Monday August 10, 2020
For National Pony Club updates and information please go to

Friday 24th July 2020

Dear Members, families, volunteers and staff,

We are excited that, in many areas, competition planning and preparation for the future is underway and we are thrilled that The Pony Club Home International Dressage has a stage at the virtual Royal Windsor Horse Show in the autumn. Our central team of dedicated staff have been working hard to adjust to new working patterns and continue to focus on projects that will benefit our members most. Many of our team are still only working part time, whilst we continue to be prudent with our finances and access the Government furlough scheme.


As we start to plan and run training and competitions, where we can around the country, it is important that we continue to do so under current Government restrictions. Virtual competition is in full swing and is an ideal option available to many. However, we have seen the appetite for live competition to begin again. Working with our BEF colleagues we continually meet to review our plans and support each other as we resume activities.

To support our Branches and Centres who are exploring running Pony Club training and competitions I want to share our updated document:


Guidance for Pony Club Activities under COVID-19 Restrictions
This document holds a wealth of information around how we should be running all activities. It is important for both organiser and member to review this document to understand what is expected at an event. The priority is always the safety of our volunteers and members at all times, please remain patient and respectful as we all adapt to the ‘new’ normal.

Latest Help and Advice

We pride ourselves on offering the best customer service to our members with only a team of 20 supporting a membership of over 30,000. However, it is important to recognise that our team is still not running at full capacity and we are juggling our priorities. We want to continue to focus on those important tasks that help and support our members and volunteer network most.

We have all expanded our roles and have been manning reception, answering helpdesk enquiries and the continued stream of emails. We love speaking with our members and volunteers as it ensures we stay connected to what you need, but I would like to ask for your support to help us increase efficiency levels.

We are working hard to keep our website as up to date as possible and before you contact us directly I would ask that you check there first – Your District Commissioner or Centre Proprietor should be the first point of reference for additional support before reaching the central team. DCs and Proprietors are in turn supported by the Area Representatives and Centre Coordinators who have access to the latest updates and news.

For ease of use here are a few quick links to frequently asked questions:

  • CEO Update and associated documents are available to download here.
  • Help and Advice on Disclosure Checks, Safeguarding, First Aid, CPD, Insurance, Vaccinations and much more is available here.
  • Don’t forget your membership area, it is full of activities to download here (Password: pony1929)


We will of course continue to be available on the phone to help but please do check the online and local support available first. Thank you for your continued support of The Pony Club and have a great weekend.


Marcus Capel
Interim CEO


5th  June 2020

Dear Company members and Staff, please see the CEO Update for this week.

Key Areas:

  • We are not in a normal situation but are looking at what activities can be run under the restrictions
  • All centrally run qualifiers and championships, including The Grassroot Regional Championships, Gatcombe and Tet Champs are now cancelled but we are all looking at what can be run in their place and within the Government restrictions.
  • The website help and advice has been updated and clarified, particularly around the coach requirements and the extension on CPD, first aid. We have also re-stated that membership is rolling and will be for a full year (12 months) as some people are getting queries about new members which is good news.

Thank you all for your continued hard work and creative thinking as we work our way through

Best wishes


Marcus Capel


2nd  June 2020

As a result of the changes in restrictions in some parts of the UK, there have been a lot of queries about exactly what activities can now take place.

I refer you back to my communication from last night where I acknowledged we all want to return to normality, but we are not there yet. Times are still strange and we are all working out what can be done in each area within Government guidelines.

There is certainly no obligation for any branch to be putting on activities that they are not comfortable with. Every branch is different and will be in a different place for adapting to new measures. Much of the country is still in very heavy restrictions and cannot yet practically even contemplate any face-to-face activity.

As always, we need to use our common sense to interpret the government easing measures. Our priority always has to be the safety of our members, volunteers and families.

We are fortunate that in some areas, the adjustment of restrictions now allows us to do more than the 1:1 coaching, which is not normally a traditional Pony Club method of instruction but was all that was possible under the previous guidance and is all that is allowed still in some areas.

In much of the UK, “gatherings” of up to 6 people are allowed. There is no definition of a gathering other than you are asked not to gather in a crowded place, for example a busy park.

