It is with great sadness that I have stepped down as District Commissioner of the Hong Kong Pony Club. My family and I have relocated back to the UK after more than 20 years of living in Hong Kong, and nearly 9 years of me running the HKPC.
The past 9 years as District Commissioner have been a very rewarding experience, definitely with ups and downs but the ups far outweigh the downs. When I started, I had not had much involvement with the HKPC other than helping out at a few camps at Tuen Mun. As a child I was an avid member of the Pony Club but that was quite a long time ago! So it was a bit of a learning curve but I have enjoyed nearly every minute of it.
My favourite part of running the HKPC was the smiles and laughter that were always an integral part of the camps. To see children spending quality time with the ponies and loving every minute of it was very rewarding and well worth all the time and effort that went into running the camps. Many a time there would be kids with naughty ponies who ran off with them, bucked etc, yet at the end of camp they would still be saying "..... is the best pony in the world" all that naughtiness seemingly forgotten.
The rallies were also one of my favourite parts as kids in Hong Kong rarely get the opportunity to spend precious time grooming, tacking up, cuddling the ponies unless they are lucky enough to have a livery. Time spent in the stable with the pony is as important as time spent on the pony. That is where bonds are truly formed.
I had the pleasure of working with some wonderful people during my tenure and made some lasting friendships. My Vice DC Mandy Farrar was one of those and together we somehow managed to pull off the 2019 Inter-Pacific Exchange where we hosted 30 people for 2 weeks. What an experience that was, so much fun and so many memories made. It was a wonderful way to end our time with the HKPC. Mandy has been involved most of her life, first as a member growing up in HK (she was on the IPE team many years ago!) then as a parent when her daughter was a member, then as Secretary and finally as Vice DC and my right hand woman!
Running the HKCP has kept me involved in horses longer than I would otherwise have been, which is a very positive thing. I retired from competitive riding about 7 years ago when my horse retired, so running the Pony Club was a great way to stay involved with the Equestrian scene. It was also a privilege to get to watch the kids progress through the years and to be involved in their progress. Many kids who started in the Pony Club have gone on to be fantastic riders some of whom have been selected for the Hong Kong teams and some who have left Hong Kong and continued to thrive in their new environments.
I would like to say a big thank you to all those fantastic parents who would come and help at camps and other events, without you we can't do anything. The Pony Club is a volunteer organisation so without your help there would be no Pony Club. It's been great fun meeting you all and surviving each camp with a sense of relief that all kids are safe and a huge sense of achievement that all the kids had a fantastic time.
The Pony Club has has to change a lot over the last 9 years, and had to adapt to new demands, costs and restrictions but we have managed to keep going and will I hope continue to do so in the coming years. With new leadership new possibilities will open up, the Pony Club is in good hands and I am looking forward to following it's adventures over the coming years.
I wish good luck to the incoming District Commissioner, Elise McAuley - the HKPC is in very good hands - and to all the kids and parents who have supported the HKCP and will continue to do so, long may it thrive.