This page gives the latest updates from The Pony Club's CEO, Marcus Capel. You may also wish to check out the following pages:
I think it would be fair to say that Pony Club activities have burst back into life this Easter! Whilst the holidays are sadly ending, I hope you have enjoyed being outside spending time with your horses and ponies and seeing your friends.
If you are at activities this weekend, please take note of the information regarding The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral below.
Thank you for continuing to follow the rules and keeping yourself and everyone around you safe.
HRH Prince Philip
Many organisation and sporting fixtures are making arrangements for a period of respect during the funeral service of The Duke of Edinburgh on Saturday 17th April at 15:00. It is up to the organisers if they wish to mark the occasion in any particular way, for example the wearing of black armbands. I do however ask that all events and activities observe the national one-minute silence at 15:00. His Royal Highness was a former President of The Pony Club and founder of The Prince Philip Cup for Pony Club Mounted Games. His legacy will live on throughout our organisation as we all appreciate the impact he has made on generations of our Members and their families. Our thoughts are with Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family at this time.
Royal Windsor Horse Show is coordinating a celebration and commemoration of the life of His Royal Highness “The Horse World Remembers – an Equestrian Tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh”. The online Book of Condolence is a platform for memories and tributes and can be found at www.horseworldremembers.com
During the 2021 Royal Windsor Horse Show (1st to 4th July) the entries to the Book of Condolence will be on display making up a Puissance Wall which will be wrapped in the contributions. The Wall will become a central feature for people to remember The Duke of Edinburgh, and his amazing equestrian achievements. The entries will also be bound into a book for presentation to Her Majesty The Queen. Further details of The Horse World Remembers can be found here.
COVID update – latest national
With lockdown measures easing across the United Kingdom, enabling us to get out and further enjoy our horses, sport and activity, please see the downloads list above for the National COVID restriction summary, which also includes some key upcoming dates for further easing of restrictions, subject to meeting required targets for each government.
For all activity, participants are reminded that everyone’s health and safety is paramount. Health, hygiene and social distancing measures, and government guidelines, should be observed at all times to make sure we keep each other safe and reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
BEF lead rein guidance
Whilst Pony Club lead rein sessions have been taking place with leaders from the same household, it has been agreed with the BEF, following collaboration with the Association of British Riding Schools (ABRS), The British Horse Society (BHS), The Pony Club and Riding for the Disabled (RDA), that lead rein sessions where the leader is not in the same household can now take place. A risk assessment needs to be in place to ensure that the Government ‘close contact services’ guidance is followed, where social distancing cannot be maintained at two metres. Close contact services - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) - Guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Mitigations to reduce any risks including:
- hand hygiene and glove use
- appropriate equipment (to allow two-metre distance) and minimising any sharing of equipment
- the wearing of face shields/visors/masks with appropriate training (a requirement of the Health and Safety at Work Act for the use of PPE)
- same household/bubble leaders with competency assessments and inductions
- group sizes including leaders
- suitability of horses/ponies for rider ability and being led at a two-metre distance
- induction for staff and visiting coaches on COVID-secure measures
EHV / Equine Health self-certification
Although the EHV-1 risk level is dropping to a low / normal level, as an endemic disease it poses a continuing risk to the UK equine population. The BEF and the Equestrian Infectious Disease Advisory Group are recommending that member bodies still use a form of self-certification to ensure that horses coming to gatherings are as healthy as possible. Please click here for the form which organisers may wish to use.
With the launch of the Members’ Portal for new as well as renewing members, the quickest and easiest way for new members to join is via this online system. New individual members can access this via the "Join Us" page on the main website.
The ONLY exception to this is Branch Family memberships which cannot yet be done on-line, so please ensure parents download and complete a copy of the membership form. We are also planning to start sending reminders for families in the coming weeks, which will then mean every membership is covered by an automated renewal reminder 4 and 2 weeks before their membership expires.