I do appreciate we all want to get this right and we need to very mindful of our reputation and not to be seen to flout this guidance, risking damage to our organisation and the wider equestrian world.

Branches are reminded of their obligations under our rules to comply with statutory requirements (rule 1.8) and to prioritise the safety of our members, ourselves and others (rules 1.11, 1.12).

As part of the risk assessment to enable the activity to run, the gathering restriction of 6 (the number varies in some parts of the country) needs to inform all considerations of how members arrive, park, unload and get to the arena and how they leave.

At any point, there should only be a maximum of 6 people in the gathering.

Examples of how this might work practically are:

  • A group of 4 riders, one coach and branch official/safeguarder can use one arena. The arena must not be divided or used for more than one gathering at a time.
  • We expect only one person from the same household to be transporting their child to training. This person can unload, assist tack up, rider getting onto the pony etc. but should then remain in or with their vehicle throughout the session, to maintain social distancing as they are not part of the gathering.
  • Other siblings and family members that are not involved in the lesson should not attend. 
  • Allow time for groups to assemble and disperse.
  • Parking should have 5-10 m spaces.
  • Masks are not compulsory but can be worn. Gloves as PPE are not ideal if worn all the time as you touch things and then your face, hand washing is much better.   
  • This is not a ‘normal rally’ and only one gathering should be considered, not multiple arenas in a field.

However tread carefully, don’t feel under pressure to put things on that are difficult or could become unsafe.  Remember if a photo was taken at any time, would it be socially acceptable? (ie a gathering of more than 6 people?)

To use a phrase I have used before “hold your horses” and don’t rush into anything that you can’t control. You need to rely on the members and parents acting responsibly.

I really appreciate that in these extraordinary times, everyone is working above and beyond to enable our members to enjoy activities and to continue to give them such a wide range of opportunities. Thank you all for everything you are doing.


Marcus Capel
Interim CEO






1st June 2020 

Dear Members, families, volunteers and staff,

The Pony Club is an International charity working within the guidelines currently provided to continue to keep our members, coaches, and volunteers safe. It is vitally important that we continue to follow and adhere to Government guidance. We must also be respectful of the differences in our areas, which can cross borders in some instances.

Today we can start to expand our training sessions from one to one to small groups in many areas of the country. As we step into Phase 3 of our Operational Plan in some areas, I wanted to share further advice and guidance.

Scotland and Wales – Phase 1 and 2

Only outdoor one to one coaching is permitted, and in Scotland, a coach can only meet one household a day. Horse Scotland and Sport Scotland are continuing to lobby hard to get this changed and offer more flexibility for coaches, we will update you as we know more.

England, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man – Phase 3

Your locality will determine what size of gathering you are permitted, but you must remember if it is a gathering of 6 people for example, this is 5 members and 1 coach, in a mounted or unmounted session. Pony Club activities may only take place outside, they are not permitted in indoor facilities.

Things to Remember

  • It is vital that social distancing of 2 metres is observed at all times.
  • When travelling to a training session you must only be with a member of your household in an enclosed space.
  • Upon arrival to a training session think about where you are parking and the proximity to others when moving around your vehicle with and without your horse.
  • Please do not greet other members closer than 2 metres and do not congregate in groups larger than those allowed.
  • If spectating because your child is being taught you will be included in the ‘gathering’ number if you are within the perimeter of the ridden arena, or similar space within a field. Observe the appropriate distance to ensure the safety of the coach, riders, and other spectators.
  • You must abide by all venue rules, they have specific policies and procedures in place to ensure everyone’s safety, please follow these.

A branch or centre should complete our COVID-19 Risk Assessment, in addition to existing risk assessments. We must continue to limit risks to members, coaches, and volunteers as we resume activity.

The latest infographics for Phases 1, 2 and 3 of the Operational Plan and COVID-19 Risk Assessment can be downloaded here.

To read today’s advice from British Equestrian (BEF) please follow this link.

A useful reminder of the group gatherings can also be seen via the BBC’s latest infographic ‘UK rules on meeting up’, published online today.

