A new scheme to improve theknowledge of affiliated pony riders has been introduced by the BSJA, after team members were found to lack the skills required to look after their ponies while away at shows.

The BSJA Pony Proficiency Award consists of riding, handling and interview sections, which assess basic riding and horsemanship. It is the brainchild of BSJA consultant head of coaching Di Lampard, who has studied proficiency tests used abroad.

“I want pony riders to realise that schooling and learning can be fun,” says Di. “Tacking up and a basic understanding of the aids are part and parcel of horsemanship. We’re not trying to pick faults, but help pony riders enjoy their sport more and go on to make their own horses in future.

“In Europe, riders have to ride to a standard on the flat before they compete. If British pony riders enjoy their lessons, they’ll be keen to learn more – with horses you never stop learning.”

The test, which from 2004 will be a prerequisite for all pony riders up for international selection or Home Pony International 138cm and 148cm teams, can be taken with a BSJA accredited coach, who will teach and assess them against set guidelines.

The award is sponsored by the Show Jumping Supporters Club of Great Britain, with support from HSBC.

Information packs and application forms are available from Pam Rose, BSJA, NAC, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warks CV8 2LR.

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