This page gives the latest updates from The Pony Club's CEO, Marcus Capel. You may also wish to check out the following pages:
This week’s CEO update is packed full of exciting information about competitions, tests, webinars and further guidance relating to COVID.
- A Test Dates
- Art Competition Launch
- Musical Ride Information
- World Horse Welfare Webinars
- COVID – Pony Club Camps Update
- Biosecurity: EHV forms
The Pony Club A Test
The Training Committee took on a project earlier this year to collate feedback and consult with previous A Test candidates to develop the A Test training and assessment process. This was an incredibly valuable and important project to undertake and one that was necessary to uphold the highest standards of our A Test qualification.
The committee have implemented the changes to the A Test journey for candidates applying this year and we are pleased to say we now have dates in the dairy this summer for training and for tests to take place in early autumn. The candidates will benefit from an updated timetable for the test to offer a more user-friendly experience and mentors will now be available offering support to each candidate, sharing valuable knowledge and experiences to support candidates’ preparations. Along with further subtle changes we hope to see candidates growing in confidence and learning throughout the A test journey, ultimately achieving greater success.
We thank you for your patience in awaiting the dates and we look forward to tracking the impact of these improvements as we move forward to 2022.
For more information about the A Test and dates click here.
Art Competition Launch
It is with great excitement that the Art Competition launches today! The theme this year is ‘The Value of Togetherness’ a topic close to many of our hearts at the moment, and one of our Pony Club values.
Members have until August 12th to submit their entries which can be a drawing, painting or a piece of digital art reflecting our theme linked to equestrianism. The same judges are returning from last year’s competition and they cannot wait to see the standard of work produced. They have all volunteered their time again because they were blown away by the talent from last year.
To find out more about how to enter please follow this link.
Musical Ride Competition
The Musical Ride has moved online for 2021 to offer many more Branches and Centres the chance to take part in this fun and exciting competition! This really is one that everyone should be involved with, it is a chance to show off your creative flair and dressage dancing skills.
You have all summer to create your teams and perfect your performances and all you need is a marked-out area on grass or a surface in a size to accommodate the number of riders performing.
Entries open on September 1st, so get practicing! – Find out more here.
World Horse Welfare Webinars
World Horse Welfare have been running a series of webinars we thought you might find interesting. The next one is on June 23rd at 7.00pm and is focusing on how to keep horse sport ethical.
Professor Madeleine Campbell will take an in-depth look at how some of the sporting demands we make on our horses could affect their mental wellbeing. Professor Campbell holds a number of senior positions in British universities and veterinary organisations relating to animal welfare and ethics, and she is uniquely placed to guide us through the maze of ethical questions that confronts all of us who keep horses.
To find out more and register for this interesting presentation and discussion click here.
COVID update for camps
Whilst we hope government COVID restrictions will be lifted in time for our residential summer camps, Branches and Centres are making their plans now and therefore need to be mindful of the current level of restrictions in their area. The Pony Club nationally will not insist on any measures that are more restrictive than the Government guidelines at the time of the camp but local organisers may wish to put in place additional reassuring measures for Members, Parents and Volunteers so that they will be as safe as possible.
Considerations may include:
- Lateral flow antigen tests: whilst not mandatory from the Government perspective, these tests are available for free from the NHS and camp organisers may wish to make it a condition of entry and ask all attendees (Members, Coaches and Volunteers) to have a negative test before entering the camp.
- Signs of illness: no one should attend camp if they show any signs of illness or have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
- Sharing of Equipment: this should be minimised where possible. The research has shown that fomite transmission of the virus is minimal, however additional precautions such as sanitising equipment regularly should be in place.
The following number restrictions are based on the UK Government Guidance and may vary depending on devolved parliament or local guidelines.
- Group sizes:
- Formally organised indoor and outdoor sports can take place with any number of people with a risk assessment in place
- Informal exercise / social gatherings are limited to a group of 30 outdoors or 6 indoors.
- Overnight stays: all holiday accommodation is open and you can stay in groups of up to 6, or larger groups if everyone is from 2 households.
