Code of Conduct

Please find below our Pony Club Code of Conduct which as a member of our branch you should read through. If you are invited to participate as part of a team representing our branch at Area Level, you will be asked to sign our Code of Conduct with your child/children.

Unfortunately, members not agreeing to our code of conduct will be unable to participate.


The Pony Club aims to promote the highest ideals of sportsmanship, citizenship and loyalty to create strength of character and self-discipline in our members. The Code of Conduct for Members sets out what is expected of members and what is not permitted whilst in attendance at Pony Club activities. There is also a section for Participants at Equestrian Events with similar guidelines.

1. The Role of The Members 

The Pony Club aims to promote the highest ideals of sportsmanship, citizenship and loyalty to create strength of character and self-discipline.

Members should:

  • Show respect for their ponies / horses, coaches, officials, competition organisers and stewards and their fellow members.
  • When competing they should abide by the rules of the competition and accept the decisions
  • of the event stewards and organisers.
  • They may query a decision they do not understand politely and listen to the explanation.
  • They should support the other members of their team and also the other members of their
  • Branch / Centre.
  • They should not:-
  • Possess or consume alcohol or illegal and performance enhancing drugs
  • Smoke
  • Engage in sexual activity
  • Use foul language
  • Tolerate or be involved in discrimination of any kind
  • Leave an organised event unless accompanied by their parent or guardian or by a Branch /
  • Centre official.
  • Criticise officials, instructors, volunteers or members on social networking sites or by the use
  • of text messaging.

NB: It is unacceptable, under possible assault, to photograph or video an injured person.

2. Participants at Equestrian Events

Taking part in sport is fun and I want to improve my skills and feel good. I am aware that I am an ambassador for my family and my sport and I take full responsibility for my actions. I have read this contract with my parent/carer, understand the guidelines set out below and agree to comply with the following contract.

I agree that I will not:

  • Possess or consume alcohol, illegal and / or performance enhancing drugs.
  • Smoke.
  • Engage in sexual activity.
  • Use foul or abusive language.
  • Be involved in discrimination of any kind.
  • Leave the Event unless accompanied by a member of staff or parent/guardian.
  • Act with violence towards any other person or animal.
  • Bully anyone including cyber bullying

NB. The Organiser reserves the right to send participants home if they do not keep to the signed contract. We do hope this will not be necessary.

Parents and Guardians
The Pony Club is a voluntary youth organisation for young people within an equestrian environment, and depends on parents and guardians to help. Fairness should take precedence over competitiveness, and should be expressed to all involved. Teaching by example will foster caring and respect for all. The Code of Conducts for Parents and Guardians outlines the standards expected at all Pony Club activities towards all Members, Officials. Coaches, and other Parents / Guardians, not just their own child(ren).

The Role of Parents / Guardians

  • To encourage young people to learn to enjoy all kinds of sport connected with ponies and riding
  • To give instruction in riding and horsemanship and to educate Members to look after and take proper care of their animals
  • To promote the highest levels of sportsmanship, citizenship and loyalty to create strength of character and self-discipline

The Pony Club is a volunteer organisation and depends on parents and guardians to help. Fairness should take precedence over competitiveness. Teaching by example will foster caring and respect for all.

Parents/ Guardians should therefore:

