We’re Far From The Madding Crowd

Why don’t more people watch horse driving trials in the UK? Promoting and marketing anything is not easy: there are so many activities for people to do, yet making entry free and informing people ahead of time about the event, the venue and about the sport has to be done if we are to attract an audience.

The continental press and equestrian magazines were mentioning the World Championships well in advance. The day before the even several top drivers were interviewed in the newspapers, which must have helped draw the crowds, that and the TV coverage. The even was well organised and the reasonably priced catering for the public was outstanding. Fans of horse driving trials came from all over the world to enjoy this: the knew what to expect and had some superb entertainment. The obstacles were surrounded by people ten deep from before eight on Saturday morning, despite the heat.

Why does driving attract such a huge crowd in the continent? What could we do in the UK to attract more people to events, at every level?

Maybe… if every club event organiser in the UK would invite the sports editor of the local newspaper or radio station for a drink or meal two or three weeks before the event takes place to explain the competition, he or she might listen. My experience is that this works. Asking a photographer to come and watch the is not good enough, as nobody organising has sufficient time on the day to explain the sport to him or her so they can make sense of it. Find members of the press and other important visitors a ‘buddy’, someone who knows the sport and can explain it with enthusiasm.

We are a friendly set of people: it shouldn’t be impossible. The equestrian centres, riding clubs, tack shops and Pony Clubs can be made aware of the carriage driving going on in their local area, as well as the local press, TV and radio. Use facebook and Twitter. Get the attention of the ‘interested rider’ the Pony Club members and committees, the local riding clubs and equestrian centres. Make our sport accessible to the rider, the young and old, the horse-lover. Promotion and more promotion is the only way the public is going to get to know about the sport.
Do not make people pay to watch: the organisers of club events in Europe do not charge the public to come in. Advertise the important ‘free admission’. And get a good commentator and public address system so that the casual visitor understands what is going on and is engaged. Have a newsletter or card or programme available so that people know when things are happening and they can keep it and get into contact with your club afterwards. [Horse and Hound’s Olympic ‘pull-out’ was a huge success, especially when the organisers at first failed to print enough equestrian running oprgers. Ed]

This all takes time, forward planning, co-ordination and persistence – and there are clubs already doing many of these things in their local area, however we always need more people to come into the sport, as fans, drivers, sponsors, helpers and officials, backsteppers and sport enthusiasts or it will not thrive at the top. We need to plan for next year, the next five and ten years; build on the interest of the Driving Back to Sport initiatives, the Pony Club’s new driving badge, the government’s Join In campaign, and open up horse driving as accessible to everyone, starting with the clubs, the heart of the sport.

World Four-In-Hand Championship 2012


This genuinely international contest proved to be a huge attraction with (for the UK) undreamt of numbers of keen spectators attending. Figures over the four days peaked on Saturday, when the marathon and obstacle driving took place.

Dressage is the most important phase of any outdoor horse driving trials competition. If a competitor is not in the first six, it will be extremely difficult to catch up. If the dressage leader is ten points ahead of you, you must be seven seconds faster in every obstacle.

The winner of dressage, Chester Weber, USA, scored 33.31 penalties. Georgina Hunt, ‘G’, for Great Britain had an excellent score of 55, but she needed to drive each obstacle 15 seconds faster than Chester to get even. Pippa Bassett’s dressage score was 65 and Daniel Naprous’ 72.

The marathon winner was Sweden’s Thomas Eriksson in almost 412.91 seconds (50.56 – 14th in dressage; Boyd Exell was second, less than a second slower than Thomas.

Pippa Bassett drove a brilliant marathon, coming 16th out of 50 competitors from 19 countries: a great achievement. After the dressage and marathon, Boyd Exell took the lead over Chester Webber by almost 14 penalties, giving him more than four cones in hand. Despite his speed, Thomas Eriksson was now seventh, over 16 penalties behind Boyd. Pippa Bassett was 18th, 167.94, and G 25th, 174.23

Obstacle cones driving was on the last day and the line of the 20 cones was a difficult one to drive. The last, cones 19 to 20, proved a test for the top rein-handling experts. Only Werner Ulrich, Switzerland, and Josef Dobrovitz, Hungary, managed to clear all the cones in the time of 185 seconds: just two out of the 49 competitors!
Pippa went clear – one of only ten drivers – but with time faults, finishing 19th, and G 23rd. Daniel Naprous, who was planning to go as an individual originally, was 44th out of 46 finishers: his first time competing at the World Championships. It was a great team effort and everyone, especially Simon Heath, their new Chef d’Equippe, put in an Olympian performance

Exmoor Pony Society

Information on the 

Summary: The exmoor pony society has been around for years with a specific goal in mind. It has ensured the survival of a special breed of horse, and here is some information.

exmoor pony society

The exmoor pony society was created in 1921. The main goal of this society is to protect a fine species of horses, called the Exmoor Pony. It strives to ensure that this unique breed is not lost with time, to genetic ‘breed improvement’.

