Latest Update: 27th March 8pm
Please note: advice continues to change so questions and answers are updated regularly
Thank you to all our members, families and volunteers for their continued support and understanding in these challenging times. After the announcement from the Prime Minister last night we are all aware of the need to stay at home and keep ourselves and others safe. Our Branches and Centres are full of ideas for home activities to keep you in touch and busy but more ideas are always welcome. Please share social media posts with the hashtags #PonyClubCarryOn and #PonyClubTogether so that we can all see what fun things are happening around the country.
As well as looking after each other, we all want to look after our horses and ponies. We have added to our previous advice the latest update from the British Equestrian Federation (“BEF” - our parent body, which includes the Olympic Equestrian Sports, RDA, BHS and World Horse Welfare as members). The information includes useful advice on managing the care of horses, whether at a yard or home and further notes on riding, veterinary and farrier care. To view the full document, please click here: https://bef.co.uk
Statement from the BEF;
The British Equestrian Federation urges all members of the equestrian community to strictly adhere to the Government’s directive to stay at home unless it’s absolutely necessary to travel. The welfare of horses, and other livestock, is still essential, making your travel as an employee, owner or volunteer to provide care valid under the current guidance. Please keep your own health and safety in mind, as well as that of everyone around you.
Summary of the BEF information headings:
• Guidance for looking after horses at a shared yard
- Practising good hygiene and other tips for going to the yard, at the yard, leaving the yard and arriving home
• Prepare for self-isolation
- make a plan for someone to care for your horse if you are ill or unable to get to them,
- There is currently no Government guidance that we are aware of to stop riding, it is down to an individual decision if this necessary. It is sensible to avoid activities with an increased risk of injury and be mindful of other people if you must hack out. Unnecessary travel is to be avoided, including lessons or training and transporting your horse for anything other than emergency care.
• Equine professionals
- Please contact your own vet for their current policy on essential visits, which may include booster vaccinations.
- Farriers are permitted to work, please contact yours for advice if needed.
Horse Feed and Bedding
Advice from the BEF:
We have all been asked not to panic buy household food and items. The same applies to our horses. Feed merchants and bedding suppliers hold plenty of stock and there is no need to stockpile excess amounts.
Shopping for animal feed and supplies is classed as essential activity.
Help and Advice
Horse and Pony Welfare
We are working very closely with our partner organisations to promote the best animal welfare in these challenging times. Please ensure you make a contingency plan for looking after your animals if you fall ill or are unable to get to the stables / field. The RDA has produced some useful advice in association with World Horse Welfare and they are happy for us to share these practical and useful tips; https://www.myrda.org.uk/assets/CORONAVIRUS-EMERGENCY-PLANNING-FOR-EQUINES-March-2020-V1-PDF-1.pdf
Please follow this link for useful financial advice from the government: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses
The Sport and Recreation Alliance has confirmed that equestrian centres are classed as leisure and therefore are eligible for business rates holiday 2020/21 as well as the wider package of measures for government support https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses
Your questions answered
Please note: advice continues to change so questions and answers are updated regularly.
What happens if my disclosure check expires during this period of self-isolation?
Coaches and officials will need to keep disclosures up to date. Please contact your branch or centre to help with this as they hold the login details.
· DBS: You can renew your DBS check through the online portal offered by Disclosure Services.
· Access NI: You can renew your ANI check through the online portal.
· PVG: We will continue to process PVG application forms on a regular basis. However please allow extra time for these to be processed due to the additional restrictions currently in place.
What happens if my safeguarding expires during this period?
All face to face safeguarding courses have been cancelled until further notice. We will continue to monitor this over the coming weeks. Whilst face to face courses are postponed, coaches will be able to update their safeguarding online. You can enrol for the online courses – (http://events.pcuk.org/online-safeguarding-and-child-protection-equestrian-workshop)
What happens if my first aid qualification expires during this period?
When activities resume, a qualified first-aider must be present. Should an individual coach’s qualification expire during the current period, they will still able to coach, provided there is someone with an up-to-date qualification present. They must renew their first aid training within three months after activities resume.
What happens if my CPD expires during this period?
We will be providing an extension to your CPD during the COVID-19 period. This extension will give you an initial three months to update your CPD. The situation will be reviewed regularly in light of any new information we receive.
Have all Pony Club activities stopped?
Following the directive from the government to stay at home, all Pony Club Activities involving getting together mounted or unmounted are stopped. We are promoting the health and welfare of our members, their families and our volunteers. Branches and Centres are sharing many innovative ideas such as online learning, quizzes and competitions.
Is my Pony Club insurance affected by Covid-19?
