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The Pony Club Celebrates A Successful Championships

The Pony Club Championships, kindly supported by Berkeley Group, took place on August 19th - 23rd at Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire.

The event, now in its fifth year at the venue, showcased an incredible array of up and coming talent across five action packed days, including the Olympic disciplines of Show Jumping, Dressage and Eventing as well as Mounted Games, Endurance and Polocrosse; and also incorporated the competitions for Centre Equitation, Musical Ride, and Horse and Pony Care.

Attracting around 2000 competitors the event acts as the first championship level for many and the pinnacle of achievement for other as members compete across the levels of Novice, Intermediate and Open.  Despite the the weather was not as kind as it could have been on some days, spirits were certainly not dampened in the least and the atmosphere was electric throughout the week.

Highlights included the highly coveted Stonar Open Eventing Team Championship being taken by the Flint & Denbigh Hunt Branch team of Lois Roberts (24), Brier Leahy (20), Sophie Toogood (22) and Heidi O’Brien (22); who had also enjoyed a second placing in the Virbac 3D Open Show Jumping earlier in the week. It was a fitting end for Lois who commented “It’s great to have won, as it’s my last year in Pony Club” whilst the rest of the team thanked their parents for sacrificing so much, and said they would very much like to be back to defend their title in 2017.

The Vibac 3D Worming Open Individual Show Jumping saw a win for Lucy Morgan (22) from the Monmouthshire Branch with Cannavaro. “I am absolutely over the moon, as I just missed out last year, and it’s probably my last year in Pony Club, so I decided to just go for it!” said an excited Lucy, who noted that being a part of The Pony Club Rider Development Pathway had proved a fantastic opportunity.

In the NAF Superflex Open Dressage it was the Old Berkshire Hunt Team of Max Warburton (17), Jack Whitehead (18), Sasha Hargreaves (15) and Siobhan Heneghan (14) who took the top slot, with Jack Whitehead also winning his respective arena (B) individually. “We are all really shocked!” said the team who didn’t realise their success until they arrived at prize giving.

The Malden Championship, the highest section in the NFU Mutual Polocrosse, involving teams of three Junior and three senior Members, saw the North Warwickshire Branch team Katie Loutsiou (18), Danny Woodward (18), Chris Milburn (25), Fin (14) and Tegan Bristow (12) and Theo Cornforth (14) come out on top. The team thanked Chris Milburn for coaching them and North Warwickshire Polocrosse manager Gill James; whilst Chris Milburn extended his thanks to The Pony Club and noted how good it was to see Pony Club Polocrosse growing as a sport in recent years.

In the Blue Cross Horse and Pony Care final, the Chipping Branch proved they were an unstoppable force for an incredible fifth year in a row with the team of Victoria Hargreaves, Charlotte Kenyon and Jack Mellin producing on a score of 480, over ten points clear of their nearest rivals.

The Mentoring scheme now in its fifth year, supported by NFU Mutual, was again an integral part the Championships with experienced Mentors on hand to offer a wealth of advice around sports psychology backed up with resources to help competitors perform at their best in the electric championship atmosphere. 

As always the Championships was indebted to the dedication of Pony Club volunteers, around 400 of whom make it possible for the event to run successfully. “We want to say an enormous ‘thank you’ to our army of volunteers that helped us to make this year’s Championships one of the most successful” commented Mary Tuckett, Chairman of the Pony Club. “We are grateful to each and every person who gave their time, as we could not possibly dream of running such a big event without their help and support”. Mary continues “the support from our new title sponsor Berkeley Group has been invaluable, it really is great to have them on board along with all our other sports sponsors; their support ensures we can give our Members an unforgettable experience”.

Full reports from each day’s competition can be found here:
FridaySaturdaySunday Monday - Tuesday

Full results are available on the Championship website.

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