Pony Club Info

Talbot Run is proud to announce that we have been approved to be a United States Pony Club Riding Center in the Capital Region.  
“The USPC Riding Center Program is modeled after the British Pony Club Center Program, which has had phenomenal success. They currently have over 400 Centers and have over 10,000 Center members.
The purpose of the Riding Center Program is to make available Pony Club membership to youth who would not traditionally been able to participate in Pony Club due to not owning or having consistent access to a mount. Many of our Clubs have addressed this issue on a local basis. The Riding Center Program will address it on a national basis.
The Riding Center Program is designed to work with facilities that currently have a riding lesson program in place. The facility must be able to offer the core disciplines of Pony Club and be able to handle the administrative work involved in running a Pony Club Riding Center. The full Pony Club program and all Pony Club opportunities will be offered to those members participating through a Riding Center.”
Talbot Run Pony Club strives to fulfill the mission of USPC, in providing opportunities for equestrian instruction and competition for pony clubbers up to 25 years of age. At the Talbot Run Pony Club Riding Center, we teach English riding using the balanced seat. 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). This differs from the forward seat (used in Hunter equitation) and the saddle seat (used with gaited horses). While riding on the flat, the balanced seat rider’s position is upright, with shoulder, hip and heel forming a straight vertical line.
Emphasis on the balanced seat combined with the activities and competitions that develop 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.
At Talbot Run, programs are offered in: dressage, cross-country, show jumping, “Quiz”, Mounted Games and horse management. Weekly mounted lessons are offered at the farm with the opportunity for additional lessons and leasing. Instruction and safety are emphasized, as well as fun for all.
Occasional clinics with visiting or guest instructors are also offered in addition to the regular lessons. Unmounted meetings are offered monthly.   In January, February and March we will be holding practice sessions for the Quiz Rally.  We strongly encourage al l members to attend.  During unmounted meetings members learn about topics such as: feeding, veterinary care, shoeing and various areas of horse management.
Talbot Run Pony Club members are encouraged to work their way through the 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.
PARENTS’ ROLE… What are parents expected to do in Pony Club?
Pony Club is an all-volunteer organization that is Parent Intensive. Parents play an important role here at Talbot Run. We need parents who want to be actively involved with their child. Parents who are not “horsey” will be amazed how much they can learn just by helping with Pony Club. Samples of things parents might be expected to do…… accompany children to off site events and meetings, volunteer to bring snacks, helping their children learn the horse management material from the Pony Club manuals and the rally rules from Pony Club rulebooks as appropriate for their children’s ratings and, at rallies, every parent is expected to volunteer for a rally job such as timer, gate keeper, chaperone, etc.
RATINGS AND RALLIES…what is the difference
Pony Club provides a structured curriculum of both mounted and unmounted skills and knowledge for kids to follow. Ratings provide a measure of these skills. The USPC ratings system assesses each Pony Clubber’s progress through the instructional program. This evaluation or ‘test’ provides a gauge of how well each pony clubber is progressing with their skills learning. Ratings are achieved by performing specific tests against a prescribed standard of proficiency, both mounted and oral, before a recognized Pony Club examiner.
Rally is a Pony Club team competition where teams of Pony Clubbers from regional clubs compete against each other in riding and horse management. At rallies, the ratings provide a framework by which our kids can compete against kids with similar abilities.
Ratings provide an assessment of the mastery of horse management (unmounted) and riding (mounted) skills. Pony Clubbers start out as “unrated”. They learn at their own pace and take the test for each rating when they are ready. Readiness is determined by the instructor, CA and child. Each rating includes riding tests (in the ring, in the open, and jumping), stable management, and oral testing.
The D ratings are an introduction to the fun and challenge of riding, establishing a foundation of safety habits and knowledge of the daily care of pony and tack. The D-1 through D-3 Pony Clubber learns to ride independently and with control, maintaining a reasonably secure position at the walk, trot, and canter and over low fences. All D ratings are awarded at the club level.
The C is a Pony Clubber learning to become an active horseperson, to care independently for his or her pony and tack, and to understand the reasons for what he or she is doing. The C shows development toward a secure, independent seat and increasing control and confidence in all phases of riding. Members at the C levels are expected to begin to “give back” to Pony Club by beginning to teach unmounted topics to lower-level members. The C-1 and C-2 ratings are awarded at the club level. The C-3 is a national rating and reflects a basis of competence of riding and horse care that will make possible a lifetime of pleasure with horses.
The B, H-A, and A ratings are national ratings and require great depth of knowledge. Successful candidates are competent, all-around horsepersons, and are active, contributing members of USPC who participate in a variety of Pony Club activities. The Standards of Proficiency for all ratings are outlined in the Pony Club manuals as well as the national website: http://www.ponyclub.org. (Click on Forms, then Standards of Proficiency or Flowcharts for each level.)
