Yesterday was my first day teaching at a Pony Club Camp. It was a bit daunting as I didn’t know anyone, but after my briefing I felt a bit better. So off I went to meet my ride – five, six and seven year olds.
This is when I’m sure many of you will be rolling your eyes, and I did think that this could be a long week. Whilst they haven’t developed the teenage know-it-all attitude, they do have the attention spans of a gnat and like to gossip.
Once I’d introduced myself and tried to learn their names (I didn’t even try to learn the ponies names!) we headed off to dressage. I was pleased this was our first activity as I could take my time assessing them, and assess them I did. Long reins, flappy limbs, and thankfully steadfast ponies, we did quite a lot in trot to tire out the speedy pony, and to make sure the girls tidied their position up. I had one clued up six year old who could be my lead file, which is something I usually dread, but my ride spent most of the time with the first three ponies bunched together vieing for first place and then the last two trailing behind in little more than a dawdle. Eventually we were organised and then everyone rode the dressage test individually. It wasn’t bad once they started to concentrate, and by the end of reading six tests I definitely know it! They will be practising later in the week.
Then after lunch we went over to the showjumping and they warmed up much better. Here we had a little canter and practised jump position before working over some trotting poles. I used my helper as a corner to help the girls ride straight, and it’s a good job she was moveable the number of times she had to jump out the way! The girls all had grins on their faces, so we moved on to jumping the course.
The trouble was that the bottom hole of the jump stands still made a fairly substantial cross, and I knew one pony tended to jump very big. I put a lot of the poles on the bottom of the stands so they were barely more than pole height, but it was safer than having bigger crosses. I left one as a bottom hole cross though to see them over it, and most of the girls said they’d jumped bigger.
My clued up rider goes first, and her pony leaps the teeny cross as though it was a three foot spread, and obviously she falls off. She got up immediately, unhurt, but with a large green poo stain on her smart jodhpurs.
I make a bit of a joke about picking the dirtiest part of the field, and she remounted and carried on. The girls all rode pretty well, still flapping but straighter approaches and the ponies kept trotting.
Upon our return to camp the mother of my faller saw the grubby jodhpurs (they weren’t hard to miss!). “I spy dirty Jodhs!” She called in mock horror.
Her daughter replied with “I didn’t fall off! I got off and accidentally sat in poo!” We laughed at her attempt of cover up and once she had gone to untack I explained what had happened. I think her mum had been expecting it.
Onwards and upwards, but at least they had all enjoyed their day. I wonder what today will bring!