April 2017 
Hello Coaches,
For all of those who attended the 2017 State Coaching School - well done on cheerfully coping with the awful weather conditions on the Saturday. Looking at the Feedback Forms you certainly managed to get a lot out of the weekend and it would seem to be one of our more successful Schools. For those who planned on attending and in the end were not able to. due to flooding, the State Coaching Panel decided, on this occasion, to refund participation fees for the unlucky handful of coaches. A nice gesture but not one the SCP is legally bound to do for extraordinary circumstances.
For all coaches, including those who were not able to attend or had other commitments, do have a think about what you would like to see at our next State Coaching School. If we have enough resources and if there is sufficient groundswell, we can plan on making your suggestions part of the State Coaching School 2018. In any case please take time to read to Feedback Summary and Observations and suggestions for 2018 topics are always very welcome.
One of the suggested topics was Showjumping Etiquette and Course Walking. I am pleased to be able to include an article by Natalie Williamson-Holley on aspects of this, also included is a copy of the State Coaching School article sent to a number of horsy media publications; it's also gone to Pony Club Australia so the East Coast can see what we have been up to.
Like most coaches across WA, the first month or two of the year has been taken up with rally enrolments, the first rally or two and maybe a fundraiser or competition. In my neck of the woods (Great Southern Zone) we had our Zone ODE in early March, which was a test of organisation and volunteer dedication in terms of getting the course ready. We used the company www.awardsandtrophies.com.au to supply the medals for the winning teams across the different grades, with the free engraving service and realistic delivery times, I would certainly recommend them.
The weather this year has been quite atypical, breaking a number of weather records (but I'm not joining the Climate Change mob yet!) and of late we have quite a few days of high humidity. My retiree, Eskimo Joe, recently developed these weird tiny scabs on his hind legs. As a flea bitten grey I confess I didn't really notice these abnormalities as quickly as I should have and initially thought it might be down to insect bites. Digging around on the web, it would seem that Joe had a mild case of Cannon Keratosis or what is sometimes called Cannon Crud. Essentially it is caused by the horse's own glands and is a bit like acne. Cannon Crud seems to be more common in greys and older horses with the humid weather seeming to promote the condition. The recommended treatments was a wash or shampoo containing either benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil, I went for the latter as it seemed to be a bit more gentle and Joe was not in any discomfort. After a couple of shampoos and gentle scuffing with a (human) scalp massager (about $1 from any chemist) along with putting Sudocrem on the bigger scabs, he seems well onto the road to recovery.
On the topic of weather and our recent unseasonable rainfall, I'm grateful to Rose Bowen for suggesting the subject of grazing muzzles. I know when I look at grazing muzzles I have a job not to think of Hannibal the Cannibal and Flava beans! For some info on the use of grazing muzzles and other options, have a read of the Controlling Your Horse's Weight article below.
I think my horses may have secretly been reading the book Horse Hate Surprise Parties! We finally decided on getting proper paths to the house and cottage (it's only taken 11 years but as my dear husband says "it's best not to rush these things"). So we had two piles of terracotta coloured pavers outside the house and cottage in clear view of the horse yard and arena. Initially none of my three horses wanted to come into the yard for supper. The next day I took my normally placid mare Tango out for a bush ride and was so surprised at her snorting and prancing as we passed the pavers - time to practice a bit of leg yielding!
Denise on the beloved Clydie Smithy
My near neighbour with his 3 Clydies has decided to return to Germany. Christoph and I would go out for a weekly Clydie Ride and although I usually wear my hi-vis vest, drivers are pretty respectful of these equine behemoths. His 3 Clydies will be staying in Denmark but have all found wonderful new homes. Jack is off to work in harness at Harewood Vineyard (for several years he pulled a carriage around the streets of Sydney), Smithy is now retired to Southern Stars Sports Horses Equestrian Centre a few kilometres down the road and Bluebell (the one I normally ride) has been sold to a local lady. It was certainly fun to have such a lofty view of the bush.
Next month I'm off to the UK to visit my family and am taking a side trip to Croatia for a week's long riding holiday at the Old Mulberry Country Estate about 60 km south of Zagreb. So for now I will say "zivjeli" - Croatian for cheers.

