example for others to follow in her footsteps and make a difference in their own Pony Clubs.

To learn more about PCA’s Leadership Program, head to