WHAT IS PONY CLUB?
Pony Club is one of the leading junior equestrian organizations in the world, represented throughout 30 countries. The United States has over 600 individual Clubs spread throughout 48 states and the Virgin Islands, with more than 12,000 members. Visit the official US Pony Club site here.
The mission of the United States Pony Clubs is to provide a program for youth that teaches riding, mounted sports, and the care of horses and ponies, thereby developing responsibility, moral judgment, leadership, and self-confidence.
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 its 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 the high ideals of the Pony Club and my country.”
USPC is committed to safety. It is a membership requirement that Pony Clubbers wear a riding helmet meeting the ASTM/SEI standard when attending mounted meetings. Parents should be prepared to purchase this item and the minimum basic riding equipment, such as jodhpurs, boots, etc.
INSTRUCTION and COMPETITION
Pony Club provides opportunities for instruction and competition in English riding, horse sports and horse management for children and young adults up to 25 years of age. The term “pony” reflects the age of the members, rather than the size of the mount. Horses and ponies of many different breeds, shapes, and sizes are seen in Pony Club activities.
It is not necessary for a child to own a horse or pony, but they must have access to one when required. Programs are offered in dressage, cross-country, show jumping, mounted games, tetrathlon, quiz, vaulting, foxhunting, and polocrosse. During “dismounted” meetings members learn about feeding, shoeing, veterinary care, and other areas of horse management. Under adult supervision, the more experienced Pony Clubbers instruct and assist younger members.
What is a rating and how do ratings work?
The Pony Club rating system is important because it gives kids something to strive for and a way to measure their achievement, but is only one portion of the program. Pony Clubbers are encouraged to work their way through the nine stages of the progressive Standards of Proficiency, which test knowledge and riding ability. Pony Clubbers who attain the B, H-A, and A rating levels meet standards of competence that are recognized throughout the horse world.
The first level is the “D” level (D1, D2, D3) is an introduction to riding, safety and horse care. “C” level (C1, C2, C3) is development toward independent care of horses and tack with an understanding of reasons for the care. A C3 rating is a national rating and reflects complete competence in riding and horse care. D1 through C2 ratings are handled at the local level. The higher level ratings (B, HA and A) are all done at the National Level. The B and HA ratings are analogous to a College degree and the A rating to a graduate degree. An A rated pony clubber is considered an Olympic-class rider who has pre-veterinary knowledge.
Pony Clubbers generally do one rating every year or two, but are encouraged to go at their own pace. Ratings consist of mounted and oral tests.
Annual membership cost for Pony Clubbers (including national, regional, and local dues) are paid to the local club for the period January 1 through December 31. All dues and fees are nonrefundable. Exceptions may be made under special circumstances at the discretion of the officers of the club.
2006 New Member dues/fees are approximately $450 (including national dues, regional dues, local dues, new member materials* and sponsorship fee)
*New member materials include Redwood Hills Pony Club polo shirt and sweatshirt, binder, US Pony Club (USPC) Pin and Manual.
Parents are essential to Pony Club. There are many areas in which parents are needed. They may share one of many roles within the club, such as club leader (District Commissioner), chaperone, jump judge, or assist in activity events and fund-raisers.
Following are some questions frequently asked by parents:
What is a Parent-in-Charge?
A Parent-in-Charge is a parent helper who brings snacks and performs a set of duties to ensure the local meeting runs smoothly. Performance of “Parent-in-Charge” (PIC) duties is mandatory. Parents are randomly assigned a meeting date (usually one meeting per year when membership is high enough) and are responsible for checking the calendar and trading with another parent if they are unable to do it on their assigned date. See the parent-in-charge duties for details:
What should we expect at Parent Meetings/Board Meetings and when, and where are they?
Parent meetings are usually held once a quarter at Skyline Ranch during or after (at noon) a regular pony club meeting. Parent meetings are held to update members on activities, gather input from parents, vote on how to allocate funds and plan events and fund raisers. We try to spend no more than one hour. The annual meeting at which the next year’s officers are elected is held in mid-October.
What is a “sponsor” and why it is important to be a sponsor?
Becoming a sponsor simply means you have paid the sponsorship fee before the annual deadline and have gained voting rights. Under the US Pony Club rules, only official “sponsors” of the local clubs have voting rights within their club. It is important that every child be represented by a sponsor who can vote on the leadership of the club and on how the club allocates funds.
As a parent, what role can I play?
Following are just a few of the roles and committees that require parent participation:
- District Commissioner (DC)
- Joint District Commissioner (Jt. DC)
- D Instructional Coordinator
- C Instructional Coordinator
- Mounted Coordinator
- New Membership Coordinator
- Ratings Committee
- D Ratings Coordinator
- C Ratings Coordinator
Rally and Camps Committee
- Mock D Rally
- Everything But the Horse Rally
- Eventful Acres Weekend
- D Camp
- C Camp
- Combined Training Rally
- Dressage Rally
- Show Jumping Rally
- Games Rally
Fundraising and Events Committee
- Annual Barn Party
- Pony Club Closet
- Day at the Races
- Annual Open House
- Annual Awards Banquet
- Hospitality and Barn Liaison
What is a rally? How does it work and who is eligible to attend?
Rallies are regional competitions where clubs send their teams to compete. The emphasis is on teamwork rather than individual competition. Even in these competitions, the emphasis is always on learning. Anyone with access to a horse and trailer (we hire a commercial hauler when necessary for those with no access to a trailer) is welcome to attend. Usually the club DC receives a mailer or email announcing the rally and then disseminates the info via email throughout our club asking for those interested to come forward. The club then arranges a team or teams of four to attend the rally. If we have too few or too many pony clubbers to make even numbered teams, they can attend the rally on a “scratch team” with pony clubbers from other clubs. The rally fee (generally about $175 for a weekend rally), trailering and other costs are the responsibility of the participant, but we do attempt to provide subsidies when possible.
What is D-Camp? How does it work and who is eligible to attend?
D Camp is for D rated pony clubbers who have access to a horse and trailer (or can arrange for trailering to the camp.) It is usually a 3 or 4 day event where the kids camp out overnight and have both mounted and dismounted lessons during the day. Parents are encouraged to help and it may be possible to reduce camp fees in exchange for parent volunteer hours. One parent chaperone for every four kids is required by Pony Club. Camps are learning opportunities without the pressure of rally competition.
What is C-Camp? How does it work and who is eligible to attend?
C Camp is for C rated pony clubbers who have access to a horse and trailer (or can arrange for trailering to the camp.) It is usually a 4 day event held at “Eventful Acres” in Grass Valley. Kids camp out overnight and have two mounted lessons and one dismounted lesson per day with special guest instructors. One parent chaperone for every four kids is required by Pony Club. Camps are learning opportunities without the pressure of rally competition.
For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions page.