Pony racing will gain a new organising body next year, which will bring the three current strands — the Charles Owen Pony Racing Series on racecourses, point-to-point young rider races and Pony Club racedays — under one central umbrella.
The Pony Racing Authority (PRA) hopes to launch at this year’s finals at Aintree on 21 October with the aim of claiming ownership of pony racing, acting as its governing body and ensuring the sport’s integrity and safety.
One of the benefits will be that all children competing in races will be covered by a new insurance policy, enabling anyone to participate rather than just Pony Club members covered by Pony Club insurance. They will have to join the PRA and pay a nominal fee in order to race.
The move will also tighten the structure the racing season, beginning with “young rider” races at point-to-points. Those placed in these races or at a Pony Club training day will then be eligible for PRA-run races on racecourses. The winner of each of these will progress to a national final.
“Through this route, we hope to give children at all levels a chance to compete, whatever their background or experience. This has always been our long-term aim,” said Rebecca Morgan, secretary of the PRA.
The Pony Club will not to be an executive member of the PRA, but will remain actively involved with pony racing. It will concentrate on training for the races, holding a pony racing training day in each of its areas.
It is hoped that the Racecourse Association, Jockey Club, MFHA and/or Point-to-point Secretaries’ Association will be executive members of the PRA, for which a set of rules and guidelines are in the process of being drafted.