December 2017 
Here's Rhapsody hoping to tuck into his Christmas garland of carrots, apples and liquorice.
Well I don't know about other parts of Western Australia but summer took a long time arriving. We had a couple of false starts and then barely a day before swapping rugs for fly veils. But not before Rhapsody gave me a scare. I'm lucky in that I can see my WIWO horse yard from the kitchen window. I normally make myself a mug of coffee to take over to the yard whilst I mix up the feeds. This cool late Spring morning seemed no different as I could see all three eagerly awaiting their breakfast feeds. By the time I had got to the yard I could see that Rhapsody was standing in a very odd position. One of his party tricks is to scratch his ear with a hind hoof and this morning he decided to do just that and had managed to thread his near hind through his belly strap and was looking like a partially trussed chicken. It was impossible to undo the belly strap and the chest straps were very tight with the pressure of Rhapsody trying to get his leg back on the ground. Luckily he stood stock still whilst I heaved on his chest straps and peeled off his rug. Apart from a bit of a rub above his hock there was no real damage. Even the rug only had a small tear, which I fixed with super glue. Now Rhapsody's belly straps are the correct fit (a hand's gap) but I certainly made sure these were snugger and checked the rugs for my other two horses as well. I'm just so glad I happened to be there a moment after it had happened and that my dear boy didn't panic.
My thanks to Don Hawkins for his report on the Pony Club WA Tent Pegging Cup. It sounds like all his hard work has paid off and it is good to have another exciting Pony Club competition. Nyrell Williams, Tracy Crocker and myself have recently overhauled the Orientation to Pony Club package as a lot has happened since this was first put together four or five years ago. Tracy delivered the new version at Baldivis Equestrian and Pony Club a few weeks ago and her report is also included. Do consider running or getting this workshop run in your club/zone early on in 2018.
Some of you may have heard of, or gone along to see Alycia Burton of Free Riding NZ. I can see that she may not be everyone's cup of tea but I did like her determination and focus. And the use of the Two Wolves analogy - note to self: my New Year's resolution is to only feed the Good Wolf!  Full report attached.
I hope everyone has the dates of the State Coaching School (10th and 11th February 2018) in their diary or electronic calendar. The theme is Working Rallies - Where Coaches Add Value and since we have kept the price the same as last year it will be really good value for money. I'm still waiting on a few profiles of our presenters but the full program is included with this newsletter.
WA hosted the PCA National Coaching Committee meeting last month and all members appreciated the warm welcome and the warm weather. Post meeting I was able to catch up with a friend of mine from when we both worked at Silver Chain. Sarah very kindly gave me this plaque as a present - I think the words will strike a cord with many coaches.
And in keeping with tradition instead of the Book Review section containing worthy equine management titles, I selected some books for holiday reading.
After a year of Pony Club and volunteering you deserve a break and a huge pat on the back. Enjoy!
To a Happy and Relaxing Festive Season.
Your editor
Katelin Fantuz nailing it
What an unbelievingly great day!  Such a good atmosphere and everyone was happy and excited to be taking part.  We had a huge big busy-bee the day before and spruced the place up so all was in order before we started. I had been walking the distances out for the course in practise only to find that when I used the measuring wheel I was only just able to fit the course in across our ground the way that I wanted to so all spectators could easily see.  A bit of a lesson there but it worked fine so will know for the next time. 
Surprisingly our Walliston Junior Team who only started training some three months ago won the Pony Club WA Tent Pegging Cup with a composite rider from Gidgegannup, so I was pleased for them, the clubs and for me.  The senior riders in the Individual 18 –24 years event was a very excitingly fast and close run affair with very little separating the riders scores. There was a run off for first place too - adding to the atmosphere and pressure for the riders.  
The Half Sections event was another exciting competition that was really good to watch considering there was an added dimension to the normal skills required for individual runs as there were two riders on the course at the same time having to add “dressing” of the horses and rider drills to the mix.  This was another very close competition with South Midlands being the winning team followed by Walliston and Gidgegannup. There was some really stiff competition from all four clubs and no one was certain to be a winner in each event.  
The Tent Pegging Cup and prizes
The main event which is the actual Tent Pegging Cup with teams of four riding individual runs with the scores for each team being tallied for the final result was also a close run affair.  The final scores had only 1.5 between them so a very exciting finish to the days events. The Cup is designed so all clubs can enter and composite teams are encouraged so that clubs are not disadvantaged due to numbers. The Cup is decided on this event alone so that clubs that are smaller still have a chance to be in a team as it is only the scores from this event that are tallied for the Cup. The clubs that put forward riders and teams were Walliston, South Midlands, Gidgegannup and Peel so a really good start to the Pony Club WA Tent Pegging Cup.  A total of 16 riders all up and very competitive too with some fantastic results.  All events are awarded rosettes for placings.
The judge was a former WA Mounted Police Officer In Charge in the form of then Senior Sergeant Ian Calderwood later retiring as Superintendent.  He competed many times in open tent pegging competition before retaining that rank so was well qualified to judge for us plus as he was completely independent which was an added bonus for all competitors.  He did a fantastic job and I hope will return next year.  I have already started the ball rolling for next year with a promise to the riders that we will do lance training and introduce a new event within the competition in the form of tilting at the ring with lance. This involves three ring stands each being 18 metres apart on a straight line with the rings being just above shoulder height.  After the salute at the start the rider goes into gallop/canter as soon as they can whilst doing a spectacular flourish with the lance that will look amazing, indeed once they get the hang of it.  I felt it was best to give them something new to aim for so it is not just same old same old each year as they will get jaded and bored with this. We can also do lance individual event runs perhaps even making it a one run per event as there were some tired horses and riders riding in the last event of the day so don’t want them to have to have the horses at cross-country event level fitness so it becomes too much work to be involved. We could even take out one run from the individual sword event and transfer that to the lance single run event but will discuss this as we get closer to the time next year and sort it out.

