Let’s meet Charlotte Wright, an active member of the North Dorrigo Horse and Pony Club in NSW. Charlotte’s journey through the Pony Club Australia (PCA) Leadership Certificate Program has been a rewarding experience, offering growth and new opportunities. Tailored for Pony Club members aged 14 to 18, this program aims to nurture leadership skills and personal development.

Charlotte, 16, reflects, “The Leadership Certificate Program took me to a place where I was not comfortable at all. I wanted to walk away from it many times. But being out of your comfort zone occasionally is a good thing, I’ve decided. You realise you can succeed in a variety of situations and lead at tasks you never thought you would.”

The Modules of the PCA Leadership Certificate Program

The PCA Leadership Certificate program consists of four main components: skill development, community engagement, leadership growth, and reflection. It’s not just about horses; it also focuses on teaching essential life skills.

“In the skill development module, I chose to become a certified gear checker,” says Charlotte. “The process I was taught to follow works really well so you’re less likely to miss anything. I also spend time chatting with the new riders and those who haven’t been riding for long. I try to encourage and support them when needed and try to answer any questions they may have.”

Connecting Rider Fitness with Horse Performance

Charlotte also learned about the relationship between a rider’s fitness and a horse’s performance. After an accident with her horse Radar, she realised that her knee injury was affecting her communication with him. By doing exercises to strengthen her leg, she not only improved her own abilities but also shared her insights with others in her club.

Reflecting On Progress Made

Completing the Leadership Certificate program in May was a significant milestone for Charlotte. “When I saw the advertisement for the Leadership Certificate, I thought, ‘it’s not for me,” she recalls. “But I was encouraged by my family and my beautiful friend Brydi (who also participated in the program). I found the more I stepped out of my comfort zone, the easier it became. It led to a boost in my self-confidence and… I look forward to taking on more responsibility on rally days.”

Advice for Others Considering the Leadership Certificate Program

Offering guidance to those considering nominating for the program, Charlotte encourages them to take the leap. “If you’re looking to better yourself, take that step out of your comfort zone or get a healthy break from your devices, I encourage you to nominate. You won’t regret it,” she says.

“You will learn a lot about yourself and your inner strengths that you didn’t think were there. Yes, it’s hard work and at times you will feel like walking away, but continuing and pushing through will be your biggest achievement and at the end you will be proud that you did. A mentor will take the journey with you, so there is support so you can succeed. Having new skills, some come with certificates so it will look great on your future resume too.”

Looking Ahead to the Future

As Charlotte looks ahead, she plans to apply the skills gained through the program in her academic pursuits and equestrian activities. “I’ve since left High School and now studying Education Base Support at TAFE,” she says. “I have weekly placement in the classroom, where I’m expected to show leadership through teaching a small group of children.

Having gained more self-confidence through PCA Leadership Certificate Program, I feel OK with stepping out and taking on the responsibility of leading. I’m sure my leadership skills will continue to grow as I take steps to challenge myself through my working life and my love for Pony Club and all things horsey.”


Nominations for the 2024/25 Leadership Program open in June. Stay tuned to our social channels for updates. For further details about the program, visit https://ponyclubaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/PCA-LEADERSHIP-CERTIFICATE-BROCHURE.pdf.