- Eating: Indoor dining is limited to 6 per table (or more if from the same household)
Biosecurity: EHV / Equine Health Self-Certification forms
Thank you to everyone for continuing to promote animal welfare and biosecurity. Our combined efforts helped to ensure that the neurological EHV-1 cases linked to the European infections earlier this year were successfully contained. The self-declaration form was seen as an extremely effective tool in managing this outbreak. As the endemic EHV level is now at the usual levels we can stop using the EHV self-declaration forms before competitions. It will be expected, however, that everyone will take the responsibility of not travelling their horses or ponies to a Pony Club activity or event if it shows any signs of infectious disease or has been in contact with any equines that show any symptoms of illness. Entry systems / declarations may be updated to include this as a condition of entry. Spot checks of passports and Equine Flu Vaccinations will continue as usual.
Dear Members, families, volunteers and staff
- Volunteers' Week
- Safeguarding and Risk Assessment training
- PC110 Open Eventing Championships
- Polocrosse Four Nations Team Announcement
- COVID planning, including camps
- National Committee Discussions and Decisions
I hope you have been enjoying a healthy and active half term? This is the first of our new fortnightly CEO updates; I will of course share urgent information as soon as it is needed but I hope we have moved away from the weekly COVID updates.
As a further move forward to share as much information as possible, a new feature of the CEO updates will be a summary of key discussions and decisions made in our national committees. Please do look at our Governance Structure Pony Club Structure (pcuk.org) which explains how information is shared, consulted upon and decisions taken at The Pony Club for the benefit of all.
We are currently undertaking a Governance review to keep the processes working well and, in particular, we want to develop the representation of our Members' voices from Branch and Centre to National and International level.
I would like to say a huge thank you to all our wonderful volunteers who contribute so much to our great organisation at so many levels. We could not run without you.
I am very pleased to welcome our new DCs and Branch Officials, we have had over 100 attend the new, monthly, online Branch Official Training (BOT). The last of these sessions is running this month and then there will be a break over the busy summer period with the training resuming in the autumn.
Our other training courses, including Safeguarding for Equestrians and the new Risk Assessment training are still running. Click here for courses.
PC110 Open Eventing Championships
We are very close to finalising the details of the PC110 Open Eventing Championships which were to be held at the Gatcombe Festival of Eventing. The announcement will be made early next week; thank you for your patience as we work hard to secure the best opportunity for our members.
Teams announced for 2021 Pony Club Polocrosse Four Nations
The Pony Club Polocrosse Four Nations competition will take place on the 24th and 25th of July at Cheshire Polo Club, Tarpoley, Cheshire. It will see teams from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland compete for the Triple Diamond trophy for the overall winning Nation.
Each team consists of three age sections; Senior, Junior and Mini. The individual sections will also compete for the Scott Senior Trophy, The NVable Junior Trophy (15 years and under) and the AKT Minis Trophy (12 years and under).
Pony Club Polocrosse Chairman Iain Heaton said:
"A big congratulations to all the players who have been selected and commiserations to those who have missed out. Competition for places was very strong and the selectors had a hard job picking teams. We have four really strong teams, and we think it should be a brilliant competition in July, showcasing the talent of our members and their ponies."
The forty-eight selected members come from twenty-three different Pony Club Branches and Centres, and from thirteen of The Pony Club’s nineteen areas!
For the full list of selected Members please click here.
The event is being kindly hosted by Celyn Polocrosse Club, alongside their annual UK Polocrosse Association tournament. Subject to COVID-19 restrictions being fully lifted spectators will be very welcome to come along and watch what should be a brilliant weekend of play.
We are all eagerly awaiting the next steps in the lifting of COVID restrictions. Whilst much of our activity has been able to resume as ‘normal’ we need to remain mindful of all the restrictions put in place by the Government, in particular social distancing and group sizes. Many Branches and Centres are planning their annual camps, these may be residential where the restrictions allow. Several organisers have worked out innovative ways of enabling them to happen, please be appreciative of all the work that goes in from the teams of volunteers.
National Committee Discussions and Decisions
Please see below a summary of the key discussions and decisions made in our recent National Committees:
Decision / Discussion
|Health and Safety and Safeguarding||
|Rules and Compliance||
- New Fortnightly CEO Update
- Event Ticket Discount Code
- EHV-1 Protocol
- Eventing Scores
The easing of restrictions this week has us moving another step closer to normality and whilst we must continue to be cautious, we are looking forward to the summer ahead.