  • Be a positive role model for his / her child and other Members by respecting coaches, officials, volunteers and leaders, their authority and decisions, and the rules and regulations under which The Pony Club operates
  • Agree to discuss disputes / appeals at a suitable, agreed time with the correct officials, within the appropriate level of The Pony Club organisation, without resorting to hostility or violence.
  • Always remember that Pony Club activities are intended to be educational, safe and fun to benefit the Members rather than parents / guardians.
  • Respect the horses and ponies and show humane care for them at all times.
  • Respect the property and equipment used in any activities, considering safety uppermost in all situations
  • Be knowledgeable about the rules of the discipline or competition their child is taking part in and encourage their child to know, be familiar with, and follow these rules.
  • Promote the physical and emotional well-being of their child, other Members and horses ahead of any personal desire to win or succeed in any activity.
  • Teach their child that taking part, learning and showing sportsmanship in all competitions, testing situations, clinics, etc. are more important than winning.
  • Praise all Members equally for trying hard and competing fairly.
  • Inform officials as soon as possible if they or their child is unable to fulfil commitments or attendance at events.
  • Help their child and others to understand the satisfaction of co-operation, group work and team spirit in achieving personal goals and growth, and good results.
  • Volunteer their services and skills, whether equine-related or not, whenever possible.
  • When using social networking sites always conduct yourself in an appropriate way as you would face to face. Be aware of what you say and how you say it – the use of sarcasm and innuendo are not appropriate.
  • Encourage his / her child to learn the rules and ride within them.
  • Discourage unfair competition and arguing with officials.
  • Help his / her child to recognise good performance, not just results.
  • Never force his / her child to take part in equestrian events.
  • Set a good example by recognising fair competition and applauding good performances of all.
  • Never punish or belittle a child for losing or making mistakes.
  • Publicly accept officials’ judgements.
  • Support his / her child’s involvement and help them to enjoy their sport.
  • Use correct and proper language at all times.
  • Encourage and guide performers to accept responsibility for their own performance and behaviour.
  • Parents / Guardians should not:
  • Force their child or other Members to take part in activities with which they are not comfortable.
  • Disrespect the decisions of coaches / officials concerning the skills and abilities of their child or other Members.
  • Undermine the authority of coaches / officials by interfering with, or coaching any Members from the side-lines.
  • Dispute the decisions of coaches / officials and volunteers during an event or in front of their child, other Members or parents / guardians.
  • Engage in or condone unsportsmanlike behaviours such as booing, taunting, using profane language, refusing to congratulate winners, etc.
  • Criticise officials, coaches, volunteers or members on social networking sites or by the use of text messaging.

Spectators’ enthusiasm and support encourages all participants, both members and non-members. Their actions influence the mood of the riders and the atmosphere at competitions. Therefore, it is essential that spectators are made aware of the Code of Conduct for Spectators to express what is anticipated by all spectators attending Pony Club activities.

The Role of Spectators

All horse events welcome spectators – your enthusiasm and support encourages all participants. Your actions influence the mood of the riders and the competition.


  • Please do not abuse officials, however much you disagree with their decision.
  • Encourage all riders and applaud their efforts.
  • Do not ridicule opponents for their mistakes or criticise their horses.
  • Do not applaud or encourage unsportsmanlike behaviour.
  • Do not use foul, racist or abusive language to riders, officials or other spectators.
  • Do not ever use physical violence or threaten anyone.
  • You must not enter the riding area or arena during a competition unless asked to do so by the Organiser or Chief Steward.
  • If you are aware of any reason why you may not mix with adults at risk, children or young people, e.g. by reason of past offences or having signed the sex offenders register, please do not attend any Pony Club event as this is likely to cause embarrassment and upset
  • Remember, when you are supporting your rider, or team, you are representing your Association, Riding Club, Pony Club Branch or Centre and/or your discipline. You are subject to the rules of the sport. You can be cautioned, reported or sent away from the competition if this Code of Conduct is breached.

NB: It is unacceptable, under possible assault, to photograph/ video an injured person.

Coaches and Instructors

Coaches, instructors and trainers play a crucial role in the development of the equestrian sport and in the lives of riders that they teach and support. Coaches help to ensure that members of the Pony Club have positive experiences, and therefore have an influence on members to continue in equestrian activity and achieve their potential. The Code of Conduct for Coaches is built on the principles of integrity, honesty, fair play and respect, and sets out the standards that coaches are required to meet. These principles are integral and apply to all levels of ability and commitment with the welfare of members and their horses / ponies at the centre.

Role of Coaches and Instructors

Whether you call yourself a coach, an instructor or a trainer you play a crucial role in the development of the sport and in lives of the participants that you support in both mounted and un- mounted sessions.

It is you that will ensure that individuals in The Pony Club have positive experiences and therefore are more likely to continue in equestrian activity and achieve their potential.

The Code of Conduct for coaches, instructors, teachers and trainers is built on the principles of integrity, honesty, fair play and respect. These principles are integral, not optional, and apply to all levels of ability and commitment, including recreational participation through to high level competitive equestrian sport, with the welfare of the horse or pony at the centre.

