Wednesday May 31, 2023
For National Pony Club updates and information please go to pcuk.org
Teams & Competitions

Every summer the Pony Club organises Regional and Area qualifier competitions in each discipline, Tetrathlon, Dressage, Show Jumping and Eventing.  This culminates in either the Regional or National Championships in August. We send out information to everyone before the competitions and we’d encourage everyone to look to take part !

Whether you enjoy the precision of dressage and show jumping or the excitement of riding fast across country, many of the best opportunities to do this will be at competitions.  In addition to the qualifiers, branches put on interbranch competitions. Competitions can be entered as an individual or as part of a team.  Being part of a team offers the experience and support of the other team members and is an excellent way to start. We will email schedules to all members as they are produced.

There are opportunities for all ages to compete at all levels. Some competition start with classes with jumps of 30 cms and with simple dressage tests.  

Please just ask any questions that you have – the jargon and rules can appear complicated to begin with.

FREE Coaching Support at competitions
We believe supporting our members at competitions is one of the most vital investments we can make in the year. The branch funds one of coaches to support members at competitions by checking tack, walking courses, calm nerves (parents too !), warming the members up and help them understand what being a good sportsperson is all about ! We publish the dates of competitions that coaches will be attending in the facebook group.
 
What are the different competitions?
There are many different sports (or disciplines) that the pony club is involved in.  The Fernie pony club has teams in all the disciplines where members have asked or shown interest.  Currently these are:
  • Show Jumping
  • Eventing – This has three phases; first a dressage test, second a show jumping round and finally a cross-country course.  The lowest combined penalty score wins.
  • Areana eventing
  • Dressage
  • Tetrathlon / Triathlon
  • Horse and Pony Care

Younger members should try to experience a variety of disciplines.  For example dressage helps with improving jumping and can even be fun!! A good source of information about the different disciplines is the Pony Club Sports Page. 

What level to compete at?

The Pony Club Eventing system is laid out in the Rule Books . The first consideration is the maximum height of the jumps for Show Jumping (SJ) and Cross Country (XC).

Showjumping competition schedules are often simpler – classes mostly being defined by the height of jumps.

Members age is always taken at the 1st January in the current year.

It is normal to compete at a height slightly lower than that being jumped at home – a whole course of new fences is very different to the familiar ones in the paddock at home.

Eligibility for Teams – this applies only to ‘Area’ and ‘Regional’ Competitions

Every member can join teams for all the usual interbranch competitions, and we really encourage you to do so – it’s great fun and the more team members we have, the better.  Once a year, usually in July, there are specific interbranch competitions called ‘the Areas’ and ‘the regionals’ which qualify the winning teams to go forward to the annual Pony Club Championships or the Pony Club Regional Championships held in August/ September.  Because these are quite prestigious events, there have been occasions of people joining pony club branches solely to be picked for these teams thereby preventing genuine PC members having the chance to compete.  Therefore a labyrinthine set of rules has built up to try to ensure that only genuine members and horses/ponies compete at the Area Events.

The eligibility rules for members and their horses/ponies are set out and updated each year in the rule books, found under each of the sports

If in doubt, please ask!

What about Tet?

Tetrathlon is made up of 4 phases: Running, Shooting, Swimming and Cross-Country (XC) Riding. The competitions usually start in May, when the ground is suitable for XC Riding, and finish around July with the Area Competition which leads into the Championships in August.

The Area Competition, contains the Qualifier for both the Intermediate and Open competition for Individual Boys, Girls and Teams. The National Championships are held at the end of August and the current Venue is Hartpury College in Gloucestershire, where the competition runs over 3 days.

You do not have to be an Olympic standard athlete in any of the phases, just a willingness to have a go and a parent who is willing to give up the odd weekend to transport you during May to July!

Inter-branch and Area competitions

Area competitions

The Pony Club is split into 19 areas across the country.  The Fernie is in Area 6. Each year there are Area Competitions for each discipline hosted by one branch in the area. Entries are mostly teams, although some competitions also have individual entries.  Standards are higher than at other inter-branch competitions.

Teams placed first (and sometimes second) qualify to compete at the Pony Club Championships held in August. Individuals can also qualify. This highlight of the Pony Club year features the finals of the Tetrathlon, Dressage, Show Jumping, Eventing, Polocross, Mounted Games and Dressage to Music.

Usually members are competing successfully in inter-branch competitions before being considered for the Area teams.  Selection is based on ability rather than age – being safe, especially for jumping competitions, is very important.

Members must have attended three working rallies since the precious 1st July to be eligible for Area competitions.  Camp counts as one working rally.

Members wanting to be in the Area teams should practise as much as possible, attend as many rallies as possible, and take part in the competitions held in the Easter holidays and early summer.

Inter-Branch

These are competitions in all disciplines run by branches for everyone to compete at, some as Junior competitions and others Senior.  Most competitions are open to both individuals and teams – some are open only to teams put forward by the branches.

These competitions offer excellent practice and experience and it is great fun to compete together with friends.

Where to go for support or to find out more about teams?

Our Lead Coach Laura Hill  and Team Manager Amie Green are here to help, just give them a call to have a chat – see the contacts page. 

It is not necessary to be highly competitive or experienced – this is the right place to try competing at any level.   The team training is a great opportunity to develop.

Even if you are not sure whether you are at the right level or what to do, the Team Managers are delighted to offer support, guidance and information.  Training at rallies is throughout the winter and spring, leading up to the competition season which starts at Easter.

Tips for competing

  • Each sport has their own Rule Books which are great source of information on everything from permitted tack and equipment to how the competition rules work, to safety guidance – at competitions the tack and equipment will be checked and if it does not comply with the rules you are unlikely to be allowed to compete.  Rule Books can read, downloaded or bought on the Pony Club website.  The Dressage test in Eventing competitions must be ridden from memory (except at Level 1 when the test can be commanded – ie read out from side of Arena).
  • For all Pony Club competitions, hats must be tagged (coloured label) on them to show they have been approved – the easiest way to do this is to ask Rachel Harrison or Sharon Whitmore.
  • Each type of competition has rules regarding tack and turnout (martingales, bits, whips, horses’ boots etc) so it is very important to check the rule book before you set out.

 Get involved and if you’re not sure, ask!