This week our team have visited the site of The Pony Club Championships at Offchurch Bury in Warwickshire. We are planning and preparing for what we hope to be our best Championships yet, coupled with the news that we have secured a fantastic new sponsor for the event! Watch your emails for news and more information being released next week, with only two months to go it is exciting!
Fortnightly CEO Update
During the pandemic we have used the weekly update to keep you informed of the latest news as quickly as possible. We are very mindful that as restrictions ease Government updates are now less frequent and we only want to continue to share relevant and timely updates with you.
With this in mind, we are now shifting the CEO update to be sent out every fortnight, the next update will be June 4th. If there is any immediate news, we will of course update you.
Event Ticket Discount Code
As event tickets go on sale, we have been contacted by many of you asking for Pony Club discount codes.
Today we can release the code for the London International Horse Show taking place on 16th-20th December at ExCel in London.
As a Pony Club Member you have been given a 30% discount on Groups of ten or more and you will also benefit from a reduced booking fee of £1 per ticket. There is no individual offer.
This discount is valid for - Thursday afternoon performance, Friday afternoon performance, Sunday evening performance and Monday afternoon and evening performances.
The code is in your email, for more information about the event and to book tickets visit - www.londonhorseshow.com
As we have news of any others, we will let you know.
While there continue to be infrequent outbreaks of EHV-1 with both respiratory and neurological signs in Europe and the UK, British Equestrian’s Equine Infectious Disease Advisory Group (EIDAG) has concluded that the prevalence of EHV-associated disease has returned to its typical background level.
Whilst biosecurity measures should continue to be maintained as standard best practice the additional level of activity can now revert to normal.
As good practice and as requested by the BEF, please continue to use the Equine Health Self Declaration forms for larger competitions where horses and ponies will be coming from a wider area.
Eventing Scores Website
We know many of you are finding the new www.ponyclubresults.co.uk website a great resource as you are planning events around the country in Areas and Branches. To continue delivering the great service Eventing Scores have provided, they have now recruited a new team member to support us all, which is great news!
We very much look forward to seeing them at the Championships.
COVID Restriction Update
With further restrictions easing from Monday 17th (See below), it is vital that we all continue to be vigilant and play our part in protecting others. It is very important that we understand that everyone might feel a level of anxiety or trepidation about the restrictions easing. We all have a duty of care to support each other through this time and stay conscious of how people are feeling. It is a positive step forward but one I hope we take with care and consideration.
- England: all indoor and outdoor sports and leisure facilities can open, with organised sport being exempt from gathering limits (subject to a risk assessment and ventilation and capacity limits). Informal / social gatherings are subject to a limit of 30 people outdoors, Rule of 6 indoors. Spectators are permitted, subject to social gathering limits. In line with fellow BEF members, the recommended numbers of friends and family accompanying riders is now increased subject to the Government guidance for indoors (6 people / 2 households)
- Scotland: indoor and outdoor sports facilities open, with outdoor sports bubble of 50 participants allowed, indoor bubble size dependant on the facility. Social gathering up to 8 people from 8 households outdoors / 6 people from 3 households indoors.
- Wales: indoor and outdoor sports facilities open, outdoor bubble of 30, organised sport indoor bubble of 15. Social gathering indoors 6 adults from 6 households.
- Northern Ireland will ease restrictions further from the 24th
For the updated National summary, please see above.
Online Dressage Spring Festival 2021
Well done to all Branch and Centre Members who took part in the Online Dressage Spring Festival hosted by Dressage Anywhere. Results are in and you can see the members who will be going forward to the final on the website here.
Also don’t forget to get your Pony Club Spring Festival 2021 Hoody from Beewear Ltd - celebrate how this amazing competition has been able to go ahead online, during such challenging times.
Polo Summer Pack – Issue 1
With summer fast approaching we are gearing up for the Pony Club Polo Season, find out more in the first issue of the Summer Polo Pack.
Keep an eye on the website for updates to the schedule here.
And don’t forget there is funding available for U14s to give polo a try! For more information click here.
