Ligonier, PA — The Tri-State Region's Rolling Rock Hunt Pony Club in Ligonier, PA, hosted a training clinic for 36 pony club members on Feb. 17 for this coming summer's Tetrathlon/Modern Pentathlon competition to be held in Ligonier June 29-July 1.
The target shooting phase of the clinic took place in the local fire dept., where Willie Stettinius, a pony club dad and expert marksman from Maryland, and Ben Sacksen, an international United States Pony Club tetrathlete from Somerset, coached the tetrathletes on valuable skills to be competitive in target shooting with air pistols.
The fencing portion of our clinic was coached by Norm Flam, a nationally recognized fencing instructor, of Ligonier, along with his volunteers Abby and Phil. Most of the kids had never fenced before and were excited to try it. All of them had great fun and a few are now enrolled for regular lessons.
The swimming phase was coached by Leslie McConnell, a college All-American swimmer and long time swimming coach from Blairsville, and her two student assistants Rachel and Mackenzie. Debbie Payne, a swimming instructor at the YMCA, and Sophia Sacksen from Somerset worked with our youngest participants. Leslie had a wonderful approach in coaching the tetrathletes on techniques of starts, stroke & flip turns to further develop the kids for competitive racing.
Guy Berkebile from Somerset, our clinician for the running phase, focused on the importance of proper running form and technique, and led the runners through warm up & stretching exercises before taking all on a run through a Ligonier neighborhood.
We reviewed rules of a tetrathlon rally, and watched a video of a pentathlon competition.
Even though our horse trailers are frozen to the ground this time of year, winter proved to be a great time to hold this clinic to brush up on and learn new skills in the unmounted phases of training. We encourage all kids who plan to compete in the tetrathlon/pentathlon rally to continue training and even organize clinics similar to this one to promote an awareness and involvement in this very fun event.
We extend a huge thank you to Dr. and Mrs. Joachim Sacksen for organizing this wonderful and very beneficial clinic, and hope to see a huge turnout of pony club competitors this summer at the rally.