The Winning Tent Pegging Cup team 
L to R: Eva, Jan Lawrie, Don Hawkins, Laura, Izzy and April
The weather gods smiled on us and it was a mild 24 degrees which was great. All Walliston club members put their shoulder to the wheel and worked hard but had a good time too. Emma Lawrie the Pony Culb WA Sports Development Officer came out and did the registrations and sorting of the places, the organising of the prizes, plus generally helping me to oversee everything and it worked really well.  We and everyone who attended had a really good day and I received many good comments from a number of people who attended and were having a great day. Emma had done an inordinate amount of work in the office to get this off the ground and I thank her for doing this as without her it would have been a much lesser event I feel.  All the I's were dotted and the T's crossed.  The whole day went seamlessly. 
My wife says now no more tent pegging readiness until next year but I am already thinking about it now and starting my planning. The judge was amazed at the control the riders had of their horses and I had to continue to tell him that this was trained in from the beginning so was not by luck that it was happening.  I am looking forward to next year's Cup and the training that will come with it.  
Article by Don Hawkins EA L1

Parents and Potential Coaches School - Baldivis - 19th November 2017

There were 9 participants – 1 Wooroloo Pony Club, 1 Darlington Pony Club and 5 Baldivis Pony Club.  There were  two 18 year Pony Club riding members, who are now interested in moving into Coaching, as well as continuing to ride at Pony Club, whilst others currently held various positions on local club committees.  Years in Pony Club ranged from 3 – 10 years.
Topics covered were Administration and Club Governance, Coaching at Rallies, Basic Horse Care and Riding at Rallies.  All areas were well received, with particular interest in the first two sections, as these areas related to how to conduct Pony Club, club governance, coach and committee member roles and risk management and participants are now aware that they can source the information through the Pony Club WA Handbook, PCA Syllabus of Instruction and the Pony Club WA Gear Checking Manual.
The presentation ran to time, with all topics covered well, and ample time to ask questions.  1 horse was used for the practical topic on Horse Care to demonstrate safe ways to handle, groom, rug and saddle a horse along with basic gear checking points.  The final section was on Riding at rallies which covered the importance of developing rider balance, position and correct application of aides before attempting to change outline of horse!
We discussed ways to manage difficult parents, how rallies are conducted, roles of Chief Coach and Rally Coordinator, Club Executive, ways to communicate to club members, ways to encourage parent support by including them in rally activities.  Also provided ideas to ensure Pony Club is a fun environment, ensuring riders enjoy the experience and want to return each rally!  Safety was emphasised including risk management responsibilities covering both parent and coach roles in providing a safe environment for everyone!
Verbal feedback from participants indicated that they felt more informed with a greater understanding of Pony Club and they had many ideas to take back to their clubs.  With these comments I feel the program has hit the mark and provided the information to parents as intended.
Article by Tracy Crocker SCP Member
The National Coaching Committee (NCC) has a representative from each of the seven Member States. The NCC holds a minimum of four committee meetings (teleconference) during the year, of which one must be face to face. States host this meeting on a rotational basis and this year it was the turn of Pony Club WA.
At the PCA AGM in May three members of the NCC stepped down and three members were appointed. So it was very important at the first face to face meeting to get everyone up to speed and on the same page (yes definitely a cliché which of course should be avoided like the plague!). With this in mind I asked Dr Portland Jones if she would host a morning session at Sustainable Equitation in the Swan Valley.  Portland was more than willing and this turned out to be an excellent pick not only as the morning session was very informative and welcoming but highly relevant as PCA had very recently commissioned Portland and Dr Andrew McLean to produce a new Pony Club Syllabus and learning materials. 

