Wayne-Dupage Hunt Pony Club

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United States Pony Club Mission Statement
The United States Pony Club’s Inc., an educational organization for youth, provides a program which teaches riding, mounted sports, and care of horses and ponies, thereby developing responsibility, sportsmanship, moral judgment, leadership and self-confidence.

PONY

CLUB 

Terminology:

Basic Balanced Position- this is a fundamental method of riding which UPSC Standards are based upon. This is taught & evaluated thru all levels starting at D1, thru A level. What is it?

  • Vertical Line through head, shoulder, hip, ankle
  • Spine erect
  • Head balanced, eyes up, Looking forward, focal pt.
  • Seat balanced in the lowest part of the saddle
  • Pelvis in neutral position with seat bones poiting down, hip joint on vertical
  • Laterally symmetrical
  • Arms resting along torse, elbows bent, held 2-3" in front of hip, straight line thru wrist to the bit
  • Shoulders free from tension, shoulder blades hanging down
  • Chest open
  • Hands softly closed, thumbs up
  • Heel below toe, stirrup placed behind ball of the foot

Basic Balanced Poition Half Seat, Jumping Position:

  • Stirrup shortened
  • Knees, ankles flexed under body
  • Head, shoulder, hips in the same plan
  • Eyes focused on focal point
  • Stirrup leather to the ground
  • Hands in front of shoulders as necessary to allow horse use of neck
  • Balance over feet
  • Hips Behind vertical line thru ankle & knee, balanced by shoulders in front
  • Seat closed to saddle

Basic Balanced Position Shortcomings in riders:

  • Not on vertical line
  • Chair seat, C-curve spine, shouched, head down, hands flat
  • Braced position: head & shoulders behind the hip & forward, knees locked, ankle locked
  • Hollow back: arched back, pelvis pointed back, chin too high, elbows straight
  • Laterally asymmetrical, collapsed side
  • Shoulders tightrounded, shoulder blades excessively drawn together
  • Hands rotated flat "piano hands", fingers open, fists clenched

How is your Basic Balanced Position?? If your trainers doesn't teach you this position, you should talk to them about it.....so you will be ready to meet Standards on your riding at upratings & clinics.

To learn more about what is expected for riders at each level visit the USPC at the link below:

pc_logo.JPG

USPC Website

USPC Forms link:

What is Pony Club (also referred to as PC)? 

Pony Club is one of the leading junior equestrian organizations in the world, represented throughout 30 countries! Pony Club provides opportunities for instruction and competition in English riding, horse sports, and horse management for children and young adults up to age 25.  The term "pony" came from the English (as in UK) version where "ponies" is the endearing term used for any size mount (equine) ridden by a child. Horses and ponies of many different breeds, shapes, and sizes are seen in Pony Club activities.  Each USPC local club is a member of a "region" or a "district". Our Members participate in regional and national competitions, or "rallies", in a variety of "disciplines":  Quiz (knowledge), Mounted Games, Dressage, Show Jumping, Combined Training, Polocrosse, Tetrathalon, and Vaulting. More is in the "Rulebooks" section below.  We offer mounted and un-mounted instruction, clinics, competitions, summer camps, and other activities.

Where do I start? 
The best place to start, along with talking with your club's D.C. (lingo for "District Commissioner", a fancy name for the elected leader of your club) is to visit the USPC official website at www.ponyclub.org.  There is a great deal of information to look at and to familiarize yourself with.  On the forms page especially, you can find one of the forms that has been designed especially for new members:  USPC New Member Booklet, A Guide to Membership, which is an Adobe Acrobat form you will find on the Forms link, under "N" for New.  You can print it out and complete the booklet to help familiarize yourself with some of the Pony Club words and purposes.

You will also want to purchase the USPC Manual of Horsemanship:  The Basics for Beginners through D Level by Susan Harris.  You will be able to purchase this through the USPC bookstore or a local tack shop.  This is also a good place to learn of the appropriate recommended reading list/standards for each rating.

USPC Standards of Proficiency  
One of the first things you will learn about is the USPC Standards of Proficiency.  They are the stepping-stones to the Pony Club educational program.  There are four different Standards of Proficiency.  Within each Standard are three ratings (e.g. D-1, D-2, D-3).  The D Standard is the beginning level, and probably the one you are interested in if you are new to USPC.  The goal is to progress through the Standards at each individual member's pace by taking a rating test when your DC feels you have met the criteria for that rating.

