Pony Club member competing in cross country.

Pony Club creates athletes through organized teamwork and responsible leadership. The challenge of reaching riding goals and becoming active horsemen and women encourage Pony Club members to become both better athletes and ambassadors for their sport. The Pony Club Standards of Proficiency outline skills needed to ride well and stress being able to safely and responsibly care for their equine partners. Members have opportunities to compete in the disciplines of Dressage, Eventing, Games, Gymkhana, Polocrosse, Quiz, Show Jumping, Tetrathlon, Western Dressage, and Western Trail. Pony Club offers instruction and competitive opportunities to members in several other disciplines as well.

Pony Club Competitive Disciplines

Dressage

The object of Dressage, is the harmonious development of the horse and rider in both mind and body. Every horse, regardless of type or use, can benefit from this training. Dressage requires the horse and rider to combine strength and agility with the elegance and beauty of ballet. Dressage tests are competitions where riders and horses show off their skills. Tests are ridden in an arena with letters marking certain points. The test includes a specific set of figures and gait transitions.

Pony Club offers many ways to compete in and learn about the sport of Dressage. Members can participate in a Dressage rally - a competition where members compete as a team and are judged not only on their riding skills but also how well they take care of their mounts. Pony Club uses the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) dressage tests during rally competitions. Riders compete on teams of three or four riders plus a stable manager.

Visit the Pony Club Dressage pages.

Eventing

The sport of Eventing is the ultimate test of a horse and rider’s versatility, fitness, and stamina. It’s often described as an equestrian triathlon because it has three phases of competition including Dressage, Cross-Country, and Show Jumping. Dressage is the first phase, demonstrating strength, suppleness, and obedience. Next is the exciting Cross-Country phase, proving the speed, endurance, and jumping ability of the horse over solid obstacles and varied terrain. The final phase, Show Jumping, requires fitness and precision to navigate a course of obstacles.

Eventing in Pony Club is very similar to Eventing at United States Eventing Association (USEA) competitions except for being part of a team. The ridden competition runs exactly like a regular event, but the riders are also judged on how well they care for their mount. Riders compete on teams of three or four riders and a stable manager.

Visit the Pony Club Eventing pages.

Gymkhana

Gymkhana is a mounted competition that requires precise, controlled horsemanship at high speeds in timed, patterned races through barrels, poles or other markers. Races are designed to test a horse and rider’s skill, control, and partnership through variations of speed, turning and navigating obstacles. The goal in Gymkhana is to safely complete the race according to the pattern, with the fastest time without any errors.

Gymkhana in Pony Club offers members on teams of three or four riders and a stable manager the opportunity to work as a team to excel in showing off their horsemanship skills in addition to their riding scores. While a recent addition to Pony Club, Gymkhana (also known as speed events) has a long history in the United States.

Visit the Pony Club Gymkhana pages.

Horse Management

Horse Management is an integral part of Pony Club at all levels of the organization: teaching and learning about horse care has always been the foundation for Pony Club. Horse Management encompasses all aspects of horse care, including health, maintenance, nutrition, and handling. The goal of Horse Management is to create a safe, knowledgeable, well-rounded horse person.

Horse Management in Pony Club includes veterinary knowledge, nutritional needs of the horse, conditioning schedules, conformation and soundness issues, farm management needs, trailering, and land management. Members are required to keep a Health and Maintenance Record Book for a horse they own or care for to complete the Horse Management portion of their certifications, and Horse Management knowledge is tested during member certifications and evaluated at Pony Club rallies.

 Visit the Pony Club Horse Management pages.

Mounted Games

Mounted Games is a series of relay races on horseback where the riders must perform different tasks while riding at speed and working as a team to compete each relay. Games starts at he walk-trot level, and relays run the gamut from slower-paced with precision handling to a fast pace with faultless execution. Hand-eye coordination and agility are honed by tasks like picking up objects on the ground while mounted, weaving through poles at high speeds, dunking an object into a basket at a full gallop, and passing a baton to another team member without slowing the mount.

Mounted Games in Pony Club provides members of all ages and abilities with a fun, fast-paced activity that teaches riding skills in a team environment. Often popular with younger members, Games offers the opportunity to work on their riding seat and balance with the fun and excitement of direct head-to-head competition.

Visit the Pony Club Mounted Games pages.

Polocrosse

Polocrosse is a game related to polo but played with a racquet similar to lacrosse. It’s played with a ball made of soft rubber that bounces well and is caught, thrown or carried in the net of a cane racquet. Teams play on a grass or dirt field and score points by throwing the ball through their opponent’s goal posts. Polocrosse develops confident riding ability while improving hand-eye coordination.

Polocrosse in Pony Club includes head-to-head team competition, with the addition of being judged on their horse care. Each riding team also includes one or two stable managers, one who may participate as a replacement rider. Pony Club Polocrosse rules closely follow those of the American Polocrosse Association (APA), the national governing body for Polocrosse.

Visit the Pony Club Polocrosse pages.

Quiz

A Quiz competition is an unmounted team activity unique to Pony Club, that tests a Pony Club member’s knowledge of horsemanship and horse care in several rounds of questions and hands-on activities. Some portions of the competition are individual, and phase require members to work cooperatively as a team. The Quiz competition format is designed to test knowledge in different ways that are challenging, creative and fun.

Quiz in Pony Club is the only competitive discipline where a member does not need a horse to compete. It is purely based on knowledge of horses and of the Pony Club disciplines. Quiz teammates work together to prepare for Quiz rallies and must learn to work cooperatively to successfully work as a team during competition.

Visit the Pony Club Quiz pages.