All members of the NCC have copies of Horses Hate Surprise Parties (Equitation Science for Young Riders) by Portland Jones and Sophie Warren and over the morning Portland and Sophie demonstrated the 10 Principles of Training from this book:
  1. The horse's brain is very different from ours
  2. Know how scientific training works
  3. Each signal/cue used in training should be distinct
  4. Don't have unrealistic expectations
  5. Horses can't multi-task - only give one cue at a time
  6. Each signal should produce only one response
  7. Be consistent both on the ground and under saddle
  8. Make self carriage a priority everyday and at every stage of training
  9. Learn what the flight response looks like and learn how to control it in training
  10. A calm obedient horse is the goal.

L-R: Debbie Thiel (NT), Di Bermingham (SA), Denise Legge (Secretary & WA), Michael Carlson (Chair & QLD), Sophie Warren,Portland Jones, Sarah Venamore (NSW) and Kate Wilson (VIC)
Absent: Marisa Hall (TAS)
We first watched Sophie ride an Off the Track, five year old, Poetic. After a gentle warm-up checking the stop and go buttons, Sophie took Poetic over a couple of Cross-Country fences including an adjustable Owl Hole - both sections of brush (top and bottom) can be altered thus making the fence gradually more challenging.
Whenever Portland or Sophie come across a new type of fence they recreate it at their property. Their property does not have a massive Cross-Country course but instead a whole variety of fences are fitted into quite a compact area, including a multi-choice water complex. When their horses are turned out in this area (and so refreshing to see competitive horses still being treated as horses and not wrapped up in cotton wool and isolated for fear of injury) they enjoy a roll in the water regardless of rugs!
Jaybee, a very handsome 13 year old WB x TB was used to demonstrate ground work and desensitising horses to new objects or noises. He took no notice of the streamer, instead had his eyes on the large horse ball which he just loves! 

With the temperature warming up it was time to head indoors for morning tea and what a spread we had. Portland then explained about the science of equitation and training horses (and elephants) and demonstrated the leverage that different bits can exert on the tongue, palate and jaw of a horse including the controversial and fierce looking Mikmar bit. Portland will be covering this subject at the State Coaching School. Our thanks to Portland and Sophie for their hospitality.

All too soon we had to leave and head back to our hotel conference room to tackle our agenda items. It was a very worthwhile visit for the NCC. I would encourage anyone who has not already purchased a copy of Horses Hate Surprise Parties to do so as it will provide the context for the new Pony Club Syllabus.  

