The Pony Club Celebrate a Magical 90th Birthday at Gatcombe Park
The Main Arena at the Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing hosted the most heart-warming celebration for The Pony Club’s 90th Birthday. The impressive parade saw 120 children mounted on their ponies and a further 100 members on their feet including 40 adult marshals all with connections to The Pony Club, which is the fourth biggest youth organisation in the UK boasting nearly 40,000 members. Gatcombe Park proved the perfect place to host this occasion as it is the home of The Pony Club Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, who was presented with a bouquet of flowers, along with her four grandchildren who were each given a personally monogrammed soft toy ‘crafty pony’ created to honour the special birthday.
The Pony Club internationally has organised a ‘Ride Around the World’, which saw 90th Birthday celebrations on Saturday 3rd August in 27 different countries, starting in Australia, the home of the event’s title sponsor, thoroughbred auction house, Magic Millions.
In the UK, Pony Clubs around the country have organised their own celebrations, with the pinnacle taking place here at The Festival. The mounted parade saw members from 42 different Pony Clubs, from as far afield as Devon, Wales and Warwickshire, as well as the local Pony Clubs of Gloucestershire. The parade took place to the sound of a specially composed piece of music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, himself a keen supporter of The Pony Club with his wife, Lady Lloyd Webber, its current President.
Clare Valori, Vice Chairman of The Pony Club commented “It was wonderful, the children really rose to the occasion, it was the perfect centre piece of the 90th Birthday celebrations in the UK.”
Event Director Peter Phillips added, “we are delighted to have been part of the celebrations. The Festival is about riders at all levels of equestrian sport from Pony Club and grass roots right up to the British Open Champion. This commitment is only highlighted by todays impressive Pony Club gathering and we are so pleased to have been a part of it.”
The Pony Club has a long history with The Festival with local members ‘slip collecting’ on the cross country course over the weekend (collecting the score tickets from the fence judges and taking them to the central scoring team); providing entertainment in the main arena with mounted games and Pony Club showjumping; several Pony Club members will also take part in the Dodson & Horrell Arena Eventing on Sunday; and, many of the top riders competing in the Magic Millions British Open will have also been Pony Club members themselves.
Listen to a radio interview with Clare Valori Vice Chairman of the Pony Club here: http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access2/index.php?a=Q2hhcmxvdHRlIEdvb2RieQ==&b=30472.
Don’t forget there is plenty more action tomorrow, tickets available at www.festivalofbritisheventing.com or if you can’t get here you can catch all the cross country action on the livestream at www.festivalofbritisheventing.com/live-stream