 Your editor,

Erin Kelty and Marnie Johnson having a go at fit ball training  

Over 130 coaches from across the State plus one coach from the Northern Territories attended the annual Pony Club WA State Coaching School. Traditionally the School has been held in the Swan Valley region but this year Pony Club had the opportunity to use the recently refurbished facilities at Karinya Equestrian Park, home to Orange Grove Horse and Pony Club. The theme for the State Coaching School was "Mindful Coaching".  
The location was a great pick though the weather conspired to challenge both presenters and attendees over the weekend. Normally we have to contend with high temperatures and maintaining our cool. This year we had flash flooding and fierce winds.  
Undeterred our presenters rose to the occasion and our demo riders and their horses were incredibly well behaved under the circumstances.  Philippa Collier opened our School with a practical session on how to manage a group of mixed ability Pony Club riders - every coach's nightmare!  Dr Portland Jones from Sustainable Equitation followed with Why Horses Hate Surprise Parties and the basics of riding for junior members backed up with equine science. 
Solving Showjumping Problems with Nellandra Henry
After lunch Jon Pitts from RideSmart and his team took us through how to create a safe and fun learning environment for children and a practical session on Fit Ball training for balance and confidence.
Meanwhile for the Show Jumping aficionados Fred Freeman covered simple show jumping design and coaches had the opportunity to set out a SJ course that was used on the following day.  
The day ended with an informal networking session so coaches could ask questions of the State Coaching Panel team and to swap Pony Club stories. 
Mixed Ability Coaching with Philippa Collier
The weather improved on the Sunday and Nellandra Henry covered Show Jumping Problems with unknown riders and horses in a very informative and straightforward way. Nell then put the riders over the designed course and all performed really well. A real testament to Nell's coaching and Fred's course design. Don Hawkins was next up with a great presentation and video on Tent Pegging followed by the real thing out on the grounds with riders tackling the peg with a lance at a flat-out gallop. To see the riders pull up so calmly after this was most impressive. Philippa who opened out School also closed it with a very enlightening video and presentation on Footfalls and Paces. 
Braving the wind outdoors to see Teaching Stop, Go and Turn in Young Riders with Dr Portland Jones
It was a very inspiring weekend and coaches went away with new ways of thinking and solving problems plus techniques that will help them be more mindful coaches. Our thanks to Karinya Equestrian Park and Orange Grove Horse and Pony Club for the use of their grounds and equipment. To our presenters who triumphed in spite of the weather and of course to our coaches who attended the weekend, without whom there would no Pony Club.  
J Denise Legge
Event Coordinator
State Coaching Panel Member and Editor Coaching News. 
Horses, just like us, can have their weight controlled by a combination of diet and exercise. In addition, just like us, some horses and in particular ponies, are "good doers" and can maintain their weight on what seems to be the smell of an empty chaff sack.
  The horse is designed to forage over a wide area for low grade roughage for up to 20 hours a day. Few of us have the resources to set up the perfect paddock arrangement that can mimic this environment. 
In metric 1 acre is 0.4 hectare, 12' is 3.65m and 1/4 mile is 0.4 km. Note the hay stations are distant from the water trough on the "mud paddock" - I think we would term that a yard or perhaps a "sacrifice paddock" as you don't mind if it gets trashed. 
What are our options if we don't have the perfect paddock arrangement?
  1. Restricted grazing, particularly during times of high risk such as spring and autumn, of a few hours a day. Remember horses are trickle feeders and without food going through their system they are at risk of developing stomach ulcers.
  2. Keeping the horse in a yard which can be expensive and time consuming as we need to provide ready access to roughage (slow feed hay nets) and ways of keeping him interested such as toys, salt licks, logs, scratching posts etc.
  3. Grazing muzzles can be the best way to allow horses to continue to graze in their paddocks with their friends. It reduces stress and increases the amount of exercise but the use of a grazing muzzle must be viewed as a short-term management strategy. Studies have shown that ponies fitted with grazing muzzles on average ate about 80% less than those without muzzles. Once the horse's weight is on target and he is getting sufficient exercise and the grass is under control (either by slashing or grazing by cattle - the latter is ideal as it also reduces the worm burden on the land) then the muzzle should no longer be needed.

