My Copy of the Minutes

by Anthony Masters

- do not use without the author's permission.



BRITISH PONYGIRL RACING SOCIETY
LONDON & SOUTH-EAST SECTION COMMITTEE MEETING
Monday, 8th December, 2104


PRESENT:
Lord Yaxley (in the Chair), Mr. G. Reynolds (Head Groom), Mr.A. Masters (Treasurer), Mrs. D. Clore (Secretary), Hon. Mrs. P. Richards (Head Ponygirl), Mr. S. Turner & Mr. F. Johnson (Owners), Miss J. Constance & Hon. Miss E. Jeavons (Ponygirls)

APOLOGIES:
There were no absences.

MINUTES:
Minutes of the previous meeting were approved and signed.

MATTERS ARISING:
Mr. Reynolds reported that Health & Safety had now visited in connection with the new stalls. He would include this in his report (below).

TREASURER'S REPORT:
Mr. Masters reported that we currently have 29,500. in the current account. Reserves are unchanged and livestock remained at five permanent ponygirls. All but a handful of subscriptions have been received. Membership was unchanged at one hundred owners plus twenty non-owning members. We are now going to pay the last 10,000. of the national society levy. We should reach the year-end with a balance of approximately 20,000.
The treasurer also questioned the need to pay the 2200. annual subscription for 100 copies of "Hoofmarks". He said that since all members and owners already received the Society's own publication '"The Ponygirl" this was unnecessary. The meeting felt that only a few copies (perhaps 10) are needed, to be available for those interested. The treasurer was asked amend the order.

SECRETARY'S REPORT:
Mrs Clore reported that we have received an invitation to compete next June in the international driving competition at Sir Jeff's ranch in the U.S.A. She emphasised that our permanent ponygirls could not be used because the U.S. does not have our animal classification system which allows us to designate permanent ponygirls as animals class'A'. They would therefore be regarded as enslaved humans and forcibly freed even if they had been extensively modified. The invitation would therefore have to be available to voluntary ponygirls and their owners only. The committee felt that it would be better to see how many owners were interested and to hold a series of heats before deciding on the entry. Lord Yaxley said that the U.S. standards were very high and, whilst we would be one of the smaller groups represented, we must ensure that any team we sent could at least hold their own.

HEAD GROOM'S REPORT
Mr. Reynolds reported that Health and Safety inspectors had now visited our new stables and declared themselves delighted with the quality and design of the new stalls. They had no hesitation in giving us a certificate for the coming year. This meant that we could transfer the stock and demolish the old barns thus making room for an extension to the club farmhouse.
The inspectors had pointed out that whilst there was no problem with our keeping member's or our own permanent ponygirls chained unattended in their stalls overnight since they had all been reclassified and could be replaced in case of accident or fire, this did not apply to voluntary ponygirls who were, of course, still 'human'. If they were to be left chained the there would need to be a responsible person present and awake at all times. This would be prohibitively expensive.
Mr. Turner said that he hoped the facility would not be lost. He had formed the habit, when going away on business, of requiring his wife to enter her ponygirl role-play, thus enabling him to leave her in the care of the society while he was away.
Mr. Johnson echoed Mr. Turner's opinion and added that the presence of the longer stay voluntary ponygirls gave members the opportunity to practice driving a range of types. He himself would probably never have had the opportunity otherwise to try a purebred Arabian since Sheik Mahktoum would not have made his ponygirl 'Yasmin' available without this facility. In addition the ponygirls themselves gained additional training.
Lord Yaxley said that he hoped it would not come to that. The new sprinkler/drencher system would be installed before the middle of next year, when the facility would be acceptable to H.& S, in any case. Pending the completion of the installation, he and Mr. Reynolds were pursuing with the Health and Safety Inspectorate whether it would be acceptable to remove the ponygirls from the stable at, say, 11.00 p.m. and transfer them to a room in the farmhouse, perhaps in the cellars and then to return them at 6.00 a.m. The cellar room could be got up to be very similar to the stables with straw covered stone floor, feeding and drinking troughs etc. This would still be acceptable to the society, he thought. So far the omens were good and he looked forward to a satisfactory outcome.
It was decided to leave the matter in Lord Yaxley's capable hands.

