Irish Pony Club News

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the completion of the 2020 Branch Officials Training Workshops.

For 2020, the Irish Pony Club rolled out a modified version of the annual Branch Training Days.  The information provided during the training day was reviewed and updated for this year’s workshops.  The content was delivered through a three-hour workshop and repeated over two days to allow members from Branches across the country to attend.

In total over forty Branch Officials from more than twenty Branches made the trip to the Anner Hotel, Thurles, Co. Tipperary on Saturday 8th February and the Annebrook House Hotel, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath on Saturday 15th February.  We would like to thank all officials who made the journey to our Branch Officials Workshops despite the terrible weather conditions over the past few weeks.  Thank you for engaging with our speakers and helping to create a positive learning environment for everyone.  Feedback from both sessions, suggests that those who attended found the workshops and the updated format informative and beneficial.  Sincere thanks to our speakers who gave their time to discuss and present on their relevant fields of knowledge.

  • Michael Essame, Irish Pony Club Executive Chairman
  • Tony Ennis, Irish Pony Club Training Chairman
  • Faith Ponsonby, Irish Pony Club Training Committee
  • Chris Ahearne, Irish Pony Club Mounted Games Chairman
  • John Flood, Irish Pony Club Tetrathlon Chairman
  • Pat Walsh, Irish Pony Club Area 3 Representative
  • Liz Scott, Irish Pony Club Area 8 Representative
  • Liseanne Kearns, Irish Pony Club Area 4 Representative

For those Branch Officials that were unable to attend the Branch Officials Training, we have drafted a brief summary of the information presented during the workshop.  A link to the presentation slides from the workshops also accompanies this report.  Branches may download these slides and make use of the summaries of information, contact details and links to important documents and websites for each role or procedure.

Michael Essame, Irish Pony Club Executive Chairman welcomed attendees on both occasions and thanked them for taking the time to make the journey.  Jane Farrell began the proceedings by providing a brief introduction, synopsising the structure of the Irish Pony Club, highlighting the lines of communication and the roles of the various committees.  Subsequently, Jane presented a summary of the roles and responsibilities of the various Branch Officials.  The accompanying slides provide details of the various tasks that the members of the Branch committee should complete during the year.  These tasks can be distributed as per the Branches requirements.  However, Branches should ensure that each person clearly understands their role and the tasks assigned to them to prevent confusion.

Jane followed these items by presenting in more detail on the following topics:

  • Irish Pony Club Financial Procedures
  • Irish Pony Club Membership Procedures
  • Safeguarding
  • Garda Vetting 
  • Insurance 
  • General Data Protection Regulations 
  • The Irish Pony Club Instructor’s Register
  • Irish Pony Club Website and Social Media
  • Registering Entries for National Championships and Competitions
  • Proficiency Tests
  • Important Dates

The supplementary slides linked to this article contain a large amount of information on these topics but the key points to note from these sections are:

Financial Procedures

Branches should develop a good, transparent and inclusive financial procedure from the beginning of the year.  There are a number of financial records and documents which Branches must prepare and maintain:

  • Income & Expenditure Account up to the 31st October.
  • Debtors & Creditors List.
  • Cash Receipt Book (If the Branch deals in cash)
  • Bank Statements, Credit Union Account Statements and Deposit Account Statements (if relevant) showing the opening balance & closing balance.
  • Bank and cash reconciliation of the account.
  • Fixed Assets Register with the value of each asset shown and the address where each item is stored included.
  • A template pack for these documents will be available to download from the Officials page of the IPC website.

The I.P.C. office will also issue statements via e-mail each month to Branches. These statements will show for the previous month:

  • The invoices issued to the Branch by the I.P.C.
  • The payments received by the I.P.C. from the Branch.
  • The balance on the Branches I.P.C. account.
    • A minus symbol on the balance of the Branch account means that the Branch is in credit.
    • A normal figure means that the Branch owes the I.P.C. money.
  • All other payments to the I.P.C. office should be paid within 30 days of receiving an invoice e.g. Branch Insurance Invoice.

