IN THE SADDLE
Chipping Pony Club seized every opportunity to organise rallies, training and attend competitions outside of the lockdown window, all whilst complying with government guidelines, writes Paula Kopydlowski. Photography: Martha Lily Photography and Diane Marsden
Thankfully, children’s sport has been encouraged to continue and Chipping Pony Club members enjoyed a number of local events including a spectacular fancy dress arena eventing and show jumping competition.
Before the second lockdown members from Chipping attended the Pony Club Arena Eventing Preliminary Rounds Qualifier at Kelsall Hill in Cheshire, in an attempt to qualify for the Spring Festival Semi-Finals in March 2021.
Arena eventing consists of a series of cross country type fences, but placed in an all-weather arena as an activity that can be enjoyed during the winter months. The fences are solid, generally rustic to replicate what you might find naturally occurring in the countryside and include challenges such as ditches, steps, banks and water. Kelsall Hill’s facilities are ideal for this type of event, with a split level arena, a permanent water complex, a ramp with steps and some ditches.
Members from Chipping took on clubs from areas four and five (the North West) across three classes. In the 80cm, members were delighted for Kaitlin and her pony Sebastian who won, with Erin riding Millie taking third and Amy and her horse Honey coming fifth. In the 90cm, Sarah and her horse Ellie were second, Amy and Honey were third, Megan with Fluky came fourth and Erin and Millie were fifth. Finally, in the 100cm Megan and Fluky won! The first 10 places were qualifying, meaning all are through to the semi-finals in March. An excellent day for Chipping!
During the half term holidays back in October, Chipping ran some show jump training with instructors Jeanette Powell and Charlotte Kenyon, which was held at Myerscough College. Members were challenged riding technical lines and related distances, with the younger members linking fences together and maintaining a forward rhythm. The following evening, some flatwork training with Gilly Hinnigan at Northcote Stud was well attended by senior members, who were taught to ride an ‘advanced corner’ using lateral movements, while the rain hammered down on the indoor school. It felt like winter was well and truly upon us! Finally, a working rally for all abilities was held at Myerscough College and consisted of both flatwork and jumping with instructors Jo Baxter and Pam Prickett. On this occasion, there was an emphasis on some much-needed ridden assessments and feedback to sharpen up the riders’ skills, giving members some advice on areas which need improvement in preparation for their forthcoming Pony Club Efficiency Tests.
Chipping and Haydock branches of the Pony Club joined forces over lockdown to organise the Area 4 Arena Eventing Preliminary Rounds at Kelsall Hill. There were plenty of entries and Chipping members were excited about the opportunity to run their first Arena Event.
The club then busied themselves planning their fancy dress outfits for the celebratory Christmas rally, with friends wishing good tidings, from an acceptable social distance and within limited group numbers.
If you are interested in joining, please contact Chipping’s District Commissioner Joanne Conlon 07739 687972 or email: email@example.com