The Pony Club has recruited the longest-serving racecourse manager at The Jockey Club — Pip Kirkby (pictured) — to be its next chief executive.

Mrs Kirkby, who is currently general manager of Market Rasen racecourse, will take up the position this spring. She will succeed Judy Edwards who is stepping down after 10 years in the role this March.

“I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to develop my career within equestrianism further by taking on the position of chief executive of the Pony Club. It is an inspirational organisation which is the starting point in riding for so many tens of thousands of young people, not only in this country but also overseas,” Mrs Kirkby said.

“The Pony Club is embarking on an exciting period of change and development and I am delighted to have the chance to play a key role in the new era along with all the members of the fantastic head office team and the many representatives across the UK.”

Mrs Kirkby started working for Jockey Club Racecourses in 1998 and nine years ago became the general manager of Market Rasen and Nottingham racecourses. Last year she oversaw an £800,000 development of Market Rasen, which included a major extension of the Tattersalls Enclosure

Amy Starkey, director east region, of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “Pip has been a most valued colleague and friend, and she has contributed enormously to the management of the east region and will be much missed.”

Mrs Edwards announced that she would be stepping down last September. During her time with the organisation she has established an in-house IT, press and marketing department and instigated the office move to new premises.

Mary Tuckett, chairman of the Pony Club, added: “I am thrilled that Pip is joining us. We had a great response to the vacancy with some exceptionally strong candidates coming forward for interview.

“The full trustee board were involved and we were unanimous in agreeing that Pip was the one for the role.

“We are all looking forward to harnessing the skills she brings to the Pony Club, particularly her strong commercial back ground.”