The Pony Club are currently focused on the safe resumption of group riding and rallies, we will of course inform you when we move to Phase 4 of the Operational Plan. Our sporting committees are currently assessing how best to support members as restrictions are lifted. However, it is important to remember that the facilities required for some sports may still be unavailable. For example, whilst horse racing is resuming behind closed doors it is not possible to arrange any racedays for our Pony Racing members until further restrictions are lifted.

Please continue to follow Government advice and be responsible for the safety of yourself and others around you. We all want to return to normality, but we are not there yet. We should be thankful for the opportunities we do have to enjoy training again.


Marcus Capel

CEO Update0106 (003)






This week has been full of information and updates due to the changes in the Government’s advice, regarding the lock down.

After speaking with the BEF and the member bodies, I issued The Pony Club’s Operational Plan on Tuesday, which provides our phased approach to returning to full activity, at the appropriate time. We were also awaiting further guidance from The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), regarding the opening of outdoor facilities and specifically addressing riding. This has now been released and can be read in full here: GOV.UK – guidance for providers of outdoor facilities. This guidance has not changed our operational plan, but it enables us to provide additional clarity around coaching. At present, this applies to facilities in England, but not Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales. There are further updates expected and we will keep you informed if guidance changes.

It is important to point out that face to face group Pony Club activities are not permitted under the current Government advice.

We are aware that many of our centres are choosing to stay closed at this time to bring their horses and ponies back to full fitness and ensure they can offer a safe working environment. Centres and coaches that are choosing to reopen should feel adequately prepared and be confident that they can do so safely for their participants and staff.

  • We have drafted a Pony Club Covid-19 risk assessment for face to face activities to be used as appropriate and in addition to the usual risk assessments. Click here to view it.
  • For those offering one to one coaching to under 18’s, a parent or guardian must be present for one to one training sessions for safeguarding purposes, but they must adhere to social distancing and hygiene requirements.
  • All virtual activities should follow our online learning advice available on our website here.

The BEF have also released a statement, including a list of requirements needed as you consider reopening and they can be viewed here.

The British Horse Society have also released risk assessment guidance and templates to support riding centres, which can be viewed here.

I will continue to share urgent updates swiftly and provide you with our weekly update to keep you regularly informed.


Marcus Capel
Interim CEO

Message from the DC…. 13th MAY 2020

We do hope you are keeping well and coping with this extraordinary situation.
You were sent a communication from the Pony Club Head Office yesterday which outlines our step by step plans to resume activities. Just thought it would be useful to have a direct link to the important page…see below….We are now in PHASE 1. As you can see from the table we are still some way off rallies etc and of course this is all subject to ongoing infection rates and Government edicts.
We are very aware that many of you may not have ridden for some time and some pointers on starting to work both horses and riders might be helpful.









Date: Friday, 24 April 2020
Subject: Pony Club CEO Update – 24th April



Pony Club CEO Update – 24th April

To: Company Members, Branch Officials, Centre Proprietors, Centre Coordinators, Centre Committee, Pony Club Staff, Pony Club Members
From: Marcus Capel

Dear Members, families, volunteers and staff,

What a busy week at The Pony Club. We were pleased to announce the winners Mary King selected for our Easter bonnet competition. If you haven’t already seen who’s won, please visit our creative activities page and view the wonderful creations, as I mentioned last week, they are spectacular. We are now looking forward to watching the submissions come through for our Art Competition. We know we have many talented members out there and hope you enjoy our theme of Equestrian Hopes and Dreams. You have until June 30th to submit your work, so please visit, for all the details on how to enter.

Keep checking our Creative Activities page here.


We know the conversation on riding is a contentious issue, but we do feel it is important to highlight our guidance again. Our stance has not changed since the Government began restrictions and we remain aligned with the BEF and member bodies.

We ask that you do not ride, unless it is necessary for the welfare of the horse or pony.

We do understand that this is an individual decision and that you know what is best to keep our members and your families safe, as well as the best way to manage the welfare of your horse or pony.

However, we should all respect the Government’s message of ‘stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’, and carefully consider the risks associated with riding. As a community, we should not be putting any additional pressure on our emergency and NHS services.