As of Monday 22nd April, we are no longer able to renew memberships by phone. All requests will be directed to the Members’ Portal or as an alternative the membership form can be completed and sent into firstname.lastname@example.org for processing. Please note - whilst we will endeavour to process these as quickly as possible, it could take up to 10 working days from receipt of the form to complete. Family forms will be prioritised as there is no alternative method available for these memberships.
IT Support Officer Vacancy
We are recruiting! To support our ongoing development of Pelham and Pony Club systems we are looking for a highly motivated and skilled IT support engineer to work alongside our System Architect Matthew Storey. Please see the details here Careers | The Pony Club (pcuk.org) and contact email@example.com if you would like to know more about the role.
We are saddened to hear the Duke of Edinburgh, former president of The Pony Club and founder of Pony Club Mounted Games ("The Prince Philip Cup") has died today. We send our condolences to the Royal Family and we have continued gratitude for the ongoing support received from our Patron HRH the Princess Royal.
I know for many Easter has marked the start of Pony Club activity and it has been fantastic to see so many Members enjoying themselves, trying out new sports and meeting new friends. Our rallies and events have been extremely well run under our COVID protocols, but we have been informed that the police have inspected several activities. They have reported we are following all the procedures necessary, but it is important to uphold these standards.
- Limit numbers onsite
- There should be no spectators under the current organised sport protocols.
- The rule of 6 for any gathering outside of the arena applies
- Always check with your local authority to ensure you adhere to any local restrictions.
- Please be aware of the impact on the venue of not complying with the legislation and guidance. This would be a matter for the police.
Let us continue to enjoy our sport and support our volunteers running the events and keep everyone safe by following the rules.
We look forward to welcoming back our Northern Ireland Members as they resume activity on Monday 12th.
Online Dressage Spring Festival 2021
Online Dressage competitions are a great way to compete from the comfort of your own surroundings or to practice your tests and get helpful feedback from BD listed judges. We know many of you have been trying them out and now you have the opportunity to take part in our Online Dressage Spring Festival 2021 hosted by Dressage Anywhere! This could be a great warm up to the live events starting for The Spring Festival 2022!
Entries are open for the first rounds to qualify for the 2021 final, find more information at https://www.dressageanywhere.com/Competitor/EnterCompetition/667
Commemorative hoodies will also be available to purchase soon.
Pony Club Polo – Spring Pack 2021
We are full speed ahead in planning for the 2021 Pony Club Polo season and we want more Branches, Centres and Members to get involved! Some facts about PC Polo:
- Players only need one pony to play, and it doesn’t have to be a polo pony. In fact, in the younger sections polo ponies are not even allowed!
- There are grass and arena polo facilities all around the country and coaches keen in helping get young players started
- We have grants available to fund polo taster sessions for U14s and even a travelling coach on hand to help if needed
- This year the Polo Championships are being held at the main Championships at Offchurchbury – if you are there for the other sports please do go and watch our teams in action!
Please find lots more information in our Spring Polo Pack:
The Pony Club Spring Festival 2022
We are very excited to launch The Pony Club Spring Festival 2022! We’ve missed being able to get out and about and the Spring Festival will give plenty of opportunity for members to take part, compete and try to qualify for one of the two finals in Dressage, Show Jumping and Arena Eventing. First rounds take place from now until March next year with the finals in April 2022.
For more information or to register your competition as a Spring Festival qualifier, please click here and follow the links to the relevant sport.
It is great to see our membership numbers increasing by the day! Welcome to new members and those renewing for 2021, please remember the quickest and easiest way to join and renew is through the Membership Portal. We have had 11,000 Members join this way and the feedback has been that is it quick and easy and open 24hrs a day!
All previous Members have been sent a renewal reminder email with a unique link embedded to speed up your process even more. Please use this unique link as you will already be on the PELHAM system with this email address, using a different email creates a duplicate entry.
We have a dedicated team of 2 membership staff here to support all our Members and focused on delivering a high level of service to everyone. We developed the Membership Portal to improve efficiencies and move away from processing most memberships manually. This was to relieve Branches from the administration burden and let them focus on delivering the great range of activities they offer. Continuing to improve and evolve our systems to offer more support to Members, Branches and Centres is a priority but this takes time.