How do you and your DC know if you meet the standards before taking the rating test?  Your DC is familiar with the criteria and will help you learn in a variety of different meetings, both mounted and unmounted, what is required for your ratings.  The way you and your DC will know this is by looking at what is required and written on forms found on the on the USPC website forms page.  This page contains many of the Adobe Acrobat forms you should need while in Pony Club.  From the forms page, print out:

  • the Standards for your current level (D if your new to Pony Club)
  • the Study Guide for your level or level you are preparing to rate up to
  • and the Test Sheet for your level or level you are preparing to rate up to

These will help you to know what is required of you and to give you guidance of what you will want to be learning from your club to prepare for your ratings.  The USPC National Office makes updates every year or so to some of the files, so make sure you have the most recent copy available.

More on Standards of Proficiency and Ratings.

Rulebooks 
You will hear people talking about having the Rulebooks.  There are rulebooks for all of the "disciplines" your local Pony Club may teach you about and there is also a rulebook on Horse Management.  This will be one of the first rulebooks you will need to print out and review with your local club or your DC.  Then, you will also need to have your own copy of the rulebook for any discipline (Dressage, Eventing, Games, Polocrosse, Show Jumping, Quiz, Tetrathalon, Vaulting) you choose to learn about or will be going to rally.  It is important that you have your OWN copy and that you check the USPC website for current rulebooks, because the rulebooks are updated from time to time.  Rulebooks are at a different link than forms on the USPC website, so you will need to visit both websites to get the following forms:
  • Print out the Rulebook for Horse Management (Rulebooks page)
  • and the Rulebook for any discipline you will be learning or rallying  (Rulebooks page)
  • and the Study Guide for the Horse Management Written Test (Forms page)
  • and the Study Guide for the discipline you will be learning or rallying (Forms page)

These will help you to know what is required of you and to give you guidance of what you will want to be learning from your club to prepare for your ratings and rallies.  The USPC National Office makes updates every year or so to some of the files, so make sure you have the most recent copy available.

What are the ages of pony club members? 
The upper age limit for all pony club memberships is 25 years. All pony club ages are calculated as of January 1. This is for members and their mounts. We have no lower age limit. However, a pony club member should be mature enough to safely ride (walk, trot, and canter) and participate in pony club sponsored activities and competitions.
Do you have to own your own pony? 
No, you don't have to own a pony to join pony club. However, to take full advantage of pony club activities, it is recommended that you have access to a pony/horse. This means if a member can beg, borrow, or lease a mount and somehow get it to the mounted activities, the member can participate in all of our mounted activities, lessons, clinics, and competitions.

Note: If you do have access to a borrowed pony or free leased pony, be sure and show your appreciation to the owner. Keeping ponies is an expensive activity, and any owner would appreciate being given some $$$ to help pay for the vet, the farrier, the feed and hay man, etc. Offering to help clip, groom, or wash the pony, clean stalls, or feed while the owner is away, etc. are also good ways to show your appreciation.

What do parents do? 

Basically everything in pony club is a volunteer organization and without our parents volunteering we would not have a pony club. (Print out your own copy of A Parent's Answer Book found on the USPC forms page.)  Now that does not mean parents have to know something about ponies. There are lots of families where the kids know more about horse care and horsemanship than the parents. There are plenty of things non-horsy parents can do to help out at the local club. Can you paint a jump, flip a hamburger, provide food for a food booth, sell items for fundraisers, chaperone a team????? the list is endless. Just ask your DC or other club officers what needs to be done. After they recovered from the shock of being asked, I am sure they can come up with a list that has a task you would be interested in doing. Don't wait for the DC to ask you -- be PRO-ACTIVE!!!! Volunteering can be fun. Pony Club people are the best and most interesting people around. Getting involved in your kid's pony club can be just as rewarding for the parent as for the kids.

What do those felt backings on PC pins mean? 
Felt backings indicating rating levels.  They are recommended but not required during rallies or other functions. The colors and corresponding rating levels (found in the HM Handbook and Rules for Competition) are:
  • yellow for D1-D3
  • green for C1 and C2
  • white for C3
  • purple for H
  • red for B
  • orange for HA
  • blue for A

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