The Pony Club Art Competition is back!
Following on from a very successful competition in 2020, in which we had over 150 entries, we are pleased to announce that The Pony Club Art Competition will be returning in 2021.
Full details, including the competition theme, will be revealed later this month – keep an eye out for our next update!
Do not forget if you are recommending The Pony Club to any friends or family, they can join online now via our Members Portal! To watch our ‘how to’ videos offering a step-by-step guide to creating an account and joining a Branch or Centre online, please direct people here.
If you are a member looking to renew you will be sent your personal link to renew via the portal prior to the expiry of your membership, keep an eye on your emails.
Joining or renewing online is so quick and easy, and it means you don’t miss a day of fun!
- Design a Dressage Test Winners
- PCIA International Dressage Competition
- Job Opportunities at The Pony Club
- Online Accident Reporting “Risk Reduce”
- Blue Cross Rehoming Appeal
- BEF Level 4 coaching
This week we have been supporting the Strangles Awareness Campaign to encourage everyone in The Pony Club to speak about their experiences of the infectious disease. I hope you have found the posts on our social media channels interesting and if you are not familiar with the disease and would like to learn more, I encourage to watch this video from The Blue Cross.
Design a Dressage Test Winners
Well done to everyone who took part in this great competition and a huge congratulations go to the three Pony Club members who produced the winning tests. They were chosen by the Dressage Committee and British Equestrian Podium Pathway riders; Bella Innes Ker, Charlotte Fry and Lara Butler, who also rode the winning tests.
- Novice Test Winner - Sadie Nicholls from Green Acres Equestrian Centre
- Intermediate Class - Grace Tomkins from the Atherstone Hunt Branch
- Open Class - Lucy Smith from the Deveron Branch
Watch the fantastic tests being ridden here.
We are pleased to announce an exciting opportunity for members to take part in an International Virtual Dressage Competition alongside other members from PCIA countries!
There are five classes running and we have 4 places available in each class, 4 pairs will be selected for Class 4. Selections will be based on your age, ability and the qualification criteria and we hope to have a member from each home nation in each class.
USDF Training Level Test 1
14 years and under
USDF First Level Test 1
18 years and under
USDF Second Level Test 1
25 years and under
Pas de Deux Freestyle to Music (fancy dress optional)
USDF Pas de Deux Freestyle
No age restriction
NZPCA Prix Caprilli Test Y
No age restriction
*Age as of 1st June 2021
For more information about this competition visit our website here, applications close on Friday 21st May.
Pony Club is Hiring
We are currently looking for two new people to join our team at this exciting time! To read the job descriptions and discover who to send your CV and covering letter to, please follow the links below.
Online accident reporting and Risk Reduce
We have been working with our Insurers, Liberty Specialty Markets and our insurance broker, Howden, to create an online accident reporting process. This will run through a portal called ‘Risk Reduce’.
Each branch will be sent an email on Monday 10th May to their main branch email address and will be invited to set up their new Risk Reduce login.
The ability to report accidents online has been requested by many of our branches and we hope that this will make the reporting of incidents that bit quicker and easier for volunteers. This invaluable data will provide an evidence-based approach to additional safety guidance.
For further information about Risk Reduce and the new reporting process click here.
Blue Cross Rehoming Appeal
Are you looking for a new horse or pony? Did you know that Blue Cross has a range of horses; from miniature Shetlands to cobs to thoroughbreds. They have companions and ridden horses and ponies, both backed and unbacked.
There are many benefits of rehoming, you have the opportunity to help a horse in need of a loving home. You also get support and help through visits from a member of the Blue Cross team to see how your partnership is developing before transferring ownership.
Please have a look on the rehoming pages to see horses currently available for loan or potentially to own.
The Blue Cross are also always in need of support yards, preferably located within an hour’s drive of their centres, where horses are provided with temporary care and support on a private yard until a suitable permanent home is found. If you are interested in becoming a support yard rather than loaning a horse please visit their volunteering pages for further details.
Level 4 Coaching - BEF
British Equestrian will be opening applications for the 2021–2023 running of its Level 4 Coaching Certificate on 20 May.