Show Jumping

Show Jumping is an exciting competition as horse and rider negotiate a course of obstacles within an arena. It utilizes the horse’s athletic ability as well as the rider’s skill in planning the proper lines and approaches to allow the horse to clear the obstacles. The jumps are colorful and of varying heights and widths and can be easily knocked down. The goal of the horse and rider combination is negotiating the course without knocking down a rail or disobediences.

Show Jumping in Pony Club is a blend of Show Jumping and Hunter competitions. Members compete on a team of three to four riders with a stable manager and generally complete three jumping rounds at a rally. Competition rounds may include Equitation, Knockdowns, Jump-Off, Optimum Time, Two-Phase, Take-Your-Own Line, and others. The variety of rounds offered makes every Show Jumping rally a unique experience specific to Pony Club.

Visit the Pony Club Show Jumping pages.

Tetrathlon

Tetrathlon is a challenging four-phase competition with riding, running, shooting, and swimming. The sport requires both horsemanship and general athletic ability and offers the chance for Pony Club members to combine their interest in riding and multiple sports. Tetrathlon is considered a developmental discipline for Modern Pentathlon, and the U.S. Modern Pentathlon Committee often selects Pony Club tetrathletes as candidates for training and development programs.

Tetrathlon in Pony Club is a proving ground for young athletes wishing to go on to compete in Modern Pentathlon. While Tetrathlon competitors are recognized for their achievements individually at rallies, they also compete as part of a three or four-man team in Horse Management.

Visit the Pony Club Tetrathlon pages.

Western Dressage

Western riding evolved from the ranching and working horse traditions of the cowboys in the American West. Western Dressage promotes balance, rhythm, and carriage in the horse. As a relatively new equestrian sport, Western Dressage blends together training techniques from classical dressage and western horsemanship.

Western Dressage in Pony Club is easily incorporated into Dressage rallies since both rallies use the same equipment and many officials are dual-licensed. Members compete on a team of three to four riders with a stable manager. Individual competitor scores combine with team horse care scores for final placings.

Visit the Pony Club Western Dressage pages.

Western Trail

Western Trail tests horse and rider for their ability to handle working ranch type situations. In Western Trail competition, horse and rider negotiate obstacles and are judged on how well they complete each one. Western Trail courses are designed to showcase the horse’s willingness, training and obedience as well as the rider’s horsemanship. The obstacles are inspired by what a working ranch horse may encounter, including gates, bridges, water, poles either raised or on the ground, a backing obstacle, and other tasks.

Western Trail in USPC combines the best elements of the numerous competitive Western Trail organizations. Western Trail rallies generally include three competition rounds, which may occur include or outside a competition arena. Members compete on a team of three to four riders with a stable manager, their individual scores combine with team horse care scores for final placings.

Visit the Pony Club Western Trail pages.

Resource Disciplines

Distance Riding

Distance Riding includes competition styles over marked trails where speed or accurate pacing wins the day. Competition styles include Competitive Trail Riding, Endurance, Limited Distance, and Ride and Tie. Distances vary from 25 miles to over 100 miles ridden in one day. Terrain is varied in locations all over the country. Riders are required to pass a veterinary check periodically in the course that assures the horses are fit to continue safely. Many competitions include divisions with shorter distances for newcomers.

Visit the Pony Club Distance Riding pages.

Driving

The sport of Driving includes several different variations: Combined Driving which is similar to Eventing, Carriage Pleasure Driving which has several different types (including turnout and obstacle classes), and Recreational Driving which does not have a competition component. The American Driving Society (ADS) works with Pony Club to instruct members on the sport of Combined Driving.

Visit the Pony Club Combined Driving pages.

Foxhunting

Pony Club was founded in 1954 by a group of foxhunters. Foxhunting is a mounted sport that dates back hundreds of years.  Mounted riders chase wild game with a pack of hounds across the countryside. Riders navigate through open terrain, across creeks and streams, over logs and other natural obstacles, and even through woods and thickets. Foxhunting can be enjoyed by all ages and levels of riding. The Masters of the Fox Hunting Association (MFHA) works to bring Foxhunting and land conservation to members of Pony Club.

Visit the Pony Club Foxhunting pages.

Hunter Seat Equitation

Hunter Seat Equitation is a discipline that demands conscientious training, diligent practice, and an unswerving attention to detail. Riders practice correct form both on the flat and over fences. The ultimate goal is to produce a picturesque clear round while making it look effortless.

Hunter Seat Equitation in Pony Club strives to create riders who can maintain a basic balanced position on the flat and in the open that leads to developing good jumping skills and position over fences. Learning to maintain this balanced position in Hunter Seat Equitation helps to develop a solid foundation for the speed and accuracy needed to be a top level Show Jumping competitor.

Visit the Pony Club Hunter Seat Equitation pages.

Polo

Polo is a fast-paced team sport on horseback where each team works to send the game ball through a goal, moving the ball along the ground using a mallet. It is similar in concept to soccer on horseback. Polo is a discipline that is enjoyed by many Pony Club members and all you need is one horse or pony to play!

Polo teaches skills such as hand-eye coordination, communication skills, diplomacy, and teamwork through a fast-paced, action-packed game on horseback. Teammates work together to move the ball down the field and navigate through the opposing team's players. Members learn to work as a group and communicate effectively. Good sportsmanship is always emphasized, with team members penalized for rough play, and handshakes are always exchanged at the end of the match.

Visit the Pony Club Polo pages.

Vaulting

Vaulting as an activity gives riders the opportunity to improve their confidence, suppleness, balance and rhythm.  Learning how to vault off the horse from any position, as well as good landings, decreases chances of injury from a fall.

Visit the Pony Club Vaulting pages.

 

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