Rallies Bits, Saddlery, and Equipment Officiation
Team Formation  Mounts Championships
Competitor Attire Coaches Special Competitions
Safety Chaperones  


Rallies

Q: What is the difference in a standard and modified rally?

A: Standard rallies are always preferred as they specifically follow the discipline rulebooks including a chief horse management judge from the approved CHMJ list and any other specified licensed officials. By attending a standard rally, members are eligible for certain divisions of Championships.

Modified rallies may not be utilizing specified officials, attire or equipment per the discipline rulebook.  Participation in a modified rally makes some members eligible for modified divisions of Championships as long as the age, certification, and discipline specific competition eligibility requirements outlined in the discipline rulebook are met.

Q: Can modifications be allowed in a standard rally?

A:  Modifications may be made for a rally, specific division within a standard rally or for an individual participating in a regional rally.  Modified divisions or modifications made for specific competitors may include additional competition level or allowing competitors to compete utilizing attire or equipment designated as not allowed per the discipline rulebook. 

Q: We are hosting a standard rally.  Should we offer standard and modified divisions of each competition level?

A: When hosting a standard rally, there is no need to create modified divisions for those who wish to compete in the modified divisions at Championships. All competitors should be placed into the appropriate competition division based on skill and age.  Members then progressing forward to Championships will be placed into the appropriate standard or modified divisions.

Q: Why don’t the minimum certification requirements for competition divisions correspond to the competencies shown by those members?

A: Achieving a certification level confirms that a member has proven his/her riding ability and Horse Management knowledge to a certain level and is now working toward a higher level. It clarifies for an instructor what abilities an individual or group can be expected to have. Often riders are riding at a higher level than their current certification because they have not achieved the knowledge portion or had the opportunity to test up.

A minimum certification level is required for Championships competition to demonstrate that the rider has the maturity and Horse Management knowledge necessary to take care of his/her mount at an overnight/multi-day rally. What a certification does not do, is restrict the level of the lesson or competition. For rallies and Championships the rider enters the competition at the level of their competency and the mount. If there is a question as to a rider’s competency at a level, his/her regular Instructor, DC, CA, or RS --whichever is most familiar with the rider-- should be consulted.

Q: My club/center isn’t having a testing until after the next rally and I would like to attend Championships.  What should I do? 

A: Members seeking to meet Championships competition eligibility may pursue this based on Article 5 of the discipline rulebook.  By participating in the regional rally at the minimum certification, level required for Championships, then earning the certification and have it entered into the Pony Club database prior to the closing date of Championships. 

For example a 12 year old member with a D-3 Eventing certification participates at Show Jumping rally as a C-1.  They then earn the C-1 Eventing certification and have it submitted to the National Office prior to the Championships closing date, and therefore would be eligible to participate in standard championships based on meeting the other competition eligibility requirements.  In this example, if the member did not obtain the minimum certification for standard divisions, they would still be eligible for modified divisions.

Dressage

Eventing

Games

Q: Why are there so many Games divisions?

A: The divisions, created align with two parameters, age and ability level, like many other USPC disciplines. With three age groups similar to international IMGA divisions, and three ability levels the divisions total to a minimum of nine combinations. This allows each region to offer all OR only a subset of the divisions based on a region’s needs. For Championships, we will offer divisions that align with the overall USPC Championships structure in the Modified and Standard division options. All overall USPC Championships structure requirements still apply for each Championships division.

Q: Why did you change the Games divisions? Why don’t you just make your divisions exactly like the other Games organizations? Wouldn’t that be easier?

A: USPC is an educational organization created by learning skills through a tiered certification system. Our competitions differ from non-USPC Games organizations, because, in addition to a riding competition, members compete in a Horse Management competition. The Horse Management competition is based on the certification levels.

USPC approaches members’ knowledge and skills at their personal level regardless of age. We have young riders with advanced skills and older riders who are just beginning as well as many combinations in between. Offering divisions solely based on age did not address the various skill levels of riders within an age group. With safety as the main concern, divisions were created to help group riders of the same skill level together.

Q:  Where did the Advanced Pairs division go?

