Page Last Updated: 9th April
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, Advice and FAQs - 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
Dear Members, families, volunteers and staff,
This has been another varied and challenging week. I am really excited about the launch of the collaboration between The Pony Club and Horse and Country TV. I enjoyed my chat with presenter Jenny Ruddall for her “Check In” series and the opportunity to launch our Easter competition 2 Legs not 4, with the great prize of an interview with Piggy March. International trainer Caroline Moore offered to share her superb training videos with The Pony Club and I am very grateful that these will now be available for free on Horse and Country TV in the “4 years to 5*” programmes, featuring Ros Canter.
We really appreciate the involvement of such high-profile international event riders – both Piggy and Ros are of course Pony Club alumni having been members respectively of the South Norfolk and South Wold Hunt North branches.
I have also been enjoying the wide and varied activities that our members, branches, centres and Areas are getting up to. There are so many creative ideas being passed around on social media and on our Pony Club shared Google drive. The Pony Club together and in action!
For examples of ideas and activities please click here, to view on our Creative Activities page.
As I mentioned in my last update, we are continuing to run The Pony Club carefully and prudently and our team has been working extremely hard over the past few weeks. The trustees took the decision last week to prioritise projects and leverage the Government Job Retention Scheme. This has resulted in more than half of the staff being placed on furlough. We have retained a core of staff who maintain our essential infrastructure, trustees are reviewing this regularly as the situation develops.
Please do view the relevant contact details below, should you need to our support. Our last full staff meeting was emotional this week, but spirits are high and staff are looking forward to coming back as restrictions are lifted and activities restart, so that they can continue to work hard for our members and volunteers.
We have just updated our website Help, Advice and FAQs with the latest information before the Easter weekend - to view it please click the link above.
We hope you are keeping well as we come to the close of our 2nd week in isolation. As I am sure you have seen this has been a difficult week for the member bodies within the BEF.
At The Pony Club, the priorities are our members and to ensure we make the best decisions to support the charity.
I am sure you can appreciate we are doing our very best to provide activities and sporting opportunities for our members this year, when it is currently so hard to predict what will be possible. As time has progressed, we are understanding better the medium-term impact of Coronavirus on The Pony Club.
It is with the deepest regret that we have made the decision to cancel the National Championships at Cholmondeley Castle, in light of the scale of this competition, the organisation required and the ongoing uncertainty. This also means the cancellation of area and qualifier competitions until the end of June. We will continue to monitor the situation - individual sports are currently making plans for what might be possible at a local or regional level. As soon as we have the latest on each sport we will share it with you.
In the current challenging times with our activities being seriously curtailed, fortunately, The Pony Club is in a stronger position than many as a result of previous restructuring and financial prudence. In order to protect that position and keep the organisation with the right skills and structures in place, we are going to take advantage of the Government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
As a result, 12 out of 22 staff members will be furloughed for 3 weeks from Wednesday 8th April after which we will review the situation. This will mean a reduction in service as projects and activities are prioritised. The situation will be constantly monitored by the Board of Trustees and myself.
In normal circumstances we answer over 600 calls a week. This has reduced significantly in the last week to 60 as a result of the reduction in activities. If you have a query or concern please contact your local branch or centre, as our help desk will be unmanned from Wednesday 8th April until further notice.
For specific enquiries please contact the following:
Safeguarding Officer within your branch or centre
Health & Safety
Health & Safety Officer within your branch or centre
To escalate an urgent Safeguarding or Health & Safety concern please ring 02476 698300 and press 9 to speak directly to me.
Branch Secretary / Centre Proprietor
PELHAM – for pilot branches and centres
Please continue to support our charity by maintaining your membership. We will continue to provide the latest advice whilst also giving our members opportunities to feel part of our community through these difficult times.
- Your third-party liability insurance will continue to cover horse and rider. We are however advising, in line with BEF guidance that you do not ride, unless it is necessary for the welfare of your horse or pony.
- We are partnering supportive volunteers and other equestrian organisations to launch online competitions, so please watch our social media channels for more information in the coming days.
- Our hope is that you continue to build and share the resources available in our online shared drive. Our branches and centres have access to this to support our members locally, for example with the syllabus for badges and tests.
- Our aim is to continue to provide you with resources to keep building your equine knowledge and staying optimistic about the future.
Thank you to all our members, families and volunteers for their continued support and understanding in these challenging times. After the announcement from the Prime Minister last night we are all aware of the need to stay at home and keep ourselves and others safe. Our Branches and Centres are full of ideas for home activities to keep you in touch and busy but more ideas are always welcome. Please share social media posts with the hashtags #PonyClubCarryOn and #PonyClubTogether so that we can all see what fun things are happening around the country.
As well as looking after each other, we all want to look after our horses and ponies. We have added to our previous advice the latest update from the British Equestrian Federation (“BEF” - our parent body, which includes the Olympic Equestrian Sports, RDA, BHS and World Horse Welfare as members). The information includes useful advice on managing the care of horses, whether at a yard or home and further notes on riding, veterinary and farrier care. To view the full document, please click here: https://bef.co.uk
Statement from the BEF;
The British Equestrian Federation urges all members of the equestrian community to strictly adhere to the Government’s directive to stay at home unless it’s absolutely necessary to travel. The welfare of horses, and other livestock, is still essential, making your travel as an employee, owner or volunteer to provide care valid under the current guidance. Please keep your own health and safety in mind, as well as that of everyone around you.
Summary of the BEF information headings:
• Guidance for looking after horses at a shared yard
- Practising good hygiene and other tips for going to the yard, at the yard, leaving the yard and arriving home
• Prepare for self-isolation
- make a plan for someone to care for your horse if you are ill or unable to get to them,
- There is currently no Government guidance that we are aware of to stop riding, it is down to an individual decision if this necessary. It is sensible to avoid activities with an increased risk of injury and be mindful of other people if you must hack out. Unnecessary travel is to be avoided, including lessons or training and transporting your horse for anything other than emergency care.
• Equine professionals
- Please contact your own vet for their current policy on essential visits, which may include booster vaccinations.
- Farriers are permitted to work, please contact yours for advice if needed.
Horse Feed and Bedding
Advice from the BEF:
We have all been asked not to panic buy household food and items. The same applies to our horses. Feed merchants and bedding suppliers hold plenty of stock and there is no need to stockpile excess amounts.
Shopping for animal feed and supplies is classed as essential activity.