This Code of Conduct sets out standards you are required to meet.

The core values are for all involved in equestrian activity and coaches, instructors, teacher and trainers are asked to demonstrate:

  • Performance: That you will strive to be successful in all your endeavours and deliver high standards in every session, lesson, class or workshop.
  • Partnership: No coach, instructor, teacher or trainer has all the answers and we ask that you collaborate and find solutions to shared issues and are open and honest at all times.
  • Professionalism: That you will remain objective and professional at all times. You act with integrity in an ethical way and treat everyone with respect.
  • Passion: You will be passionate in all your endeavours, working with others to the benefit of the participant or horse / pony

When working with your pupil, whether in training or competition, you will show:

Good Practice

  • Recognise the importance of fun and enjoyment, especially when working with young riders / participants. Most learning is achieved by doing.
  • Show respect to others involved in the sport including judges, official and volunteers, other riders / participants and teams, other coaches, instructors, teachers and trainers, spectators, parents / carers and horse or ponies.
  • Promote fair play and high standards of behaviour.
  • Place the well-being, safety and enjoyment of your rider / participant (and the horse or pony) above everything, including winning.
  • Explain exactly what you expect of the rider and what they can expect from you. Ensure all parents/carers of all riders under the age of 18 understand these expectations.
  • Develop mutual trust and respect with every rider / participant to build their self-esteem
  • Encourage each rider / participant to accept responsibility for their own behaviours and performance.
  • Ensure all activities you organise are appropriate for the rider’s / participant’s ability level, age and maturity and for the capabilities of the horse or pony.
  • Ensure appropriate supervision of all riders / participants, especially those who are younger or more vulnerable.
  • Be a positive role-model, consider your behaviour, do not ridicule, or shout at riders / participants or use sarcasm.
  • Provide positive verbal feedback in a constructive and encouraging manner to all young riders / participants at all times particularly pre, during and post training sessions and competitions.

Inappropriate Behaviour to Avoid

  • Never engage in, or tolerate, offensive, insulting, demeaning or abusive language or behaviour.
  • Never engage in or tolerate any form of bullying, always appropriately challenge bullying behaviour.
  • Recognise that young riders / participants under 18 cannot have alcohol whilst under your supervision or attending your event. Riders / participants should not take prescription or non-prescription medicines or drugs whilst under your supervision, without their medical needs firstly being discussed prior to the teaching, instructing or coaching session. (Riders / participants should be aware of FEI and BEF rules related to performance enhancing drugs for humans and equines).
  • Recognise that young riders / participants should not be exposed to extremes of heat, cold or unacceptable risk of injury.
  • Avoid giving advice of a personal or medical nature unless you are qualified to do so.

Be aware that your behaviour in your role is subject is scrutiny by others at all times. Ensure that your words and behaviour are not subject to misinterpretation by the riders / participants, parents / carers or onlookers. The line between a professional working relationship and undue informality is not crossed.

Policies and Procedures

Be aware of, and abide by, the policies and procedures outlined in the BEF Safeguarding Equestrian Sport document which has been adopted by The Pony Club. This includes:

  • No coach, instructor, teacher or trainer should have sexual related contact with a member, fellow coach, instructor, teacher, trainer or volunteer under the age of 18 – to clarify, this includes sexual innuendo, flirting, inappropriate gestures and terms, in person or through social media, texts and emails, taking part in sexting or otherwise sending inappropriate sexual images through technological systems.
  • Report any concerns that you may have about a child, young person or adult at risk in line with the procedure.
  • Report any concerns you have about a colleague, volunteer or any adult working with children, young people or adults at risk in line with the procedure.
  • Treat everyone with the same degree of courtesy and respect regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and/or sexual orientation.
  • All accidents must be recorded in line with the requirements of The Pony Club and appropriate legislation.
  • Adhere to the rules and the spirit of the disciplines and competitions in which your riders participate.

All coaches, instructors, teachers and trainers should actively involve parents / guardians throughout all stages of a young person (under 18) training / coaching and ensure you have parental consent for all activities.