Membership Procedures
As you are aware, membership cards will not be processed or issued until payment has been received in the office.  The Branch Treasurer is responsible for submitting subscriptions to the I.P.C. office.  Membership subscriptions should always be accompanied by a list of the Branch members who the Branch is paying for at that time.  The following are a number of key points which Branches should note regarding membership:

  • A child’s membership number must remain the same throughout their Irish Pony Club career. There is no reason where a child should be changing membership numbers.
  • If you find that a member has created a different membership number, contact the I.P.C. Membership and Accounts Administrator Ciara Whyte at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to correct the record.
  • Branches should regularly check the information submitted by parents when completing their child’s membership forms.  There are a number of common errors that continue to reappear:
    • Ensure that the First Name/Surname/Gender/Year Joined details are entered into these fields correctly, paying particular attention to the spelling of names.
    • Confirm that the date of birth is accurate.
    • Make sure that the Valid Until Date reads 31/01/2021
    • The contact details section is very important. Please ensure that the information submitted here is accurate and fully filled in.
  • Due to General Data Protection Regulation Guidelines, forms on Its Plain Sailing will no longer auto populate the fields when you enter the members name or membership number. All details must be entered on the form manually.


Safeguarding training is for volunteers, officials and instructors appropriate for their role. 

  • Basic face to face awareness courses or workshops are appropriate for those working in sport with regular responsibility for children and young people.
  • District Commissioners should complete Safeguarding workshops 1 and 3.
  • Children’s Officers should complete Safeguarding workshops 1 and 2.
  • All other volunteers or officials working with or interacting with or who are involved in the planning or administration of activities or events with young people should complete Safeguarding 1.

Garda Vetting

As per IPC rules all our individuals who work with our young members (Under 18) and vulnerable adults must comply with completing the vetting process, in line with the legislation set down in the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 and 2016.

  • An individual not previously vetted can carry out an occasional role on the following basis:
    • The individual must be known to the Branch.
    • The occasional role can only be carried out one or less times per month.
    • The person carrying out the occasional work must at all times be supervised by a vetted person.
    • The details regarding why the person was chosen for the role must be included in the risk assessment for the activity.
    • The person must sign a Code of Conduct relevant to the level of the organisation.
  • The procedure for Garda Vetting with the Irish Pony Club will be changing shortly.  Branches and instructors will be notified when this procedure changes.
  • In the intervening period, please continue to complete Garda Vetting with the Irish Pony Club as per the instructions proved in previous slides.
  • We would encourage all Branches to submit their Garda Vetting through the Irish Pony Club as soon as possible.
  • Garda Vetting is FREE OF CHARGE through the Irish Pony Club at the moment.  This will change when the procedure changes.


  • With effect from 1st January 2020 the basis of the IPC members personal accident insurance policy has changed.
    • Previously the policy covered members for permanent total disability for any equestrian activity on a 24/7 basis.
    • The policy has now been restricted to cover only losses that the member incurs at an IPC event.
    • Therefore, if a serious accident occurred at an IPC rally or competition which resulted in a member suffering from a permanent disability such as loss of the use of a limb or loss of sight, then there is a benefit payable of up to EUR50,000.
    • The policy also includes a benefit of EUR50 per day (up to EUR3,000) if the member is in hospital for longer than 5 days and also includes EUR4,000 towards medical treatment and EUR3,000 for dental expenses incurred.
    • As of 1st January 2020, these benefits do not apply if the accident occurred as a result of an accident that did not take place at an IPC event.
  • In the case of a serious accident, follow the procedure on the I.P.C. Accident Report Form.
    • Complete the I.P.C. Accident Form in full immediately after the accident.
    • Post the completed original Accident Report Form to Jane Farrell, Irish Pony Club Administrator, Main Street, Urlingford, Via Thurles, Co. Kilkenny.  (Retain a photocopy or scan of the form for your Branch records.)
    • It is essential that the insurance company are notified as soon as possible after an accident.  Do not delay in completing the form and sending it the I.P.C. office.
    • The I.P.C. Administrator will send this form to Howden who will in turn notify the insurers.  Insurers will then decide what action to take.  If they require further investigation of the accident they may instruct a Claims Adjuster, to contact you for further details. Retain a photocopy for the Branch records.
    • Claims may be made at a later date by the persons involved. It is essential to have copies of the Accident Report form and witness statements for reference in these scenarios.
  • All falls and minor incidents and accidents should be logged and recorded by the Branch.
    • A template for this log is available to download from the Downloads page of the I.P.C. website.
    • The Incident Log should be completed after even the most minor or insignificant occurrence.
    • This information could become vital reference material, if a claim occurs at a later date.
    • Branch Appointed Supervisors for activities, rallies, camps etc. must be made aware of the need to record this information and maintain a log.
    • One Branch Official should be appointed to collate this information and record it all in a central log.