Prior to using a muzzle you will need to check the fencing in the paddock as you don't want the muzzle to get caught on anything.

And then you will need to introduce your horse to the muzzle slowly and make it a positive experience by having the freedom to move around, food in the fresh air and friends.

Be wary of changing herd dynamics if you have a muzzled horse or pony. And ensure some time without a muzzle when the horse in question can spend time with a friend for a spot of mutual grooming.

Introducing the muzzle.
  1. Check the size (there is a good article at www.equusmagazine.com under the nutrition section, page 4) and that the muzzle has a good break away system. Muzzles put extra pressure on the bridge of the horse's nose so be diligent about checking for rubs or sores. It should be snug enough so your horse cannot scratch it off but not too tight; there should be about 2.5cm space between your horse's mouth and the muzzle base.
  2. Let your horse have a good sniff of it and encourage him to eat a treat or two out of the muzzle base without actually putting the muzzle on your horse
  3. Slip the muzzle on and give your horse a treat. Only leave the muzzle on for a few seconds initially and gradually build up the time over a period days. Make sure your horse associates the muzzle with getting treats. You will need to do this familiarisation in a stable or other confined space whilst your horse is getting confident wearing the muzzle. You will also need encourage your horse to drink by offering a bucket of water by hand (maybe with a little molasses added to make it extra tempting)
  4. Once your horse is accepting the muzzle you can take him out to the paddock for short sessions- you may need to poke some grass through the muzzle to help him get the idea of grazing
  5. Gradually increase the time spent out in the paddock but keep a close eye on your horse for the first week just to check his behaviour and the herd dynamics
  6. Maintain the positive association by giving your horse a treat once the muzzle is put on and immediately take him out to the paddock. And when you bring him in and remove the muzzle give him another reward wither scratch or treat. Being muzzled must not feel like a punishment.
Not all horses will accept a grazing muzzle but if you introduce it slowly with positive reinforcement it is a much better option than obesity which can lead to serious health problems such as Insulin Resistance, Laminitis and Cushing's Disease.
Article by Denise Legge
Show Jumping is an exciting sport for both competitor and spectator alike. And just like any sport, competitors need to be aware of the rules and show jumping etiquette.
The Rules
Pony Club Association of Western Australia [PCAWA] use the Equestrian Australia [EA] National Showjumping Rules. These rules were updated January 1st, 2017. An important aim of these rules is to promote the welfare of the horse and rider. A yellow warning card can now be issued if a rider/competitor is seen to be breaching the rules. This will be reported to Equestrian Australia and kept on record.

Walking the Course
The showjumping course should be open for walking prior to jumping a course at the discretion of the judge and organising committee. A bell maybe rang and the course displayed as ‘Arena Open for Walking”. A course plan should be available for viewing to note the order of the jumps. The jumps will be numbered from 1 onwards to indicate the sequence needed to jump the obstacles in; combinations do not have a separate number for each element but instead  distinguishing letters for example 5A and 5B. It's a good idea to note:

