Pony Club Info

Talbot Run is proud to announce that we are 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.
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, Eventing/Cross-country, Show Jumping, “Quiz”, Mounted Games, Tetrathalon 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.   In January, February and March we will be holding practice sessions for the Quiz Rally.  We strongly encourage all 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.
CERTIFICATIONS AND RALLIES…what is the difference?
Pony Club provides a structured curriculum of both mounted and unmounted skills and knowledge for kids to follow. Certifications 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. Certifications 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.
Official Pony Club programs (instruction and/or competition at rallies) include dressage, combined training, showjumping, mounted games, tetrathalon, Quiz, vaulting, foxhunting, and polocrosse. Recently Hunt Seat, Western Dressage and Endurance RIding have been added.  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
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