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Any tips for first ever Pony Club Camp?

35 replies

killercat · 18/07/2011 19:58

DD (8 1/2) is going to Pony Club Camp next week. Or rather, the pony is camping, and I have to drive her back and forth each day Hmm

I have the extensive kit list for both her and the pony, and we are prepared in as far as we can in that way. I have ordered another pale pair of jods, and I hope to get some overalls at an agricultural show we're going to for her to wear while mucking out.

Any tips to help us both through?

The only thing on the list I don't have is wet weather riding gear. Any idea of how essential this is? She has a coat but riding overtrousers are £25 and the 7-9 pair only just fitted but the 10-12 was so enormous I could have fitted another small child in them.

OP posts:
horseymum · 18/07/2011 20:12

Hi, hope your daughter has fun, I used to love teaching on camp as you could get loads done and have fun too. I would just say make sure all tack is really clean and tack has all been checked over so no bad stitching etc as instructor will (should anyway) have a really good look over everything on first day, especially if they do not know the child and pony. Make sure your name is on everything! If there is a chance pony will get a bit strong in company or new situation maybe consider taking a spare bit eg 3 ring or 'bubble' bit as they are quite versatile - only a suggestion as no idea how eperienced pony or child is and whether you will ride in a large field or smaller arena most of the time. Enjoy and be prepared to be exhausted!

DedalusDigglesPocketWatch · 18/07/2011 20:29

Tbh, if you are bringing dd back everyday the only thing I would suggest is plenty to eat in the car on the way home :o

BathildaSaggshot · 18/07/2011 23:05

Rain gear is essential! When we go to stay with our friend each year for camp, we take gear for hot weather, cold weather and wet weather! The car is always stuffed, and each year the weather has been different. Its really better not to run the risk!
Horseymum, nice! An 8 year old, and a pony in a 3 ring dutch gag. Nice combination. Not.

Butkin · 19/07/2011 10:29

Presumably you've been to PC rallies and had your hat checked - could be an issue otherwise and of course you'll pack body protector.

Change of jods will be essential - maybe even at lunch if wet.

Definitely pack some sort of waterproof jacket for her. Also consider spare numnah for pony.

Although our ponies are ridden in snaffles would maybe pack a Wilkie just in case - definitely not a 3 ring snaffle though (our daughter is 8 1/2 as well).

Have you checked what eating arrangements are? Although our intermediate camp is catered (by the kids/parents) our Junior Camp isn't so they take packed lunches.

Sadly we're not doing camp this year as neither of DD's ponies jumps well enough to make it worth while. She will be going to the Championship shows though so she'll be happy enough through the holidays.

Loshad · 19/07/2011 23:47

Really don't think you need to buy waterproof trousers, a waterproof jacket would be useful but i think you can skip the expense of the trousers.
Would not put pony in a 3 ringed gag - vile things imo, the quicker this bit fad disappears the better.
Second the loads to eat in the car!

fortyplus · 20/07/2011 00:00

Absolutely shocked that someone who says they teaches would advocate sending an 8 yo to PC camp with a spare 3 ring gag for her pony Angry

I'd sooner see a cheek snaffle so the child doesn't pull snaffle rings through the pony's mouth. If the pony will take advantage then possibly a correctly fitted standing martingale to stop 'snatching' provided that the child knew it should not be worn for jumping (I'm sure a competent instructor would ensure that this happened anyway).

ps gags are vile and pretty useless imo unless used with a second pair of reins attached to the 'normal' snaffle ring so that you can still turn - if you try to turn sharlpy at speed with a gag then many horses will turn their heads without the body following unless driven strongly with the leg which kind of defeats the object if you ask me!

BathildaSaggshot · 20/07/2011 00:54

Id sooner see that the pony is fit enough, properly schooled, not over fed and the child is able to ride it before jamming a gag bit into the poor things mouth to force it into submission!
Thats why DD isnt in the pony club!
We used to have a pony club 'reject', She was too strong! She reared and bolted! This poor pony, a forward going section b, had been given to a child who couldnt keep up with her. She had been put into stronger and stronger bits, in a bid to give the child some chance. Each new bit had hurt and frightened the poor beast, making her more flighty and more terrified of the metal in her mouth. So, she had been put in a stronger bit, until she ended up in a three ring gag, flash and martingale. The poor thing had nearly turned herself inside out.
We put her in a simple french link, She was as good as gold.

killercat · 20/07/2011 10:02

Thank you so much :-)

I can see I have a lot to learn here! DD's pony is a dream. He's an older boy and has been through the same pony club three times already and is incredibly well behaved at rallies. We've been doing the rallies all year, but DD will be a bit on her own at camp as her cousin is only 4 and too young.

