There are plenty of different activities and sports available to pony owners — not only is it a great way of bonding with your pony, but it's also a great way of making friends.
Show jumping is an equestrian sport which involves both you and your horse or pony navigating a course of jumps that are set up inside a ring or stadium designed for equestrian events. Show jumping tests the speed, stamina and flexibility of the horse or pony, plus the relationship between the pony and his rider.
Dressage is one of the world's oldest sporting activities and roughly translates as 'training'. It can create a horse or pony that is more comfortable, safe and easier to ride. The rider and pony is put through a series of tests which consist of a set routine with movements to show the obedience, suppleness and strength of your pony.
Cross country jumping is a physical and mental challenge for both pony and rider, and requires a lot of physical fitness. It's great when a rider and their pony can successfully complete a cross country course. Endurance, skill and agility is tested through a course of forest and fields, with you and your pony having to tackle obstacles such as fences, streams, logs, hills, ditches and banks. It's very challenging but very rewarding.
Gymkhana is a fast-paced obstacle race for riders and their horse or pony. It's an exciting sport and is becoming more popular by the day. It's action-packed, and your pony must have speed, agility and control in order to perform properly through the obstacles. You can take part in races such as Barrel racing, pole bending and keyhole racing, all of which require precise, controlled actions.
The Pony Club
The Pony Club is an international voluntary organisation for young people who are interested in ponies and riding. It's the largest association of young riders in the world, and encourages young people to ride and learn to enjoy all kinds of sport connected with horses, ponies and riding. It educates members and teaches them how to look after their animal, and there are clubs right across the country that you can join! Pony Club is a good start for younger children who want to learn all the basics in pony care and riding, and it's great for socialising with other riders.
Eventing involves a single rider and pony or horse competing against others combining the three disciplines — dressage, cross country and show jumping. Eventing is held over one, two or three days, depending on the amount of entries. It covers all round riding ability and horsemanship, and how the rider and the horse are able to harmonise for each of the disciplines.