Mary Henry Named Honourary Life Member

At the 2005 AGM in Toronto Mrs. Mary Henry was made an Honourary Life Member of the Canadian Pony Club.

Mary was the main instructor and volunteer behind Annapolis/Avon PC for many years. She was a driving force in getting things like PPG, Rally and Quiz active and supported through out the years. She always insisted things be done correctly and her members were always well prepared for any activities. She set an example for all the other clubs to follow. Mary has retired from Pony Club now and we miss her involvement. You don't always realize the impact someone has until they are no longer involved.

Mrs. H , as she is often known, taught me to ride and also taught my daughter, Elizabeth. Learning to ride and care for your horse are only a part of what you learn from Mrs H.. Life long skills such as setting goals and making commitments ,organizational skills, work ethic, dedication, integrity, and study skills all come to mind too. Thanks Mary!

From Carollyn Crewe
Regional Chair
Nova Scotia Region

The following article about Mrs. Henry and her involvement in Pony Club was written in June 2000 by Ian Scrimger, a C2 member of the Avon Pony Club. This article was published in the Atlantic Horse & Pony magazine. ( and is reproduced here with their permission.

A passion for Pony Club

Mary Henry helped bring a great tradition to Atlantic Canada

by Ian Scrimger

Mary Henry could drive, jump, hunt, or ride side saddle as this photo from the 1960's illustrates. (Photo courtesy of Mary Henry)
Ask anyone in the Atlantic provinces' horse community who to see about Pony Club, and chances are they'll say, “Mary Henry.” She's been a driving force behind the development of Canadian Pony Club in this region since she helped found the Annapolis Branch in 1964.

Henry began her riding career in the British Pony Club as a young child, earning her A Level Instructor's Certificate (the highest level offered by Pony Club) in 1955. She came to Canada from England in 1960, to work at Edgehill School in Windsor, Nova Scotia. It wasn't long before she was roped into fulfilling the role of riding instructor.

“At that time I didn't even want to be near a horse,” she recalls. “I wanted to get away from horses, but... they found out I could teach, and so in 1961 the horses started to come in to the school.”

Henry is committed to teaching in general, but she admits that working with “the little ones” is particularly gratifying for her. “They're so enthusiastic,” she says. 'They love to be taught. They love to ride. It is the enthusiasm of all these riders that makes you keep going. Of course, if they weren't enthusiastic about what we do, I wouldn't be doing it.”

Lisa Hines of Windsor, describes Henry as the ultimate teacher, one who “gets great satisfaction from seeing someone learn.” Hines was taught by Henry in the 1970s, and now her 11-year-old daughter Sydney is in the Avon Pony Club, taking lessons from Henry. 'in her view, ponies help kids to grow up to be better people,” says Hines.

Windsor resident Nikki Woolaver, 15, has been a student of Henry's for seven years, and she says she has benefited from her teacher's clear explanations and expectations. “Mrs. Henry believed in me and encouraged me. She's been there for everything I've done in Pony Club.” Woolaver showed her large pony hunter, Valhalla, at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto in 1998, and Henry was there to coach. “She didn't have to go to Toronto, but she did,” says Woolaver. “She was like a second mother.”

What's Pony Club?

The Canadian Pony Club is part of an international youth riding and English horsemanship association, with members aged 7 to 21.

The Nova Scotia-Newfoundland Region has 10 branches, and the New Brunswick-Prince Edward Island Region has 7 branches. Members are eligible to compete in local, regional, national and international competitions in dressage, stadium jumping, rally (3-day events), tetrathlon, and quiz, and they can complete test levels from beginner to advanced.

Each branch organizes its own program within the Canadian Pony Club curriculum. Some operate year-round, providing riding instruction, summer camps, winter lecture series, and training shows. Fees are reasonable in comparison to other youth sports such as hockey, figure skating, or skiing.

To join, you need a desire to work hard and learn about horsemanship, and you need to have access to a horse or pony to ride in Pony Club activities. You do not need a "show quality" horse. The most important criterion for your Pony Club mount is a willing attitude.

To find out about a Pony Club branch near you, checkout the website at In N.S. or Nfld., call 902-895-4095. In N.B. or P.E.I., call 506-472-8811.

Nova Scotia dressage rider and coach Jane Fraser was taught by Henry in the early Pony Club days “I had my first lesson with Mrs. Henry when I was nine,” she says. “I adored her, had a really bad little pony that dumped me constantly. Mary's sheer determination gave me the courage to ride him. I forgot about being scared.”

Now Fraser has a coach's perspective on Henry's abilities as an instructor. “It's nice to teach her students,” she says. “They are all grounded; they all know how to try. She doesn't just teach how to ride, she teaches life skills.”

Henry is known as someone with a knack for teaching horses as well as teaching children. Moreover, she's known as a die-hard pony fan. “No one knows how to cope with a pony better than Mary Henry,” says Lisa Hines. “Lots of quality ponies were bred and trained by her. She'll still be starting ponies when she's 85.” So what is it about ponies?