Review of 2017 & our planned activities for 2018
by District Commisioner Tracey Pargeter
We are a fast growing branch with an amazingly diverse membership ranging from age 4 to 24; from lead rein to B+ test level. We offer something for every member; whether it’s competing in their chosen discipline, improving their riding skills, or having fun with friends.
The highlight of every Pony Club year is camp, and this year was no exception. Day camp which has just passed was once again the largest ever with 55 members from the branch and from HMSEA Pony Club Centre all enjoying a fantastic 5 days at HMSEA Equestrian Centre. Residential camp in 2017 at The All England Jumping Course, Hickstead was, as always, a huge success with 42 campers having a whale of a time culminating in a riding competition at the end of a very busy week.
Pony Club Tests
I am thrilled with the level of test passes this year. In addition to all of those passes shown, we have 4 girls training for their B test, which is a truly amazing feat for a Branch our size. We recognise the importance of the continuing equestrian education of all our members and applaud our older members for embracing the tests at these challenging levels.
Each organiser has written their own report but I would just like to touch on a couple of points.
This year, we have renewed Mounted Games training in the branch and even fielded a team. Whilst this is not a new discipline to the branch (some of our more ‘mature’ parents may remember SDHW competing in the Prince Philip Cup at HOYS?!), this is a definite revival. We look forward to taking this further over the coming year.
Tetrathlon really IS a relatively new discipline for SDHW and Boy, have our younger members embraced it whole-heartedly! We have got solid teams of girls and boys and have won at every outing. In addition we have hosted our very own TET competition, which is always a masterpiece of organisation by Jen Birkby and all her team of helpers and coordinators at The All England Jumping Course, Hickstead. Many thanks to Hurstpierpoint College for allowing us the use of their pool.
We hope to see more of our Eventers at Areas in 2017 – we have a lot of talent in this area. Whilst all training is difficult over the winter, we hope you’ll take advantage of the dressage training to get those scores down to go with all your jumping double clears…
SDHW just go from strength to strength in the Showjumping arena. We even won our own rugs at the SDHW show in August! We have been inviting guest instructors to every school holiday including Greg Le Gear,Phillip Miller and we have been promised that Shane and Trevor Breen will do a session each this year when they are not too busy competing . Keep up the good work and keep attending the multitude of jumping training sessions. I encourage everyone to come forward for team jumping – it’s a great day, not only for training and competition, but also for bonding with others riding at a similar level. We are introducing a more targeted approach to some of the higher level jumping, which we hope will encourage and give confidence to, our members at those levels.
Our branch results in the Dressage field, continue to improve with regular training sessions held all year round. I am looking forward to more success at Areas. Once again, we had 1 member who qualified for the National Championships – a fantastic achievement. We also have 3 members who have all already qualified for the Area finals for the Dengie dressage – there’s still plenty of time for some of you other dressage queens to qualify as well. Good Luck girls.
We are running unmounted badge rallies over the winter, which we hope many of our members will attend. They all help towards test training and are designed to be fun with biscuits & hot chocolate to help….
We are extremely lucky to have the use of Hickstead’s facilities. We use them for fundraising as well as for camp and rallies. Without this, the cost of all rallies and camps would increase as well as competition subsidies being stopped. This would effectively seriously curtail the branch activities. I would like to remind everyone that it is condition of membership that every member or their family helps out selling programmes at the 2 Hickstead meetings. I can assure you that its not a chore, you can opt to do it with friends if you like, and in return for 4 hours, you get free entry to see some top level competition & free car parking. We also ask that all members and their parents not on holiday, help out at our own show at Hickstead in August.
Our junior committee met up earlier in the year and came up with some suggestions, which the committee discussed and acted on a number of points. We hope that they will be meeting again soon. If any of our members have anything that they would (or wouldn’t !) like to see happen in the branch, please encourage them to talk to one of the junior committee with their ideas.
Finally, I would like to thank all the Committee who are all volunteers and work incredibly hard for our members and the branch. Please remember to thank rally & training organisers and to be courteous towards them, not everyone appreciates late night phone calls.
We also have started up a youth club for our members which is held the first Friday of every month.
Penny & I are so proud of SDHW and all our lovely members who give so much.
Here’s to a happy and successful 2018