The Pony Club does not endorse any group gathering, online competition or activities involving jumping your horse or pony.

Shared Resources

We have been working hard with our branches and centres to ensure we offer as much support and guidance at this time. As part of this work we have created a collaborative space on Google Drive to post resources everyone can leverage. We have sections on Arts & Crafts, Badges, Quizzes, Pony Club Tests and much more. However, it has come to our attention that many of our volunteer network are part of the vital group of key workers supporting us in even more wonderful ways. Therefore, their time has been limited to make all our resources available to our members.

In light of this, I would like to announce that we have created a member only area on our website, where you can get direct access to many of the resources shared on the Google Drive. We will continue to keep the area updated with new documents over the coming weeks, but we wanted to share the news as soon as possible. To access this new page please click here and use the password: pony1929. We hope this offers more support for members and we hope you enjoy completing the activities. We would love to hear your feedback on the area as we look to develop it in the future. To send your feedback please fill in our contact us form on the website.

Online Safety

As we invite our members to spend more time online joining our competitions, accessing resources, and connecting with their friends, we want to ensure everyone is staying safe. We have very robust safeguarding policies in place to protect our members taking part in Pony Club activities and now more than ever it is important to address keeping yourself safe online. I would encourage all parents to visit the NSPCC website where they share a raft of useful information and links to other organisations who can inform us all when it comes to staying ahead with the latest online risks to our young people.

Looking to the future! It is still an uncertain landscape and the news can change daily, but at The Pony Club we are starting to look ahead. We are mapping out what our summer activities could look like under the current discussions around future restrictions. We want you to be assured we will do all we can to offer our members the best summer possible and we hope this will be spending time with our horses and ponies enjoying the sunshine. I will keep you up to date in the coming weeks when we can plan more concretely.

Please continue to stay safe in these times and thank you for your continued support.


Marcus Capel
Interim CEO

The Pony Club
The Pony Club, Stoneleigh Park
Kenilworth, CV8 2RW





A message from The Pony Club’s CEO

To: Company Members, Branch Officials, Centre Proprietors, Centre Coordinators, Centre Committee, Pony Club Staff, Pony Club Members
From: Marcus Capel

Dear Pony Club Friends and Family,

I would like to say a big thank you to you all!

I am so proud of the way we are all supporting each other in these challenging times. Our members, staff and volunteers are pulling together whilst keeping themselves and their families safe and well. The activities and ideas that our branches and centres are developing continue to grow across the Pony Club network too.

Please can I ask you to share all the amazing things that are going on this weekend? Now more than ever, we need to join together and see how we are all keeping fit and well at home.

Please use the following hashtags to get your social media posts seen by more people



Branches and Centres, Area Reps and Centre Coordinators, a task for you will be to find a member / volunteer who is great on social media and who can promote posts showing how the local Pony Club community is keeping fit and well, sharing and amplifying using the #.

We have posted an update on The Pony Club website and added to the “Questions Answered”  – please click on the link  

Have a good weekend

Best wishes


Marcus Capel
Interim CEO

Click below to view a video update from Marcus:

Video message from Marcus Capel
The Pony Club
The Pony Club, Stoneleigh Park
Kenilworth, CV8 2RW


Latest Coronavirus Statement – 20th March

To: Company Members, Branch Officials, Centre Proprietors, Centre Coordinators, Centre Committee, Pony Club Staff, Pony Club Members
From: The Pony Club

Dear Pony Club friends and family,

I very much appreciate everyone coming together and supporting each other during these challenging times. The situation develops rapidly and whilst we all wait for updates from the government, it is important to think of how we look after ourselves and each other.

We have added some updates to the “Your Questions Answered” section on our website:

Coronavirus Advice Webpage
These updates include advice on making a contingency plan for the care of your horse or pony if you fall ill or are unable to get to them. In addition, there is some useful financial advice from the government for coaches and centres. We have also set out clear guidelines for accredited coaches who need to keep qualifications and certificates up to date.The Pony Club Shared Resources

Staff have been working really hard to create the peer sharing platform “The Pony Club Shared Resources”. We are using Google Drive to save and share ideas and resources. All branches and Area Reps have an existing Google-based email which will give them access to the suite of Google apps. Centres and coaches will need a Google account to access this drive and we will be working over the next few days to develop the permission to allow access. In the meantime, we would ask that people support each other and share their expertise and develop our community resource. Go to and log in with the branch email and click the “Shared with me” tab.

