IN THE SADDLE
Chipping Pony Club kept members and their ponies busy over half term with a rally and several opportunities to train and compete, despite the challenging weather, writes Paula Kopydlowski. Photography: Paula Kopydlowski, BlueSki Photography, Sean Conlon
A working rally saw torrential rain and gale force winds batter Lancashire, but Chipping Pony Club members turned out in force to enjoy the shelter and comfort of the indoor arenas at Northcote Stud, which offers a large arena for flatwork training and another for show jumping.
Members seized the opportunity to meet up with friends, receive 90 minutes of good quality instruction and give their ponies a jolly good leg stretch! Four rides took place, with age groups ranging from four to 18, everyone taking in 45 minutes of flatwork and 45 minutes of jumping practice – including some games practice too for the little group. Such events are great value for money, with highly qualified instructors.
Chipping also organised for members to take advantage of an hour’s cross-country training at Kelsall Hill, in Tarporley, Cheshire, with a British Eventing Development Coach. They were blessed with cloudy skies and the odd drizzle – some respite from recent weather! The outdoor all-weather arenas at Kelsall are split on two different levels and include a water complex and ditch, which is great to jump to complement the horse and rider training. Chipping also headed to Somerford Park for some cross-country training, where they were sharing an arena with Chinese Olympic rider Alex Hua Tian and were lucky enough to have their photograph taken with him. The senior members thoroughly enjoyed themselves and took in some valuable instruction and cross-country experience.
The younger children have enjoyed a junior rally, held indoors at Ribble Valley Stud. It’s a great opportunity for the smaller ponies and beginners to have a chance to learn in a safe environment, with their friends. They can try their hand at their next progression, be it riding alone without a lead-rein, or cantering for the first time, jumping a small cross pole or trying a mounted games bending race.
The most recent Winter League dressage competition had to be postponed due to high winds and the risks involved with transporting horses in such weather, but the Winter League show jumping went ahead at Warren Farm in Formby, seeing the Chipping team of Megan Conlon, Olivia Jones and Erin Kopydlowski, who was riding two ponies to make a team of four, take third place and Olivia Jones winning individually.
It’s been a busy few weeks and if that wasn’t enough, the committee members have been busy behind the scenes organising and running shooting practices, quiz practices and attending training courses at the Pony Club HQ at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.
Our dedicated small team of volunteers make sure that Chipping offers a wide range of activities for all levels of riding in a friendly, happy environment.
If you are interested in joining, please contact Chipping’s District Commissioner Joanne Conlon 07739 687972 or email: email@example.com