The inaugural 2016 Land Rover Pony Club Regional Championships have ended, having attracted more than 2,000 grassroot horse and rider combinations- some of whom were experiencing a competitive environment for the very first time.
Dressage riders and show jumpers took part in qualifying rounds in each of the 19 Pony Club Areas, where the top ten headed to one of five championship events where teams and individuals were crowned winners in their regions.
Pony Club Member Keira Shafiq (10)* pulled out all the stops in the Wales and West Midlands Regional Championship to become the only rider to win both the Individual Dressage and Show Jumping.
Keira, who is a member of the Atherstone Hunt Pony Club, said: “I didn’t expect to do so well. I’ve been practising each weekend, especially our show jumping turns. I’ve only had Fudge a few weeks so I’m really pleased!”
She hopes to move up to Novice level next year, and praised the Land Rover Regional Championships because members can compete against people their own age and make new friends.
Mary Tuckett, Pony Club chairman, is delighted with the new addition to The Pony Club competition schedule.
Mary said: “The Land Rover Pony Club Regional Championships provided our members the opportunity to compete in teams at a level they felt confident in, with all the fun and excitement of a Championship environment and the support of their fellow team members and parents.
“We were pleased with the number of entries we received for this initial year of competition, and we expect to see it growing in popularity over the coming years as more Members take their first steps onto the competitive ladder.”
Individual winners were given a beautiful rug courtesy of sponsors Land Rover, and teams received smart saddlecloths along with rosettes and sashes to mark their achievements.
Jaguar Land Rover UK Marketing Director, Scott Dicken said Land Rover was delighted to have worked with the Pony Club on the inaugural Regional Championships.
A new dressage test was written especially for the Regional Championships, which included walking, trotting and cantering in a 20x40m arena. Show jumpers tackled a course of at least 10 fences at a height of 80cm in the first round and 85cm in the second round. After two rounds a jump off was held to decide placings where riders finished both rounds with no time or jumping faults.
The competition will expand in 2017, with eventing running alongside dressage and show jumping, giving Pony Club members even more opportunities to take part in entry level team competitions.