How to plan for taking a Rating:
The Talbot Run Pony Club Riding Center will offer ratings according to the needs of our members. Ratings given through the club will incur an additional fee per rating.  Ratings start with formal inspection and then move to flat work, followed by grids/jumping and for D3 level ratings and above, cross country. Horse management including record books is reviewed at the D3 level.  Generally a minimum of two hours for D1/D2 , four hours for a D3, and up to six hours for a C level rating is scheduled.
D Ratings
How to Prepare
Important reference materials are available on the USPC website at http://www.ponyclub.org/forms.php under forms under “D” for the D standards and test sheets and under “F” for flow charts. Members should use the Flow Chart to get signed off by the instructors on all areas of the standard prior to taking a rating. Practice “talking” and explaining your answers out loud to someone before the rating.  TREC will offer a practice rating as part of our mounted lesson program.
         D Standards of Proficiency 2009
         D Study Guide (Written Test)
         D-1 Test Sheet
         D-2 Test Sheet
         D-3 Test Sheet
         D1 – Guidelines for D-1 to C-2 Testing
         Flowchart — D1
         Flowchart — D2
         Flowchart — D3
General Guidelines for the D Ratings
The D Ratings are meant to be good learning experiences.  Rememb
Proper attire for the D ratings is Pony Club Casual.  Pony Club Casual includes a polo shirt (tucked in), pony club pin, belt, breeches, tall boots, half chaps, 0r paddock boots, and ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) approved helmet bearing the letters SEI (Safety Equipment Institute). Hair should be neatly tied back and we recommend you use a hair net. Most candidates also wear gloves. Clothes must be clean and boots must be polished. D3 candidates will need cross country vests as well to ride in the open.
         Horse must be clean without stains or dirt. Feet must be picked out. Shoeing must be up to date. You horse should show regular care and grooming.
         Make sure your tack is really clean and all the stitching is intact. Have a instructor or upper level pony clubber look over your tack before the rating to make sure that it meets standard.
         Come to the farm with enough time before the start of the rating to give you the chance to do any last minute grooming. Don’t forget snacks and water for yourself!
         Each member taking a rating should have one parent present during the entire rating. Parents can help setting up jumps and support the ratings coordinator as needed.
         For D 3 candidates only. The D3 rating is a big step beyond the D2. At the D3 level, you must keep a Health and Maintenance Record Book for at least 3 months. Also you need to know how to put on protective boots and bell boots and know the structures they protect. Finally you will to begin to learn to put on stable wraps.
C Ratings
The C1 and C2 is a Pony Club member learning to become an active horseman, to care independently for pony and tack and to understand the reasons for what he or she is doing. The C1 and C2 show development towards a secure, independent seat and increasing control and confidence in all phases of riding.
         C Standards of Proficiency 2009
         C Study Guide
         C-1 Flowchart
         C-1 Test Sheet
         C-2 Flowchart
         C-2 Test Sheet
A rally is a Pony Club competition where teams of Pony Clubbers compete against each other at the same rating level. 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 the essential ground work that must be done to support the mounted competitors.
During rallies, 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, fostering 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.
During rallies, each team is required to set up a complete and organized stable containing all the necessary gear. Saddle racks, bridle racks, first aid, equipment, tack, etc. is all set up in the stable. Everything must be labeled and in proper cleanliness, repair, and condition. Points are taken off for things like dirty tack, and missing required items. Outside the context of rallies, horse management refers to the general care of horses. Pony Club’s emphasis on exceptional horse management makes the Pony Club experience complete  –  it’s not just about riding! We want our members to know how to take care of their horses responsibly and safely.
Official Pony Club programs (instruction and/or competition at rallies) include dressage, combined training, showjumping, mounted games, tetrathlon, Quiz, vaulting, foxhunting, and polocrosse. Local clubs rarely offer all of the programs. The local club re-evaluates its offerings based on member interest and will also help a member find a group/club to help them in a discipline that the club does not address.
Quiz Rally is an unmounted rally where teams compete against each other on their horse knowledge. Teams are made up of four members.
Dressage is a discipline where the horse performs a series of movements in a flat arena in a prescribed sequence known as a “test.”
Eventing embodies the core activity of Pony Club — that of three riding disciplines: dressage, cross-country and show jumping and horse management, providing members with a broad equestrian base needed to enjoy any horse activity throughout their lives in a safe and competent manner. The different levels of competition are Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, Preliminary, Intermediate and Advanced. The lower levels of combined training competitions are called Horse Trials. Higher levels of competition are conducted over two or three days, the ultimate being the three-day event.
Show jumping is a jumping event in which the horse must jump a course of fences inside a fenced ring or stadium where the rider’s goal is to jump cleanly without knocking rails down, and often for speed.
Mounted games are a series of competitive games played on horseback in teams of either two or four.
Tetrathalon combines four events, only one of which is a mounted event: stadium jumping, running, swimming and target-shooting.
Vaulting is like gymnastics on horseback, and is not actively offered by Talbot Run Pony Club Riding Center at this time.
Polocrosse is a mixture of polo and lacrosse on horseback.

The United States Pony Club: www.ponyclub.org