The Godfather of Clyde Pony Club

In an era where it is often hard to get volunteers to help out at events, it is an inspiration to talk with people like Graham, who has given a large part of his life as a volunteer for the New Zealand Pony Club.

Graham Barkman at the Springston Trophy 2017

Graham Barkman has been involved in Pony Club for many, many years and a bit of rain at the Springston Trophy wasn’t putting him off following the Clyde Pony Club members.

Graham is a life member of New Zealand Pony Club Association, and has given more than 25 years to pony club in many ways. He has even been President of the New Zealand Pony Club for a few years!  He has also been a guardian of the Springston Trophy and is currently President of the Clyde Pony Club. He followed his team up to see how they went at the Springston Trophy and was given a special jacket by the team.

The Godfather of Clyde Pony Club – Graham Barkman

Graham was very impressed with Rakaia’s new cross country course which he had watched from the comfort of his car. “I had a prime position and followed John Stubbs around!”  John had been the course builder of the cross country when it was last held at Rakaia in 2004.  Graham was also impressed by the riding display. “The standard of riding surprised me. There’s such an improvement. The course was certainly built to make riders think.”

Graham moved to Alexandra, Central Otago six years ago from Dunedin after his wife Betty died. It it didn’t take him long to get involved in the Clyde Pony Club. He still does a bit of show jumping coaching and helps out with instructing whenever he is needed.  He turns 87 on his next birthday, and looks hardly a day over 75. When asked what his secret is, he quickly replied; “Chasing pony club kids around!”

Graham Barkman at Springston Trophy in Rakaia 2017

Graham’s great-granddaughter has just started riding – she is only 5, so there may be a few more years for Graham to chase pony club kids around.

The kids and parents at Clyde love having Graham involved. Michelle Harrex, the coach, is very grateful for the amount that Graham gives to the pony club. “He comes with us everywhere we go, he gives sound advice, he is a judge, he organises the South Island SJ Champs, he has helped rebuild our whole cross country.” In fact, the Club wouldn’t know what to do without him now.  “He is a big part of our branch, the kids love him, we love him. He is an inspiration!”

Well done Graham, and thank you for all the wonderful input you have had to the pony club movement. You certainly are an inspiration!

Thumbs up from the Clyde Pony Club for Graham!