Branch Activity Notices

Branches must record all of their activities, rallies, trainings etc. on an excel spreadsheet.

  • An excel spreadsheet template is available to download from the Downloads page of the IPC website under the heading of Insurance.
  • This spreadsheet must be submitted regularly to the I.P.C. office to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and to your Area Rep. BEFORE activities take place.
  • These spreadsheets are recorded at the I.P.C. office and maintained as a records of Branch activities for insurance purposes.
  • They are also used for statistical purposes.

General Data Protection Regulations
The key points that Branches should take from this section are that they should endeavour to:

  • Maintain the accuracy of member records.
  • Set out a retention and timely destruction procedure.
  • Prevent of unlawful disclosure of personal information.
  • A short Data Retention and Destruction Procedure document for Branches use, is currently being prepared. Once finalised it will be distributed to Branches and it will be available to download from the IPC website.

Instructor’s Register

Branches may select Instructors from the Irish Pony Club Instructors Register which is available to download from the Instructors page of the IPC website.

  • If an instructor is not listed on the IPC Instructor’s Register, then the Branch must ensure that the Instructor meets all of the Irish Pony Club criteria. They must also ensure that the instructor is competent and qualified to teach.
    • If using an Instructor not listed on the IPC Instructor’s Register:
      • The reason for using this Instructor must be noted on the Risk Assessment document.
      • Highlight why they were chosen.
      • Note their qualifications or level of competencies.


  • WhatsApp is a commonly used messaging tool.  Parents, guardians, volunteers, officials etc. MUST be asked if they wish to join a WhatsApp group.
  • They MUST be given an alternative option if they do not wish to join a WhatsApp group.
  • They should not be forced to use it because it is the only way that information will be provided.
  • They must be assured that if they wish to use an alternative means of communication that they will be provided with the same information as those in the Whatsapp group. 
  • WhatsApp groups should only be used to deliver messages for the purposes that it was set up for.
  • Conversations outside of this purpose should be strongly discouraged.
  • If groups are used, then members of the group should be asked annually whether they wish to continue to use the messaging tool.
  • Recommended that Branches should use WhatsApp Broadcast instead of a WhatsApp group to deliver messages to parents, guardians, volunteers, officials etc.
  • Note: WhatsApp is a messaging tool which shares personal information of its users with other members of the group.  These include names, telephone numbers and photographs in some cases.  Everyone has the right not to join a group where these items of personal information are shared.  If a person does not wish to join a WhatsApp group, then a Branch must provide an alternative means of providing them with Branch information.

The following pages on the Irish Pony Club website.

Faith Ponsonby and Tony Ennis also provided attendees with a very interesting presentation on the importance of training and choosing the best instructors for the Branch.  

Area Representatives Pat Walsh, Liseanne Kearns and Liz Scott spoke to the group about their experiences as District Commissioners and Area Representatives.  They also highlighted that the Area Representative is always there to answer questions and provide support to the Branches in their area.

Finally, discipline chairmen Chris Ahearne and John Flood provided a short description on the role of the discipline chairman and the work that they carry out.

To download the presentation slides from the Branch Training Workshops, select the following link.

Branch Training Workshops Presentation

Training Presentation



Irish Pony Club


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  • fax: +353 (0)56 883 2965

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