Where we still have memberships being sent in via post and email we are processing membership forms as quickly as possible, but it may take 5 days for a manual form to be processed due to the quantity we are receiving. I encourage everyone to promote and use our Membership Portal and PELHAM effectively, it is here to help us all.
The Membership Portal is quick, straight forward and open 24hrs a day for all those last-minute renewals for rallies! New members or those who have already activated their account can access the portal here: https://portal.pcuk.org. Existing members should follow the link in the renewal invite email. If you have not received one, your branch can resend it to you.
EHV Statement BEF
British Equestrian have announced the recent EHV-1 disease level is reducing to near normal levels in the UK and it is anticipated that self-certification will no longer be necessary from April 12th.
It is important that we all continue to stay vigilant as this is disease is endemic in the UK and it is important to have appropriate bio security measures in place, especially in yards that stable horses who travel regularly.
Let’s continue to look forward to a healthy and happy season for us and our horses and ponies.
The resumption of organised sport has been welcomed by many this week in England. However, there has been a question mark over the use of covered and indoor arenas. We have now received clarification on the issue and below I share the detail.
Indoor Schools and Covered Arenas
Unfortunately, the use of indoor arenas remains restricted under the most recent legislation. The indoor classification is now based on section 2 of the Health Act 2006 as opposed to the previous agreement of equestrian indoor venues being identified as outdoor facilities, due to their agricultural and airy nature.
- An indoor structure is classed as a place that is considered to be substantially enclosed. A structure with more than 50% of its walls open would be classed as outdoors.
DEFRA have produced a road map for the use of indoor schools in England click here.
Step 1 – from 29th March
An indoor riding arena may be used for:
- Outdoor facilities (including covered arenas with more than 50% open sides) are open and able to be used for all Pony Club activities (as organised sport, with no spectators)
- Indoor Schools can open (from 29th March) for supervised activities for children or other persons who were under the age of 18 on 31st August 2020, limited to 15 participants but not for those over 18 unless another exception applies
- Owner of an animal kept at a riding centre
- Employees of a riding centre to care or exercise horses or provide veterinary care
- Elite sports
For the latest Government Advice click here.
Step 2 – no earlier than 12th April
- In addition to the above exceptions, indoor arenas can hired by a single household or bubble (no mixing of households or bubbles)
- The limit of 15 for children’s indoor sporting activities lifted
This news is not we had hoped for as it impacts our older Members. We will continue to work with British Equestrian and other Member Bodies to lobby the Government for a change to this legislation sooner.
Step 3 – no earlier than 17th May
- Indoor arenas may be used in line with wider social contact limits - group of 6 or 2 households
Read the British Equestrian Statement here.
Equine and Human Fitness
As you begin to look at training and competitions to take part in please continue to assess your horse or pony’s level of fitness. It is important that if you have had limited access to facilities due to the lock down that you do not return to activities that both you and your equine partner might not be ready for. Building the correct level of fitness for both of you will prevent injury and time away the sport. Speak with your coach if you are unsure how to create a fitness plan for your horse or pony.
Vehicle Safety Checks
As we return to traveling to activities, I encourage everyone to carry out additional checks on lorries and trailers to ensure they are still road worthy. They will have been standing for a long period of time, which can often lead to unforeseen problems until the vehicles are in transit. If you are unsure what to check please follow this link for some helpful advice.
Welcome back to so many of you who are re-joining to take part in face to face activities. Our small team have been inundated with calls around renewals this week. Please remember that renewing via the online portal is your quickest way to update and pay for your membership. All memberships are being processed by the portal and the office and not your Branch or Centre, therefore please do not pay a Branch or Centre directly.
We understand you are all keen to start activity and may have just realised your membership has lapsed. Centre Members who are due to expire before April 14th have been sent a unique portal link and for Branch Members who have expired this year please check your emails tomorrow as we have emailed you a reminder email with your unique link again. If you have not received your link please firstname.lastname@example.org to clarify your email address details and we will resend the link to you.