Exmoor Pony Society

Exmoor pony is native to the British Isles, more specifically, Exmoor, a large moorland in Devon and Somerset in England’s southwest region. These ponies are an extremely sturdy breed. They have heavy dense bones, powerful musculature and are known for their endurance, disease resistance and strength. Today, the breed is at a ‘critical status’ by the Equus Survival Trust, with a population of about 800 animals in the world today, with only 100-300 active breeding mares in existence. The main goals of the exmoor pony society are to protect the gene pool of this endangered species, encourage the breeding of pure strains to help the population increase, and make the world aware of this special breed.

Exmoor Pony Society – Types Of Horses

The exmoor pony society also helps in inspecting, registering and licensing Exmoor foals and stallions. It registers all the ponies, and has a special home for them to ensure they remain pure, and are protected from diseases and from other wild animals. Due to the endangered status of this breed, the Exmoor society is doing great work in conserving and protecting this species.

Exmoor Pony Society – Membership

The society offers different types of membership, such as the Lifetime Membership which is for £450, a full membership, which is a joining fee of £5, and an annual £25. The exmoor pony society also offers Family Membership, Associate Membership and Junior Associate Membership. Due to the size of the moor, where the ponies are kept, there is a grazing quota. For this, some of the young stock is put in fairs to find homes in domesticity.

The main aim of the exmoor pony society when they arrange these fairs and sales is to find a good and suitable home for these Exmoor ponies. It is very important to ensure the survival of this endangered breed, but it is pointless if the home chosen is unsuitable. Full details about the pony are given, including its parents, age, skills and the price expected. To ensure the purity of the breed, the society has very strict guidelines and rules in place. It also has rules regarding the breed standard. The pony should be; for a stallion, 119.4cm to 129.5 cm at maturity. Mares should be 116.8cm to 127 cm at maturity. It even has specific standards about the colour, fur and shape of the legs.

Only ponies whose parents are registered with the exmoor pony society are eligible to be registered in their Stud Book. There will be inspections conducted at regular intervals, and all ponies must be either branded with an identification mark, or a micro chip. The society’s brand is a four pointed star. Any microchip installed must be one readable by a society approved scanner, and should be implanted on the left side of the neck, around .5 – 1.5 inches from the dorsal midline.

Pony Club Branches

Competitive Spirit Among the Various Pony Club Branches

Summary: The Pony Club is an organization for enthusiastic youngsters who are interested in riding horses. The club is located in UK, but the pony club branches are distributed across various countries. The club promotes friendly international events and tournaments to enhance the relationship and team spirit among its members.

pony club branches

The Pony Club was founded in 1929, and has around 345 pony club branches in UK. It is an international voluntary youth organization for young people interested in ponies and riding. It has acted as a starting point for various team members and medal winners. It is represented in 18 countries, with a worldwide membership exceeding more than a million. It is considered to be one of the largest associations of young riders.

Pony Club Branches

The Pony Club head office is located at Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, which controls and manages the club. The Pony Club is split into 19 areas, and the pony club branches are located in each of these areas. Each area is represented by an Area Representative. All the pony club branches cover a considerable geographical area, and are organized through the rules of the Pony Club. Each branch is administered by a voluntary District Commissioner, and a committee formed by all the voluntary members provide the required help to the branch.

Pony Club Branches – Membership

The Pony Club branch membership is given to anyone less than 21 years, and the existing members have the privilege of extending their membership to 25 years. To become a member of the Pony Club, you should have access to a horse or pony. Members can access the horse or pony through ownership or loan. They should even have their own transport, or the means to transport the horse to and from rallies and events.

Pony Club Branches – Membership Scheme

The centre membership scheme was launched in 1998. It was started for those people who didn’t have a pony or a horse, who ride at riding schools, and want to become a part of the club. These members can take part in all the activities of the Pony Club. There are around 600 Pony Club centres in UK, and the activities are run by the proprietors and their instructors. The Pony Club is spread across fifteen nations, and aims to promote exchange visits between members of the various countries. The pony club branches are distributed across 17 countries with over 1200 branches.

