The Canadian Pony Club will stage its national dressage championships this coming weekend, October 12-14, at Saddlewood Equestrian Centre near Bethany, Ontario, hosted for the first time by the Central Ontario Region. This is a change from the previously planned and announced venue, High Pointe Equestrian Centre, forced because more entries were received than expected, and more than could be managed at High Pointe. This competition is open to the winners from each Pony Club region's dressage finals, at four levels - Starter, Pre-Training, Training and First Level. The host region, Central Ontario, was allowed three entries, and the other 12 regions one each, choosing their own level at which to send a competitor. The organizers knew in advance that, for a variety of reasons, not all the regional champions would be able to travel to the national championship, but more have entered than had been expected. By contrast, only one entry was received for Second Level, so there will not be a competition for Second Level National Champion this year.
At the Pony Club level, it is not practical to ship horses and ponies across the country, so the young riders will face the added challenge of competing on borrowed horses (provided by the host region). They will have an opportunity to try out horses before the competition begins.
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.
Pony Club is an international organization to promote riding and horsemanship skills among young people. In addition to dressage, there is also competition in show jumping, 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.
Saddlewood Equestrian Centre is five kilometres north of Bethany on County Road 38, opposite Devil's Elbow. 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).