Pony Club - Not
Just For Ponies
Pony Club is based on a British Club that was started by parents who liked to fox hunt. They wanted their kids to be able to tag along safely. They developed a progressive educational program for kids to learn riding skills & horse management.
In the 1950s, some families on the East Coast of the U.S. introduced the concept and the U.S. Pony Club began. Ponies & horses must be at least five years of age to participate & kids must be between the ages of 8 & 21. As a parent of a Pony Clubber, I value not just the development of a centered riding position but also the emphasis placed on horse management. One must know how to take care of the complete horse & equipment to be successful in Pony Club.
Pony Club Festival is held once every three years. We had 7 members from this region attend. They did a great job representing the Inland Empire Region. There were 1200 plus competitors at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. They represented regions from all over the country. There were International teams in attendance also. We saw ponies & horses of all sizes & color participating in Dressage, Show Jumping, Combined Training, Polocross, Games, Tetrathalon & Know Down. When the competition finished, there were three days of clinics to participate in with national level instructors. Festival was a week of fun, competition & learning. The kids had a great trip, learned a ton & what an experience!
Hi! My name is Lacy Crowder & I am in the Coeur du Cheval Pony Club of Deer Park, WA. In August 2001, I had the chance to go to Lexington, KY for Pony Club Nationals. I competed in Know Down, a knowledge competition in which Pony Clubbers from around the nation are tested on their horse knowledge. The people from my club who went to Nationals in Know Down were Kayte Holm & myself as part of a Junior team, & Rachael Provance, Andrea Espinoza, Morgan Stoop, & Jamie Guilikson as part of a Senior team. The questions increase with difficulty as the ratings get higher. The lowest rating is the `D' level & the highest rating is the `A' level. In Know Down, knowledge is tested in four different ways: the barn, the mega room, the stations, & the classroom. The barn session involves dealing with horses in a barn environment, & what knowledge may be useful there. For example, a `D' may be asked to demonstrate how to use a hoof pick. The mega room session is an individual, hands on test of many horse things, including tack, breeds, markings, colors, jumps, etc. The station session is a hands on team test of tack, fox hunting, barn equipment, etc. The classroom session is just what it sounds like- it takes place in a classroom and is an individual test of knowledge of Pony Club, polo, foxhunting, safety, & just plain "horse sense". Know Down sounds like a lot of rules but it is actually A LOT OF FUN!!
Dressage competition consisted of riding tests. One lower test of choice, one higher test of choice, a repeated higher test of choice, & a musical freestyle, all which had been ridden in the Regional Qualifying Rally. Some of the musical freestyle divisions could be ridden in costume, which were a lot of fun to watch. In addition competitors were judged in horse management. The competition in this area was so close that the difference between first & our tenth place award was only two points. My team was a catch team made up of competitors from Maine, Virginia, Washington & Colorado, but our Colorado team member became ill & could not compete. Even though we never met before, our team had a lot of fun working with each other, hanging out together, watching other competitions, & supporting each other's efforts. Morning chores at 6am were more fun when we did them together, & the hot afternoons were cooler when we hosed off our horses & teammates at the same time.
Hi! I'm Carey Homan. I qualified for Nationals in Show Jumping. I was the only one from our region in Show Jumping to go. I competed on a catch team with three members from Pennsylvania & one from Oregon. We had a blast! The team captain was from PA, & through the e-mail we decided who needed to bring what kits for the tack room. We all were there by late Friday. Which gave us Saturday morning to get ready for the competition that afternoon. In horse management, we were judged on the care & cleanliness of horse, stalls, & equipment throughout the 3 1/2 days of competition. Our team finished 8th in horse management.
Show Jumping is divided in 4 divisions. My whole team rode in Horse II, which is 3'3" to 3'6". All types of horses & ponies competed. The highest class was 4' & our team always went to watch. That six inches make everything so much more exciting. The riders who had a clear round in every round were awarded special prizes. Spencer & I had some good rounds & some not so good ones; however, everyone on my team had similar rides. My team finished 8th overall. We were pleased & I hope to qualify again in three years.
For more information on local Pony Clubs, you may contact Lou Homan at 509/276-6114.
Carey Homan and Spencer
|October 3, 2001 8:28 PM|