Proud of The Pony Club
If you are proud of belonging to The Pony Club and you would like to share this with your friends, we now have a Facebook frame that you can add to your profile picture. Just search #ponyclub and add it to your picture for Easter. We are encouraging as many young equestrian people as possible to discover more about our community of fun, friendship, horsemanship and sport. Let’s help spread the word of Pony Club.
It is exciting to move forward as activity resumes but please continue to stay safe and follow the Government guidelines. We need to build on all that we have achieved to keep each other safe and keep our activities open.
Enjoy Easter weekend.
I have spent an excellent week fully immersed in 19 Area meetings with our great team of Centre Coordinators, connecting with our Pony Club Linked Riding Centre Proprietors. Lock down has been hard for everyone and the impact on our Centres has been huge. I was pleased to hear so many spirits were high and that there was a real sense of optimism for the future. We have been working hard to provide resources that offer COVID safe ways to resume Pony Club activities and welcome our Members back to enjoy time with their beloved equine friends. Our Centre Proprietor packs will land in the post next week and we cannot wait to hear the feedback from our Members and Centres, we hope everyone will be able to open their gates very soon!
Wales Restrictions Update
From Saturday March 27th:
- Stay local requirement lifted, moving Wales into alert level 3. Travel allowed across Wales.
- Organised outdoor children’s activities resume - no limits on numbers subject to risk assessment of social distancing requirements.
Our membership team are busy processing renewals and new Members as quickly as possible. However, we have had an increase in calls expressing concern that they have not been contacted yet. If you sent in a membership form to the team during January and February and have not yet received a response from the office, please email email@example.com. Our team are up to date with all memberships as of Wednesday this week, therefore no one should be outstanding.
To help our team process memberships as quickly as possible here are a few important tips:
- If wish to renew, I would encourage you to check your email for your unique link to renew via our portal, which is a quick and effective way to renew online.
- If your membership has expired, you will have been sent your link already, this is still live and you can renew online today.
- If you are due to renew your membership in the coming months, your link will be with you a month before your expiry date.
Please note if you should have received your renewal email and have not please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, to confirm your email address, as some on our system appear incorrect and we will resend your portal invitation.
Safeguarding Course Logins
Our Safeguarding courses fill extremely fast, and we have four taking place between now and the end of March, more dates will be confirmed for April course dates shortly.
If you are registered to attend, please note that you will receive your Zoom login details the day before the training and not before. This is to ensure that the link stays at the top of your inbox and you have the opportunity to request any support you need prior to the online course.
We would ask you not to contact the office unless it is less that 24hrs prior to your course taking place and you have not received the link.
The UKPA (Arden Polocrosse Club), jointly working with Pony Club Polocrosse, is hosting an Arena Tournament at Dallas Burston Polo Club in Warwickshire.
The event will take place on April 17th-18th and entries for this Tournament are now open. The full Schedule and Entry form is available here.
- Tetrathlon - Postal Shoot
Tetrathlon will be offering a two round national postal shoot team competition this year, open to all Pony Club members. Entry and scoring will be online over a period of weeks, beginning on April 12th and ending on May 31st. The competition is free of charge but limited to one entry per Member. Teams can be mixed and from more than one Branch within an Area. Individuals can enter and will be allocated into teams. The first round will be regional to promote two teams from each Area of The Pony Club into the second, national round.
If you would like to learn more about the Shooting phase of Tetrathlon and take part please take a look our website page here.
The Pony Club Online Dressage Spring Festival 2021, hosted by Dressage Anywhere
We are very excited to announce that the online replacement for the 2021 Spring Festival Dressage will be open for entries on April 1st. Hosted by Dressage Anywhere, the Online Dressage Spring Festival will have three classes open to any Pony Club Members who meet the eligibility; Novice, Intermediate and Open. There will be two rounds – the top two from each Pony Club Area will go forward to a final in each class.
The first round opens on April 1st so please visit https://www.dressageanywhere.com/ for details on how to enter.
