The Pony Club’s 75th Anniversary Conference on Wednesday was hailed a success by all concerned, as chairman Mary Anderson laid out its plans and strategies for 2004.

A record crowd attended the event, which was held at Cheltenham Racecourse. A number of thought-provoking subjects were covered during the day, with the focus on “looking forward”.

In her address, Mary Anderson highlighted the importance of the Pony Club as “the training base for the riders of the future”. In particular, the need to encourage boys aged 12 to 15 years to remain in the Pony Club was raised, as well as plans to provide a springboard for potential jockeys into racing.

“We have always provided a clear path for members, from PC eventing through to being a British Eventing member, from PC show jumping to BSJA competitions and so on, but the same cannot be said for providing a clear path into the world of racing,” she explains.

The chairman also announced the news that HorsePower International, the driving force behind events such as Olympia show jumping and the Royal Windsor Horse Show, will be running this year’s Pony Club Championships.

Mary Anderson explained that “by bringing in this extremely experienced team, we will be taking the championships to higher levels of both presentation and professionalism.”

Another major issue addressed at the conference was the subject of health and safety. The Princess Royal highlighted the importance of acceptable risks. She went on to stress the benefits of riding in terms of child development, and praised the work and importance of the volunteers.

“Our 75th anniversary conference was extremely well-received,” says Mary Anderson. “We held the conference at the beginning of the year for the first time, so that we could look forward to the coming season and discuss our plans and policies. It exceeded all of our aims.”

For more information about the Pony Club visit: www.pcuk.org