Monday November 18, 2019

2019 NEWS

Volunteering at the Championships

If you wish to volunteer at the PC Championships at Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire from the 16th – 20th of August, then please register by clicking here.

We need between 160 – 200 volunteers every day to ensure smooth running of the event!

A lot of emails have been received offering to volunteer, which is much appreciated. However, to ensure no one is missed, please register with the link above.


Representing Your Branch at Area Competitions – Rules

See the attached document for the current rules on qualifying for Area Competitions. Three rallies rule


Fall Rule for Area & Championship Competitions

Reminder of a rule change that means a fall at Area competitions will result in elimination rather than the previous 65 penalties. 


New Scottish Ambassadors Announced British Grooms Association

In May 2019, alongside their friends at Horsescotland, British Grooms Association launched their search to find a BGA Scottish Ambassador and are thrilled to announce that they found not one – but two brilliant ambassadors.

For the North of Scotland we would like to introduce the lovely Paige Howarth (pictured right). 

Paige is a freelance groom based in Elgin, Moray and says,

“I started working with horses on various yards when I was 16 when I left school, I went freelance in 2017 and since then I have been offering general yard jobs, holiday cover, show prep, schooling and more, along side competing with my own ex-race horse in dressage, showjumping and ROR showing.

I am excited to be chosen as one of the new ambassadors to represent all the freelance grooms in the north east of Scotland and also to help any other freelance grooms to have a say and find out more about what the BGA can offer.”

The second fabulous groom to be recruited is Lucy Blain (pictured left).

Lucy has recently moved to Fife and alongside working for the SSPCA is also a freelance groom.

Lucy says,  

“I am feeling extremely privileged to be an ambassador for the BGA and to be flying the flag for grooms in Scotland, whether they are working for professional riders or caring for a herd of Highland ponies. The work the BGA does is vital to changing attitudes towards grooms and providing them with essential support to really flourish in their roles. 

I am so excited to play a small part in continuing this great work and bringing some more recognition to Scottish grooms in particular who face a host of additional challenges (everywhere is the middle of nowhere up here!) within their jobs.”

Paige and Lucy join the existing team of Ambassadors. If you live in Scotland and would like to get in touch with either Paige or Lucy then get in touch with BGA and they can pass your email on.

Dressage Legal Bits for Area Dressage Qualifiers

Due to the timing of rule changes there are several Dressage legal bits that are not listed or may not be clear in the Pony Club Rule Book. Attached is a visual guide released by British Dressage of their permitted and non-permitted tack and equipment.

As the Pony Club Dressage Rule Book does state that “The Pony Club follows the guidance of British Dressage in relation to permitted bits”, if a member turns up in a bit that is not in the PC rule book, but is allowed by BD then the BD rule should take precedence and they should be allowed to compete.


FEI Banned Substance Warning – 16th May

The FEI is warning the equestrian community about synephrine, which is a Banned Substance listed on the Equine Prohibited Substances List.

A high number of samples taken from horses under the Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Programme have tested positive for the substance. Investigations into the sources of the positive cases are continuing but the FEI is warning that synephrine can be found in the horse’s environment so it is advising of how to prevent a positive finding.

Synephrine is a stimulant which can cause vasoconstriction, an increased heart rate and is used as a weight loss aid.

In certain parts of the world, synephrine can be found in plants such as common rush (Juncus usitatus), Mullumbimby couch (Cyperus brevifolus) and the leaves of citrus trees (e.g. mandarin, orange and lemon). Synephrine has also been detected in Teff grass hay in some countries.

It can also be found as an ingredient of herbal and nutritional supplements, and commonly found in the peel extract of bitter orange (also known as Seville orange) which is used as a flavouring agent.

How to prevent positive findings:

·         Use reputable suppliers of hay, feed and supplements.

·         Check the horse’s environment for plants containing synephrine.

·         Ensure that any personnel taking supplements or other products containing synephrine wash their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with the substance.

Additionally, it is recommended that samples are kept of batches of hay, feed and supplements given to competition horses to enable a thorough investigation to take place should the horse test positive for synephrine.

Further information concerning contamination prevention can be found here.


Call for Volunteers for Hopetoun Horse Trials – Sunday 30th June 11 am – 6pm

Hopetoun Horse Trials are looking for volunteers to help cover road crossings on the cross country course, and pick up show jumping poles. You’ll be well looked after and have a chance to participate in the running of the horse trials. If you’d like to volunteer, please contact


EEA Issues Caution over Non-Provision of Written Contracts
The Equestrian Employers Association (EEA) has issued a caution to all employers following a recent poll which revealed that 59% of employed grooms do not have a written statement of terms of employment (contract).

Employers are legally required to provide certain information to staff in the first two months of employment and this information should also be included in any contract of employment.

More information can be found here.


Clean Sport Week

It’s #CleanSportWeek and the British Grooms Association believe in educating grooms, riders and anyone who comes into contact with horses about clean sport. Their Groom Clean e-learning course gives learners an understanding of the importance of controlled medication and anti-doping, as well as practical stable management tips. Find out more:

Lungeing or AH Test Candidates – Any interested candidates please contact


Be Part of a Commemorative Book Celebrating 90 Years of the Pony Club

Don’t miss out on pre-ordering your book and adding your name to our special limited edition book celebrating 90 years of The Pony Club. We don’t want you to miss out on being part of something unique. click here for more info


3rd May 2019 – Latest BEF Update on Equine Flu

The latest information from the BEF regarding Equine Influenza is as follows:

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) continues to closely monitor the equine flu outbreak – there were 11 further cases in April as reported by the Animal Health Trust.

The BEF continues to urge all owners to ensure that their vaccination records are up to date to help prevent the spread of equine flu. The BEF strongly recommends that if it has been more than six months since the last vaccination, that owners discuss a booster with their veterinary surgeon.

It is also vital that unvaccinated horses do not mix with other equines due to the increased risk of such an infectious disease spreading.

BEF recommendations are based on advice from experts in equine flu and epidemiology with experience in managing previous outbreaks. The BEF will continue to review our recommendations based on scientific advice


IMPORTANT Open Dressage 2019 Test – Rule Book version

It has come to light that the above test is incorrect in the Dressage Rule Book. All other versions on and through Harry Hall are correct, it is only the Rule Book that has the error. Please find the correct test attached. 

Open Dressage 2019 Test Sheet (A4)


IMPORTANT: Show Jumping Rule book update:

Unfortunately, rule 3(b) has been omitted from the 2019 Showjumping rule book. This rule was carried over from 2018 and is still current and it should be enforced. It reads as follows:

“3(b) Hair: In the interests of safety, long hair must be secured appropriately in a hairnet.”