- Pony Racing
Horseracing’s education charity Racing to School is increasing the number of Pony Club Branches and Centres they are able to offer their free “Intro to Horse and Pony Racing” Sessions to, run at Camps or as individual sessions, thanks to support from the Racing Foundation.
Part of a 5 year collaboration to develop a formal pathway of activities as a progressive route into the racing industry and overseen by the Pony Racing Authority and The Pony Club; the unmounted sessions provide a fun and informative introduction to horseracing, which includes a coaching session on a racing Equiciser. Their flexible approach means they can be booked for half or full day sessions depending on the size of your group.
Delivered by ex-industry professionals their team are also able signpost any interested members to the Pony Racing Authority who run more specific training days. Older Pony Club Members can also discover more about the Pony Club Careers “Raceday” programme run with support from the British Horseracing Authority’s Careers in Racing team.
Closing the CEO Update this week I would like to share some news of a charity that was set up by a former Member of the Wylye Valley Branch. Hannah sadly died 6 years ago but the charity is going from strength to strength. The legacy she has left in ‘Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony’ is an inspiration to us all. The pioneering research taking place will hopefully provide more understanding of bone cancer and the charity also supports those who are seriously ill by granting Willberry’s Wishes. For more information about Hannah’s legacy visit: https://www.willberrywonderpony.org/
- National COVID update
- Passport and Equine Flu Vaccinations
- Resumption of Sport – Pony Racing Training Days
- Centres Proprietors’ Pack
As lockdown restrictions ease, it is great to hear Branches and Centres planning for the careful restart of Pony Club activity. The latest news is from the Northern Ireland Assembly, which has indicated that small group training (up to 15 people) can start from 12th April. This is in addition to the announcement from the First Minister of the timetable for restrictions to ease further in Scotland.
We are looking forward to every area of The Pony Club now being able to restart some activity in April. For the updated National COVID Summary please see above.
Passports and Equine Flu Vaccinations
A reminder that any horse or pony attending a Pony Club activity must be accompanied by their passport. The first and second Equine Flu vaccination injections must have been given and, if needed, correct subsequent booster injections.
As detailed in my CEO update of 5th March, there is increased concern over the impact of Equine Herpes, EHV-1, in the UK. The recent outbreak on the continent has so far claimed the lives of 17 horses.
British Equestrian (the BEF, of which The Pony Club is a Member Body) is requesting that all Member Bodies use a process of self-certification whereby they declare their horses and ponies fit to attend the activity. This is initially for the period 29th March – 12th April, subject to the ongoing monitoring of the disease.. Click HERE for further information.
I am asking Pony Club members to confirm with the organiser of a Pony Club activity 24 hours before it starts that their horse or pony shows no signs of:
- recent cough of unknown cause
- recent nasal discharge of unknown cause
- enlarged lymph notes
- fever (>38.5˚C)
- recent onset of neurological signs of unknown cause
In addition the horse or pony
- is not under current investigation for EHV infection.
- has not been in contact with and is not kept on the same premises as a horse known to have or be under investigation for EHV.
- has been resident in the UK for the last 28 days.
If the horse or pony shows any of these clinical signs on the day of the activity it must not travel nor attend the training or competition.
The rally / event organiser may wish to add this declaration to the entry form or set up their own process to ensure all horses and ponies attending have been declared fit before travelling to the activity.(Examples that have been given include text message, WhatsApp confirmation, SurveyMonkey, email checklist)
Our priority is the welfare and safety of our horses and ponies. In addition, as we start the journey out of human lockdown, we do not want to see our equestrian sport locked down.
Resumption of Sport
If you would like to try Pony Racing, we have teamed up with the Pony Racing Authority to organise Training days which take place around the country. They are a safe introduction to the world of Racing and you don’t need to own a thoroughbred to take part. We can now release new dates for April, so why not have a look at what it involves and come and join us. You could become the next Hollie Doyle or Tom Marquand!
