Hunting, competitions, horse-ball: a studious winter for racing ponies and their riders

In addition to the various “race” courses organized by the Ponies au Galop association all over France this winter, ponies and riders have also been able to fine-tune their conditions for this new competition season thanks to other activities such as horse-ball, horse show and hunting, very useful for developing qualities that will be a valuable asset to them once released on the track.

But what have the riders and ponies been doing this winter to prepare for this new racing season of the Poneys au Galop association?

No hour of life is wasted when it’s saddled up“. Many of them probably do not know him, given their (very) young age. But the riders and riders of the Ponies au Galop association have done more than honor this maxim of the former Prime Minister British, Winston Churchill, throughout the winter. Indeed, despite the fact that there are no pony races at this time of year (from November to February), everyone nevertheless took advantage of this period of time to continue to practice with their mounts. Whether during the various discovery/preparation courses that took place all over France, organized by Cecile Madamet and his dedicated team from the Poneys au Galop association. Or by practicing various activities, such as horse racing, horse-ball or hunting.

To prepare for the racing season, there’s nothing like a little hunting party…

Fitted hunting jackets, children Allard (Pierre & Violet), Ferland (Arthur & Victor), Rossignol-Lefeuvre (Brune, Josephine & Camille), Madamt (Filipina & Alfred) and Harvest (Margaux & Calix) have indeed scoured the Sarthe, Vendée, Isarian and/or Angevin countryside on several occasions this winter. Having privileged the “strapped bullet” to the hunting horn, Louisa, Lilou & Matheo Dehezas well as their ponies, have effectively refined their physical and mental condition for this season of Poneys au Galop races thanks to horse-ball, through several matches which were organized during the winter at their home in the Paris region. .

…or horse-ball, your choice!

Through these frenzied hunting and/or horse-ball games, without forgetting certain outings in horse shows (in which certain racing ponies haveYvette Koenig and Celine Desrat in particular, editor’s note), riders and mounts have thus been able to work on, develop and even sublimate certain qualities, both physical and mental, which will be very useful to them in the race this season. Because if these disciplines seem diametrically opposed to that of horse racing at first glance, they are actually much more complementary than it seems.

Aren’t our young jockeys / hunters beautiful?

If we take the case of hunting with hounds for example, it fits perfectly into the spirit of Point-to-Point, and even obstacle races in general, whether they are horses or ponies. Indeed, in each of these activities, you need calm, manageable, courageous and hard-working horses, but also riders with a sense of the terrain, observation and orientation of the most sharp, able to adjust the pace of their mount, balance it around any obstacle whatsoever and make it breathe at the right time.

Piran Rose Marie and Mathéo Dehez-Devaux, as comfortable on a racetrack as on a horse-ball field

For example, Anglo-Irish jumping jockeys like Sam Twiston Davies and Aidan Colemanor flat like Oisin Murphy, today all multiple Gr.1 winners in their respective disciplines, do not hesitate in their free time to take part in a hunt. Not only to perfect their qualities as a rider but also to “change the air”. In France, horses like Medinacelli and other Quarter King regained good moral and physical condition after having “changed air” thanks to hunting, the first city having managed to win a handicap on the flat, in Saint-Cloud, in 2016, while the second managed to pin at his prize list the 2019 edition of the Grand Cross de Ploërmel.

Quart de Roi, a winner of the Grand Cross de Ploërmel to whom hunting has done a lot of good, both physically and mentally

For the little anecdote, you should also know that in England, children wishing to participate in a pony race must have participated in at least one hunt to qualify. Many of these riders are therefore members of a crew, often with their parents or other members of their family who have also followed this same route before them.

Let’s follow this path: the racecourse is not very far!

Encouraging ponies and riders to indulge from time to time in a discipline other than racing also aims to prevent them from slipping into a form of monotony, if not laxity, which could alter their physical and moral form. And therefore their results in the race. Thus, going hunting, going out in competition, or playing a horse-ball match, allows both “riding” and “riding” to break with the “training-running-sleeping” routine. , to remain constantly on the alert, and thus to transmit positive waves to each other. Because, believe it or not, but changing discipline from time to time: they love it. And there’s nothing more dangerous – in a good way, of course – than a kid and a pony showing up in high spirits. Especially at the start of a Galloping Pony racing season!

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