A: See above. USPC now includes both age groups and skill levels in combination to create competition divisions across disciplines. Rally and Championships organizers may determine which team sizes will work best for their needs. They may offer pairs, five-rider teams, or a combination of both at their competitions for any of the age group/level combinations.

Q: How do I know what Games competition level to enter?

A: Like other disciplines and in non-USPC Games organizations, members/teams decide for themselves which division to enter, which should be appropriate for their skill level. As in any other riding discipline in or out of Pony Club, parents, club/center leaders, and instructors/coaches may provide guidance in this decision.

Q: Will Walk-Trot competitors be penalized for cantering during competition?

A: This division is an introductory level of Games competition. It is at the discretion of the rally organizer and/or regional supervisor as to what kind of parameters and assistance (leadline, helpers, etc.) that may be used by these riders or what penalties may be levied for walk-trot riders cantering at regional/interregional rallies. Any walk-trot division-specific rules should be conveyed clearly in the rally entry. There are no gait restrictions in the 2020 USPC Games Rulebook.
Q: I am an intermediate rider, but my pony likes to gallop all of the games. Will I be penalized for not riding at a controlled canter?


A: There are no gait restrictions in the 2020 USPC Games Rulebook or in the Games Division update. Riders in Intermediate and Open divisions may ride at any gait but will be penalized for riding in such a way as to constitute a hazard to the safety or wellbeing of the competitor, mount, other competitors, their mounts, spectators, or others. Please see the “Dangerous Riding” section within the Uniform Officiation Rules in each rulebook.

Q: When can a rider “play up” a division?

A: Riders may “play up” into one age group older as long as there is one team member of that age group on the team.

Gymkhana

Polocrosse

Quiz

Show Jumping

Tetrathlon

Western Dressage

Team Formation

Q: Will my youth rider ever have to play on a team with adult riders (18+)?

A: No. Only Junior age group riders may choose to play up on a Senior age group team, with parent/guardian permission. See Appendix IV: Junior/Senior Team Formation in the discipline rulebooks.

Q: My 14 year old daughter would like to participate on a team with her 25 year old friend. Is that allowed?

A: Junior competitors (those below the age of 18) can always compete up a division as a senior to fill out a team. Senior competitors can never compete down in a Junior division. Juniors wishing to compete on a senior team must have the permission of their parent/legal guardian, Pony Club leadership and utilize the Junior/Senior Team Formation Form.

Q: My rally doesn’t have enough competitors to separate the competition level into junior and senior divisions.  What do we do?

A: Merging junior and senior teams into one division is different from a junior competitor competing up on a senior team.  Combining the divisions does not require member or parent approvals, combining juniors on team with seniors does requires member, parent/legal guardian and Pony Club leadership approval.  Please see the Competitions Divisions article of the appropriate discipline rulebook.

Competitor Attire

Please review Section 2, Chapter 3 of any Discipline Rulebook for full details on competitor attire.

Q: What should I wear during a rally?

A: Each discipline has specific allowed apparel for competition; please review the Competitor Attire section of the appropriate rulebook for full details.  Note, unless an item is specifically defined as allowed, it is not allowed.  When in question, it is the competitors’ responsibility to prove their requested apparel meets with discipline rules.     

Q: Can I wear half-chaps and boots during rally?

A: Each discipline has specific parameters on the allowance of wearing half-chaps during competition.  Please review the Competitor Attire section of the appropriate rulebook for clarification.

Safety

Q: Why do I have to wear a medical armband or bracelet?

A: Per USPC Policy 0820 & 0820 P.1 USPC requires that members participating in any USPC affiliated mounted or unmounted activity must wear either a Medical Armband or Medical Bracelet during the activity. Please visit the Medical Armband and Bracelet FAQ'S page for more information related to the requirement T

Q: Do I have to wear a Safety Vest?

A: USPC Policy 0830 requires wearing a properly fitted body protection whenever a member is jumping cross-country/solid obstacles. Information regarding vest fit and certifications are available on the Safety page of the USPC website, USPC Safety Booklet and USPC Horse Management Handbook.

Q: Can I wear an air-vest?

