This page gives the latest updates from The Pony Club's CEO, Marcus Capel. You may also wish to check out the following pages:
Dear Members, parents, proprietors, staff and volunteers,
The Pony Club Strategy
At The Pony Club we used the year of 2020 as a time to refresh our thinking, look towards the future and understand where we want to be in 5 years’ time. Whilst much is still uncertain as the pandemic grips the world, the values underpinning The Pony Club are not. Togetherness, Empathy, Respect and Learning are at the core of our heritage.
Today I want to introduce The Pony Club Strategy for 2021-2025 with a few words from our Chairman Tim Vestey:
“Dear Friends of The Pony Club, I commend you The Pony Club Five Year Strategy. It clarifies who we are, our history, our values, our vision, our purpose and our strategic ambitions for the next five years. Whether you are a parent, a Member, a coach, centre proprietor, one of our thousands of treasured volunteers, or staff member we hope that this publication will resonate with you; that it will lend you wings so that you too can assist us in reaching our desired destination, to the benefit of children, equestrianism and charitable activity.”
The Strategy document can be downloaded here.
I wanted you all to have first sight of our strategic direction, as part of The Pony Club community you are part of our future. We will have it on our website shortly and I will be running a live webinar in February, that everyone is invited to attend, to hear me bring this document to life and share where we begin the journey in 2021.
I know the next few years will still be challenging but the direction of The Pony Club is exciting. I am involved in numerous conversations at the moment, that will not only help develop The Pony Club but that will help shape the future of equestrianism for our young people. I hope you find it valuable to read and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
As I mentioned last week, we are very grateful and thankful to everyone who continues to support The Pony Club through their membership. We are working hard to keep the spirits of our Members high with competitions and fun online activities. However, we also acknowledge that there are some of you whose circumstances may have changed and feel strongly that renewing membership at this time is not possible.
We understand the pressures many are under currently and I wanted to ensure that everyone knows that from whenever you can join or renew your membership with The Pony Club, it will last for a full 12 months. For example, if you join us in April 2021, you will stay a member until April 2022.
It is very important to note that if your membership lapses you will not be covered by The Pony Club insurance policy and you will not be able to take part in online activities. However, as soon as you renew you will have direct access again to all The Pony Club benefits.
I personally do not want Members to miss a moment of fun with The Pony Club, but the situation is challenging right now for many. If you cannot stay with us at this time, we very much look forward to welcoming you back when you can. We will stay in touch with you, unless you tell us otherwise, and look forward to seeing you again soon.
I do not think that what I am about to say here will come as a surprise. Throughout this pandemic, we have kept the safety of our Members and Volunteers as our top priority. With concerns around the limited opportunity to qualify and pressure on the Area Competitions, horses and Members, the Management Committee have made the decision to cancel the Spring Festival.
Those who have qualified at a preliminary round (and are recorded with the office) will keep their places for the 2022 Spring Festival Area Competitions.
Any Area Competition organisers who still wish to hold an inter-Branch competition are welcome to do so if restrictions allow, but this won’t affect qualifications for 2022. We will also be exploring the possibility of online Dressage and equitation Jumping competitions when restrictions are lifted.
Thank you to everyone for engaging with the Spring Festival, we were excited to launch in the new season with a great event, but unfortunately, it isn’t to be this year. Plans for our summer Championships are still very much underway and we look forward to face to face activity restarting as soon as possible.
I really hope you find reading our strategy informative and you share our vision for the future. I am committed to providing children and young people with the opportunity to develop a lifelong love of horses through Fun, Friendship, Horsemanship and Sport.
Renewing and New Members
Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who has renewed their membership so far this month. I am so grateful to everyone sticking with us through this time, there is light ahead and we are committed to making your year with The Pony Club full of great experiences. If you know you are due to renew please do check your emails for your unique link to access our brand-new portal, making the process quick and easy.
