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Introduction

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

Operational Plan

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:

Downloads
The Pony Club Covid19 Operational Plan
PDF - 656 kB
The Pony Club COVID 19 Risk Assessment
DOCX - 95 kB
Return To Riding Infographic Phase 1 And 2
PDF - 674 kB
Return To Riding Infographic Phase 3
PDF - 673 kB

3rd July

Dear Members, families, volunteers and staff,

As we approach the easing of Government restrictions for many areas of the UK and Ireland there is excitement about the possibilities of more activity, but I do feel it is important to remember that COVID19 has not disappeared. It is still vital that we follow local Government advice and adhere to the new laws in place for the safety of our members and volunteers.  We must also acknowledge that for some of our members they will not feel the easing of restrictions, as they have returned to lockdown, and are re evaluating how they manage their horses and ponies.

Local Lockdown - England

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock set out the local action being taken in Leicester this week, following a surge in coronavirus cases in the area. A zone incorporating Leicester city and a number of its adjoining suburbs are under increased ‘local lockdown’ restrictions and this will be pending a review on July 18th. Other potential lock down areas around the country are also being considered. Travel restrictions in a lock down area will be essential travel only and therefore  Branches, Centres and Members impacted in a localised area will have to move back into Phases 1 and 2 of The Pony Club COVID19 Operational Plan. Travelling to attend Pony Club training within the lockdown area is not essential and therefore should be avoided.

Country Updates

Scotland has lifted the travel restrictions, with the exception of some postcode areas. Wales have also announced easing of travel restrictions but no further restrictions have been lifted. Northern Ireland have moved forward with easing the social distancing rules and they have released a timetable of further restrictions lifting in the following months.

The Pony Club phases for these Countries currently remain the same, Scotland and Wales are in Phases 1 and 2, Northern Ireland and England are in Phase 4.

For further information visit www.britishequestrian.org.uk/news.

Pony Club Activities

Whilst there have been changes to our summer activities Branches and Centres are planning day rallies, training, fun rides, tests and badges, social activities and local competitions.

Centrally we are looking at the Winter Series qualifiers and allowing them to run sooner if possible and exploring opportunities for new Home Nations Championships for the Winter Series Finals allowing us to be more agile and flexible in 2021.

We also have the exciting development of The Pony Club involvement with Virtual Royal Windsor Horse Show and we are exploring virtual National and International Quiz events. 

We are also pleased to announce that we still have funding available from The Hurlingham Polo Association Polo Charity. They awarded the Pony Club a donation to be put towards the development and growth of youth polo through training and taster days. Pony Club Branches and Centres who may wish to apply for all or part of the cost of their taster, rally or training day, please contact us.

I am looking forward to seeing further activities resuming soon.

Marcus

26th June

Dear Members, families, volunteers and staff,

Many areas of The Pony Club are gaining pace at the moment as we prepare for further easing of restrictions in July. In this update we are pleased to share more clarification on next steps, as we open activities in a phased and sensible manner, in accordance with local Government guidelines.

Thank you to all the volunteers, in particular our Area Representatives. They have worked tirelessly over the past few months to share ideas, encourage, and support branches and thank you to our Centre Coordinators who have been there to assist Centres in this challenging time.

Pony Club Activities

In many parts of the country, competitions are now being run by the affiliated sports under regulated and controlled guidance. This varies according to the sport; British Dressage and British Showjumping are limiting numbers within the gathering size of 6 and British Eventing are using the larger space available to avoid close contact. All are restricting numbers on site, based on sport or venue guidelines, enforcing social distancing, and using their entries system to track and trace competitors.

It is anticipated that, in addition to small group lessons and training, branches may want to start planning their own competitions. We expect these to be run in line with National Governing Body guidance and we ask that prior to planning or taking part in any Pony Club activity you review our Pony Club Guidance for Activities under Covid19 restrictions.

To review your Country specific guidance please click here.

We appreciate a few Branches or Centres are planning some camp activities and are looking at innovative ways for these to happen. A lot of hard work and planning will need to take place in order for any type of camp activity to run, within Government guidelines and we all acknowledge this just may not be possible. Venues and facilities may be challenging about camps being run and I ask that everyone respects the individual circumstance of each Branch or Centre.

There is no obligation for any Branch or Centre to be putting on activities that they are not comfortable with. Similarly, it will always be a member’s/parent’s choice to attend an activity or not. Everyone is different and will be in a different place for adapting to new measures.

Guidance is being updated constantly; we all need to use our common sense to interpret the government easing measures. Our priority is always the safety of our members and their families and our hard-working volunteers. We ask that all members remain respectful of the decisions made by their DC’s, Branch committee, Centre proprietor or the venue they are attending. By not adhering to instructions members may be asked to leave the planned activities. We are all mindful of the impact breaching guidelines could have on the availability of future equestrian events.

Centre Funding

We know many Centres are now starting to open their doors to clients and we are looking forward to supporting you all in the coming weeks. We are also pleased to hear that 24 Pony Club Linked Centres benefited from Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund to a total amount of £129,643. This fund is currently paused, and applications are not being accepted for the time being. However, if you are still looking for funding support, there are a couple of further Sport England funds that you may be interested in below.

  • Innovation call for innovative solutions to address those underrepresented in sport and impacted by COVID-19 – specifically focused on women, older people, those from BAME backgrounds, disabled people – deadline is 1 July. More information can be found here.
    • Active Together Crowdfunder Scheme – this is match funding for centres/ clubs/ branches/ groups facing short term difficulty. They would need to crowdfund in the usual way and then this could be matched by up to £10,000 of Sport England funding. More information can be found here.

