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RE: [RC] Pony Clubbers-Yes! - SHEILA A WALSH

Plus, Pony Clubbers know how to wrap legs in all kinds of bandages the correct way!  They have to pass tests on this stuff.  I love PC, too!!

Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2009 12:52:18 -0700
From: trailyaya@xxxxxxxxx
Subject: [RC] Pony Clubbers-Yes!
To: ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Chiming in on the Pony Club thing . . . aside from the perennial question, what is endurance and what is not:
We had some family experience with this organization.  It was an outstanding experience at so many levels from the "Knowdown" (think "Equestrian College Bowl" for which prior study and preparation is essential, sourced  by the organization's  publications) to the "Three-Day Rally" (off-site competition to which the mounts are hauled in which adults are literally banned from the barn with the kids doing all the care and feeding of their horses.  No stage mothers allowed).  The competitions are team-based, and these kids learn how to work together.
Pony Club can help fill in so many gaps in a young rider's knowledge base and can set standards of excellence for  them to become really solid adult equestrians, especially of assistance to those young riders that do not come from an equestrian family--but are painfully and terminally afflicted with Horse Fever.  Typically the classic equestrian community embraces the Pony Clubbers and helps staff one-day clinics in which they might learn about interval training or pacing or how to perform a dressage test, etc.  For example, our local hunt invited the Pony Clubbers to ride with them; also their annual hound show was "manned" by the Pony Clubbers with the girls and occasional brave boy showing the hounds for the hunt.   
The rating system for testing and achieving rank (D-1, D-2, D-3, C-1, etc.)  is fair but rigorous with "moving up" the system a highly idealized goal among the youngsters.  The nice thing about their system is that it is standardized.  Each rank signifies that objective knowledge has been mastered along with riding skills commensurate with the rating.  The youngsters learn motivation and planning in order to test (writtten, verbal, and riding) for the next level. The USPC manuals are based on the BHS (British Horse Society) and are full of really great information.  They can be purchased on-line through USPC or at Barnes and Noble, etc.  Check them out--you might find there are some tidbits you'd like to know! 
Any future endurance riders that come out of Pony Club should be welcomed with open arms and mentored -- these kids are usually passionate about riding and know there's much to be learned.  Typically they already understand many of the basics of the endurance discipline (necessity of conditioning, importance of well-fitting tack, etc.), and for sure, they know there's more to the horse life than staying on.  If you know a Pony Clubber, consider mentoring them for a "fun ride," or even an LD . . . too many of them get caught up in the "rules" and a day on the trail would be good for them!  
Hideaway Farm, Jim & Beth Leggieri, Denton, TX
Athletes of Antiquity: Soaring Wings and Distance Arabians


[RC] Pony Clubbers-Yes!, Beth Leggieri