For more information click here: https://pcuk.org/sports/pony-racing/members-training/
Centre Proprietor Packs
We are looking forward to supporting the Centres as they reopen their doors next month. Our Centre Co-ordinators are pleased to be connecting with so many in the group Area meetings, starting next week. They will be launching the new Centre Proprietor pack which is available to download in the Officials Area of the website, accessible with your Pelham login details and the physical packs will be sent out to UK Centres in the post next week.
We have created this brand-new toolkit to provide Centres with the most up to date information on all things Pony Club. Showcasing the breath of activities and how you can access all the support you need to develop your Pony Club Sessions. We share marketing materials for social media campaigns and posters for the Centre and Members to utilise as they work towards their achievement badges.
We hope you find this a useful resource and we are looking to build on this as we progress this year.
Lockdown restrictions in most parts of the UK are being eased slowly and Pony Club face to face activity is planned to resume this month. Whilst I am providing an overview on the guidelines to resume activity within national restrictions, it is very important that you check the restrictions in your local area. In particular, riding centres should check with their insurance company and local authority for any local variations before re opening their business.
Today’s update is packed with important information to help us continue looking forward to the season ahead.
- National Restrictions for Scotland and Wales
- Membership Renewals
- Sporting Dates for your Calendar
- Dog Dressage Winners
From March 12th, local Pony Club activity may restart outdoors, with a group size restriction of 15 for over 12s and 30 for under 12s. Organised outdoor non-contact sports for adults is now allowed, staying locally. Travel restrictions have been eased to allow under 18s to travel across local council boundaries to take part in activities.
From Friday March 12th:
- Children Under 12 can form an outdoor sporting ‘field of play bubble’ consisting of up to 30 people including children and coaches. All ages (including adults) can participate in outdoor non-contact sports in groups of up to 15 people, including coaches.
- Adults (18 years and over) can only take part in organised activity including training and competitions within their own Local Authority area. For informal activity i.e. hacking or facility hire without a coach, they can travel up to 5 miles into a neighbouring Local Authority area.
- 17 years old and under have an exemption to allow travel to their usual club or facility, including to a national club venue where regular organised activity takes place. Where it is a national club event, cross border travel is permitted for organised activity.
- Social interaction: up to four people from two households are able to meet outdoors – you should still stay as close to home as possible.
- Young people aged 12 to 17 can meet outdoors in groups of up to 4 people from 4 different households.
From Saturday, March 13th:
- Stay at home restriction lifted, replaced with “stay local” guidance.
- Up to four adults from two families will be permitted to meet for exercise outdoors.
- Outdoor venues like riding schools and equestrian centres can re-open in line with these restrictions
- Therefore, activity will initially be limited to up to four adults from two families.
- Requirement to stay ‘local’ suggested within 5 miles but defined in terms of necessity for undertaking that activity.
From Saturday March 27th:
- Organised outdoor children’s activities will restart.
- Self-contained accommodation in Wales will be able to reopen for one household.
As the excitement builds to resume activities, we have received an influx of membership renewals. It is wonderful to welcome Members back into The Pony Club family and our team are working hard to process them all as quickly as possible.
For everyone whose membership has expired or is about to, you will have received an email with a link to access our brand-new online membership portal. It takes less that 5 minutes for you to renew and pay for your membership on the portal and you can do this at any time of the day and at the weekend!
Let us know if you have not received the link, but if you are receiving this email you should have your renewal email. We have had great feedback that it is simple and easy to follow even for the non techies amongst us, so please do renew online.
Sporting Dates for your Calendar
Each of our Nine sports is working to rearrange dates for our diary so that we have access to our favourite sporting competitions this summer. Please do continue to check our website as new dates are added regularly but today, we are pleased to announce the dates for the new Endurance Regional Rides.
It does not matter if you are new to Endurance Riding or have been taking part for a while, you now have the opportunity to take part in five rides across the country and explore the world of Endurance.
The rides have been organised in conjunction with Endurance Great Britain (EGB) and the first one starts on June 26th.
