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Parents Guide

This document has been prepared as a result of requests received from parents and is felt to be particularly appropriate as a general guide for the parents of new Pony Club members. If you yourself were a Pony Club member in the past, you will probably know all about what’s what in Pony Club and not need this, but for persons new to the job, we hope it may be of some help.

The Isle of Man Branch is part of Area 4 of The Pony Club. Area 4 also includes branches from South Cumbria, Lancashire and West Yorkshire. Area Competitions enable the best riders to compete as teams in Area Inter Branch Events – Show Jumping, Dressage, Horse Trials, Mounted Games and Tetrathlon.

A residential Camp for members and their ponies is held each year in the summer. This is very popular and provides exciting activity and pleasure for both members and their ponies

The aims of the Pony Club are:

  • to encourage young people to ride and learn to enjoy all kinds of sport connection with horses and riding.
  • to provide instruction in riding and horse mastership and to instil in members the proper care of their animals.
  • to promote the highest ideals of sportsmanship, citizenship and loyalty, thereby cultivating strength of character and self discipline.
  • to ensure that all those young people who so wish to develop equestrian excellence in the Isle of Man may do so and to endeavour to help them achieve their full potential
  • to provide a framework within which members and their families and other interested adults can develop equestrian skills and enjoy the comradeship of those with similar interests and abilities.

Possession of a pony or horse is desirable but not essential. There are no height restrictions on ponies or horses for any competition. Although the Pony Club cannot provide ponies, many members hire from riding schools to enable them to take part in the mounted activities. All ponies are expected to be groomed and well turned out.

At Pony Club rallies and other mounted activities, the following are unacceptable:

  • Ponies/horses that are aged 4 years or under [except at the discretion of the District Commissioner]
  • Ponies /horses that are infirm through old age
  • Ponies/horses that are ill/ thin or lame
  • Ponies/horses that are a danger to their riders or to other members or their ponies
  • Mares that are heavy in foal, mares in milk and mares with foal at foot.
  • Stallions can only be ridden at Pony Club Events by members if they obtain written permission from their District Commissioner and must wear identifying discs on their bridle in the interests of safety.

The rules of the Pony Club require that members wear a hard hat meeting the safety standard as described in the “Hat Rule” (available to read on the Rules and Notices tab).  Chin straps must be worn, fastened at all times when mounted [on penalty of elimination]. Riding with the head uncovered is forbidden. For Dressage, Show Jumping and Mounted Games the hat cover shall be dark blue or black only.

For Pony Club activities members should wear a tweed or black/navy riding jacket or Pony Club sweatshirt, [Pony Club sweatshirts are available from the Treasurer, Mrs. Viv Taylor] jodhpurs or breeches [preferably in beige, cream or yellow] with jodhpur or riding
boots, a suitable shirt and the official Pony Club tie. A well fitting body protector will be required for most activities. New clothing is not expected but what is worn must be clean and tidy. Riding in wellington boots, Muckers, trainers, shoes or boots with cleated soles or without heels is forbidden. Half chaps may be worn but they must be the same colour as the footwear and must not have tassels or fringes. Rugby shirts with long sleeves may be worn for cross country.

The Club Tie / Stock
The tie, in the Pony Club colours of purple, pale blue and gold may be worn by all members. Alternatively, a plain white or cream stock may be worn with a black or navy jacket or a coloured stock may be worn with a tweed hacking jacket.

The Club Badge
This is supplied by the Branch and should be worn on all occasions when members meet together other than during cross country events and in gymkhana games.

All tack must fit the pony and be clean and in good repair. Tack should be supple and well
cared for; Bridle –Check fitting of throatlash/noseband/bit; Browbands should be plain
leather only. Check stitching especially reins; Saddle – check fitting; Check stitching on
girth straps, girth, stirrup leathers; Check stirrup irons are the correct size.

Numnahs and Saddlecloths
In national competitions, Numnahs should be white or dark colour only. Any piping around the edge should be of the same colour. No logos or writing. This can be relaxed at local events and rallies at the discretion of the District Commissioner.

Medical Arm Bands
Medical Arm Bands are recommended and compulsory at cross country events, where a parent/guardian or supporting adult isn’t in attendance —Medical armbands contain a form completed by parents giving essential medical information on the rider which would be of benefit in the event of an accident.

For safety reasons, no jewellery [including sleepers] may be worn other than a wedding ring, a wristwatch, a stock pin worn horizontally or a tie clip but these should be removed for cross country. Members contemplating having their ears pierced should be aware that they will not be allowed to take part in mounted activities until such time as the “sleepers” can safely be removed. The reason for this is that sleepers in the past have caused injuries following falls. There are vulnerable blood vessels behind the ear and in addition, if the facial nerve is pierced, partial paralysis of the face may occur.

Spurs may be worn at Rallies and in competitions with the permission of the District Commissioner. Only blunt spurs may be worn.

