Cat Hunter has been involved as an instructor, tester, and organizer in the St. Lawrence & Ottawa Valley Region of the Canadian Pony Club for over 20 years. As a youth herself she was for 5 years a member of the Ottawa Valley Hunt Branch. Last year Cat won the OEF People Make a Difference Award in recognition of her work with pony club over the years.
By Cat Hunter
I find myself vexed, frustrated and often times disappointed to spend hours and hours trying to assist the youth of the horse community to learn the values and lessons of the Canadian Pony Club, only to see it all get left behind as soon as they are at a “non pony club” activity.
Not only does pony club strive to educate the horse crazy youth in everything from nutrition to first aid, stable construction to bandaging we strive to encourage the motto of Loyalty, Character and Sportsmanship.
Pony Club also teaches a lot about safety! Remember, we are dealing with an independent, non logical, flight animal many times our size.
Believe it or not we, the instructors, clinicians and organizers, are more than a bunch of fuddy duddy old ladies (and men) stuck in a past reliving traditions of old. The reasons we encourage the behaviour we do is in a large part for safety.
Why do we insist on proper footwear? Have you ever had your toes broken when a horse spooked and landed on you when you were wearing boots? Imagine if you had flip flops on….
Why do you wear gloves when lungeing? Ever had rope burn on your palms?
Have you ever had concussion from a fall when you did have a helmet on? Imagine the consequences of having that same fall without the helmet on?
I know lots of people don’t think helmets are cool ….but neither is brain damage.
Sitting on the lawnchair or on the ground while holding your horse may be comfortable for you but what happens when that flight instinct kicks in and his urge is to go forward over whatever is in his way.
Remember all, “the pony club way” is more than just for pony club activities and testing days. It should be a way of always working around horses to keep them healthy and happy and you safe and having fun!
It is a way of life!