From spacehoppers to gallops

What do spacehopper races have to do with race riding? Aspiring jockeys found out at the PRA/Pony club Level 3 training day held at Bridgwater in half term when they had to swap their ponies for their orange counterparts.

Spacehoppers, skipping ropes and balancing activities were all part of the session which helped children judge impulsion, distance and balance, while having fun and getting covered in sand!

The morning riding session, in the indoor school, concentrated on control and effectiveness while in racing position and a later spell on the equicisers with Polly Gundry and Leslie Jefford fine tuned the riders. Polly and Leslie are reigning and former national point to point champions respectively and the riders were lucky to benefit from their tutoring.

The youngsters were split into three groups according to experience and ranged from pony racing ‘old timers’ to first timers including some eight year olds who will not be able to take part for two seasons.

In the afternoon, the action moved on to the gallops with Polly and Leslie overseeing the jockeys riding upsides on the all-weather surface.

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The Wessex Area have held training days before with the Northern Racing College but this one was organised by the PRA and was the first of the official courses. More Level Three days will be held next season.

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