The British Horse Society (BHS) President, Martin Clunes and Olympian gold medallist, Laura Collett have launched a new BHS programme, Pony Stars.
The BHS’ new Pony Stars programme is aimed at under 12-year-olds and aims to encourage more children to get into the sport and ultimately discovering the next generation of dressage, cross country and show jumping Olympians! Pony Stars will run nationally through a network of BHS Approved Riding Centres and BHS Accredited Professional Coaches with plans to involve thousands of youngsters a year once established.
Pony Stars gives children the chance to build their equestrian skills and knowledge step-by-step while having fun and making new friends. The programme comprises over 100 different topics from understanding different breeds, animal and wildlife welfare, stable management, pony health and behaviour, and the Highway Code, while developing participants’ riding skills. It’s not only pony care and riding skills developed; children will also be inspired to care for their friends, community, and the world around them with topics that focus on kindness, gardening, the countryside, being green, leadership, fundraising and volunteering.
Typically, Pony Stars involves one hour a week – with practical and theory elements running over 18 months to two years. The BHS is committed to making riding a more inclusive activity and the Society will be targeting schools and special interest groups as well as families. Pony Stars is for children of all backgrounds and abilities.
On the back of Team GB’s success in the Tokyo Olympics, riding schools have seen a rise in enquiries and so, with the launch of Pony Stars, The Society is hoping to nurture that enthusiasm. According to British Horse Society CEO, James Hick: “The plan is to recruit a new generation of equestrians. It would be wonderful to discover medal-winning potential, but our top priority is to grow young people’s passion for ponies and the great outdoors, build their knowledge and facilitate friendships that will last a lifetime.
“We want riding to be more inclusive and Pony Stars provides a great platform with all sorts of activities that can be done at home as well as on a stable yard. It is getting a great reception with parents who haven’t much experience of horses as they can get familiar with the magical world of ponies in an easy, accessible way. Pony Stars delivers fun and adventure alongside educational benefits around the environment, animal welfare, citizenship and health and fitness. By introducing thousands more young people to equestrianism we are hoping to find the super stars of the future – and maybe Olympians for 2032 and beyond!”
BHS President and Actor, Martin Clunes said “This new programme is a fantastic way to introduce children to ponies and the benefits both ponies and the outdoors can bring them. I am sure this will give many more children the opportunity to get involved in equestrianism, and I am sure they have all been inspired today by the amazing Laura Collett who recently won Gold at the Tokyo Olympics.”
Pony Stars is run by professional BHS coaches who hold BHS coaching qualifications as well as first aid and safeguarding accreditations.
To locate your nearest participating Pony Stars riding centre please visit Riding Centres | Find A Place To Ride | British Horse Society (BHS). If you already have your own pony, you can find a BHS Accredited Coach here Horse Instructor & Grooms | Find a Coach & Trainer | British Horse Society (BHS). All of whom will be able to offer a flexible package for children to complete the programme - costs will cover riding lessons and theory sessions on the yard and will vary depending on location and the type of course offered by each individual centre or coach.