Children at a Scottish Pony Club branch are enjoying a new cross-country course thanks to a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery fund.

The Galloway branch of the Pony Club, based in south-west Scotland, was approved for the Awards for All Scotland grant late last year.

Now the money has come through and the club has invested in a new portable cross-country course, showjumps and mounted games equipment.

Money has also been allocated for specialist training, including sessions with eventer Stuart Christie, who has ridden around Burghley and Badminton.

District commissioner Lorna McMillan worked hard on the application. “We needed to show that we were helping the community and prove we are open to all ages and backgrounds,” she said. “It’s wonderful to receive the award.”

The new course was installed in June at Baltier Farm, Garlieston.

Fran Stead’s 13-year-old daughter Jenna uses the cross-country course on her 13.2hh pony and 16.1hh horse.

“Jenna had never had the opportunity to try cross-country before so was quite nervous to start with, but she’s improving no end,” said Ms Stead.

“From a learning point of view it’s fantastic as it’s improving her confidence and having Stuart training the children is brilliant. It’s a great opportunity for them.”

The branch has 41 members and was established in 1957.

Spokesman for the branch Sara Qualter said: “There’s nothing like it in our area and we want to draw more people in. We’re a small branch, but are hoping to grow.

“Some people round here see the Pony Club as outdated, but we want more children to join us and this will help.”

The York & Ainsty South Hunt also secured a £10K grant, from Sport England, earlier this year.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (5 August, ’10)