I would also like to welcome our brand-new Members! To join us at this time is a testament to our wonderful volunteers and staff that are working so hard to offer activities online to warm you up for the seasons ahead. We hope you enjoy everything we have to offer.
Area 8 have shared a wonderful range of pictures summing up the fun and friendship you have as a Pony Club Member and I know Area 9 have a fun video they are just about to share. These memories are so important to keep us all connected and remember we are all in this together. Branches and Centres are doing what they can with the resources they have, so please keep engaging with them to access Pony Club fun.
We have released brand-new introduction to sport workbooks and answers for Endurance, Polocrosse and Pony Racing this week which are great resources for you to learn about new sports. More sports are coming soon! Branches and Centres can access these for Members via the Google Drive, so please add these to your online activities.
I was thrilled to see so many of you joining our 6 Week Lockdown Challenge. If you haven’t downloaded your Tracker Sheet yet please do so from the Members Area Here, the password to enter is in your Member email today. Every week there is something fun for you to try, and we have bonus surprise challenges being released, starting next week. It’s a great bit of fun to keep us active, please share your pictures and videos with us to keep everyone entertained, send them into firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on Facebook.
Today we also launched our ‘Strictly on Foot Dressage’ competition. This is a great way for you to practice learning and completing a dressage test BUT no horse or pony is needed. We have two tests for you to pick from, it’s free to enter and there is a prize for the winner of each class. To get all the details click here.
The qualifiers for the National Quiz are also starting to take place across the Areas. Branch and Centre Members can all take part via zoom in separate houses as we can create virtual team groups! Guidelines and more dates for the Areas will be online next week.
We have more activities being planned as we speak, so keep your eyes peeled on our social channels: Facebook - @ThePonyClubUK, Instagram - @ukponyclubofficial and Twitter - @ThePonyClub.
Virtual Coaching Conference
We also launched our annual Coaching Conference this week, the theme is Coaching in the 21st Century – ‘Safeguarding the Future of Equestrianism’. It will take place online on February 5th from 6pm-8pm, we have some fantastic speakers lined up and it is going to be a very thought-provoking session. We have over 100 coaches registered already, remember this also counts as CPD, to find out more and book click here.
Whilst we have had to temporarily suspend face to face Pony Club activity under the current lockdown restrictions, we hope you will continue to support your Branch and Centre and The Pony Club.
During the first lockdown we rallied together with our Pony Club spirit to offer online competitions and training, offering ways to keep engaged with our friends and shared fond memories. This time will be no different, we are pulling together to offer fun online activities, quizzes and challenges in the coming weeks. Please watch our social media channels and login into the Members area on the national website to access new activities and resources being created by our amazing team of volunteers and staff, to keep us all busy and fit. I must say a big thank you to everyone leaping into action to support Members across the country.
There is no denying the third lockdown is proving hard on everyone, let us stick together and support each other through this time. The future does look brighter and we are still planning for our Spring and Summer schedule of events and fun.
For now, let us all keep safe and well, support each other and care for our animals.
For a summary of the restrictions in each part of the country, please download the National COVID Restriction Summary above.
England and Scotland
The Prime Minister announced last night that England is now in National lockdown and in addition The First Minister for Scotland put mainland Scotland into lockdown. We must all stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. The Pony Club Management Committee have been in discussion today and have made the decision to suspend ALL face-to-face activity with immediate effect and until further notice.
The Pony Club will move back to the lockdown Phase of The Pony Club COVID 19 Operational Plan, which can be found here. Riding from home when needed for the welfare of the horse or pony is still permitted by the Government. We would ask that all riders consider the risk of their activity and ride within their capabilities, to reduce any unnecessary burden on the NHS.
We would like to thank our members, parents and volunteers for their support of The Pony Club in this decision to play our part to protect each other.
Please continue to log in to your online Members Area on our website, where we are working hard to add new activities and resources to access and enjoy, whilst we are not meeting face-to-face. A reminder of the password has been sent to Members emails.
Please continue to stay safe and well during this difficult time.