From Olympic medal winners to grassroots eventers, a huge number of UK riders started their equestrian lives at the Pony Club.
While getting into the equine world can require you to buy a horse and horsebox and arrange horsebox insurance, the Pony Club offers a great way to try it out before making the investment.
Read on to find out all you need to know about this fantastic organisation.
What is the Pony Club?
Founded in England in 1929 this international voluntary youth organisation is a charity with around 345 branches and 480 centres in the UK alone.
Worldwide the Pony Club has a presence in 27 countries and over 110,000 members – giving it a hugely important role in the lives of young riders around the world.
The Pony Club has three stated purposes:
- To encourage young people to ride and to learn to enjoy all kinds of sports connected with horses and riding.
- To give instruction in riding and horsemastership and to educate members to look after and to take proper care of their animal.
- To promote the highest ideals of sportsmanship, citizenship and loyalty to create strength of character and self-discipline.
If you visit the Pony Club website you’ll find a search facility into which you can type your postcode to find your closest branch or centre. There’s bound to be one near you.
How can you become a member?
Membership is open to anyone under 25 no matter what their riding ability and it’s easy to join through their website. There are several different levels of membership depending on whether or not you own or have access to a horse or pony.
Membership is on a rolling basis for both branches and centres, so you always get 12 months from the date you join.
For those with access to a horse there are two different ways to join:
- Pony Club Branch riding membership – costing £80 this membership is open to those with access to an animal and have the means to transport it to and from rallies and events.
- Pony Club Centre plus membership – costing £80 this is for members who keep their horse or pony at a Pony Club Centre and ride it at Pony Club events.
For those without access to a horse there are two different ways to join:
- Pony Club Branch Non-riding membership – costing £36 this is open to those who wish to experience Pony Club but without riding. These members can compete in any non-riding activity or event such as the National Quiz or Blue Cross Care.
- Pony Club Centre membership – costing £36 this is suitable for those without a pony and allows you to join a riding school linked to the Pony Club where you can take part in Pony Club activities.
There are additional fees for training and competitions, but these are kept to a minimum.
For those transporting horses to Pony Club events remember you’ll need not only horse insurance for your equine friend but also horsebox insurance for your transport.
What type of events does the Pony Club run?
As well as the yearly high point that is Pony Club Camp and regular Pony Club training rallies, the charity provides riders of all levels with training events and competitions throughout the year. They include the following:
- Achievement badges – from rider nutrition and poisonous plants to yard safety and equine behaviour, there are 22 mini achievement badges and 50 achievement badges to be earned.
- Competition badges – these are awarded as a way of training young riders to compete in the 9 equine sports of dressage, show jumping, eventing, polo, polocrosse, endurance, mounted games, pony racing and tetrathlon.
- Efficiency tests – helping riders to learn about horse and pony care and riding. The tests are taken at recommended ages and are designed with certain objectives such as lunging or road riding in mind.
- Progressive tests – these allow members to work towards tests in between Efficiency Test levels.
- Introduction to coaching – the perfect way for members to begin coaching by making sure they have the right skills and support.
- The Pony Club Championships – the annual Championships are the pinnacle of Pony Club competition and a fantastic opportunity in members’ competitive career. The event attracts around 2,000 riders who take part over five days of sporting action in the beautiful grounds of Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire.
- The Musical Ride – not to be missed, the Musical Ride is a spectacle in which teams of young riders perform a choreographed routine to music, wearing themed costumes. Previous themes have included James Bond, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and even Bake Off!
The Pony Club also runs a host of other competitions including the Tetrathlon Championships, the Polo Championship, the Grassroots Regional Championships, the National Quiz and the Blue Cross Care Competition.
What are the benefits of joining the Pony Club?
There are a huge range of benefits for young riders to joining the Pony Club such as:
- Making new friends and having fun in a safe and caring environment.
- Learning how to ride and compete in a range of equine sports.
- Learning how to take care of horses and ponies.
- Learning lifelong skills to build their confidence and teamwork.
- Access to a range of exciting activities.
Arrange horsebox insurance with Equesure
Whatever exciting event or competition you go to with your four-legged companion, the specialist team at Equesure will help you find the right insurance cover for both your horse and transport.
With over 60 years of combined experience in the equine insurance market, our team can find cover for many models of horsebox. From Equi-Trek to Empire, Ifor Williams to Alexanders and many more.
Whether Comprehensive, Third Party, Fire and Theft or Third Party Only, obtaining insurance through us is simple and straightforward and can give you a range of benefits including:
- Breakdown cover
- EU cover
- Windscreen cover on comprehensive policies
- Personal accident cover on comprehensive policies
Equesure can also arrange dedicated horse insurance for your equine companion and horse rider insurance to protect yourself and others while out riding.
Get a horsebox insurance quote today.
Policy benefits and features offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.