The course, which British Equestrian runs in partnership with the University of Gloucestershire and British Rowing, is a bespoke programme that has been developed specifically for both sports and includes a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) in Professional Practice in Sports Coaching.
To find out more about the programme click here.
- Social Media Boycott for Bank Holiday weekend #EnoughIsEnough
- National Quiz results
- COVID restrictions update: Scotland and Wales
- Risk Assessment Guidance and training
- Tack checking guidance during COVID
- New BE CEO
Social Media Boycott
The Pony Club and fellow member bodies of the BEF are uniting with the football community and other sports for a social media boycott from 15:00 on Friday 30th April to 23.59 on Monday 3rd May.
We are in full support of the call to end online discrimination, abuse and hate and ask that social media providers do more to prevent such activity and make those who do fully accountable.
I am asking that Branches and Centres limit social media to essential communication and operational use only for the duration of the boycott period. I appreciate that many events and competitions rely on social media for on-event messaging and organisation but please, no posts for promotions, advertising, features or sponsor messaging during the weekend. All of us have a part to play in improving the social media environment so if you see it, report it and help to stop it.
The national campaign is using the hashtags: #EnoughIsEnough #DrawTheLine
It was a pleasure to see so many Members join in the National Quiz. Over 170 people attended the hard-fought final, representing 19 Branches and 11 Centres. The organisers definitely raised the bar with the level of questions, challenging everyone present. Huge thanks to all the back-room crew of volunteers, led by Elizabeth Hughes and Laura Armstrong from the office.
- 1st - Atherstone Hunt (Area 7)
- 2nd - East Essex Hunt (Area 8)
- 3rd - Crickhowell & District (Area 10)
- 1st Gym-Khana (Area 8)
- 2nd Throstle Nest (Area 3)
- 3rd Gorswen (Area 5)
Full results available at www.ponyclubresults.co.uk
COVID restrictions update
Scotland at level 3: The whole of mainland Scotland moves to Alert Level 3, which allows travel around Scotland, and across Britain, including for sport and physical activity. ‘Field of play' bubbles increase to 30 and we await confirmation from Sport Scotland / Horse Scotland around increased event numbers for Levels 0-2. It is anticipated that the vast majority of Scotland will move to Level 2 from Monday17th May and to Level 1 from Monday 7th June. The expectation is that later in June Level 0 will be achieved.
Wales: Outdoor sports with groups up to 30 can restart and travel is allowed across the UK.
For the full National COVID summary, please see the downloads above.
Risk Assessments and Guidance
Following a full review over the winter months, The Pony Club is launching new risk assessment documentation and supportive guidance. These materials are aligned with legal requirements and industry standards but enable a more streamlined approach to how we complete risk assessments for activities.
The templates are designed as a starting base and should be adapted specifically to events and venues. To support, we have also created step-by-step guidance.
Click here for the new documentation.
Risk Assessment Training
The Pony Club is also launching a new course to provide essential training around risk assessments. Through this training, you will gain an understanding about:
- the purpose of risk assessments, i.e. to prevent injuries,
- how people might get injured, and,
- what you can do to avoid it happening.
Launch: we have the following dates scheduled for May:
- Friday 7 May, 7pm
- Thursday 13 May, 2pm
- Wednesday 19 May, 11am
- Tuesday 25 May, 7pm
The training will be open to all Branches, Centres and Areas to attend with places costing £10. Click here for booking pages.
Tack Checking: Guidance during COVID
Several organisers have asked for guidance on checking tack under COVID restrictions.
The tack check is for safety and welfare reasons. The tack checker should wear a mask and sanitise between each horse and pony, keeping their distance from the rider where possible.
A suggested method of conducting the safety check
- Rider starts mounted on the horse or pony so the saddle fit can be checked
- Rider then dismounts and holds the horse or pony, staying clear of the tack checker, so that stirrup leathers etc can be checked.
British Eventing CEO
British Eventing have announced the appointment of their new CEO, Helen West, with effect from 2nd August. Helen has managed Bicton Arena in Devon for 8 years and is a former Young Rider gold medallist. She is a great supporter of The Pony Club, helping us with may events, including the South West Grassroots Regional Championships. BE have paid tribute to Jude Matthews, outgoing CEO, who has led the sport through the past challenging years.