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, eventing, show jumping, mounted games, tetrathlon, quiz, vaulting, foxhunting, and polocrosse.
During “unmounted” meetings members learn about feeding, shoeing, veterinary care, and other areas of horse management. Under adult supervision, the more experienced Pony Club members instruct and assist younger members.
Pony Club members are encouraged to work their way through the nine stages of the progressive Standards of Proficiency, which test knowledge and riding ability. Pony Club members who attain the B, H-A, and A rating levels meet standards of competence that are recognized throughout the horse world.
Pony Club FAQ
Q: Do you have to own a pony to join Hillside Farm Pony Club Center?
No, being a “center” allows the students to avoid having to buy a pony, or a horse, to participate. They members use Hillside Farm’s horses, or if they have their own, they can use their own.
Q: What ages can participate?
For pony club, up to 25 years old. A new program called Horse masters is being started for adults who would like to participate.
Q: What to the members gain?
Complete horse care knowledge, horse management skills, riding skills in multiple styles of disciples, team work, responsibility and rating to reflect their achievement. Until a pony clubber has achieved professioncy in an area, they can not move on. Once they have however, they move up a rating.
Q: What happens to pony clubbers after they graduate?
Many top level pony clubbers compete at the olympic and top levels of riding. Some go into the horse industry, many become business leaders and professionals form their teamwork skills and management during rallies and other events. Upper level Pony clubbers mentor junior pony clubbers.
Q: Is this only for girls?
No, Some of the top level pony clubbers are boys.
Q: What if my child or their horse does not jump or do one of the other disciplines?
It doesn’t delay their progress. You do not have top participate in all of the disciples pony club has to offer, but you sure can try. There is Dressage, Stadium Jumping, Eventing, Cross County, Polocross, Games and Drill Team. And with the luxury of have Hillside Farm Pony Club Center with over 30 lesson horses, any sport you want to try, we have a horse that can take you there.
Q: Do I meet other kids? And how often?
All year long there are rallies and events that you can pick and choice from to participate in. You don’t have to attend all, but you can do anything from a two day clinic to a 5 day summer camp, to a half of day presentation.
Q: Do I need all kinds of expensive equipment?
To start, you need to get a US Pony Club Beginners level manual (you can get one used on www.Amazon.com for around $6). If you decide to do certain formal events you would need certain attire, but the pony club has a nice system of selling “grown out of” gear for less money, but at the same top quality if price is a concern.
Q: So why is there not more Pony Clubs around?
We are part of the Lakeshore region and do have several clubs in our region, but before the Pony Club Centers came into existence (only recently) you had to own or lease a horse to participate. With Hillside Farm Pony Club Center you do not have to lease or buy a horse, you can, but you do not have to.
For more information please see the wealth of information on the U.S. Pony Club website.