The Irish Pony Club is pleased to announce the publication of Returning to Competition Guidelines for the Irish Pony Club.
These guidelines provide protocols for the organisation of Branch, Area and National competitions from the 20th of July. It is very important that everyone attending an event or competition becomes familiar with the protocols in this document and abide by them. It is the responsibility of all persons to ensure that our activities are conducted in a safe manner and that all protocols are adhered to, especially social distancing. The key point for all competitors to understand is that they must spend the minimum amount of time on site as possible at any competition. Social distancing must be adhered to all times. A Covid-19 Compliance Officer, who has received training for the role, must oversee all activities and everyone attending activities or competitions must follow their guidance at all times. Competitors should arrive, compete and leave in an orderly fashion, following the instructions of the stewards and organisers. These points are extremely important and they underpin the successful resumption of Irish Pony Club competitions.
Since the gradual easing of restrictions, the Irish Pony Club has offered Covid-19 Compliance Officer workshops to Branch officials. More than one hundred and forty Branch officials have now completed this workshop. It has been an extremely valuable and beneficial learning experience both for the officials and the Irish Pony Club. Once again, thank you to all officials who have participated in these workshops and contributed to the development of safe practices. The Irish Pony Club Health and Safety committee will continue to monitor and review all of the guidelines and the national situation and will continue to provide support to all sections of the Irish Pony Club.
Unfortunately, the Irish Pony Club Senior Proficiency Tests for 2020 cannot be held this year due to time constraints and restrictions due to Covid-19. Hopefully these will resume next year. The protocols published within the Irish Pony Club Returning to Competition Guidelines set out new ways of managing and organising competitions to facilitate Covid-19 safety measures. Branches may now make plans for small competitions, junior tests and day camps. Unfortunately, the social aspects of pony club that so many of us enjoy will not be possible this year. Provisional plans are now in place for the organisation of a number of national competitions, modified to comply with the new protocols. It is hoped to run a National Tetrathlon competition on Saturday and Sunday, 22nd and 23rd August. The National Hunter Trials that were postponed last Easter have been rescheduled for Saturday 26th September. National Dressage Day 2020 has also been rescheduled for Saturday 17th October 2020 in Spruce Lodge, Co. Wicklow. Similarly, a National Minimus competition has currently been rescheduled for Saturday and Sunday, 10th and 11th October. With the co-operation and continued adherence of members and personnel to Covid-19 guidelines, it looks as if pony club activities will extend well into the autumn this year to make up for the late start due to the restrictions. We hope that all can enjoy everything that the Irish Pony Club has to offer for the remainder of the year but we would encourage everyone to remain vigilant, to prevent complacency. Everyone, has a duty of care to each other to help to stop the spread or recurrence of this contagious virus. We hope members and personnel will continue to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, enjoy the rest of the pony club year and stay safe.
We would like to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to the development of these procedures. We are delighted with the response of Branches, officials, parents, members and volunteers to all of the new measures. These have been challenging times and it is great to see Branches rising to the occasion, to provide fun and safe rallies for all of our members. The safety of all of our personnel and members is our foremost concern and we would like to reassure everyone that while activities are beginning to be rescheduled each individual is encouraged to risk assess their own situation and only to return to any activity when they feel comfortable and safe to do so.
Click on the following links to download the Irish Pony Club guidelines. These documents may also be downloaded from the Downloads page of the Irish Pony Club website under the heading Covid-19 Supporting Documents.