School celebrates ride of a lifetime

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeThe West Australian
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Georgia Holland, 8, and Kaylee Goodall, 4, of Kojonup.
Camera IconGeorgia Holland, 8, and Kaylee Goodall, 4, of Kojonup. Credit: Countryman

Sixty years, thousands of students and plenty of smiles were celebrated at the recent 60-year anniversary of a country riding school.

Nestled between the Tone-Perup Nature Reserve and Albany Highway is the small locality of Mobrup. It’s home to farmers, a lot of bushland and the long-standing Mobrup Riding School.

Founded by the locality’s polocross club in the 1950s, the school has since hosted thousands of students from regional WA.

Jade Fowler, 11, of Albany, attended the Mobrup Riding School anniversary celebrations with her horse, “Bella”.
Camera IconJade Fowler, 11, of Albany, attended the Mobrup Riding School anniversary celebrations with her horse, “Bella”. Credit: Countryman, Cally Dupe

Sisters Dawn Norrish and Phyl Lucev have attended almost every year since the school’s inception.

Ms Lucev said the school was originally an extension of the now-separate Mobrup Polocross Club.

“Polocross started very early in the 1950s and there was a rodeo which went from 1953 to 1960,” Ms Lucev said.

“In 1957, our dad and other fellows decided to run a riding school. They just wanted people to have the opportunity to learn how to ride.”

Jaxon Russell, 4, of Denmark, Darcy Russell, 3, of Denmark, Aaron Holley, 7, of Waroona, and Brydie Sutcliff, 7, of Capel.
Camera IconJaxon Russell, 4, of Denmark, Darcy Russell, 3, of Denmark, Aaron Holley, 7, of Waroona, and Brydie Sutcliff, 7, of Capel. Credit: Countryman

Albany resident Jade Fowler, 11, was one of dozens of students at the school’s anniversary camp last month. She brought her white horse Bella along and was eager to improve her jumping.

“Bella is a very slow pony and at the start of the camp she was looking around wondering where we were,” she said.

“But we both love jumping. I’ve been riding since I was two and used to have a little pony.”

Boyup Brook sisters Samantha Waller, 8, and Brooke Waller, 6.
Camera IconBoyup Brook sisters Samantha Waller, 8, and Brooke Waller, 6. Credit: Countryman

While Mobrup Polocross Club recessed in 2002, before it was restarted in the mid-2000s, the school has soldiered on.

Ms Lucev said the location, 54km south-west of Kojonup, was a special retreat for many families.

“We teach basic horsemanship,” she said. “The little ones learn how to ride and we progress those horsemanship skills as they go on.

“This year we also had 26 adults attend the camp. A lot of people have a horse at home and aren’t good riders, so they enjoy the opportunity to learn.

“People bring young horses there for education, and once you have learned the finer art of riding, you can go off into any chosen, horse-related sport.”

While not confirmed, riding school organisers told Countryman the operation could be the “longest consecutively-running riding school in WA”.

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