We plan to share these alternative activities across social media, so please do take photos and post with the hashtag #PonyClubCarryOn so that we can share nationally some of the great ideas and fun you are all having.

Video Conferencing

There are many solutions for face-to-face online contact which will be useful for meetings, discussions and also sharing live activities. We are using Microsoft Teams for our staff and national committee meetings, we also recommend Google Hangouts as a useful tool. Online Tutorials are easily available.

Online Competitions

We are working with partners to set up and deliver online competitions.

Dressage Anywhere
The Pony Club and Dressage Anywhere have teamed up to offer a special Online Dressage Championships for all Pony Club members. Dressage Anywhere is a great way to compete online from anywhere, without having to leave your yard. Simply register for free, choose a class to enter, then ride and film your dressage test and upload it for judging. You’ll receive a link to download your score sheet and be in the running for rosettes!
This year each monthly competition from April 2020 to July 2020 will be a qualifying round towards The Pony Club Online Dressage Championships 2020. There are classes from Walk & Trot all the way up to Open level. All you need are two scores at 60% or above to qualify! Go to to get started.

Horse Events
Horse Events are promoting three separate competitions; a Virtual Team Challenge, Virtual Dressage, and Virtual Jumping with Style. All have classes and prizes for Pony Club teams and members. Find out more on

With more of us having to stay at home and keep physically away from others, it is important to keep in contact and enjoy activities within the government guidelines.

Please continue to keep yourself and your friends and family safe.

Best wishes



Previous Communications:

Coronavirus Update 18th March 7:00pm

Today we have been investigating options to facilitate the use of a peer-sharing platform.  This will enable our Pony Club community to share your creative and innovative ideas and resources for enjoying Pony Club activities within the government guidelines of restricted social contact and travel. We will set it up, initially as a pilot, and provide basic user guides to be a self-running and self-supporting tool.  We will be releasing details in the next few days. We are also exploring the use of an online learning platform to support test and badge preparation, online horse and pony care etc.

I would like to apologise to members for not receiving the initial communications directly by email. The information went on the website and Facebook and was emailed to branches and centres. I have included the last two communications below and we will ensure members are included in all future emails.

Everyone is pulling together. I would like to paraphrase the words of the World Board Chair of Guides, Ana Maria Mideros “We face difficulties with optimism. We are resourceful. We are creative. As a global youth movement, we are building a generation of responsible and resilient citizens.”

Corona Virus Update 17th March 7:00pm

Dear all, thank you for your support and understanding of the need for The Pony Club to comply with government advice to safeguard our members, families and volunteers.

Regular updates are planned in these unprecedented times. We are creating space on our website to hold information and direct to the latest advice, together with FAQs.

In the short term, lots of centres and branches are exploring activities that can still be undertaken whilst following government guidance, such as online learning, video dressage competitions and bringing The Manual of Horsemanship to life with video how-to’s and quizzes. There are many creative and innovative ideas being shared. Our Training Committee is meeting next week and will be looking at practical tips and ideas from across our Pony Club community and how these can be shared. 

Covid-19 Statement 16th March 7:30pm

The Pony Club Board of Trustees has been in discussion today and has made the very difficult decision to cancel all centrally organised events.

This includes the Winter Triathlon at Stoke Mandeville on Sunday 22nd March and The Winter Series Final at Arena UK 4th / 5th April.

Following The Prime Minister’s announcement this evening, requesting that we minimise social contact and non-essential travel, we advise that ALL Pony Club activities cease with immediate effect.

We would like to thank our members, parents and volunteers for their support of The Pony Club in this decision to play our part in preventing the spread of Covid-19.  

Please continue to stay safe and well during this difficult time.

We will keep you updated as soon as we have any further information.

The Pony Club
The Pony Club, Stoneleigh Park
Kenilworth, CV8 2RW