A: Use of inflatable vests is at this time a personal decision on the part of members and their parents. Most air-vests are designed to be used in conjunction with a safety vest and do not take the place of a properly fitted body protector, unless the vest is designed to also meet body protector standards.

Q: Can I wear a mouth guard while competing?

A: Pony Club does not regulate mouth guards and believes that their use is a personal decision to be made by members, their families and the professionals who advise them. Pony Club will create no hindrance to any member’s decision to wear mouth guards in any activity or discipline.

Bits, Saddlery, and Equipment

Full details on bits, saddlery and equipment for competitions are outlined in Section 2, Chapter 3 of the Discipline Rulebooks.

Q: What are the rules for tack and equipment at rally?

A: Specific rules for all disciplines are included in the appropriate discipline rulebook.  Members seeking to participate in Championships must compete at the regional rally specifically following the tack and attire rules.  Those members not seeking Championships may request a modification approval from the rally organizer and RS to allow anti-grazing reins, kimberwick bits in Dressage, etc. Note, unless an item is specifically defined as allowed, it is not allowed.  When in question, it is the competitors’ responsibility to prove their requested tack and equipment meets with discipline rules.

Mounts 

Q: Can I ride a four-year-old mount at rally?

A: All mounts for Pony Club activities must be a minimum of five years of age. There is an allowance for members with a C-1 certification or above to ride four-year old mounts.  See USPC policy 0840 for full details. 

Q: Can I compete on a mule at a rally?

A: Mules are acceptable mounts for all Pony Club rallies with the exception of Eventing rallies held in conjunction with USEF/USEA recognized events.  USEF eventing rules prohibit the use of mules in recognized eventing competitions.

Q: Can I participate in my regional rally with two mounts?

A:  With the approval of the rally organizer and RS, a competitor may enter and compete two mounts at a rally. Competitor is responsible for the full Horse Management aspects of both horses. Multiple mounts are not allowed at Championships.

Q: Can two members share a mount at our regional rally?

A: At regional and local rallies, the RS and rally organizer will review all requests for sharing of mounts.  Age and fitness of mount along with rally scheduling concerns should be taken into consideration. 

Q: Can two members share a mount at Championships?

A: The ability of members to share a mount at Championships depends on the discipline and the approval of the discipline committee chair and discipline organizer.  Please see the appropriate discipline rulebook for full details on sharing.  Abbreviated information is listed below.

Dressage - Two riders may request to share a mount at Championships, if the mount is fit enough to complete four dressage tests per day.  The discipline chair/organizer will review each request on a case by case basis for approval or denial.  Age and fitness of mount along with rally scheduling concerns should be taken into consideration.  The welfare of the mount will be the highest priority in this situation and all competitors must agree that if the organizers or HM onsite feel that the health of the mount is in jeopardy at any time, they may be removed from the rest of the riding portion of the competition.

Eventing – Mounts may not be shared, because USPC Eventing Championships is a recognized competition in which mount sharing is not allowed by the USEF rules.

Games – Mounts may not be shared due to the amount of work the mounts do in this discipline.

Gymkhana – Mounts may not be shared due to the amount of work the mounts do in this discipline.

Polocrosse – Mounts may not be shared due to the amount of work the mounts do in this discipline.

Show Jumping - Two riders may request to share a mount at Championships, if the mount is fit enough to complete four jumping rounds per day. The discipline chair/organizer will review each request on a case by case basis for approval or denial.  Age and fitness of mount along with rally scheduling concerns should be taken into consideration.  The welfare of the mount will be the highest priority in this situation and all competitors must agree that if the organizers or HM onsite feel that the health of the mount is in jeopardy at any time, they may be removed from the rest of the riding portion of the competition.

Tetrathlon – Mounts may be shared by competitors, but may not exceed three rounds per competition day.  The welfare of the mount will be the highest priority in this situation and all competitors must agree that if the organizers or HM onsite feel that the health of the mount is in jeopardy at any time, they may be removed from the rest of the riding portion of the competition.

Western Dressage - Two riders may request to share a mount at Championships, if the mount is fit enough to complete four dressage tests per day.  The discipline chair/organizer will review each request on a case by case basis for approval or denial.  Age and fitness of mount along with rally scheduling concerns should be taken into consideration.  The welfare of the mount will be the highest priority in this situation and all competitors must agree that if the organizers or HM onsite feel that the health of the mount is in jeopardy at any time, they may be removed from the rest of the riding portion of the competition.

