Older Pony Club member with horse in barn teaching youth members

The goal of Pony Club is to teach every member communication, confidence, leadership, safety, self-reliance, and good horsemanship. As members learn and develop at their own pace, they have the opportunity to progress through the Pony Club Standards of Proficiency (SOP). The SOP outline a clear progression of skills in riding and horse management. Each level requires an increasing depth of knowledge and abilities. For example a D Level (beginner) Pony Club member would only need to know how to give water, hay, and grain to their horse whereas an A Level (advanced) member would need to know how to identify different types of grains and hay as well as be able to discuss nutritional values.

Pony Club Members demonstrate their skills and express an appropriate level of knowledge at each certification. Members are evaluated based on the SOP for each section of understanding. Encouraging comments will be noted and shared for the members to review and absorb after completion of their certification.

Certifications are offered following a Horse Management path from the basic level all the way through advanced. Once a member has passed the certification for the D-1 level (which has a basic riding requirement), as long as they have access to a horse for hands-on care they can continue on through the certification levels without ever riding. The Horse Management certification is based on a practical application of knowledge.

If a member chooses to continue on a riding path they may attain certification in Dressage, Eventing, Show-jumping, Hunter Seat Equitation, and Western. No matter what level of certification a riding member tests into they will be required to meet the SOP for both horse care and riding. The levels of certification start at what is called D Level (beginner), progressing to C Level (intermediate) then to B Level and A Level (advanced).

Local Level Certifications

The first five levels of horse management and riding for members are achieved through evaluations organized and administered by the local club or center. These levels are D-1 (beginner) through C-2 (intermediate).

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National Level Certifications

At the upper certification levels, members must have an increase in maturity, knowledge, and riding skills. Members must be eligible for these Certifications and apply through the National Office. Certifications are organized at the regional level, and administered by the National Examiners. These levels include H-B (advanced-intermediate) through A (advanced).

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National Level Testing Calendar

At the National Level members are tested by USPC National Examiners who have apprenticed and demonstrated their understanding of Pony Club programs, goals, and the Standards of Proficiency. National Level tests are hosted by regions and held throughout the country, with the summer months being the most popular.

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