St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar has a proud history in the sport of equestrian with riders representing the School at both State and National levels.
St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar fosters the talents of young horse riders which include a variety of Equestrian Team events run through the Inter-School Sports Program and the Annual St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar Inter-school Equestrian Event. The School has seen great success over the years the students and their horses representing the School in teams as well as being recognised as individual riders in their own right. All events and activities are open to students throughout the Junior and Senior schools.
The School has seen great success over the years with students representing the School in teams as well as achieving individual recognition.
St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar is steeped in equestrian history which closely follows the establishment of the school at its current site in Berwick in 1930.
In 1931, Lord and Lady Somers visited Berwick and were escorted by 22 girls on their horses up the driveway of the school. It was then that Lady Somers suggested that the girls form a mounted Guide Company similar to that in Canada. In 1931, St Margaret’s registered the first Australian mounted Guide Company.
At this time, the girls who boarded at St Margaret’s owned horses, and the day girls rode to school up until the 1960’s. During the 30’s and 40’s, St Margaret’s School owned a horse, ‘Brownie’ and a cart which was named ‘Spirit of Progress’. In the early 1950’s, St Margaret’s School principal Elizabeth Woodyatt, asked Beth Sewell the sports mistress, to form the ‘St Margaret’s Pony Club’. The club was open to not only St Margaret’s Students but to all those in the Berwick area and was such a success that the school club and became the larger became the Berwick Pony Club which the St Margaret’s School students always participated in as well as competing in the local show.
During the late 1990’s, the Interschool Equestrian program across Victoria grew immensely and St Margaret’s School students participated in these competitions as talented and well-rounded horsewomen. An annual Victorian Interschool Equestrian event conducted by the Victorian Equestrian Centre in Upper Beaconsfield saw multiple teams from St Margaret’s involved each year and achieve great success, including champions on several occasions and runners up several times. The popularity of such team events was recognised and many more opportunities to compete came about, including the Interschool Horse trials conducted by Tintern for the first time in 2001, of which St Margaret’s has been successful on an individual level and placed well in the team’s event.
2000 saw the Olympics come to Australia and with that came the Olympic torch relay through Berwick and to the home of Edwin Flack. St Margaret’s were asked to be involved and with the School’s rich history of Equestrian and Berwick Village being known as the area with the highest population of horses per capita, the School came up with a unique idea. Two of our riders escorted the flame up the main street all the way to Berwick Secondary College where it was then given a guard of honour by the remaining members of our team.
Today the Victorian Interschool State Championships are conducted by Equestrian Victoria and held at the National Equestrian Centre in Werribee, with over 1000 entrants each year. St Margaret’s has won this competition and placed on several occasions.
The school has conducted its own Interschool event for many years. It has evolved over time from a Gymkhana, a horse show to what is today our Annual St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar Showjumping Championship, a highlight for not only our school riders but many from the surrounding schools.
The outstanding success the riders of St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar have achieved over the years would not have been possible if not for the tireless efforts of the families that work with the school to support these riders in their passion, dreams and love of horses.