A Pony Club branch in Yorkshire is investing in new showjumps and cross-country fences thanks to a £10,000 grant.

The York & Ainsty South Hunt secured the funding from Sport England after a year-long application process.

“We submitted two proposals, one for a new set of showjumps and one for portable cross-country fences, and thought if we were to get one or the other we would be thrilled. Getting both was fantastic,” said branch committee member Maxine Forster.

Most of the money will be spent on jumps and trailers to transport them, and the remaining £500 will subsidise training for the branch’s 100 members.

“The application can seem complicated, but the outcome for members is so worth it,” said Ms Forster. “Sport England was incredibly supportive through the whole process.”

Sport England uses National Lottery and Exchequer funding to provide grants from £300 to £10,000 to build and support grass-roots sports projects.

Applications are considered year round and other branches are being “actively encouraged” by the Pony Club to bid for similar funding.

Newly appointed Pony Club trustee and fund-raising specialist Sheila Bailey said: “We are encouraging our branches to consider their long-term needs and to fund-raise accordingly.”

The York & Ainsty South, which now hopes to run its own one-day event, has been commended by Pony Club chief executive Judy Edwards: “If the Pony Club is to continue to provide the necessary grounding for future equestrian athletes, external funding for our charitable organisation is essential.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (25 March, ’10)