Various competitions are held at different branches and centres of the club in UK. The national championships allow members from various branches to participate and compete at the highest level. These tests and competitions not only help individuals to develop a potential to achieve higher, but also encourage them to strive for the highest standards.  Many members from various branches compete at an international level which helps them to raise their confidence and performance. Inter branch competitions will help the members to develop team work, and raise the pride of the branch.

The benefit of joining any of the pony club branches is that every member has the right to an insurance cover, to save him from any accident. Every branch of the Pony Club has its own website, which enables members to easily locate their dates of upcoming events, schedules and results of an event or rally. These branches also provide merchandise and sale of horses and ponies. They offer fun and friendship, along with training and competitions.

Pony Club Classifieds

A Guide to the Pony Club Classifieds Website

Summary: The Pony Club classifieds website is a storehouse of information for horse lovers the world over, and proves useful to them in a number of ways.

pony club classified

If you are a horse lover, and are on the lookout for a suitable pony, the pony club classifieds could be just the right source of Continue reading

Highland Pony Enthusiast Club

The Highland Pony Enthusiast Club

Summary- Highland pony enthusiast club has been working wonders in breeding and up keeping of the special breed of these mountain and highland ponies. They have greatly added to their popularity among the equestrian fraternities of UK and nearby regions.

highland pony enthusiasts club

All the enthusiasts of highland ponies can now participate in an active group called highland pony enthusiast club which was formed in 1974, and celebrated its silver jubilee in 1999. This club organizes events in all the areas of UK, ranging from clinical, social and shows. Any member can attend this program or organize an independent show in the highland pony enthusiast club.

Highland Pony Enthusiast Club

We need to know a little more about the highland pony breed before we embark our journey towards the highly active world of the highland pony enthusiast club. It is a fact, that there is no highland or moorland that has enjoyed more popularity over the last few decades as much this breed has experienced. Originally, highland ponies were bred in the western isles and parts of Scottish main lands. Now due to the growing popularity studs are being bred and raised in Wales, continental Europe, USA, and Australia as well. The strong temperament and versatility of this UK native breed is appreciated greatly by people all across the world now.

Highland Pony Enthusiast Club – Pony Colours

Perhaps the most attractive feature of this breed is considered to be its wide variety of colors; some of them are unusual and attractive. In addition to the usual grey and whites, some of them are black and chest nut colored. Most ponies also have distinct dorsal eel stripes and zebra markings all across their bodies. The highland pony enthusiast club members do keep a check on the fact that all the studs they breed are all true ponies and not exactly little horses.

Highland Pony Enthusiast Club – The Magazine

The club comes out with a regular magazine and newsletter of their own which is highly awaited by all highland pony enthusiasts all across UK as it has all the relevant information and updates regarding the events and shows. This magazine basically gets published bi annually, in spring and in autumn editions and contains article, news and stories with great many photographs. It carries advertisements for ponies, transport, tacks etc too. The highland pony enthusiast club’s newsletter also comes out twice a year, in June and in January, containing brief results of various competitions and contests organized by the club regularly.

The fun way of promoting any cause or brand is to organize competitions and contest among people. The highland pony enthusiast club has set a bench mark in doing that. These contest don’t charge nay sort of entry fee and need not have any sort of proficiency in horse riding or great knowledge regarding ponies. Children can join in for free rides with the help of a simple happy card or a happy hacker pass. There are different rider based cards for different ages and people who really prove to be a great highland pony enthusiast can win various shields and trophies as well. Even the dedicated members of the club also get nominated for various motivating awards every year like that of, working highland of the year, unsung Heroes and so on. There is a special award named as highland pony enthusiast and highland pony ambassador. These activities and fun contests make it a great place for all the highland pony enthusiasts to gather and participate in their passion and love for this breed.

 

National Pony Society

National Pony Society

Summary: Ponies have been an integral part of Great Britain’s culture and they have been bred and developed here for hundreds of years. To encourage pony breeding and improvement, the National Pony Society has been in existence since 1893 and conducts a lot of activities related to promoting and breeding ponies.

national pony society

National Pony Society was formed in 1983 and it is to ponies what a kennel club is to dogs. Ponies might be small but that doesn’t mean Continue reading

Highland Pony Talk

Have Something to Say? Join Highland Pony Talk Forum

Summary- Those who are in search for a perfect podium to put express their thoughts and opinions in front of the world and discuss the issues related to their ponies or other general topics, cannot escape the charm of highland pony talk forum. Opening up opportunities to discuss a variety of issues, it is the place you would surely love to be a part of!

highland pony

Highland Pony Talk

In a world where people have become so involved in their daily lives and routines that they hardly have time to spare to discuss their problems with others, highland pony talk forum is the place that provides a platform to the highland Continue reading