An Interview with MPQ President, Cathy McCarthy

Cathy McCarthy is an enthusiastic member of both Modern Pentathlon Qld and Pony Club Association of Qld. Having been a member of Modern Pentathlon for a couple of years, she opens up about her experiences and reasoning for her enthusiasm for these two sporting bodies.

Cathy has been keeping up her own training in preparation for pentathlon competitions which are on the 2016 calendar between now and Christmas. Cathy, who is campaigning two horses this year, is enjoying particular success with her big chestnut gelding, Mr Bundaberg.  Competing in both the dressage and combined training rings, she has enjoyed not only the competition but also the camaraderie that comes from these two communities.

“I am aware of the benefit the Pony Club system has in the training of our horses, providing a safe, structured and supportive environment to both learn, compete, and have an avenue to representation at a higher level”.

Pony Club Qld is actively involved with Modern Pentathlon Qld this year to increase the profile of Pony club Tetrathlon.  It is a fabulous event whereby pony club members can compete in the four phases of swimming, running, shooting and jumping. Each section is allocated points from their performance, with the winner being the highest number of points at the end of the competition.

“Having the opportunity to compete regularly in pony club events has allowed me to prepare well for these pony club tetrathlon and pentathlon competitions.  Whilst I am a senior (ineligible for pony club representation), for the younger athletes there is a pathway to qualify for state teams in tetrathlon and represent Australia in other countries such as the United States and England.  The tetrathlon is in many countries around the world. In addition, athletes may also compete in modern Pentathlon, which includes fencing, and is an Olympic event and rapidly gaining further popularity again around the world.  From pony club tetrathlon, there is an avenue to become an Olympian!  I think that is fantastic!!”

Cathy, who has come from a background of having been an all-round athlete when younger, sees the enormous benefit of pony club tetrathlon. “There are riders who do not want to specialize in one type of horsemanship, and have the skills as an all-round athlete.  At school they might be runners or swimmers.  It allows them to be competitive in another area of competitive horsemanship that others might not be as strong. In a community where we are trying to emphasise healthy choices, positive body image and health and wellbeing, these types of activities provide for all of this”.

Through Modern Pentathlon Qld, there are several events in 2016 worth putting on the calendar. On July 31st there is the Winter Highlight competition. September the 10th will be the date for the State Modern pentathlon Championships, both being held in Brisbane.  The Far north Queensland championships are planned to be held in Townsville on October the 29th and 30th and the fabulous Brisbane Twilight Meet is held on December 11th this year. Within each of these competitions there is also a pony club tetrathlon event, which can be used as qualifiers for selection to the Queensland pony club team for Nationals 2017.

“To explain the tetrathlon briefly, the swim phase is measured by how far you can swim in 4 minutes, the run is 1500m, the shoot is about the best score you can get of a set number of shooting attempts, and the jumping is set over a showjump course, a derby course or a combination between and includes some obstacles along the way, for example, having to find your way through a gate. It is an exciting competition, and of course, the younger the child, the distances and expectations are less.  In this way, competitors can be as young as 5 years old or as old as… well… any age!”

In addition, the competition day also allows athletes to place in individual events. For example, there are places awarded for swimming in each of the age groups, also for the best performances in running and so on.  So some athletes just come and enter in on one or several events. Interestingly, having seen the other events, competitors usually comment how they feel they would like to have a go at another phase once they had seen it in action.  It always makes for a great day.

“I can’t encourage families enough to get involved and have a go at these events.  It is friendly, supportive, safe and different. You don’t have to be a super athlete…My running is certainly not what it used to be… I call it the McCarthy shuffle! But it still is a great encourager for me to try and be a little fitter than what I was last week! The pistols are pulse lasers and are heaps of fun to use. The targets light up when they score a hit and everybody enjoys having a go. Please put the dates on your calendars and come and have a look.  We welcome everybody, of all ages, and look forward to seeing you there!”


Dates 2016

July 31                                   Winter Highlight Pentathlon competition. Brisbane

September 10                   State Modern Pentathlon Championships. Brisbane.

October 29/30                   Far north Qld Championships. Townsville.

December 11                     Brisbane Twilight Pentathlon. Brisbane.


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