It is recommended a coach, instructor, teacher or trainer is qualified by the achievements of a nationally recognised qualification and that they confine their delivery to areas where their training and competence are recognised by The Pony Club.

Coaches, instructors, teachers or trainers working independently should be a minimum of UKCC Level 2 or the Pony Club equivalent.

Officials and Volunteers

Pony Club officials and volunteers have a great opportunity to be a positive role model and to help build a member’s confidence.The Code of Conduct for Officials and Volunteers describes the standards that are and are not expected, and whats they have the right to do.

The Role of Pony Club Officials and Volunteers

Officials and Volunteers are expected to:

  • Ensure the safety of all members by providing effective supervision, proper pre-planning of Pony Club activities using safe methods at all times.
  • Consider the wellbeing and safety of members before the development of his/ her performance.
  • Encourage and guide the member to accept responsibility for their own performance and behaviour.
  • Treat all young people fairly and ensure that they feel valued. Have no favourites.
  • Encourage all members to refrain from discrimination no matter on what grounds, particularly on the grounds of religious belief, race, gender, sexuality, social; class or lack of ability.
  • Intervene and not to allow any rough or dangerous play, bullying, the use of bad language or any other inappropriate behaviour.
  • Appreciate the efforts of all young people and not over train the members. Never exert undue influence over members to obtain personal benefit or reward.
  • Be positive, approachable and offer praise to promote the objectives of the Pony Club at all times.
  • Do not allow allegations of abuse of any kind, or of poor practice go unchallenged or unrecorded. Incidents and accidents must be recorded in line with the Pony Club’sprocedures and the parents / guardians must be informed if appropriate and if informing them is not likely to put the child in danger of significant harm.
  • Never use sanctions that humiliate or harm a member, or put him / her in danger.
  • Report accidents or allegations of abuse or poor practice to the District Commissioner / Centre Proprietor / Manager or the Safeguarding Officer as soon as possible, and certainly within the same day.
  • Administer minor first aid in the presence of others and, where required, refer more serious incidents to the first aider on site.
  • Ensure you have access to a telephone for immediate contact to emergency services if required.
  • Foster team work to ensure the safety of members within your care.
  • Ensure the rights and responsibilities of members are enforced.
  • Establish and address the additional needs of disabled members or other adults at risk.
  • Do not abuse members sexually, physically or emotionally. This includes verbal abuse or abuse via social media.
  • It is unacceptable, under possible assault, to photograph/ video an injured person.
  • Do not engage in a sexual relationship with a member under the age of 18 even if s/he is over 16 years of age.
  • Maintain confidentiality about sensitive information.
  • Respect and listen to the views and opinions of members.
  • Take time to explain to members to ensure that s/he clearly understands.
  • Develop an appropriate working relationship with members based on mutual trust and respect.
  • Be a role model displaying a consistently high standard of behaviour and appropriate appearance (disciplined, committed, time keeping, polite etc) to aid the members to to learn by example.
  • Refrain from smoking, drinking alcohol or taking any other inappropriate substance during Pony Club activities.
  • Never condone rule violations, bullying, rough play or the use of prohibited substances.
  • Do not spend excessive amounts of time alone with any child other than your own unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  • Do not administer first aid which involves the removal of significant items of the member’s clothing unless you are the first aider and are in the presence of at least one other person.
  • Do hold appropriate and valid qualifications and insurance cover as required and necessary.
  • Do help the members to have fun!

Officials and volunteers have the right to:-

  • Access on-going training and information on all aspects of leading or managing activities for members, particularly with regard to Safeguarding children and adults at risk.
  • Support in reporting suspected abuse or poor practice.
  • Access to professional support services if necessary and appropriate.
  • Fair and equitable treatment by the Pony Club.
  • Be protected from abuse by members, parents / guardians or other adults.
  • Not be left in vulnerable circumstances when working for the Pony Club.

Any minor misdemeanours and general misbehaviour should be dealt with immediately and reported verbally to the appropriate person, with the report followed up in writing. Serious or persistent breach of the code of conduct will result in disciplinary action and could lead to dismissal from the Pony Club, following the disciplinary procedure which can be found of on the Pony Club website. A dismissal could be appealed using the same procedures.