Theresa Park equestrian pioneer honoured with OAM

Honoured: Newly-minted OAM Joy Charlton with one of her beloved horses at her Theresa Park property. Picture: Chris Lane
Honoured: Newly-minted OAM Joy Charlton with one of her beloved horses at her Theresa Park property. Picture: Chris Lane

Australia equestrian sports would look very different if it wasn't for Joy Charlton.

The Theresa Park resident introduced judging accreditation into the Australian equestrian landscape after learning from some of the best in their field overseas.

It is this dedication to her sport that has seen the 83-year-old honoured with an Order of Australia medal (OAM) in this year's Australia Day Honours.

Ms Charlton said she was inspired by revered equestrian figure Franz Mairinger back in 1953, when he came to an Australian jumping school.

She said she was shown Super 8 vision of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, where Mr Mairinger taught, and knew equestrian sports was going to be her calling.

Ms Charlton's passion for equestrian took her all over the world - including the Spanish Riding School - and she was soon judging in the international arena.

"When I look back and think about all that I did in those days I have to ask myself, 'how did you do that'," she said. "But I just went and I did it. Horses have been my whole life.

"I'm very proud to have started off the accreditation in Australia."

Ms Charlton said it was "such an honour" to be recognised with an OAM.

"It's hard to believe," she said. "There are so many worthy people out there and to think people in my sport thought that what I have done was worthy makes me very proud."

This story Theresa Park equestrian pioneer honoured with OAM first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.