What is Pony Club?
Pony club is the leading junior equestrian organization in the world, and can be found in 31 countries. In the United States. more than 600 individual clubs are spread throughout the country. Membership totals some 13,000. "The purpose of Pony Club is to encourage young people to ride and to learn to enjoy all kinds of sports connected with horses and riding; to provide instruction in riding and horsemanship, and to instill into members the proper attention & care for their animals; to promote the highest ideals of sportsmanship, citizenship and loyalty, thereby cultivating strength of character and self discipline".
Each local pony club is run by a District Commissioner and other elected officials. Clubs involve entire families - members, mothers, fathers and more. (Pony club is a monument to volunteerism with some 3,000 dedicated and often passionate volunteers nationally).
Generally, Pony club members are ages 5-25. There is no absolute minimum age, although a child must be old and mature enough to safely ride and participate in activities and competitions, and some clubs do set minimum membership ages. The maximum age is absolute: On December 31 following a Pony Clubber's 25th birthday, he or she becomes a graduate. Often those graduates become volunteers whose knowledge enables them to provide sound instruction for the next generation of Pony Clubbers.
What is Pony Clubs Mission Statement?
The mission of The United Pony Clubs, Inc. (USPC) is to provide a program for youth which teaches riding, mounted sports, and the care of horses and ponies, thereby developing responsibility, moral judgement, leadership and self confidence.
Do you need a horse/pony?
No, you don't have to own a pony to join pony club. However, to take full advantage of pony club activities, it is recommended that you have access to one. This means if a member can borrow, or lease a pony and get transport to the mounted activities, the member can participate in all of our mounted activities, lessons, clinics, and competitions.
Do you need a horse trailer?
Generally, yes. It is sometimes possible to arrange to share a trailer with another family for a competition, but it's up to each individual family to secure its own transportation. Pony club doesn't provide this service.
What type of tack and riding apparel do we need?
USPC is committed to SAFETY. It is a membership requirement that Pony Clubbers wear a riding helmet meeting the ASTM/SEI standard and they must be dated within the last five years when attending mounted meetings. Parents should be prepared to purchase this item and minimum basic riding equipment such as jodphurs, boots, etc. English tack is generally used at current pony club events. Tack is expected to be in good condition, clean, safe and appropriate for the event members are participating in.
What is the role of the parent?
Pony Club is a volunteer organization and without the time and effort our parents contribute we would have no pony club.
Our pony club parents are the most significant volunteers and help with meetings, regional events, work parties and fund raisers.
Parents do not need to be knowledgeable horse people to participate.
What is a Certification?
Pony Club provides a nationally recognized certification system reflecting a members' riding and horse management skills. The local and regional pony clubs provide a structured curriculum of mounted and unmounted skill and knowledge based on this national rating system. Certifications provide a progression for the mastery of these skills. At rallies the certifications provide a framework by which our kids can compete against kids of similar abilities. The lowest certifications is D-1, and the highest certifications is A. The rest of the certification levels must be mastered in sequence. Certifications are achieved by performing specific tests against a prescribed standard of proficiency, both mounted and oral, before a recognized pony club examiner. As the certification levels get higher, members are expected to develop the ability to critique their own riding and articulate a deep knowledge of riding and horse management. Kids have the opportunity to go for their ratings twice a year.
The standards of proficiency for all the ratings are outlined in the pony club manuals, as well as the national web site.
The sequence of certifications is as follows: D-1, D-2, D-3, C-1, C-2, HB, C-3, B, HA, A
How does Pony Club give the opportunity to show your knowledge?
Quiz competition is an unmounted team "quiz bowl that tests the USPC member's knowledge in several rounds of questions. Some questions are individual questions and some require the input of the whole team. Some of the areas of knowledge that are tested include horse management, health, veterinary care, equitation, hunting, trailering, bitting, spectator sports, rally rules, safety, nutrition, and conformation. Visit the Pony Club Quiz site for information on Pony Club activities and opportunitites in Quiz.
What type of riding activities
does Pony Club offer?
Polocrosse is a game related to polo but played with a racquet similar to that used in Lacrosse. The game was developed in Australia in the late 1930s, where it has been played with great enthusiasm ever since. Polocrosse offers riders a chance to develop strong self-confidence in their riding ability, especially riding in the open, and to improve their hand eye coordination.
What is the Pony Club Pledge?
