For more features on the Pony Club, including how to make camp a highlight for children, make sure you pick up the latest issue of Horse & Hound magazine, which is out today (4 July), to read our Pony Club special...
Forget a summer holiday to the Mediterranean. A week at Pony Club camp is the dream ticket. What’s not to love about industrial amounts of sweets, uninterrupted grooming, a dose of peer pressure to push you out of your comfort zone and more rosettes than your pin board can accommodate?
Here are 10 reasons the H&H team wishes they were making lists, labelling grooming kit and packing their bags ready for Pony Club camp this summer.
1. The kit list
Regardless of whether you’re stocked up on fly spray or not, Pony Club camp is the perfect excuse to splurge in the tack shop. It’s that ‘new stationery at the beginning of term’ vibe. You’ve never used coat shine wipes before, but now is the time to try them.
2. The instructor
The suspense of whose ride you’re in can be too much. You’re after the young, fun and care-free instructor. “Dressage is on the timetable, but we’re going to swap ponies, take away your stirrups and go cross-country…”
Showering is admin. As is brushing your teeth. So a week of doing neither is bliss (when you’re eight…)
If for you the days of Pony Club, picnic rides and galloping ponies bareback across stubble fields are but a
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4. Water fights
Pony Club camp takes water fights to another level. With a water trough to hand, things get a whole lot wetter, a whole lot quicker. And there’s the muckheap element for added… fun?!
5. Everyone’s a winner
If you’re the person who gets bucked off, bolted with or can’t retrieve your pony from the field at the beginning of the week, you have the most improved cup to look forward to on day five. Every cloud…
6. A rosettes haul
When there are rosettes up for grabs for the best kept stable, cleanest tack, eight-year-old, nine-year-old, 10-year-old, long-standing member, new member… this is your chance to tally more rosettes than you’re likely to get for the rest of the year.
7. The disco
The ‘10 girls to every boy ratio’ doesn’t get much better if you’re a boy. The end-of-week disco is a gold mine — and if you play your cards right you’re likely to recruit a girl who’s happy to plait your pony, muck out and undertake any other menial tasks that you need doing while you catch up on your smart phone game.
8. Peer pressure
Peer pressure is underrated. When everyone else is kicking on and jumping a ditch that you wouldn’t dream of going near at home, you suddenly find yourself sailing over it behind them.
9. Sparkly tack
Your tack is so much cleaner than you by the end of the week that you can’t imagine it will ever need cleaning again. And the speed at which you can take a bridle apart and put it back together again is on the brink of breaking a world record.
10. And finally…
Your parents — who have not been allowed near the premises all week (apart from for washing up) — are so relieved to find you and your pony alive at the end of the week, they don’t mention that you were going the wrong way in the final musical ride…
For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday