The Central Ontario Region of the Canadian Pony Club will stage its Regional Finals in both dressage and show jumping at Chance Stables near Bowmanville this coming weekend - dressage on Saturday, August 12 and show jumping on Sunday, August 13. Young riders have competed in qualifying shows to enter these finals. There have been three qualifier shows in show jumping, and two so far in dressage, with a third running in conjunction with the Regional Finals.
Dressage is a system for training horse and rider that has its roots in ancient Greece. Early levels emphasize walk, trot, and canter on a straight line and in circles as the horse learns to carry his weight and that of his rider with safety and elegance. Horses also learn to halt on command with the four feet placed squarely, and to stay immobile for four seconds. Higher levels require the horse to lengthen and shorten strides, to turn on very tight circles, to back up, and to go along the centre of the arena in an S-shaped line called a Serpentine. Dressage is an Olympic sport, in which Canada's best showing was a team bronze medal in 1988. Three of the four members of that team were Pony Club graduates, and this show may very well feature members of the 2016 or 2020 Canadian Equestrian Team.
The higher show jumping classes - Entry, Starter, Beginner, Novice, Intermediate and Advanced - compete in three classes each: a medal class, a Table AM5 single round plus jump-off, and a power and speed round, to determine a Champion and a Reserve in each division. The single round plus jump-off is the type of competition most often televised, and will be familiar to anyone interested in show jumping. The power and speed class consists of two phases, run without interruption, the finish line of the first, "power" phase being the start line for the second "speed" phase. Only those who complete the first phase without penalties are allowed to go on to the second phase. Many of Canada's international show jumpers got their starts in shows like this.
Pony Club is an international organization to promote riding and horsemanship skills among young people. In addition to show jumping and dressage, there is also competition in mounted games, rallies (which include dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping, plus stable management competition), tetrathlon (which includes swimming, shooting, cross-country riding, stadium jumping and cross-country running by the riders) as well as academic competition in quiz format.
Chance Stables are at 2077 Bloor Street in Bowmanville, at Holt Road. Both shows start at 8:00 am and continue through the day. Spectators are welcome without charge.
For more details e-mail Bob Inglis, Central Ontario Regional Communications Chair, or call him at 416-493-1223 (office) or 416-491-4230 (home).