" As a member of the United States Pony Club, I stand for the best in sportsmanship, as well as horsemanship. I shall compete for the enjoyment of the game well played and take winning and losing in stride, remembering that without good manners and good temper, sport loses cause for being. I shall endeavor to maintain the best traditions of the ancient and noble skill of horsemanship, always treating my horse with the consideration due a partner. I shall strive at all times to uphold ideals of the Pony Club and my country".
What is the Pony Club Motto?
" A Happy Child on a Happy Horse".
What are the three Rs of Pony Club?
The three R's of Pony Club were established twenty-five years ago and have been followed since. Reading, Riding and Responsibility.
Reading is essential to obtain the knowledge required to properly care for and teach our horses and ponies. Much of the pain inflicted upon our four legged friends is inflicted through ignorance, it is our duty to attempt to remedy this situation through our program. I believe that we are succeeding.
Riding safely and skillfully means that our members will have a Foundation of confidence and ability so as to be able to pursue a healthful sport throughout their lives. Pony Club offers a range of activities so that nearly every member, regardless of his or her mounts skills, will be able to participate and make a start at this foundation.
Responsibility is a natural result of having complete care of a living creature and learning to care for it properly. Consequences of acts are faithfully reflected by either a nicker of recognition or by the pinning back of ears. The competitions offered develop sportsmanship and maturity. All of these characteristics, once established, carry over into other areas of life.
What style of riding does Pony Club teach?
Pony Club teaches Balanced Seat riding.
This kind of riding is based on a modified dressage seat and includes riding on the flat (ring riding), jumping, and riding in the open (trail riding and cross country jumping).
While riding on the flat, the balanced seat riders position is upright with shoulder, hip and heel forming a straight vertical line.
Emphasis on the balanced seat combined with the activities and competitions develops skills in a broad range of riding disciplines-dressage, jumping and combined training(eventing). Not coincidentally, these three equestrian sports compete at the Olympic level.
Programs are offered at the local and regional club level in dressage, cross-country, show jumping, mounted games, tetrathlon, quiz, vaulting, foxhunting and polocrosse.
Western and Hunt Seat have recently been accepted as part of the Pony Club teaching tracks and there are clubs in the state that have instructors with appropriate backgrounds to bring riders along those lines.
Nuts and Bolts:
How much does Pony Club cost?
2013 National dues are $130/year for a new member and $110/year for a renewing member. These are paid at the Annual Sponsors Meeting in October each year for renewing members.
Northeast regional dues are $15/year per member.
Parents of members are required to be sponsors. Sponsors have a vote in the running of the cub. Dues are $10.00/ year per sponsor. These are also paid at the Annual October meeting.
The cost of mounted meetings vary and are dependent upon the instructor who is hired. Current fees are $195 per season. MPC guarantees at least 10 mounted lessons and usually more!
Above and beyond~
Regional one day rallies (optional) can cost $25-55 per competitor. If the region sponsors an overnight rally, there will be further costs associated with it.
What is a Rally?
A Pony Club rally is a competition where teams of Pony Clubbers compete against each other. For many Pony Clubbers, competing in a rally is one of the best things about Pony Club. Except for Quiz, rallies are mounted competitions, usually made up of teams of 3-5. All of the team members ride in the competition except one, who acts as the stable manager, helping with all of the essential groundwork that must be done to support the mounted competitors.
Upon arrival at a rally, parents are not allowed to interact with their children at all. It is up to the team to pull together to take care of all the details and logistics. This is wonderfully liberating for the parents and kids, and stimulates teamwork and leadership within the pony club teams. In addition to the riding performance of the team members, the rally teams are also judged on horse management.
A great deal of preparation goes into getting ready for a rally, not the least of which is attending mounted practice sessions. A non-qualifying rally is a one-time rally with no progressive competition for winners. By contrast, winners at regional qualifying rallies have the opportunity to move on to the advanced competitions at Pony Club Championships which are held in Lexington, Virginia for the eastern half of the United States. Every three years is considered a festival year in which National Championships are held among Pony Clubbers from all over the country. National Championships are held in Lexington, Kentucky.
Dressage is the art of improving your horse, making him more supple in his movements, a joy to ride and beautiful to watch. He must be a willing partner with a good mental attitude, willing to learn and wanting to please. Competitions are held at many levels, beginning with Walk-Trot and Training Level, and continuing through nine levels to Grand Prix.