Article by Denise Legge WA Representative to the National Coaching Committee
Alycia is on her Australian Tour  and I went along to her Meet and Greet Seminar at the Albany Equestrian Centre in October for $10 (booking on line price). I thought the evening was good value for money and was only sorry I could not go along to see her in action the next day. However three coaches from the Great Southern Zone were able to and have kindly passed on their observations in answer to my questions.
Alycia is a very determined and independent young rider and a motivational speaker who  has graduated from "the school of hard knocks." Taking any ride, Alycia soon learnt to deal with difficult and challenging horses, particularly Off The Track horses. Although Alycia trained up her own 3* eventer, she later sold this horse as she felt she didn't really fit in with that environment. With her horse Classic Goldrush, a 15.2hh Palomino Pinto, she has found a true partner. They do Free Riding (neck strap only) and conventional show jumping demonstrations across NZ and now Australia as well as coaching sessions.
Her very straightforward style will appeal best to teenagers. She seems to come across as a bit of a rebel but one that takes full responsibility for her choices. Although a user of social media herself, Alycia was quick to point out it "was a real rat bag" and all too easy for people to feel that everyone else has a perfect life. Alycia used the Two Wolves parable as a way for young people to make a choice with their emotions:
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
In addition to DVD's and a range of clothing Alycia also had a pretty nifty neckstrap or Free Rein for sale. One our the Great Southern Zone coaches purchased this and has found it really easy to use and a cinch to adjust.
What exercises did Alycia get the riders to do?
Alycia started with the fundamentals in that go means go and stop means stop and riders must aim for the lightest aid possible. But to get to this situation she used the 1-2-3 rule where by 1 ask lightly to go forward, 2 ask again more firmly and 3 is a stronger aid again. One rein stops were used on horses that had poor brakes. Rider were told not to nag with their hands and legs.
How did Alycia challenge the riders?
In being consistent and mastering the basics before progressing. For example mastering the forward seat and crest release over a trot pole before moving up to a small jump. As the obstacle height increases this impacts on the riders balance and position. Riders must be able to nail the crest release, give enough rein and not sit up too early.
What "take-home" lessons will you use at Pony Club?
Riders must get the basics before progressing. Keep it simple. Ensure riders have control/are safe and they must release/give over poles/fences. Rewarding the horse when obedient.
What was the best part of the session?
That the riders had more responsive horses at the end of the session. Her very positive attitude was encouraging (to some).
How did the children react to her coaching style?
Her style is fairly "authoritarian" and children not listening were made to do push ups or run round the SJ course; 'mumbling" teenagers were soon shouting out their answers. Younger riders needed a warmer and more supportive approach.
Any other comments?
For teenagers, Alycia makes it fun and inspires them with stories about herself. Not afraid to let riders know they are over-horsed. Focuses on control and not over facing the rider nor the horse. A bit too assertive for younger riders.  
Article by Denise Legge with input from Amanda Pritchard, Ferne Faulkner and Michelle Ericsson.  
If Wishes Were Horses 
by Karly Lane
ISBN: 1760291838
Already struggling to come to terms with the tragic death of her husband, Sophie Bryant nearly loses her own life while attending a domestic dispute as a paramedic. Diagnosed with a mild form of post-traumatic stress disorder, Sophie decides to accept a posting to the remote township of Hilsons Ridge. Soon after her arrival, Sophie decides on a whim to buy an old house on the outskirts of town. There, she discovers the diary of a light horse trooper from the First World War, which she finds fascinating. Local vet, Zac Conway, is also struggling in the wake of losing his life partner. So when Sophie brings an abandoned horse to him for treatment and they get to know each other, Zac is surprised to feel emotions he never hoped to experience again. The peace and tranquillity of living in her new community sees Sophie gradually recovering from her trauma and grief. As she discovers more about her farm's history, she realises that the past and the present are irrevocably connected and, just like love, it waits for the right person to come along to unlock its secrets. If Wishes Were Horses is a totally captivating novel combining romance and history with a dash of suspense.

OK this is firmly in the category of chick lit but a little bit of escapism never did anyone any harm. If ordering on line do check you get the correct book. There is another one with the same title by Joey W Hill which is more akin to 50 shades of grey (and I'm not talking about the colour of a horse!).
Nobody's Horse
by Jane Smiley
ISBN: 0571253547
Abbey Lovitt has always been more at ease with horses than with people. Her father insists they call all the mares 'Jewel' and all the geldings 'George' and warns Abby not to get attached: the horses are there to be sold. But with all the stress at school (the Big Four have turned against Abby and her friends) and at home (her brother Danny is gone - for good, it seems - and now Daddy won't speak his name), Abby seeks refuge with the Georges and the Jewels. But there's one gelding on her family's farm that gives her no end of trouble: the horse who bucks her right off every chance he gets, the horse her father makes her ride and train, every day. She calls him the Grumpy George
In Nobody's Horse, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley makes her debut for young readers in this stirring novel about a girl and her love of horses. Jane lives in California with her family, three dogs, and her sixteen (and counting) horses.

I really enjoyed reading Jane Smiley's novel Horse Heaven which I reviewed for the January 2015 edition. And just in case you win Lotto over the Festive period this book will provide all the inspiration you need to recreate the best five star horsy hotel.

Purchase this title here!

Just in case you win Lotto over the Festive period this book will provide all the inspiration you need to recreate the best five star horsy hotel.
Stables: Beautiful Paddocks, Horse Barnsand Tack Rooms
by Kathryn Masson
ISBN: 0847833143
 From the private to the historic to the state-of-the-art, a lavish tour of some of the most notable stables in the country. A celebration of horses and their "lodgings," this exquisite book covers horse country across the United States--from the East Coast to the Bluegrass, the prairie and mountain ranches, and to the Pacific Coast--and traces the origins of twenty-five stunning stables, from their vernacular beginnings in the early nineteenth century to the contemporary designs of today. Included are a farm in the countryside near Saratoga Springs, New York, which bears an 1830s-constructed main barn that originally housed draft horses and now accommodates retired race horses turned polo ponies, and a world-renowned Arabian horse-breeding farm in Santa Ynez Valley, California, that resembles a spa and country club with Mediterranean-style architecture and landscaping and has in the stable courtyard a stone fountain reminiscent of the ubiquitous waterworks in Moorish palaces. Uniquely spectacular, each selection is a reflection of its regional heritage. Featuring all-new colour photography, "Stables" showcases the best of America's diverse equine homes--a must-have for any horse or architecture enthusiast.

Purchase this title here!

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