HAYLEY WILD, an instructor at Saddleworth and District Pony Club, tells us about the club’s origins and their success:
The bond between horse and rider can at times seem magical.
Many people were wowed by the performances they witnessed at the Olympics by stars such as Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin: but where did it all begin for them?
The Pony Club – described by top Olympic coach Yogi Briesner as one of the best youth organisations he knows – began in 1928 to encourage young people to take up riding.
It is now a thriving international youth organisation with over 30,000 members in this country.
Open to all young people under 25, it provides one of the best opportunities to learn and compete in a variety of equestrian sports while promoting high standards of sportsmanship.
But it’s not just about riding because young people also receive training in the proper care and welfare of their animals and have the opportunity to progress through examinations.
‘The Pony Club field’ halfway along Platting Road, Scouthead, is home during the summer months to our local branch, Saddleworth and District, which has more than 60 members.
Here, they hold an outdoor rally every month, a three day rally during the summer holidays and shows.
This is where members receive regular instruction and training but also have the chance to test their skills in competition at the points show.
Every member receives a point for attending a show but if they are placed in one of the classes a higher number of points are gained. They are then totalled at the end of the season and prizes presented at a dance in November.
Members also travel further afield to compete in area competitions, recently doing very well at the Winter League Dressage and National Quiz.
Traditionally, members do need a pony to join, but if you or your child would like more information on Saddleworth Pony Club, please visit http://branches.pcuk.org/saddleworth/
Upcoming events include an Easter egg hunt from The Roebuck Inn on March 29, dressage on April 20 and the Novice show on April 21.
Hayley will be writing regularly for the Independent on equestrian matters.