Thank you for taking the time to read all of this information, we will continue to keep you updated in the coming weeks.

19th June

Dear Members, families, volunteers and staff,

This week we have received updates from the Scottish Government on their gradual introduction of Phase 2 of their Route Map. The Welsh Government have also released changes to their Coronavirus regulations that will come into effect on Monday 22nd. Horse Scotland are reviewing the update in detail together with BHS Scotland and Sport Scotland and we will look to provide further clarification next week on how this affects Pony Club activities. Currently there doesn’t appear to be significant lifting of restrictions that would allow an increase in further Pony Club activity. We will of course update you further next week.

Local Authority Restrictions

I would also like to highlight that whilst we are working within different Government guidelines, we are also aware of Local Authority restrictions based on the interpretation of the national advice. The biggest inconsistency appears to be around the group gatherings and whether these can only be the maximum number of people onsite at a venue or the maximum group allowed together at any one point.

Before organising or participating in your planned activities please ensure you are aware of how your Local Authorities are requesting residents to comply with the Government guidance. This is frustrating and is causing confusion for different areas of England when considering how to best run their local Pony Club activities. Please understand we are all trying to comply with what is being asked and, of course, prioritising the safety of members and volunteers. We do not wish to see any Branch or Centre receiving a consequence for not following local restrictions.

Members

We have seen a flood of members renewing to join activities in their Centres as more reopen and offer one to one coaching or small group lessons. It is great to hear stories of excitement as members are reunited with their horses and ponies and some Centres are pleased to be open and busy again. Thank you to all those who have renewed so quickly, and we look forward to welcoming you all back when the time is right for you.

As you may have seen there has been much discussion around competitions as the three Olympic sports, Dressage, Showjumping and Eventing, resume or plan to resume. I have spoken with our Sports Chairmen this week to start creating a plan we feel is appropriate and safe to enable members to return to some local competition. This is very much in the early stages of discussion but we are hoping to share more information in July so you can all start planning.

Pony Club Camp is also very important to many of our members and we are aware that it is that time of year now. Many Centres and Branches are currently looking into what is possible if camps are planned for late July and beyond. We are aware a number have had to be cancelled and we are so sorry for all those who have been disappointed. However, I know many camps are being adapted, they won’t include overnight stays for members at this point, but day camps are being planned. Everyone is considering how to run a safe, socially distanced event where only small groups of members could be in contact at any one time. We are hopeful that the Government restrictions continue to ease and that we do get to enjoy the spirit of camp in some capacity.

We are continuing to update our Help and Advice page, so please do check for the latest here.

The BEF also continue to update their guidance, particularly regarding Wales and Scotland. For their latest updates please visit: www.BritishEquestrian.org.uk.

12th June

Dear Members, families, volunteers and staff,

We hope many of you have started enjoying some local riding activities and I hope we will all be able to do so soon. With some branches and centres starting to run small group lessons, it is great to see smiling members reunited with their favourite horses and ponies. We are continually reminded what a powerful influence having ponies in our lives is and it should not be underestimated.

I have welcomed conversations with our Area Representatives and wider volunteer network as they all seek out advice on the resumption of small group activities. They are all striving to ensure they offer the best experience for members whilst keeping everyone safe, so thank you to everyone for all their hard work.

Members

I would like to extend a warm welcome to the new Pony Club members joining us for the first time, we hope you have a great time exploring all we have to offer! Also, a big welcome back to everyone renewing, it is great to see so many familiar names joining us again this year, thank you for your continued support. Please remember your membership is active for 12 months from the date of joining, so if you join or renew now you will have a full year of Pony Club activities.

I am also aware that many of you are awaiting your membership letter and number in anticipation of joining activities. I wanted to let you know they are all starting to be processed, as we had a delay due to the current circumstances, but we are looking to catch up as quickly as possible. If you are looking to take part in your branch or centres activities imminently and need confirmation of your active membership please don’t hesitate to contact your Branch or Centre in the first instance or our central office at membership@pcuk.org.

Competitions

I have also enjoyed celebrating the competition winners from the Decorate Your Pony and Hobby Horse entries. All the winners’ images are up on our website for you to enjoy and you can see the tremendous effort everyone put in. Alan Davies, Valegro’s super groom, certainly had his work cut out to judge the champions. Bradley and Sophie did a fabulous job, I don’t think I have ever seen so many flowers on a pony!

I was also pleased to see that a winner from our Easter Competition received her Pony Club Pony in Jamaica! What a journey that was, even with all the restrictions. They travelled well on the flight to America, where they had a short stop over and then jumped on another plane to Jamaica. After a short stay with the authorities, the pony was cleared to be received by Victoria-Rose and named ‘Aquaelius’ upon arrival.

Our Art Competition entries are also building up, it is great to see our international members taking part and we have over 45 entries so far! The competition closes on June 30th, so don’t miss your opportunity to send in your artwork, visit: http://artcomp.pcuk.org for more information.

We look forward to hearing the results of the fantastic Write2Ride competition, thank you to everyone involved for such a great effort and brilliant prizes.

Next week I expect to provide an update on the latest changes in Government restrictions and how they affect The Pony Club.

Previous Updates

To view previous coronavirus updates please see the Archived Updates page here.