Young people and horses: Charity auction celebrates equine partnership

Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Explosion W were quickest around the track in the First Individual Jumping Qualifier at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Baji Koen Equestrian Park.
Showjumping gold medalists Ben Maher and Explosion W at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. © FEI/Arnd Bronkhorst)

A special fundraising auction that includes two shoes worn by Tokyo 2020 gold medal winning showjumper Explosion W and will raise funds for national charity Blue Cross and The Pony Club.

The two organisations are celebrating over a decade of working together to educate young horse lovers by running the online auction,  from Friday, October 1 to Sunday, October 24. As well as Explosion W’s shoes, a Great Britain tie signed by his rider, Ben Maher, is also up for grabs.

All monies raised from the auction will be divided between the two charities to help support future projects. Many exclusive items will be auctioned, with the full list to be revealed at the end of September.

Pony Club CEO Marcus Capel said partnering with Blue Cross reinforces its commitment to animal welfare and supports its members and their horses and ponies.

“This auction will enable us to extend our charitable work to support young people who would like to expand their knowledge, build friendships and enjoy time with horses and ponies outdoors. We are looking forward to seeing the excitement surrounding some of these amazing prizes as well.”

Blue Cross Education Manager Kerry Taylor said: “This is a great fundraiser which showcases our special relationship with The Pony Club. It also highlights how education and supporting young people to have positive relationships with horses is so important to both charities.”

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Clemmie Greenwood Hughes and Wispa in action. © Catch it Quick Photography

Blue Cross and The Pony Club work together to teach young people how to care for horses and ponies and about the importance of building a trusting partnership between horse and rider. They help to spread the word and unite like-minded horse lovers at rallies, events and competitions.

BBC TV presenter Lizzie Greenwood Hughes is an ideal case study to show how the charities complement each other with their work: She was a member of The Pony Club when she was younger and now her daughter Clemmie, 10, has followed in her footsteps with her Blue Cross rescue horse Wispa.

“Clemmie has really grown in confidence and made lots of riding friends since joining Pony Club, there’s nowhere better to teach children about horses and ponies. Children have fun but also learn the sense of responsibility and independence,” Greenwood Hughes said.

“As for Wispa, she is just a joy, so careful with Clemmie, we’re just so happy that we could give a Blue Cross rescue horse a loving new home.

“We have lots of rescue animals, sheep, dog, chickens, so I was keen to rescue a pony rather than buy one and Wispa is brilliant. She will be part of our family forever, we love her to bits.”

Wispa shows his cross-country chops with Lizzie Greenwood Hughes.
Wispa shows his cross-country chops with Clemmie’s mum, Lizzie Greenwood Hughes. © Glamorous Event Photography

Another young rider to have grown in confidence since attending her first Pony Club rally this year is six-year-old Livvy Johnson with her Blue Cross pony Perry.

Livvy’s mother Rebecca said: “Perry is a wonderful Blue Cross pony who has helped so many children over the years and now in our home, at the age of 19 he’s really brought on Livvy’s confidence.

“Livvy previously had a loan pony who didn’t do much more than walk so she was quite nervous when Perry arrived in time for her 5th birthday in June 2020 but in the past year he has brought on her confidence massively and she now walks, trots and canters off the lead rein because she trusts him to look after her,” Johnson said.

Livvy Johnson, 6, with Blue Cross pony Perry.
Livvy Johnson, 6, with Blue Cross pony Perry. © Blue Cross

“She has a whole new group of friends that she has met from going to little local shows with him and this encouraged her to want to join Pony Club.

“She was a bit nervous ahead of the first rally earlier this year but really enjoyed it and meeting like-minded children, and she was excited for her first Pony Club camp.

“It was so good to see the children cheering each other on and again the day really helped to give her another boost to her confidence. It’s really wonderful to see her blossom.”

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