What happens at Pony Club camps

ArticleHow to - General Equine AdviceThursday 22 March 2012

Pony Club camps are one of those life experiences that all children who love ponies will never forget. Branches all over the country organise these camps for both junior and senior members of the Pony Club. These camps, which normally take place in the summer holidays, could not take place without the hard work and dedication of parents and volunteers.

The junior camps are usually run on a daily basis with children and ponies returning home each night. The children are split into groups depending on their age and ability, with the older children being responsible for helping the younger members with various tasks during the day. Normally teams will be set up to include members from each group who will be rewarded points for such things as the best groomed pony or the cleanest tack or riding boots. These points will accumulate during the week with a prize for the team with the most points.

Mornings start with a tack check along with making sure everyone is kitted out correctly. This will be followed by an hour or so of instruction. This will then be followed by a break for lunch. After lunch there may be a chance to watch an expert at work such as a farrier or saddle fitter, or often a demonstration by a professional rider. In the afternoon the children do some slightly less serious riding such as games, jumping or a hack out.

At the end of the camp there will be prize giving and presentations to the various teams and individuals. The team with the most points will get a prize along with other awards for such things as the most helpful person, the naughtiest pony or the person who fell off the most, and not forgetting the best instructor, who is also given a prize.

Senior camp is for children aged 11 upwards and the children and ponies stay away from home for a week. There is usually much excitement in the club around the time when all the children are preparing equipment and ponies to take to camp. The ponies are normally stabled during the week so the children are responsible for all the duties to look after their ponies such as feeding and mucking out. Again, the children are split into teams and rewarded with points for various tasks during the week. These points may be earned not always for their riding but for keeping their rooms tidy and their stables immaculate. In the evenings activities such as quizzes and games will be organised which will earn teams more points.

These camps are really good fun and teach children so much about life and responsibilities without Mum or Dad being around to help out. Everyone goes home happy, if not very tired!
Photo: Pony Club Championships 2011 provided by PCUK

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