Monday May 17, 2021
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Well 2020 was not the year we expected!! Who would have believed it possible this time last year that we would be in lockdown for months on end due to a pandemic?Looking back I think we did amazingly well to pack in as many rallies and activities as we did. I’m going to try and do a quick roundup of everything that we managed to run and give a few special mentions.


Early on in the year when everything else was shut we were able to offer some wonderful one to one rallies at Luckford Cottage and It is fair to say that we were the only Pony Club in Area 14 who were able to run rallies at this difficult time. Everybody improved so much with the individual sessions and they proved so popular that we are planning on running them again from April so let’s keep our fingers crossed that by then we will be able to.

We were also incredibly lucky to have our wonderful duo of Gill Carpenter and Lisa Bonfield who, as soon as restrictions were lifted, put together a comprehensive schedule of rallies for everybody.These included some fantastic XC rallies at Moreton, Stour and Toomer Farm and day rallies at Moreton.We have had rallies through the autumn at Whitcombe and new venue Luccombe which have both proved very popular.This Winter we were hoping to run arena xc rallies at Bovington and put on SJ and dressage training there, but these, at present, have had to be put on hold.However Tania Mallows is ready and waiting to put together a jam packed schedule of rallies and training the very second restrictions are lifted.


Although not residential camps proved to be just as popular as ever.Seniors finished the week with a One Day Event which was very hotly contested with some superb riding on display. Gill Carpenter put a huge amount of time and effort into making Mini and Junior Camps so beneficial and enjoyable.It was hot, hot, hot but nobody complained and the minis in particular coped extraordinarily well with the sweltering heat!!Thanks must also go to all our wonderful Instructors and to Steph Buchannan and her team for making the Camps so very special.Next year we plan to change things slightly and we already have dates booked in for all the camps.These will be:

Senior Camp at Bovington from Monday 26th to Friday 30th July 2021 (Residential)

Junior Camp at Toomer Farm from Wednesday 4th August to Friday 6th August (Residential)

Mini Camp at Luckford Cottage from Monday 9th August to Wednesday 11th August (Non-Residential)


We were also able to run a Mini Combined Training day at Luckford Cottage. Winners were Zara Bonfield in the 40cm, Evie Cobb in the 60cm and Sophie Loveridge in the 80cm.Congratulations to all who took part. We are planning on running another Mini Combined Training at Luckford Cottage on Saturday 14th August with classes at 40, 50 and 60.


Having Sarah Ryder take over running and organising Pony Club tests for the Pony Club has proved to be hugely beneficial.Congratulations must go to Liv Mallowsand to Molly Frampton who passed their B Test.B Test is an extremely prestigious award with a very low pass rate due to the high standard that is demanded so we can be very proud of these two!!

Lots of our Members passed their E and D tests at camp so well done to all of them but unfortunately due to current Covid measures we have been unable to put any C or C+ training in place.However Sarah is currently looking into online training for C and C+ so watch this space.She also organised an incredibly successful D and D+ training and test day in December which had a 100% success rate.One person passed their D test and fifteen their D+ test.We will be hoping to run another D and D+ test day later this year.


The highlight of the year had to be the Pony Club Festival of Fun held at Bicton, which really did live up to its name. We didn’t have much time to organise teams for this very prestigious event but boy did you all step up and we were able to take a staggering eight teams down to Devon to represent South Dorset Pony Club!!

It was a big occasion for our minis who competed at 50cm and 60cm Show Jumping on the Thursday.They had to learn two round of SJ and then ride one round after the other.Our 50cm team of Shannon Bonfield, Eliza Elliot, Hector Tory and Alannah Briers coped really well with the atmosphere and Hector managed a double clear round!!Shannon, Arthur Tory and Alannah represented us in the 60cm but by this time conditions were so bad that they could only do one round with a jump off at the end.

Next day was dressage day and we had a Grassroots Team of Abigail Fletcher, Chelsea Bond, Arthur Knight and Shannon Bonfield representing us.The standard was incredibly high and sadly we brought home no rosettes but our Novice Dressage team of Laura Stafford, Josie Spring, Pipppa Palmer Snellin and Maddy Spring absolutely smashed it!!Not only did Laura and Maddy win their sections giving the Team overall first place they also went into the ride off and came first and second posting huge scores of nearly 80% and beating some top young dressage riders in the process.We can all be extremely proud of them and what they achieved.

