Pony Club Australia has come up with a “Plan B” for its young members affected by Covid-19 restrictions, adding an online facet to help its 40,000 members keep up with physical activity, horse management training and connection.
“Pony Club rallies and riding competitions have shut down all over the country,” Pony Club Australia CEO Dr Catherine Ainsworth said.
“Equestrians are good at restricting activities — look how successfully we stopped the Equine Influenza in 2007 when it reached Australia. Everything stopped and we managed to eradicate it before it took hold, and Australia is Equine Influenza free again.”
Many activities have moved online as the organisation supports its state offices and 800 plus clubs in keeping members occupied and interested.
“Pony Club Plan B” activities include a 10,000 steps a day challenge for teams, prompted by ideas from Sport Australia, where time spent riding also counts in step totals (10 minutes of riding equals 1000 steps). There are also competitions involving sending in videos of members riding or completing unmounted set tasks, and online workouts for riders provided by The Riders Pod.
“The important thing is we support each other until members, their families, coaches, and supporters can gather together in Clubs and at competitions again to pursue our enjoyment of riding and caring for horses,” Dr Ainsworth said.
“When this is over, the initiatives in Plan B will continue in some form as riders and horses often have time out for various reasons and because we want to help riders develop a full range of skills.”
Plan B also has a National Online Quiz Series in real-time (where members login in and compete by doing a timed quiz at their own level), horse-related craft activities, educational online videos to watch, and discounts to online education and certification programs.