I've re-read all the letters from the Pony Club, and reading between the lines and with all the replies on here, will stock up on snacks for in the car. The PC provide a sandwich lunch and parents take a tray bake to share, but I think DD will be hungry, and then probably sleep in the car on the way home.

I've got a second black numnah and have borrowed a white one for dressage. Still undecided about waterproof trousers, but possibly going to an agricultural show today so will see if there are any deals. I know she'd just slide around on the saddle in normal waterproofs.

The only other thing I considered was overalls ??

Thank you again :-)

OP posts:
olderyetwider · 20/07/2011 11:10

Bathilda,I feel the need to defend the Pony Club here, I've never seen a pony in a gag at a rally or camp, and I don't think the instructors or DC at our branch would allow it. They are very much of the view that the child should be able to ride the pony in a snaffle.

Killercat, make sure you can get coffee when needed, and ensure you have wine in stock for the evening as you will be knackered! Hope dd has a lovely time

Butkin · 20/07/2011 11:13

I wouldn't recommend waterproof trousers for a child to ride at camp in as they probably need as much grip as possible. DD does wear them for hacking in mid Winter but would think over the top for Camp.

Similarly wouldn't bother with overall. She'll only be mucking out and she can do this in her jods and wellies.

Bathilda - don't think you can write off the Pony Club because some mothers don't know what they are doing. Most do and good instructors will give good advice. Kids have a fantastic experience and whilst our background is showing (and therefore correct kit, schooling, turn out etc) we are delighted that DD enjoys Pony Club so much.

horseymum · 20/07/2011 15:23

I also convinced that child should be able to ride in snaffle but unless Pony Club/mothers have changed a lot in 6 years since I have been involved (mostly teach adults now) there are many overhorsed children. Some have ponies who are too strong or they are scared of. I have not myself told a parent to put a gag bit in but seen other instructors use it to effect when child is in new situation, big field, exciting etc. They must be able to stop. There are so many kids on ponies who can't control them, due to pony being over fit/underschooled/overfed etc. If the child has quiet hands they will do less damage with a slightly more 'strong' bit than hauling away with a snaffle. I do have great respect for the Pony Club but also see that as in all walks of life, people get so competitive for their kids. Some of the ponies that the kids are expected to ride are just not really fit for the purpose. I sometimes think - if that was 16.2 and that strong/flighty/mental, would you get on it?!
I also think that the most well chosen, well-schooled, correctly fed pony can have their wild moments. That is half the fun, if the rider is able to cope with it. The point is that they have fun, not that they are crying with fear at the end of each session, as I have seen. Glad child and pony have had good experiences of rallies so far - less chance of surprises then, i'm sure it will go well.

AlpinePony · 20/07/2011 16:34

Blimey - I got my arse chewed at Camp for riding a 16.2hh hunter in a running martingale - if I'd turned up with a gag? Shock

I wanna go to camp pleeeeeeeeeeease!

Incidently I took a 4 year old 16.2hh racehorse to camp one year and rode in a snaffle.

killercat · 20/07/2011 16:39

Thank you very much.

My daughter and her cousin just ride in snaffles and their ponies are incredibly well behaved, but there is the odd one or two ponies I've seen at rallies and silently freaked 'OMG' over. The family who have to turn up early and lunge the pony for 45 minutes before they dare put their PFB on it shocked me a lot, as does a naughty little thing who has a nasty buck and scares the poor boy on his back to tears sometimes.

I have my SIL to thank as she trains horses and knew these ponies very well, and snapped them up when the owners asked her to sell them on their behalf. They may not look as pretty as some of the other ponies at rallies but I can trust them both near 100%. I discourage my toddler from walking between their legs mind, but the few times she has done they've not batted an eyelid...!

