Pony Club CEO Update – 22nd May

Please note some of this guidance applies only to England.

Dear Members, families, volunteers and staff,

This week there has been much excitement around getting our horses and ponies fit. I have seen some wonderful stories about how riding again has been much needed to support our mental health, as lock down has proved a challenging time for many of us. Mental Health Awareness week helped us highlight the importance of connecting with people, so please do reach out for support if you are struggling. It is important that we continue to look after each other as we move on our journey back to some form of normality.

I am aware there are still some of you waiting for your riding school to reopen. Please be a little more patient, our centres want to create the safest environment possible to allow you to enjoy riding again. There are new procedures in place for them to follow, so it might feel different when you return and one to one coaching only is allowed under Government restrictions at this time. I know our centres are looking forward to welcoming our members back.

Following Government Guidance

It is important that we all continue to follow the current Government guidance and that we remember COVID-19 has not gone away. We are lucky to be part of an outdoor sport, that can start enjoying activity. However, I would ask that we stay respectful of others who are not enjoying their ‘normal’ activities and we should continue to minimise pressure on our NHS services.

  • The Government has restricted sporting activity to outdoors only, so please do not use an indoor arena for one to one coaching.
  • As I shared last week, there is an additional COVID-19 risk assessment available that is to be used in addition to all existing risk assessments. These should always all be followed to protect ourselves and those around us.
  • If you are hiring a venue, please respect and follow the venue rules. This will allow everyone to continue to enjoy the facilities.
  • I also wanted to highlight that there is a lot of advice available for venues, coaches and riders on our BEF partners’ websites, British Dressage, British Showjumping, British Eventing and The British Horse Society, visit their websites to find out more.

Please remember if we choose not to comply with the current guidance and act in a way that is reckless and endangers others, it is possible that the Government will impose additional restrictions on equestrian sport and this will delay the resumption of Pony Club activities. For a useful reminder of The Pony Club Operational Plan and our current Phase 1 and 2, please view our new infographic here.

Furloughed Staff

As activities are restarting, please be reminded that many of The Pony Club staff are still on furlough and we have a limited capacity to support all enquiries. We will continue to do our best to support everyone, but please be patient if there is a delayed response from our team at this time.

Online Competitions and Resources

Please also don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and to check the website, to keep up to date with the new additions to the members’ area and with all our online competitions.

  • If you like writing we have the Write2Ride competition with fantastic prizes available – Entries for Juniors close today, Seniors you have until June 14th.
  • If you prefer designing enter the ‘Decorate Your Pony or Hobby Horse’ Competition – closing June 1st.
  • For the artists among you we have Equestrian Hopes and Dreams art competition – visit the dedicated website here and view the amazing entries so far.
  • Next week marks the start of scrapbook fun! Gather your pens, pencils, glitter, stickers and be prepared to decorate your front covers for the chance to win a surprise and join in the daily games to have some fun!

Enjoy your bank holiday weekend.

Marcus Capel, Interim CEO