Pony Club Tests
The improving ability of the member is recognised by a series of Pony Club tests which can be taken, starting at D then D+, C, C+, B. Training is given for these tests. Senior members – 17 years and over – can train for the A Test.

Achievement badges provide interest, fun and learning for junior members When all twenty badges are passed there is a GOLD Badge. Training and tests are usually taken at stable Management [Horse and Pony Care] rallies.

Riding and Road Safety
The Riding and Road Safety test is available to all members aged from 10 years . This test must be passed before the C test can be awarded to members. The Riding and Road Safety test will be arranged by the Branch or alternatively, riders may choose to take the BHS Riding and Road Safety Test.

Working Rallies: Mounted:
Training and instruction are given at rallies on both flat work and jumping (show jumping and cross country) and sometimes mounted games. At the beginning of every rally there is a tack and turnout inspection for Health and Safety reasons. Pony Club sweatshirts may be worn for Rallies. Rallies are open to all members of the Branch within the age range for which they are intended.

During the Summer, rallies are held out of doors, members are divided into groups of up to approximately six members, selected according to age and ability, and are taught various aspects of riding. The Rally usually lasts between 60 and 90 minutes.

During the winter, rallies are held in indoor schools at various venues. Again members are divided into groups of up to approximately six members, and usually graded as to age and ability.

Entry for the rally has usually to be with the organiser about 5 days prior to the rally, with the correct rally fee. The time allocated to the member can either be found on the Pony Club website or by telephone two days prior to the rally.

Garran Beg: [means Little Pony in Manx]
has been formed mainly for the younger and/or very new inexperienced members of the Club, but in all other respects it is identical in format to the working rally.

Unmounted Rallies [Usually called ‘ Horse and Pony Care ‘]
These are held at various times throughout the year. These consist of instruction in all aspects of looking after and riding a horse/pony, ie stable management, grooming, saddlery [care and correct fitting], minor ailments, feeding, points of the horse, horse and pony types and breeds, colours, etc.

Countryside interest achievement badges may also be worked for and obtained at these Rallies. Those attending these Rallies are asked to ensure that they are wearing sensible shoes or boots and bring their riding hats for those instances when they are required to work with a horse/ pony in a stable environment.

Pony Club Camp:
A camp is an assembly of members of a branch together with their ponies, held over a period of several days, usually during the Summer holidays. It is usually residential for both members and their ponies. The object of Camp is to provide an instructional holiday for members and their ponies. Instruction will be given each day and there will be a balanced mix of enjoyable activities and competitions. Camp is intended to be fun.

The Branch may organise competitions in any of the Pony Club’s disciplines and these may be restricted to members or occasionally be open events.

Off Island Competitions:
There are National Pony Club competitions for Dressage, Show Jumping, Horse Trials, Tetrathlon, Polo Crosse, Polo, and Mounted Games. The Pony Club is divided into Areas throughout Britain and each Area organizes these competitions, [Area Competitions] the winners go on to compete in the National Pony Club Championships. Obviously, the costs involved in taking ponies from the Isle of Man means that the Isle of Man Branch is not able to compete in as many of these disciplines as it would perhaps like, but nevertheless, with constant fund-raising and training, the Isle of Man has managed to enter teams for the Mounted Games for several years, and from time to time for Horse Trials, Dressage, Show Jumping and Tetrathlon. In order to qualify to compete in an Area Competition members must have joined the Branch before the 31st January of the year in which they are competing, and must have attended at least three working rallies.

Novice Championships.
Recently, the Pony Club has also introduced Novice Championships. Currently these are held in Cheshire, and involve all the various disciplines .

Horse Trials
Horse Trials consist of three elements, a Dressage test, a round of a cross country course and a round of show jumping. There are Novice, Intermediate and Open competitions at Area level.

Combined Training
Combined training is two of the above elements, ie. A round of showjumping and a Dressage Test.

The Tetrathlon consists of four elements. There are separate competitions for boys and girls in different age ranges.
Swimming – the competitor has to swim as many lengths of the pool as possible during a timed period. This period varies between 2 and 3 minutes depending upon the age and sex of the competitor.
Cross Country running – The competitor runs a cross country course of between 1000 and 3000 metres, again depending upon the age and sex of the competitor.
Cross Country Riding – the competitor rides a cross country course which shall include at least 16 fences, a gate to be opened and closed and a slip rail.
Shooting – The shooting phase takes place indoors at an authorised shooting range. Competitors use air pistols and fire 10 rounds at official Pony Club targets . Currently members are lucky to be trained in this discipline by the Laxey Rifle and Pistol Club. For health and safety reasons, no member may take part in a Tetrathlon competition unless he/she has firstly undergone training with the officials of the Laxey Club.
Points are acquired for each discipline and the winner is the member with the highest total at the end of the day. Classes for local competition are divided into Minimus for members aged up to 12 years, Junior to age 16 and Open. At the Area Competition all competitors compete at either Intermediate or Open standard regardless of age.