abbie buridge

Importance of The Pony Club

By Abbie Burbidge on 23 November 2021

Abbie Burbidge explains why The Pony Club is so important to her life and her career with horses

Welcome to my first blog for HorseDialog on behalf of The Essex Hunt North Pony Club (EHNPC)

My name is Abbie Burbidge, I am 21 years old and have been a Pony Club member for 17 years.  I used to live in Essex but have recently moved to Devon with my parents. I have three horses – Castle Fantastic aka Castle, Feeling Fantastic aka TJ and Bluebird aka Blue. I currently work as a freelance rider focusing on fitness, schooling, and retraining of competition and racehorses for several clients.

Last year, the Essex Hunt North Pony Club, won the Horse and Hound Club of the Year award, sponsored by HorseDialog.  It is a real privilege to be blogging about my experiences on the HorseDialog platform.

I have been a member of the Essex Hunt North Pony Club since I was four years old with my little lead rein pony Faye, following in my sisters’ hoof-prints. Through attending rallies in my younger days, I obtained my Achievement badges and progressed onto the Efficiency tests.   I now have achieved the AH and I am currently working for my A test. The AH test is the highest test of knowledge and horsemanship covering stable yard designs, insurance, lungeing and nutritional requirements as well as the anatomy of the horse body. This is the highest horse and pony care test while the A is the highest riding test in the Pony Club efficiency tests… but more on achievement badges and efficiency tests in my next blog!

I decided to remain a member of the Essex Hunt North branch not because I did not want to join a local branch in Devon, but because the Essex Hunt North branch had become my second family.  My friends wanted me to stay as a member as we have all grown up, competed, developed experiences together. I have found that since moving, my Pony Club family has grown even larger. I have made new friends at several of the local branches in the Southwest.  This is for me an essence of The Pony Club.

In my younger years I was not very confident.  After a nasty fall jumping, I never wanted to jump again……..  however, with the support and encouragement of my friends and the instructors at Pony Club I gradually built the courage and confidence to try again.   Without this support from everyone within the branch I would not be where I am today.  We all support and help each other; this has given me the strength and confidence to believe in myself.  Over the years I have been very fortunate to receive the best help and guidance from the EHNPC instructors.  This has helped me to develop the discipline, courage and confidence needed to progress.   For me these could be described as some of The Pony Club core values.

I have been incredibly lucky to have been selected for the EHNPC teams in dressage, show jumping and eventing. It was in eventing that our team qualified for the National Championships and that year we came 2nd in the Novice Eventing.  This was our first year to ever qualify for the National Championships and it was after this event that I knew I wanted to do more in eventing.

Throughout school, I did not really know what I wanted to do for a career. I had a few ideas but was not sure. Having attended many rallies and training sessions with The Pony Club, I began to enjoy teaching young horses, and developing their capabilities for competition, whether for showing, jumping, dressage or eventing. As I grew older and progressed through The Pony Club Efficiency tests my self-confidence grew and helped to shape my outlook on life. The skills and knowledge gained over the years by learning more about horses and people are invaluable in helping you to achieve your goals or helping the young members within the Pony Club to achieve their own goals.  All the support and training has helped me to progress to where I am today with my horses; training, competing in British Dressage, British Show Jumping and British Eventing - none of this would have been possible without the help from my family and The Pony Club.

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Freelance rider focusing on fitness, schooling, and retraining of competition and racehorses for several clients.


Welcome to my first blog for HorseDialog on behalf of The Essex Hunt North Pony Club (EHNPC) My name is Abbie Burbidge, I am 21 years old and have been a Pony Club member for 17 years. I used to live in Essex but have recently moved to Devon with my parents. I have three horses – Castle Fantastic aka Castle, Feeling Fantastic aka TJ and Bluebird aka Blue. I currently work as a freelance rider focusing on fitness, schooling, and retraining of competition and racehorses for several clients.

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