Pony Club parent, Margaret Coulter submitted her Flash Teamwork Award essay about the riding center her daughter utilizes to learn about Pony Club. Read along about finalist 8T Acres Pony Club Riding Center!
The formation, literally from the ground up, of the 8T Acres Pony Club Riding Center has been an amazing team building experience for a group of riders in the Upper Valley Region of NH. Ashley Glynn had a goal set in her mind; create a Pony Club Riding Center where students could affordably participate in Pony Club. A group of 12 interested students, varying in age from 5 to 14 came together over 2 years ago to form the foundation of this team. Some members started with no riding experience, some with western experience, and some with a few years under their belts, but all looking to learn and do more with horses and ponies. At their bi-weekly meetings the riders learned from the ground up: parts of the horse, tack, and breeds. As their knowledge and ability to work together grew, members witnessed the barn and arena materialize in the field below Ashley’s house.
Actions speak louder than words. Regardless of the obstacles: zoning, weather, sub -contractors or lack thereof; Ashley and her families’ drive and determination to build and complete the barn and arenas have set a standard for this team in many positive ways. The team came together on one of the hottest days of the summer to muck 75 stalls at GMHA as a fundraiser. As a group they studied, attended and won their first quiz rally. All have rated and some up to D-3. They pulled together at their first rally and won HM and placed third in riding. More important than the winning is the teamwork that is an inherent part of the group. Members assist each other while preparing for competition whether bathing, braiding, or cleaning tack. They assist one another to tack up at a competition and offer encouraging words on the sideline. The older members are sure to include the youngest in all group activities. The youngest members don’t shy away from the big jobs and often want to help with the biggest chores; wheelbarrows full of manure or carrying the biggest jump standards themselves. Some members travel to shows or events on days that they are not competing to either help Ashley while she competes or to help other riders at non Pony Club competitions. This summer some members “worked” at the barn mucking fields, picking rocks, putting up arena fencing in addition to the normal barn chores.
One family expressed they are amazed with Ashley’s encouragement and drive and focus on teamwork and teammate encouragement! She pushes them to learn through teamwork, and says, “see I told you could do it. This is what you all worked so hard for. Good job!”
Another Pony Club member adds “My first certification inspired me to get better and smarter at this sport. I realized the first day that I started Pony Club that this is what I was going to do for the rest of my life. Pony Club has opened many doors for me and has also taught me some of the most important life skills. I can’t wait to continue on in my Pony Club and horse career. Thank you Pony Club”
Another member adds that “Ashley makes sure that everyone is treated right” while another Mom adds. “Ashley is attentive to Laurens epilepsy needs and risks and makes sure she understands what’s being said due to her hearing loss and hearing aides. She makes Lauren feel as though there are no special needs. “
At every level of the formation of this Pony Club, the members of the 8T Acres Pony Club witness, learn and practice the meanings and workings of teamwork. They learn that there is no I in teamwork and that above all, a positive outlook is the most important. In fact, for the most recent competition on October 11, 2015 one member suggested that the riders get together at the end of the competition day and each state 3 positive statements about their ride. They did and decided to do this at future competitions.