25 Mar 2024

Dear members – WPCS response to the Welsh Pony & Cob Performance Event social media publication

Dear members,
WPCS response to the Welsh Pony & Cob Performance Event social media publication.
It is regrettable that I find myself having to defend and justify actions taken by the WPCS because of a social media post. In the interests of clarity and to stop the incessant rumour and speculation I am forced to respond. We must be the only Society where some of its membership, in the name of the Society that they allegedly love, set about damaging its reputation by reason of their own self-interests or because they cannot have their own way.
On the 20th March 2024, the Welsh Pony & Cob Performance Event Committee published a letter on Facebook stating that the WPCS Council under my leadership had reduced funding for their annual performance show that their committee appears to have rejected and that somehow this translates to the fact that the WPCS no longer supported performance events and was responsible for the Performance Awards being cancelled.
As democratically elected Chairman of Council, I am the spokesman for the collective decision of the board of trustees. Important elements of the letter that have prompted unwarranted comments by some members and non-members and encouraged the contents to be shared across social media are unfortunately a misrepresentation of the true facts.
The WPCS fully supports all activities in the promotion of Welsh Ponies, Cobs and Part Breds across the UK and around the world, including extensive performance events. However, falling membership, income and rising costs have had a direct negative impact on Society business finances and has led Council to seriously review its liabilities, housekeeping and tightening its budgets, until we are able to bring spending and balances under control.
Council acknowledges the origins and success of the Welsh Pony & Cob Performance Show that started in the early nineties at the late Lady Jennifer Evans Bevan’s home, with a fun X country followed by a second show day; but it was never a Society run event and managed independently. However, as it evolved it was run under a few titles ‘Welsh Performance Show’, ‘Welsh Pony and Cob Performance Show’, ‘WPCS Performance show’ and more recently ‘WPCS Performance Event’ as the WPCS journals bear witness. The WPCS is not involved whatsoever in running this event, i.e. showground, entries, finances, insurance, sponsors, rosettes etc. However, the title wording Welsh Pony & Cob Society Event suggests that the WPCS is involved in the running of the show and therefore in the case of accident, 3rd party action or financial responsibility could be held to be liable in some way. For that this reason WPCS Council felt that ‘Welsh Pony & Cob Performance Event’ was a more suitable title and a format that had previously been used. However, this was met with resistance by some of the Performance Event committee.
Funding applications are received by the WPCS on an annual basis. The WPCS on receipt of applications has made very generous payments on an annual basis to the Welsh Pony & Cob Performance Event to help support the show and promote performance, particularly as higher costs to hold the event at the David Broom Centre, Chepstow, had been quoted.
In 2022, the WPCS went further and allocated a prestigious Gold Performance medal for the Welsh Pony & Cob Performance Event to be run in 2023, together with a generous financial contribution following an application made by Performance Event Chairman Mr Everitt and Secretary Ms Baldwin, who were both serving members of WPCS Council at that time. This was granted following their presentation of a business case on the grounds of supporting and encouraging performance in Welsh breeds and to enhance publicity for the show in an attempt to attract better entry numbers that had been in decline.
When an application for financial assistance for the Welsh Pony & Cob Performance event was tendered for 2024, the WPCS was again sympathetic to provide financial support. However, a decision was taken to cap all applications to support the budgetary constraints in place to tackle financial deficit. The Council felt that despite the previous year’s assistance and Gold medal award the Welsh Pony & Cob Performance Event had not attracted the volume of exhibitors and in view of the budgetary constraints in place could not justify the gold performance medal or the amount of money that had been requested by the Performance event, when considering other struggling Associations and shows also promoting the Welsh breed and performance that did not receive any WPCS funding. The WPCS therefore offered a reasonable but capped amount (albeit a reduction on previous years) and 9 performance medals free of charge.
No correspondence or appeal of any kind was received by the WPCS from the Performance Event Committee which may have been a better option to consider before publishing misrepresented facts on social media. I understand from the publication that they have rejected the free medals and funding from the WPCS.
In relation to the performance awards, similar criteria apply. This event is run completely independently from the WPCS. The WPCS is not involved in the finances or running of this event whatsoever. On application, the WPCS has provided generous funding support for several years in the interests of Performance and particularly for young members as the Performance Awards have been celebrated and enjoyed by many. However, even though the Performance Awards have stuttered to run coming out of Covid, it was with great regret that the Society recently received notification that Jo Filmer and Jane Weller will no longer be able to administer the Performance Awards. The WPCS is keen to continue the Performance Awards and has already formed a Sub- Committee that is currently looking at ways to revive and combine them with our own popular and highly successful WPCS awards that were recently held in Llandrindod Wells. Suggestions from members would be welcome.
The annual financial report is due to be published shortly before the AGM and I would implore members to read this and familiarise themselves with the facts and/or clarify queries with the office before jumping to conclusions on social media. This speculation and public squabbling is embarrassing and is not a good look; the Society cannot continue to sustain these damaging reputational hits.
E. Gummery
Chair of Council

Recent News Stories

30 Apr 2024

Ernest Donald (Ernie) Beynon Glenmead Stud

Ernest Donald (Ernie) Beynon Glenmead Stud
17 Apr 2024

Iorwerth Jenkins of Clwydyrhiw Stud

Sadly, the WPCS has been informed of the passing of Iorwerth Jenkins...

Read Article
17 Apr 2024

Dear members, breeders, and enthusiasts of Welsh Ponies (Section B)

A Statement from the WPCS.

Dear members, breeders, and enthusiasts of Welsh Ponies (Section B).
Read Article