More than $3500 in funding will be returned to the funding pool for the next round of Gunnedah Shire Council's 356 Small Grants.
Gunnedah and District Pony Club was allocated $3,625 for show jumping equipment in the 2018/2019 round of the grants but wrote to council in March to ask if the funding could instead be used to purchase a motorised golf cart, citing difficulty in sourcing the original equipment.
In a letter dated March 14, club secretary Diana Hobden wrote that the type of equipment it sought was "very specific" and the club felt "more project planning is required to acquire the right equipment".
Ms Hobden went on to put forward the "Safe Rider Project" as an alternative, which would include the use of a golf cart as "a safety vehicle for rider, horse and volunteer-related incidents", and "cut down response times as it is fitted with first aid supplies for both humans and horses".
However, councillors voted against the request, instead resolving that the funds be distributed in the next round of the grants and for council to invite the pony club to apply for the golf cart when applications open.
Councillor Ann Luke, who sat on the grants committee, said the request was a "very difficult hurdle to approach" but if they didn't adhere to the program requirements "it might set a precedent".
"I would prefer to have the money go back into the funds for donating for the sports grants rather than change things because it's setting too much of a precedent because organisations have got to decide what they want and how much it is," she said.
Councillor Murray O'Keefe echoed councillor Luke's comments but added that council should invite the club to apply for the golf cart in the next round, saying the Safe Rider Project was "probably quite worthy" and "should be assessed on its own merits".