North Dorrigo Pony Club’s Peyton Lee has had an exciting tetrathlon journey, demonstrating that anyone who sets their mind to something can achieve it if they are prepared to put in the work.

Over the Christmas period in 2020, Peyton saw a YouTube video of a tetrathlon competition featuring archery on horseback during the riding phase. At that time, she loved archery, so this caught her eye. From that moment, she knew it was something she wanted to try. Although she had never run, swam, or shot before, she was determined to give it a go.

In February, there was a tetrathlon training competition in Denman, and she set her sights on it. Over the summer, we practiced swimming in the river, thinking this competition would be a disaster since she couldn’t even swim 5 meters. Despite this, she persisted. The February training competition came and went; she finished last in everything but completed it and loved every second.

She came home more determined than ever. With running, swimming, and shooting practice, we saw improvements. The next event was a state competition in Merriwa in March 2021. Peyton was a natural shooter and quickly climbed the leaderboard with her shooting score, though running and swimming were still a struggle.

Shortly after this state event, we found a modern pentathlon group in Coffs Harbour that trained a group of kids 4-5 times a week. Modern pentathlon is slightly different from tetrathlon; it includes running, shooting, swimming, fencing, and riding as the last phase. Peyton joined this group, dedicated herself to the training sessions, and enjoyed every minute. Although the fitness required for running and swimming was challenging, she persisted and gradually became stronger and fitter.

Peyton continued this regimen throughout 2021, with three running sessions per week, two squad swimming sessions, two fencing days, and riding practice fitted in around it all. The next event came in November 2021, and her training paid off as she won the competition. She was thrilled.

In March 2022, we traveled to Denman for the state tetrathlon again. Peyton was tied for 1st place in her division with one other girl after the running, shooting, and swimming phases. Unfortunately, her trusty pony Milo let her down that weekend, resulting in her elimination during the jumping phase. This was very disappointing for her, but she recovered and immediately resumed training when we returned home.

The next event was the November 2022 Walcha Tetrathlon. This was her first tetrathlon on her new horse, Henry, and she secured victory again, backing up her win from the previous year.
The following year, the state tetrathlon took place in Narrabri. Despite this change of scenery, Peyton maintained her streak, achieving personal bests in all phases and taking the title again.

The latest tetrathlon Peyton participated in was the state competition at Denman. It was her first tetrathlon on Wilfy, her new horse. Wilfy is a bigger, stronger horse, so the jumping wasn’t an issue, but calming him down for the gate and slip rail halfway through the jumping phase was a challenge. Nonetheless, she performed under pressure and completed it within the time allowed. With high scores in all other phases, she claimed the championship once more.

Peyton works very hard in her day-to-day training, rarely taking a day off. When she does, she helps out with our business by riding client horses. In 2023, she earned a PCA Tetrathlon Bronze Standard Achievement Certificate. All these results show how training and hard work can pay off if you truly want something. Not everything will come easy, but if you set your mind to it, you can achieve it.
Between these pony club tetrathlons, Peyton has also represented Australia overseas and competed in modern pentathlon competitions in Melbourne several times.

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