The Pony Club is asking all branches to implement basic financial controls following a recent case of suspected fraud.

Pony Club chief executive Judy Edwards declined to release more details about the suspected fraud, but said: “The case referred to is currently under Pony Club and police investigation.”

Pony Club treasurer Robin Danielli explained the safeguards to 400 delegates, including district commissioners (DCs) from across the country, at the organisation’s annual conference on 3 March at York racecourse.

“Financial controls are needed to protect our business,” said Mr Danielli.

“It seems strange to describe the Pony Club as a business, but we have a turnover of £12million a year and reserves of more than £6m.

“We are defined as ‘a large charity’ and the charity commission expects us to have the necessary financial controls in place”

Mr Danielli stressed that each DC must take final responsibility for the financial stewardship of their branch.

“The basic financial controls are common sense,” said Mr Danielli. “The aim is not to catch someone red-handed, but to make it so obvious they would be caught that you
reduce the temptation to commit fraud.”

Lisa Rickenberg, DC of the Chiddingfold Farmers branch, said: “The safeguards seem sensible and not onerous.

“We’re lucky to have a very vigilant treasurer and I think we already have most of these rules in place.

“It’s hard to imagine anyone stealing money meant for children, but I suppose there are rogues in all walks of life.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (11 March, ’10)