If you are interested in being part of a Woodland Hunt Team and need more information please contact: 

Jo Davenport 


Representing Woodland Pony Club 
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Representing Woodland Hunt

Here are some notes designed to help you understand our expectations when you represent the club.  We are delighted that you feel ready to be considered for disciplines and you should be really proud of your achievements to reach this level. However, part of the process is that you are a good team player and you show consideration for your horse/ pony, your team mates, your parents, designated trainers and the army of volunteers that make all this possible. These requirements also apply to your supporters. In short, your part of the deal is to be a good ambassador for Woodland as well as a successful competitor!


  • Ensure that your horse/pony is at the centre of all your considerations. Routine foot care, dental care, veterinary care, vaccinations, feeding and appropriate fitness are of paramount importance. If in doubt, seek advice.

  • Plan ahead.  Whatever level you are pitching at, you need to be out competing regularly and gain as much experience as possible. Make sure you complete your mandatory three rallies in good time – it only takes poor weather to cancel the last few qualifying rallies and you won’t be able to compete at areas.

  • Be realistic. We want to field stronger teams at the lower levels rather than have members being non-competitive at a higher level.

  • Remember that your horse has limitations and is unlikely to be able to fulfil the demands of Pony Club, BE and Schools competitions all in one season. When your horse has been XC, he should have a day off/ stretch day and build back up, not go jumping the day after. Often, serious leg problems/ sourness are accumulative and the result of lack of fitness, over exertion, overuse on firm ground or all three.


  • Ensure all tack is safe and fits. Check stitching and buckles ahead of the competition. Tack must be clean. Make sure you have a current standard body protector and your hat has been white tagged. Whips must be within rules. Purchase Woodland strip / saddlecloths in good time (GGGear)

  • Be meticulous in your preparation ahead of the day. Make full kit lists in duplicate. Keep a box of ‘spares’ to include a headcollar, reins, spare set of shoes (with stud holes) girth, leathers, studs, spanners, gloves, hairnets  etc -  all of which are commonly forgotten items. Ensure you have hay/ feed for your horse.

  • Make sure your horse is thoroughly washed and clean ahead of the day. Rug/ bandage/ hood if he is dirty in the stable. Horses/ ponies should be plaited.

  • Keep an equine first aid kit in your lorry/ trailer

  • Ensure you have plenty of water in containers for rehydrating your horse and washing off.  Carry at least 2 x buckets and sponges and appropriate rugs for the time of year. Make sure your horse is unbooted, walked and thoroughly washed off as soon as you have finished.  Rehydrate as soon as he has stopped blowing. Consider electrolytes in hot weather but make sure your horse will take them (in water or paste form).  Where possible keep him in the shade.

  • XC courses should be walked at least twice (once by yourself in the ‘zone’) and the course plan studied. If SJ, the course plan should be available and you should look at jump off turns/ fences when you walk the course (this would be in the second round at area SJ).  Be aware of optimum time, extra flags, L-options/ rules and finish flags. If it helps you may photograph or note the fences.   Do not let that distract from looking at the terrain/ approaches etc. Learn your dressage test and practise movements ahead of the event.

  • Be aware of course walk times and plan accordingly – you need to know your distances etc - every horse/pony is different.

  • Be at every phase in good time (20 min before or more) and report to stewards for tack check/ check in straight away.

  • Take responsibility for your own performance and become empowered to make your own decisions at an event. Your trainers/ parents are there to guide you on the day only – the rest is down to you. The outcome is normally  determined by your preparation.

  • Thank every steward, starter and official you meet and make sure to greet your dressage judge with a cheesy  “good morning/ afternoon” as you ride around arena –a smile and good manners go a long way.

  • If it goes wrong and you have a bad day, maintain dignity and composure at all times. Learn how to lose - horses are great levellers even with the best preparation in place!  Public displays of anger or emotion are never acceptable, however disappointed you feel. Pat your horse and walk away, go somewhere quiet until you have calmed down. Do not direct your anger at your parent/s – if it wasn’t for them you wouldn’t be there! As was discussed, agree a strategy with them well ahead of the season to allow you to get into your ‘zone’ before you perform and to ‘cool down’ after you have performed (parents note -this is not a good time for needless interruptions, your nerves are a separate matter!) Anger directed at your horse will not be tolerated and will compromise future selection - this includes misuse of spurs/ whips and reins. If this is seen, you will also be reported to the chief steward and are likely to be eliminated and your name kept on a blacklist.

  • Learn how to do well – winning is fabulous, but you should also be thrilled if you and your horse have performed to the best of your ability and are not placed. Again, dignity needs to be maintained even if you do want to dance for joy on the top of the trailer!

  • Be supportive of your team mates – however they have done. Every team has a discard score and that could be any member, perhaps you next time. Give your peers the space they need and be kind and considerate when appropriate. Never complain about their status or lack of performance; it is destructive and does not create ‘team spirit’. If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing. Likewise, refrain from being publicly opinionated about other riders – this is unforgiveable and embarrassing for all.

  • If you have a genuine objection, you need to go through your team manager, DC or representative and follow the correct protocol.  This will include laying down a deposit which will only be returned if the objection is upheld. It is fine to do, but must be done politely and correctly. Have a copy of the rules book to hand.

  • Congratulate other winning clubs/ section winners.

  • EVERY team member MUST attend prize giving correctly dressed in dressage/sj kit (including hats and gloves, right one held in left hand), even if they are the discard score if you have a team or individual placing. This is a non- negotiable part of being on the team and a courtesy to organisers and sponsors. However late it is, be assured that they will be there long after you have left. Accept that this is opart of the process and factor in the timing.  Woodland have only just been forgiven for not adhering to this guideline at areas many years back!

  • Make sure you go and thank the organisers as a team, even if the final scores are not in and that they know you are representing WOODLAND. One of our lovely mothers has been brilliant at bringing a box of chocolates and a card for them and this has not gone unnoticed by the events!

  • If you have a long wait, make sure your pony is walked regularly and not left on trailer for hours, especially if hot. Check him carefully on your return and trot him up and check his legs the following day. If time allows and the event is close, you can always whisk him home and come back in the car (dressed correctly) for prizegiving.


We hope these notes help and that you have a fantastic time representing your club – please ask the DC, Team manager or trainers if there is anything you are not sure about