If you are new to Endurance, I would encourage you to view the Endurance Rulebook here, to help you get started. For those seasoned Endurance riders, a PC/ EGB Official and Vet will be present at each day to record your distance on your Master Card.
To view dates, locations, and more information please click here.
Dog Dressage Winners
Our new "Lockdown Friendly" competition that members could do at home, Dog Dressage was a huge success!
We saw members and their Spaniels, Labradors, Collies, Terriers and even a Miniature Schnauzer take to the "arenas" to do their dressage tests. The tests were judged on:
- Accuracy of the test
- Partnership between dog and handler
- Obedience of the dog
There were also extra marks available for tests done off the lead and with no 'hands on' from the handler and the results are in!
Well done to the following members:
- 1st - Thea Harkness and Oscar
- Joint 2nd - Megan Mackay Williams and Bella
- Joint 2nd - Zoe Newton and Waffle
The judge also had some special mentions to the following members:
- Tolley Isaac for sheer effort in using a full 20x40m arena!
- Eloise Harkness for the best dog salute
- Isabella Coy for most inventive use of space during lockdown
- Iceni Newcombe for the best dressed dog
And well done to Ariadne Fasosin, Millie Jones and Aoife Miller for giving it a go with their naughty, cheeky dogs!
To watch the videos and see the full list of results click here.
This update is packed full of information, which I hope you find answers many of your questions, as we all anticipate our return to sport from 29th March in England. The review date for Wales is March 12th, Northern Ireland is March 18th and Scotland is hopefully lifting the stay-at-home restrictions on April 5th.
Content covered today:
- Organised Sport Group sizes
- Covered Arenas
- Funding Grants
- EHV : Equine Herpes
- Vaccination reminder
- Rule books and Championship Eligibility
- Google Classrooms
Organised Sport Group Sizes
Pony Club activities are run under the Organised Sport protocol agreed last year with the DCMS: our rallies and training are all part of the pathway to our sport. From March 29th, organised sport in England does not have a group size limit for participants, so our rallies and events can be run with a risk-assessed approach to numbers as appropriate for the venue, complying with social distancing and other COVID measures.
For those Centres who were able to access funding under leisure and recreation guidance during this pandemic, it may mean that the rule from March 29th in England where social gatherings are limited by the rule of 6 applies. This was communicated out via the BHS guidance earlier this week to their Riding Schools. If a Centre has not accessed funding in this way, they may continue with Pony Club Organised activities with no group limit.
"Covered Arenas" are still classed by the DCMS as outdoor sporting facilities in England and Scotland. We are expecting further definition of size and ventilation requirements shortly, in the meantime, local councils may have their own requirements.
We wanted to share news of National Lottery Awards available, offering funding between £300 and £10,000. If you are looking for a quick way to apply for smaller amounts of funding and you are a Voluntary or Community organisation, or a Public Sector organisation you are eligible and there is currently no fixed deadline. To access information for your Country, follow the links below:
A reminder to everyone the importance of Biosecurity and how to minimise transmission of infectious disease. Please click here for a useful Equine Health Guide to Attending Events
EHV – Equine Herpes
British Showjumping (BS) has just released protocols for riders returning to the UK from high risk areas of Europe. For more information please click here.
The BEF website has been updated here with information including pdf factsheets for EHV and biosecurity from the BEF and FEI.
Organisers must prevent horses being presented for admission to a gathering in the following circumstances:
- Any horse with recent cough or nasal discharge of unknown cause, enlarged lymph nodes or fever.
- Any horse which is known or under investigation for EHV infection (whether associated with respiratory or neurological signs).
- Any horse which has been in contact with, or lives on the same premises as, a horse known or under investigation for EHV associated with neurological signs.
- Where a horse has been excluded due to neurological EHV or neurological EHV-contact, future admission should require that:
- EITHER all horses on the property have close clinical monitoring with twice daily temperature recording and the excluded status should apply until all horses on the premises have been free of clinical signs for at least 28 days.
