29 August 1997

Independent start to year

THE Pony Club became an independent charity on Jan 1, 1997.

At a reception, held at The Cavalry & Guards Club, Piccadilly to mark this new found independence and to announce future plans, a sense of anticipation, optimism… even revolution prevailed. Speakers placed great emphasis on the need for change; the necessity for the Pony Club to "move with the times".

Chairman, Mrs W Wofford, referred to the hundreds of thousands of pony-mad children out there who are not members.

"Why dont they join?" she asked. "Because they dont think they belong. They believe that the Pony Club is too pompous and only for the child with the expensive pony."

Mrs Wofford went on to explain that branch officers have been asked to recruit and to make sure that every child is made welcome.

Tribute was paid to the district commissioners – the people who run the local branches. They work extremely hard and completely voluntarily.

Ten children, accompanied by their respective DCs, were at the reception and keen to talk about what the Pony Club meant to them.

News through, just an hour or so before the party commenced, that Prince Philip had agreed to become the Pony Club president provided an added buzz to the proceedings.

Remembering what it was to be one of those pony-mad (but pony-less) "children out there", I applaud the Pony Clubs proposed intent to open up.

How wonderful if there could be a real upturn in the numbers of non-pony owners reaping the many benefits of the Pony Club activities.

The concept is a very real challenge. There are numerous practical and financial hurdles to overcome. However, I trust that with its wealth of experience, backing and good intent the Pony Club will find the recipe for success.

After all, I quote Mrs Wofford again: "Children and ponies are magic ingredients."

Jeanne Hutton

Matthew

Wright and Toni Rose went along with Gove branch DC Di Smithers.