The Pony Club members third party insurance is still in place and will cover all our members (including branch, centre and centre plus members) for their use or ownership of a horse or pony, in exactly the same way as normal.
Where can I find further information about the virus?
The Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage is frequently updated as things develop, so please check it regularly at www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Over the coming weeks we will be doing our best to help keep members active and engaged, whilst they remain safe and within government guidelines. This is an opportunity to come up with ideas for how we can develop The Pony Club community.
Watch this space for local forums where ideas for safe activities will be shared.
21st March 1pm
The Pony Club Shared Resources
Staff have been working really hard to create the peer sharing platform “The Pony Club Shared Resources”. We are using Google Drive to save and share ideas and resources. All branches and Area Reps have an existing Google-based email which will give them access to the suite of Google apps. Centres and coaches will need a Google account to access this drive and we will be working over the next few days to develop the permission to allow access. In the meantime, we would ask that people support each other and share their expertise and develop our community resource. Go to https://drive.google.com and log in with the branch email and click the “Shared Drives” tab.
We plan to share these alternative activities across social media, so please do take photos and post with the hashtag #PonyClubCarryOn so that we can share nationally some of the great ideas and fun you are all having.
There are many solutions for face-to-face online contact which will be useful for meetings, discussions and also sharing live activities. We are using Microsoft Teams for our staff and national committee meetings, we also recommend Google Hangouts as a useful tool. Online Tutorials are easily available.
We are working with partners to set up and deliver online competitions.
The Pony Club and Dressage Anywhere have teamed up to offer a special Online Dressage Championships for all Pony Club members. Dressage Anywhere is a great way to compete online from anywhere, without having to leave your yard. Simply register for free, choose a class to enter, then ride and film your dressage test and upload it for judging. You’ll receive a link to download your score sheet and be in the running for rosettes!
This year each monthly competition from April 2020 to July 2020 will be a qualifying round towards The Pony Club Online Dressage Championships 2020. There are classes from Walk & Trot all the way up to Open level. All you need are two scores at 60% or above to qualify! Go to www.dressageanywhere.com to get started.
Horse Events are promoting three separate competitions; a Virtual Team Challenge, Virtual Dressage, and Virtual Jumping with Style. All have classes and prizes for Pony Club teams and members. Find out more on https://www.horse-events.co.uk/events/virtual/
With more of us having to stay at home and keep physically away from others, it is important to keep in contact and enjoy activities within the government guidelines.
Please continue to keep yourself and your friends and family safe.
18th March 7pm
Today we have been investigating options to facilitate the use of a peer-sharing platform. This will enable our Pony Club community to share your creative and innovative ideas and resources for enjoying Pony Club activities within the government guidelines of restricted social contact and travel. We will set it up, initially as a pilot, and provide basic user guides to be a self-running and self-supporting tool. We will be releasing details in the next few days. We are also exploring the use of an online learning platform to support test and badge preparation, online horse and pony care etc.
I would like to apologise to members for not receiving the initial communications directly by email. The information went on the website and Facebook and was emailed to branches and centres. I have included the last two communications below and we will ensure members are included in all future emails.
Everyone is pulling together. I would like to paraphrase the words of the World Board Chair of Guides, Ana Maria Mideros “We face difficulties with optimism. We are resourceful. We are creative. As a global youth movement, we are building a generation of responsible and resilient citizens.”
17th March 7pm
Thank you for your support and understanding of the need for The Pony Club to comply with government advice to safeguard our members, families, staff and volunteers.
We are planning to provide regular updates as the situation changes. This page will hold information and provide you with the latest advice, together with FAQs.
In the short term, lots of centres and branches are exploring activities that can still be undertaken whilst following government guidance, such as online learning, video dressage competitions and bringing The Manual of Horsemanship to life with video how-to’s and quizzes. There are many creative and innovative ideas being shared. Our Training Committee is meeting next week and will be looking at practical tips and ideas from across our Pony Club community and how these can be shared.
If you missed last night’s announcement, here it is:
Covid-19 Statement 16th March 7:30pm
The Pony Club Board of Trustees has been in discussion today and has made the very difficult decision to cancel all centrally organised events.
This includes the Winter Triathlon at Stoke Mandeville on Sunday 22nd March and The Winter Series Final at Arena UK 4th / 5th April.
Following The Prime Minister’s announcement this evening, requesting that we minimise social contact and non-essential travel, we advise that ALL Pony Club activities cease with immediate effect.
We would like to thank our members, parents and volunteers for their support of The Pony Club in this decision to play our part in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
Please continue to stay safe and well during this difficult time.
We will keep you updated as soon as we have any further information.