- OR a detailed veterinary report should be presented to the Pony Club Veterinarian Advisor including robust laboratory evidence to show that the horse intended for admission to a gathering has not been infected with neurological EHV
Reminder of the 2021 Vaccination Policy for Equine Flu:
An annual booster is required for all Pony Club events. For Areas and Championships, this must have been given within 6 months of the competition. No horse or pony may compete on the same day as a relevant injection is given or on any of the 6 days following such an injection.
To download a copy of The Pony Club Vaccination Rule 2021 please click here.
A reminder that all our rulebooks are available free to download on the website here. We are continuing to use the 2020 Rulebooks for the 9 sports. A summary document of the changes for 2021 is included on the webpage, together with additional eligibility rules for the 2021 Championships, including the Gatcombe 110 Eventing. In addition, there are some useful guides to qualifying for the Championships 2021.
In addition, the 2021 Handbook containing The Rules of The Pony Club is available as a printed copy from Amazon.
The Mounted Games Committee have confirmed the 2 substitutions for the Area games: the Pyramid race for Rope and Stepping Stones for Tyre.
We are constantly adding to our resources to support Branches and Centres with the delivery of our achievement badges – many thanks to our sports team for creating Google Classrooms for Endurance, Mounted Games and Racing.
To view more information please click here.
The Prime Minister's announcement on Monday certainly buoyed spirits across The Pony Club, as I am sure it did with all of you. I have been working with the British Equestrian member bodies this week to align the start of all our activities in England from March 29th and coordinate the resumption of sport in the other home nations.
Coming out of lockdown last year The Pony Club was able to be agile and responsive to move back to activity quickly, within the restrictions, this was down to the commitment and enthusiasm of our volunteers. The COVID risk assessments and secure protocols set out to deliver safe and fun activities across the country. We enjoyed a summer of smaller gatherings but a packed schedule no less, even including our adapted day camps!
As we move ahead this time, we should all feel confident that we have procedures in place that keep everyone as safe as possible and we should all continue to follow these whilst we slowly move back to normality. Below I have outlined key information to ensure we are all clear on how we can resume organised sport.
March 8th – Schools and colleges return with breakfast and after school sports and activities. People will be allowed to meet one other person outdoors, not just to exercise.
March 29th – Formally organised outside sports can resume, subject to COVID protocols and regulations and people will no longer be legally required to stay at home, although still encouraged to stay local.
All Pony Club activity in England can resume from March 29th in Phase 4 of our Return to Riding Operational Plan, training and competitions, with the COVID risk assessment completed (in addition to existing risk assessments) and protocols in place.
The lockdown has been extended until April 1st, with a review on March 18th.
March 15th (anticipated) - Next phase of return of children to school - primary and some secondary pupils. Non-contact outdoor sports to return for 12-17 year olds. Four people from two households allowed to mix outdoors.
April 5th (anticipated) - Stay at home restriction removed, all children return to school, communal worship can restart with restricted numbers of 20, six people from two households can meet together, easing restrictions on indoor household gatherings and further essential retail can begin to re-open.
April 26th (anticipated) - All of Scotland return to Level system of restrictions, phased return of non-essential retail, some hospitality, leisure venues and gyms can re-open.
From March 15th, Phase 4 Pony Club activity can resume for under 18’s, please check local restrictions. It is likely from April 26th that more Pony Club activity will be able to resume depending on the Level Restrictions, we anticipate further detail from the Scottish Government published mid-March.
All of Wales is at alert level 4. The Welsh First Minister hopes that the “stay-at-home” restriction can end within 3 weeks. In the meantime, lockdown restrictions apply.
Read the full Pony Club National Summary document here and see quick links to helpful advice to get started with Phase 4 activity:
FAQ’S – Questions from this week
Can I run a Pony Club rally?
Yes, from March 29th in England only.
Are Pony Club Pony Racing Days planned for 2021?
Yes, we have eight planned in the calendar, we are just awaiting confirmation of dates with our venues.
Is Royal Windsor Horse Show going ahead?
Just announced the new date is 1st-4th July 2021.
Now it is time to plan to get your horses and ponies fit for the season ahead.