I used to think the Pony Club was the stick they gave the children to bash me with, but apparently it is an organisation dedicated to helping children look after their ponies. Well I could give you a few ponies’ opinions, but the Pony Club wouldn’t like it.
But I have just been onto their new interactive all singing all dancing etc website and glory of glories, they don’t have to show proficiency with a whip, or even mention it, in the preparation for the C Test for 12 to 13 year olds.
But before they can do the C test, they have to pass the D+ test which says that they have to demonstrate
* Mount and dismount.
* Know how to alter stirrups correctly when mounted.
* Know how to check girths.
* Sit correctly at the walk and be able to describe the correct position.
* Hold the reins correctly and carry a whip in either hand.
So by the time they do the C Test the use of the whip has been drilled into them, because boy oh boy does it come back into the issue big time for the A Test. The only sample question and answer given, is basically saying, tif the pony doesn’t do what you want with subtle signals, a taouvch of the heel and all that bull, that you should ………… no I’ll let the Pony Club say it in their own words. This is the A Test Riding which,
A Test Riding
The Pony Club A Test is the highest Test within The Pony Club structure. It is recognized world wide and is very much sought after!
and here are their hints and tips.
HINTS ABOUT TAKING THE TEST
* Dress tidily and cleanly, wear gloves and carry a stick or whip, bring your spurs.
* Arrive at the Test centre in plenty of time to walk the Cross Country and Show Jumping Courses before the briefing.
* Keep your stirrups to a practical workmanlike length.
* Don’t fiddle with spurs, taking them off and putting them on again. If you are confident that you can use them correctly, it is acceptable for you to wear them. However, their misuse can be dangerous.
* Look at the horse before you get on him; check the tack, look at the teeth; conformation and outlook may tell you something about the horse before you ride him.
* When you first get on a strange horse and start riding, look about you and ‘feel’ how the horse is going. This is more relaxing and more reliable than looking at its head.
* If you don’t know something, say so.
* If you make a mistake, admit it.
* If you get in a muddle when explaining something, say so, stop, and start again.
* Learn suitable distances for ground poles and related distances, which can then be adapted to suit individual horses.
* Avoid the ‘pat’ or ‘book’ answer. Don’t try to display all your knowledge. Instead, think seriously about the horse and then in the simplest terms possible, explain what faults there are and how you would go about overcoming them.
Q. What do you think about the way the horse is going?
A. He is on his forehand and lazy.
Q. How would you go about improving him?
A. The real problem is laziness; he doesn’t respond to my leg aids. This is the first thing I would correct. I would reinforce my leg aids with my stick until he became obedient. When he learns to go with more energy, I can expect more activity from his hind legs and hindquarters; he should then become a more balanced ride. It should then be possible to work to improve him.
The ‘pat’ reply might have been:
A. He needs more schooling. I would do a lot of turns, circles and transitions. Riding over undulating country might help.
This reply is not incorrect, but it does not show real knowledge.
In the indoor riding, don’t be afraid of riding the trained horse in a positive way. The trained horse is often a clever horse and knows better than most how to assess the rider’s ability.
Right. I would reinforce my leg aids with my stick until he became obedient.
Don’t try it on me. I kick if you even think of trying shit like that anywhere near me. Simon knows, and to give him his due, he does say he will give me a carrot if I do kick the shit out of anyone who tries it.
So the interactive mob aren’t mentioning the whip, I wonder why? Is it possible that HT2 the company who develop it, feel that interactive flagellation for twelve year olds might just blow their chances of working with children in any civilised society, outside the Pony Club, that is. So it’s whip free and instead the children have to collect bits of tack, buildings and equipment and learn how to do things to their ponies. Like fitting curb chains. WHY?
I don’t like whips, OK lets be honest they scare the shit out of me, but curb chains are vicious. Simon swaps between a Dr Cook bitless, the rope headcollar that Gunnar Schillig tied for a completely different sized pony and the Be Kind bitless, but he knows better than to pull on the reins. I don’t take much notice so whats the point.
But the absolute pits is that these children are taught that barbed wire is unaccpetable for horses. It’s OK for cows, and Andy Bragg reckons his cows are worth a lot morre than I am, and he, like very other farmer uses barbed wire. If it’s too vicious for us, its too vicious for the cows and calves who are in with me, and are my friends. But actually, I love barbed wire. There is nothing better for those really irritating itches, you know the ones that really get on your tits. Well get up against a nicely strained bit of barbed wire, and rub.
Just watch out that Andy doesn’t catch you ‘cos he really gets pissed off when I screw another fence.
So children are being taught that horses can’t be kept by farmers. Don’t tell Adele that, or Rob. You think I’m stroppy, they would have your arm off.
And then guess what, the children are told they need a Horsewalker. They had them in prisons, they called them treadmills and banned them. How f***ing sick can you get. Can’t we go out occasionally. Is it all going to be done in the sand school, in the manege, in the indoor school, and when they can’t be bothered, tie you in a sodding electric treadmill while they go and practice their stuffing interactive stuffing horsemanship.
I would rather be a pit pony, than a Pony Clubbed pet pony. At least the people cared. OK the mine owners were shit, but look at any picture of pit ponies, and the pride in the blokes faces, the body language, everything. It was bloody dangerous, scary, but at least you were all down there with your mates.