This page gives the latest updates from The Pony Club's Interim CEO, Marcus Capel. You may also wish to check out the following pages:
- Help and Advice - advice from various bodies and answers to some frequently asked questions
- Creative Activities - activity ideas for members, branches and centres, as well as links to shared resources
- Sports and Competitions - updates on the status of Pony Club competitions and information on what each sport has planned
In preparation for the lock down easing and the resumption of activities The Pony Club has created an operational plan, which has been designed to guide our members, branches, centres, staff and volunteers on the journey to resume all activities over time. At the heart of our phased approach is the welfare and safety of everyone involved in The Pony Club.
To download the plan please click below:
Dear Members, families, volunteers and staff,
It has been a busy week here at The Pony Club, many of our branches and centres are starting to explore how to re start small group activity. It is important though that we recognise this is not The Pony Club back to normal, we are not there yet. Please continue to be patient and understand the decisions we make are based on the latest Government guidance and everyone’s safety which will always take priority.
As I am sure you can appreciate Pony Club Area qualifiers and the championships including regionals, The Pony Club Open Eventing at Gatcombe and the Tetrathlon championships have been cancelled. However, we are all working hard to explore what events and competitions could be run if the Government continues to relax restrictions and we do not step backwards this summer. Sporting and other committees are looking at what could be possible, such as local, area or regional friendlies or festivals.
Help and Advice Page Update
We have updated and clarified the help and advice page on our website under the Coronavirus menu heading. Please click here for clarification on coach requirements, online learning and vaccinations.
I want to say a huge thank you to all our wonderful volunteers who are keeping this great organisation going. Watching the innovative ideas and creativity from our volunteers over the last few months has been inspirational. I have particularly enjoyed seeing the diversity of our volunteers in the social media posts during this week.
Dear Members, families, volunteers and staff,
The Pony Club is an International charity working within the guidelines currently provided to continue to keep our members, coaches, and volunteers safe. It is vitally important that we continue to follow and adhere to Government guidance. We must also be respectful of the differences in our areas, which can cross borders in some instances.
Today we can start to expand our training sessions from one to one to small groups in many areas of the country. As we step into Phase 3 of our Operational Plan in some areas, I wanted to share further advice and guidance.
Scotland and Wales - Phase 1 and 2
Only outdoor one to one coaching is permitted, and in Scotland, a coach can only meet one household a day. Horse Scotland and Sport Scotland are continuing to lobby hard to get this changed and offer more flexibility for coaches, we will update you as we know more.
- Government Advice for Scotland – Horse Scotland support, exercise guidance
- Government Advice for Wales – Outdoor exercise, livestock and equine owners advice, return to sport
England, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man - Phase 3
Your locality will determine what size of gathering you are permitted, but you must remember if it is a gathering of 6 people for example, this is 5 members and 1 coach, in a mounted or unmounted session. Pony Club activities may only take place outside, they are not permitted in indoor facilities.
- Government Advice for England – Resumption of outdoor sport and recreation, Guidance for personal trainers and coaches.
- Government Advice for Northern Ireland – Current guidelines
Things to Remember
- It is vital that social distancing of 2 metres is observed at all times.
- When travelling to a training session you must only be with a member of your household in an enclosed space.
- Upon arrival to a training session think about where you are parking and the proximity to others when moving around your vehicle with and without your horse.
- Please do not greet other members closer than 2 metres and do not congregate in groups larger than those allowed.
- If spectating because your child is being taught you will be included in the ‘gathering’ number if you are within the perimeter of the ridden arena, or similar space within a field. Observe the appropriate distance to ensure the safety of the coach, riders, and other spectators.
- You must abide by all venue rules, they have specific policies and procedures in place to ensure everyone’s safety, please follow these.
A branch or centre should complete our COVID-19 Risk Assessment, in addition to existing risk assessments. We must continue to limit risks to members, coaches, and volunteers as we resume activity.
The latest infographics for Phases 1, 2 and 3 of the Operational Plan and COVID-19 Risk Assessment can be downloaded above.
To read today’s advice from British Equestrian (BEF) please follow this link.
A useful reminder of the group gatherings can also be seen via the BBC’s latest infographic ‘UK rules on meeting up’, published online today.
The Pony Club are currently focused on the safe resumption of group riding and rallies, we will of course inform you when we move to Phase 4 of the Operational Plan. Our sporting committees are currently assessing how best to support members as restrictions are lifted. However, it is important to remember that the facilities required for some sports may still be unavailable. For example, whilst horse racing is resuming behind closed doors it is not possible to arrange any racedays for our Pony Racing members until further restrictions are lifted.
Please continue to follow Government advice and be responsible for the safety of yourself and others around you. We all want to return to normality, but we are not there yet. We should be thankful for the opportunities we do have to enjoy training again.
Dear Members, families, volunteers and staff,
It feels like change is happening rapidly around the country at the moment and we are all in slightly different phases. The announcement from the Scottish Government last night relaxed some restrictions for our members and centres and we have been in discussion with Horse Scotland on the implications of the change in guidance for The Pony Club. I have been advised that this is a ‘moving treadmill’ and will be updated as the situation develops. The UK Government are making a shift to allow small group gatherings, as have Northern Ireland, and in Wales we are currently awaiting an update.
As these changes come into place The Pony Club will move forward in our phased Operational Plan.
- Scotland will stay in Phase 1 and 2, with the possibility of one to one coaching, however currently a coach can only meet one household a day. Horse Scotland and Sport Scotland are lobbying hard to get this changed.
- England, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man will move into Phase 3. This will allow small outdoor rallies/group lessons. I hope to have further clarification, including training for different sports, after meeting with BEF colleagues on Monday.
- Wales is currently in phase 1 and 2, however we await further Government guidance and will of course update you next week.
It is vital that we all remember that social distancing is still key in all activities. We must continue to limit risks to members, coaches, and volunteers by following our COVID-19 Risk Assessment, in addition to your existing risk assessments.
The Operational Plan and COVID-19 Risk Assessment are available to download at the top of this page.
Pony Club Staff
As activity starts building there will be an excitement to get going. As you know we made the decision to furlough most of our team in the central office. To support phase 3 of the plan, we will be bringing back three members, they will support Membership (including the Branch rollout of PELHAM, our new central database), Governance and our Pony Club Centres. We still have 9 (40%) of our staff on furlough, so the office is not at full capacity. We will continue to review this as activities resume. I would like to thank everyone who is able to work for continuing to share the load and support the running of our charity.
Whilst we are all moving forward with our riding and training plans, don’t forget we are still running online activities. We hope you have enjoyed The Scrapbook Games this week, they will remain in your members area, so you can always revisit them. Check the email version of this update for the password. Don’t forget to enter The Scrapbook front cover competition! Visit Facebook to learn more.
I want to thank you all for being patient and continuing to follow The Pony Club plan. Our aim is to be consistent and clear as much as possible in this challenging time. We are working with 330 branches and 450 centres in different locations across the UK to help the resumption of activities, in line with Government guidance. Let us remember that we are all still in different phases of the plan and we should continue to be supportive to everyone.