The only thing my daughter's pony freaks a bit over is if an umbrella suddenly appears next to him with no warning or a plastic bag flaps on the ground. And my niece's pony looks down to see where someone's foot is and then gently steps on it to pin the poor child to the yard. Never any weight behind it though, it seems more for fun rather than malice Grin

The two of them are absolutely not hot housed. They are just used to hacks with my SIL really. Neither of them have any formal lessons, they just ride out with her and have been to rallies this year and do the occasional show when harvest allows. They end up being placed above the children at shows who have been "pushed" by their parents, which I have to admit is slightly satisfying. But much more so is their more natural confidence on their first ponies which are bomb-proof.

Thank you, and I shall hang around here if I may as I am not the horsey one of the family at all, and have a lot to learn! I'm just lucky we moved close to my SIL and my daughter can indulge this love of ponies.

OP posts:
olderyetwider · 20/07/2011 17:30

Mind you, after what I said about gags, Gd will be taking a pelham with her to camp, just in case new pony gets a bit over-excited on cross country, but I wouldn't allow her to use it till I (and her instructor) was sure she understood and could use it properly, and that her hands are quiet. Pony is ok with it (tried in school and out on hack) and it is essential that she can stop!

olderyetwider · 20/07/2011 17:32

Alpinepony, I too want to go to camp! Might have to lobby for adult camp

BathildaSaggshot · 20/07/2011 17:40

A gag is not a 'slightly stronger bit' it's one of the harshest bits there are. And how many 8yos do you know with 'quiet hands'?! Parents should be encouraged to buy the right pony. Not the right size or ability for what they want their child to compete at, with not much thought as to the ability of the child! So rather than have a terrified child you will happily cause discomfort and fear to the pony?! I thought the pony club was meant to encourage proper horsemanship?!
And I don't write off the pony club, we attend camp at our friends pony club centre every year, and I work/teach stable management. We don't have anything to do with our local branch though. More money round here than sense unfortunately!

olderyetwider · 20/07/2011 17:56

killercat's pony sounds lovely, and just the right sort. I wanna see a picture of George!!!

killercat · 20/07/2011 21:23

I have uploaded a photo. Sadly, it's from last month and George (being an older pony now!) still had a lot of his winter coat. He's looking much better now, and we got some lovely photos of him and DD from a photographer at a show last weekend, but I can't work the scanner Confused

OP posts:
SouthGoingZax · 20/07/2011 21:28

I am sooooo jealous!!

Pony Club camp was my DREAM when I was little. I never had a pony and I never got to go. I was in the Pony CLub and I always cleaned up at the quizzes! I'm 36 now and I don't think they'd take me at camp Sad.

OP - Hope DD has a wonderful time Grin

SouthGoingZax · 20/07/2011 21:28

When I said I cleaned up, I mean I always won - not that I cleaned up. Blush

CravingMarmite · 20/07/2011 22:06

Re overalls, I used to wear a pair of tracksuit bottoms over my jods to keep them clean whilst grooming the pony etc, so that I gained maximum points possible in the daily inspections (competetive little bugger I was! Grin )

AlpinePony · 21/07/2011 09:18

southgoing I never had my own horse either - hence the rather "unusual" nags I was "lent"! Grin I went to one in a really rural area and there were an awful lot of us didn't have our own, so there would be ponies dragged down off hill farms to get their first proper grooming it seemed! Wink

We do need an adult camp - although I'll fare there'd be less smoking & drinking at our age - and more early nights! Wink

Butkin · 21/07/2011 11:01

Agree about tracksuit bottoms - DD wears hers for grooming/riding her pony in at shows and only takes them off just before she goes in the ring.

olderyetwider · 21/07/2011 12:55

Yep, tracksuit bottoms work for us too!

SayItLoud · 21/07/2011 13:08

Send her with something like a box of Tracker bars in her grooming kit, good for energy and doesn't melt if it's hot, then she can help herself during the day if she needs a boost, and some bottles of water or squash.

Get a bottle of Show Sheen or similar to put on legs and tails, saves on loads of washing through the week as the pony will have to be clean for every inspection, and the muck just slides off without stains!

Tracksuit or leggings over jods are perfect for wearing while mucking out and grooming, then whip them off just before hopping on. One of those sponge polishing things are great for boots for last-minute shining too.

I wouldn't worry about different bits or other kit for the pony, the instructor will see if she is having any problems and take the necessary action.

Hope she has huge fun!

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