  • the start and finish flags
  • and all compulsory obstacles
  • the jump off course
  • distances between combinations and any related distances
  • and that planks/ ladders need to be on flat cups and the back pole of a spread must be on FEI approved breakaway cups.
When walking the course a rider needs to be dressed as he/she would be riding. This includes, helmet, boots, whip and riding attire. If a number is needed to worn during the competition this is needed to be worn as well whilst walking. Competitors are to walk around each jump and are not to walk over the top of any jumps, or jump them or alter anything on course. It is best to walk the track you intend to ride; even better if riders can walk the course with their coach. Riders need to be aware of the draw, the list of riders in sequence that have entered or order of the riders jumping. 
Gear Check
Once ready to ride, a gear check must be performed. This is to ensure all equipment being used is safe, to standard and follows the rules and guidelines of the sport. A rider should be aware that also helmet standards have recently changed. 
Warm Up/Practice Area
When the gear check has been completed, a rider can progress to the warm up arena once advised the correct number of riders are in the arena. Practice jumps will be flagged with a red and white flag.  This means the jump must be jumped with the red flag to right of the riders “right hand”. Jumping the practice obstacle/jump in the wrong direction may incur disqualification.
The Actual Round
Once the judge or official sounds the bell indicating a rider is through the gate in the arena they are to report to the judge and:
  • salute by raising the whip or  lowering the head
  • give the name of rider and horse.
 The rider then has 45 seconds to commence the course; this quite a long time and riders can use this time to their advantage to show a tricky fence to their horse or to check a turn or ensure poles are secure in the cups especially if the rider before has rattled a pole or plank.  The rider then rides through the start flags to the first jump/obstacle. A rider should be aware the judge or official may sound the bell to communicate with them. This could mean the rider must stop for an unforeseeable incident, or for a jump to be rebuilt, or possible elimination, in which case the bell will be rung a number of times. There is no need for the rider to report to the judge once the round has been completed. 
These depend on the Table the competition is run under: Table A when Accuracy is paramount or Table C when the clock counts for more. Many competitions are run under AM (meaning Table A plus time is a factor).  Generally under Table A the main faults are:
  • first disobedience (run out, refusal etc) 4 penalties
  • knockdown of a obstacle 4 penalties
  • second disobedience 8 penalties
  • Exceeding the time allowed 1 penalty for every 4 seconds over

There are a myriad of ways a horse and rider can be eliminated, 27 ways in all. However the more common reasons are:
  • if a horse or rider falls
  • If a rider has three disobediences (or two if over 1.15mtr)
  • if a rider exceeds the time limit (twice the Time Allowed)
  • taking the wrong course
  • and failing to go through the start/finish flags.
Don't let all these rules put off your riders; show jumping is a very satisfying sport as it is not subjective. Just remember that your riders are best to jump a competitive height a bit lower than they ride at home or at a rally. Good luck!
Article by Natalie Williamson-Holley NCAS Level 1   
Teaching Lead line and First Ridden Riders - A Guide to Engaging and Having Fun with Young Riders
Firstly, a little background on the Author and the purpose of her booklet - Jan has taught lead line and first ridden for a number of years at Gidgegannup Horse and Pony Club. She has generously decided to share with the Coaches and Parents of PCAWA her ideas and activities that she has developed over the years. These have helped her provide many hours of fun with her little charges and at the same time teaching this level rider the basic skills of riding in a positive learning environment.
I have always said that teaching riders flatwork is only limited by our imagination and this brilliant new read is a testament to that.
In this booklet Jan has set out very clear instructions including:
  • where best to set up the arena at Pony Club rally days
  • how to set out the exercises within this arena
  • the lesson planning process we should go through as a coach to ensure our riders are clear on the task at hand
  • the equipment required for the session. 
Most pony clubs will already have the majority of the equipment required eg: poles, cones and drums but the additional equipment can easily be made at home.  The templates for this additional equipment are attached as appendices at the back of the booklet and can easily be printed and laminated for continual use.
As with any exercise in this booklet you can adapt it to the level of rider that is presented to you at any given pony club rally.  Do not let the title of this booklet make you think that it is only for the Lead Line and First Ridden rider.  I can see the exercises in this booklet being used to assist any level rider with a horse that is having difficulty turning, starting or stopping. 
The booklet illustrates that it is only our imagination that prevents us as coaches from challenging a rider no matter what level they are.  We all know that at any given time on a rally day, even the simplest task can be difficult and Jan gives many alternatives that would encourage these riders.  Alternatively, asking the older or more experienced riders to attempt some of the exercises at trot or, where appropriate, canter allows the exercise to be more challenging.
I would highly recommend this booklet to any Club, Coach or parent of riders up to D/D* seeking new ideas or maybe just a ‘twist’ on a game or exercise that you are already using. 
It is important to remember that no matter how young the riders, teaching them the correct way from the beginning in a positive environment is so very important and this booklet is a wonderful way to start their learning journey.
Review by Deborah Spencer
PC NCAS Level 1, NCAS Level 1 G, NCAS Level 2 Horse Management

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