The final day was Show Jumping and I have to say I have never seen an 80cm course that looked so big!!We had two teams entered Abi Weir, Chelsea Bond and Sophie Loveridge in one team and Abigail Fletcher, Gemma Clark and Phoebe Elm in the other.Star of the 80cm SJ was Abigail Fletcher who did two fantastic clear rounds and just one pole in the Jump Off round.It was lovely to see her gain in confidence as the competition went on, especially as she was riding a new horse.However our 90cm team of Chloe Craig, Freya Elm, Josie Spring and Phoebe Anson really did us proud coming second out of nearly thirty teams from three Pony Club Regions with both Freya Elm and Chloe Craig posting double clear rounds then just having one pole each in the jump off round.Lastly was our 100cm team of Maddy Spring, Molly Frampton and Pippa Palmer Snellin.By now the jumps were looking seriously big and the courses were extremely technical.However our team coped admirably and came overall sixth.

So some fantastic results and lots to be very, very proud of.In addition this event provided invaluable experience for our younger riders which will stand them in good stead next year when we send teams to the Pony Club Regional Competitions.


Although we are not able to run a Member’s Evening this year we would like to give a special mention to Laura Stafford who was overall champion in the Novice Dressage Competition at the Bicton Festival of Fun.We are extremely proud of her and the rest of the team who consisted of Maddy Spring, Josie Spring and Pippa Palmer Snellin.Maddy also deserves a special mention as she came a very close second to Laura against extremely stiff competition.As soon as Covid Restrictions allow we will be presenting the Dressage Cup to Laura and the Team of the year award to Laura, Maddy, Josie and Pippa.Very well done girls!!


Finally our world famous Christmas Show Jumping at Bovington was a huge success!!So successful in fact that it had to be run over two days with nearly two hundred competitors taking part in classes ranging from 40 up to 90cm.The minis made a huge effort to dress up and it made Christmas very special for Claire and I being able to run their classes in the indoor arena and see them all in their Christmasy costumes.Some of our older members qualified for the Pony Club Spring Festival but with most of the qualifiers being cancelled it is looking increasingly unlikely that this will be able to run.


Sadly as previously stated we will not be able to run a Member’s Evening in February this year, which is such a shame but we will have to do a bigger and better one in 2022!!

Some exciting news though is that at our recent Pony Club Committee meeting we agreed to run a fun 15K ride from Newfield Farm in Pimperne (By Kind permission of Russell and Lucy Lucas-Rowe) with a BBQ.This has been pencilled in for Wednesday 2nd June (Half term).This will be in aid of the South Dorset Hunt.

In addition we are getting preparations underway for our Junior Show which this year will be on Saturday 29th May.To make things easier at this difficult time we are looking at running a reduced schedule but there will still be plenty of classes to enter and even the possibility of some new events to try out!!

We are really hopeful that Area Competitions will be able to go ahead so we need to get training as soon as we possibly can for these very prestigious events as we would like to take as many teams as possible.Please put these dates in your diary!!


Spring Festival Arena SJ Area Qualifier 28th February Dorset Showground 
Spring Festival SJ Area Qualifier  7th March  West Wilts
Spring Festival Dressage Qualifier   13th March West Wilts
Spring Festival Championships 9th/10th/11th April Arena UK
Area Dressage 13th June Motcombe
Area Eventing Up to 1m 17th July Nunney
Open Eventing Championships 5th/6th August  Festival of Eventing
Area SJ (Grassroots) 10th July Mendip Plains
Area SJ 11th July Leyland Court
Area Grassroots TBC  
PC Championships 13th to 22nd August Offchurch Bury
Hickstead PC SJ 31st July   

I hope you can see from the above that Claire, myself and the rest of the Committee have tried hard to put on as many activities as possible during this difficult time as we all realise the benefits of being with our ponies and horses, learning new things in an outdoor environment and meeting with our horsey friends.  Please let us assure you that we are totally committed to putting together a jam packed schedule of rallies, events and competitions just as soon as we possibly can!!

Janet and Claire xxx