SIR HENRY PRENDERGAST
Lord Yaxley had visited Sir Henry at Titfield Place and found him very ill. Sir Henry's doctors gave him no more than a matter of months. In fact he understood from Mr. Cecil Prendergast, Sir Henry's elder son that it was unlikely that Sir Henry would last until Christmas. Whilst all very sad, it had to be recognised that at ninety-four, Sir Henry had had a 'good innings' and had himself expressed the wish that his funeral should be an opportunity for the society to give him 'a good send-off' and that the emphasis should be on his life and achievements rather than on his death.
Lord Yaxley reminded the meeting that Sir Henry had been the originator of the act of parliament, which ensured that all women had, throughout their lives, a 'protector and guardian' and later of the amendment that permitted this position to be bought and sold. It was at that point that the word 'owner' came into use. Sir Henry had later, proposed the introduction of the system of animal grading, which, when enacted, allowed women, with the permission of their owners, to be downgraded to 'Animal Class A' and hence to become permanent ponygirls and to be modified accordingly. Without Sir Henry, the ponygirl society might never have existed and it was fitting that he should have been president of the national society ever since its foundation.
Lord Yaxley and Mr. Cecil Prendergast had worked on the plans for the funeral. This would be a major event. His Royal Highness The Duke of Albion had expressed his desire to attend in his capacity as Patron of the National Ponygirl Society. The Titfield estate carpenters had converted the estate hearse to be pulled by a team of ponygirls in four-legged mode. A total of ten permanent ponygirls would be needed to draw both the hearse(4) and Mr. & Mrs Cecil Prendergast's carriage(6). Only two of these would be from our section since each of the other regional sections would be participating. In addition twenty amateur ponygirls would follow the hearse as mourners. Again there would be four from each regional section. It had been agreed with the Rector of St. James's, Great Titfield that, in view of the occasion, the amateurs would be permitted in Church. They would, however, for decency's sake, wear winter cloaks to cover their breasts and broad crotchstraps. Plumes would be worn by all ponygirls and would be black. Further details would be announced as soon after Sir Henry's death as a date for the funeral was known. In the meantime Lord Yaxley asked that owners should be asked whether they wanted their ponygirls to be mourners so that a selection could be made. Mr. Cecil Prendergast had contacted the other regional sections.

FUTURE EVENTS:
The calendar for racing next year had been published and there were no changes expected in the immediate future. The next races due were for the 'frostbite' cup on January 1st. Mrs Richards asked that entrants should be reminded that ponygirls were to have only light harness and otherwise to be completely naked for these races. Blankets or winter cloaks would be available at the finishing line.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS:
Miss Constance announced that following the death of her father, her brother was now her owner and, that as he was a very busy man and little time to look after her, he had arranged to sell her to the 'Ponygirl Trust' with effect from 1st January next and that she was therefore standing down from the committee after this meeting. Lord Yaxley thanked Miss Constance for her work on the committee and the meeting unanimously expressed the hope that she would be happy in her new life. Mr. Reynolds said that he had just received the details of Miss Constance's recruitment. She would be glad to hear that after hand-over and after being branded, modified and ringed at the trust's holding pens in Basingstoke, she would be returning here for conversion training. It was expected that she would be ready for the trust to sell her by public auction at the national livestock sales in May. Miss Constance expressed her thanks for this information and also for the happy times she had spent here.
Mr Reynolds reminded the meeting that the livestock sub-committee would be meeting next week to consider the permanent ponygirls. At present there were three suggestions on the table.
(1) That P.Ponygirl 'Hyperion' should be sold on. She had performed very well during the past six months and would fetch a good price.
(2) That P.Ponygirl 'Slipper' should also be sold on. It was generally realised that armless ponygirls, whilst presenting a good streamlined appearance, were not wholly successful for a general society such as ours. Special harness was necessary and overall, they were not as versatile as normally restrained animals. 'Slipper' is a good example and we should be able to largely recover our investment.
(3) That in addition to replacing the above two human equines, we should increase our stock by one if funds allow.
There was no hurry with any of the above since no changes would be made before the May sales but the sub-committee would like to hear member's views.
Mrs. Clore asked whether it would be possible then to bid for Miss Constance as she had always been one of our fastest amateurs. Mr. Masters pointed out that National regulations would forbid this, although it would have been a very popular choice if it had been possible.

FUTURE MEETINGS:
Monday, 2nd February 2105 at 7.30pm (confirmed)

AGM
Monday, 16th March 2105 at 7.30pm
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 9.15 pm