North Dorrigo Pony Club’s annual young equestrians' camp has seen its biggest turn out in years.
Seventy-five riders enrolled for the five-day intensive, an increase of 25 per cent on 2017.
Officials were ecstatic with one more statistic: 40 of the riders were aged under 11 years, at least one as young as three.
“Figures like this are very encouraging for us,” one official said.
“It means a continuing, perhaps growing, interest in everything to do with riding, horses and, yes, competition.
“For those of us who have spent much of our lives promoting the culture, traditions, discipline and enjoyment of horse riding, it’s a great boost.”
Riders came from across Northern NSW, South East Queensland and as far as Sydney to attend one of only two camps for young riders held in northern NSW.
Earlier this year North Dorrigo hosted the 2018 NSW State Pony Club Championships.
A few months later the club was judged to be the best in the state, beating nearly 300 others.
Officials agreed that the club’s 2018 achievements likely influenced the surprising increase in participant numbers.
North Dorrigo is a small club and its efforts to stage the annual camp and its hosting of the state championships are based on huge contributions by club members, supporters and visiting coaches.
Many coaches return to Dorrigo year after year for the hard slog of day-long instruction.