Horse Management - Shared horses in the same competition present to Turnout Inspection together, with scores based on each rider’s certification level.  Shared horses in separate disciplines do own Turnout.

Coaches

Q: I am competing at a rally and would like to also coach other competitors.  Is that allowed?

A:  Rally competitors can also coach other competitors provided they meet and agree to the following parameters in addition to discipline coaching specifications:

  • Must be 18 years of age as of January 1st of the competition year.
  • No scheduling changes to accommodate.
  • Own competitor’s responsibilities and mount’s care always takes precedence.

Chaperones

Q: I am 23 years old and participating in a rally.  Do I need a chaperone?

A: Competitors under the age of majority (minors) participating in rallies must have a chaperone. Competitors above the age of majority (adults) participating in rallies must submit a completed Emergency Contact Form to rally organizers.

Q: I am serving as a chaperone for a rally team.  Am I responsible to transporting the team members to and from the rally?

A:  It is the responsibility of the competitors’ parents to provide/arrange transportation to, from, and during USPC competition and activities. In doing so, they may make arrangements among themselves. Clubs/center and regions shall not have rules concerning transportation. Transportation is the responsibility of a parent, not the Pony Club. Adults that are transporting others might want to consider getting additional trip insurance.  USPC Insurance does not cover transportation. 

Officiation

Q: Can a current member serve as an Assistant Horse Management Judge at a regional rally?

A:  Current  Pony Club members may be utilized as AHMJs based on the approval of the Regional Supervisor and Rally Organizer.  Current members would be considered appropriate candidates for serving as AHMJ if of an appropriate maturity and knowledge level, based on the needs of the rally.

Championships

Q: Who is eligible for Championships?

A: Championships competitors must meet three specific criteria, minimum age requirements, minimum certification requirements and discipline specific competition requirements.  Minimum age and certification requirements are listed below.  Discipline competition requirement information is found in the appropriate discipline rulebook and the Guidebook to Championships.

Championships Divisions: Modified Championships Divisions:
Must be 12 years old by Jan. 1 of competition year Must be 10 years old by Jan. 1 of competition year
Mounted: C-1 Riding Mounted: D-2 Riding
Unmounted (Stable Managers & Quiz): D-3 HM Unmounted (Stable Managers & Quiz): D-2 HM

    
 
    
  

There are no exceptions to minimum age and certification requirements for Championships.

Q: How do I enter Championships?

A: Members who meet the three requirements for Championships participation (age, certification and competition eligibility), may enter Championships online through the Pony Club Championships registration system once their RS has indicated their competition eligibility in the Championships database.  Visit the Championships Competition Information page for directions on entering. 

Q: What is the USPC competition year, in regards to earning Championships competition eligibility?

A: The USPC competition year begins on the closing date of the previous year’s Championships and ends on the closing date of Championship.

Q: I competed as a C-1 EV at my regional rally where I earned eligibility, but am now a C-2 EV.  At what certification should I compete at Championships?

A: At minimum, the member must compete at the certification they competed at the regional rally.  If they earn a higher certification between the rally and Championships, they get to decide if they want to compete at the original certification or the higher certification.  Please let your discipline secretary know at which what certification level you would like to compete. 

Q: What is the difference between Championships divisions and Modified Championships Divisions?

A: All Championships divisions will focus on competitor preparedness and a rigorous competition schedule.   Competitors are encouraged, but not required, to attend discipline educational workshops.

All Modified Championships divisions will include required educational workshops, a shortened competition schedule competition and will include more one on one time with the HM staff.

Q: Can members participating in standard Championships divisions be placed on teams with members participating in modified Championships divisions?

A: Because standard competitors and modified competitors will be competing over different courses and are being pinned separately they cannot be placed on the same team. 

Q: I am having difficulty meeting the competition requirements for my desired discipline.  What should I do?

A: Recognizing that local conditions vary across the country and individual circumstances may sometime affect a member’s ability to meet minimum competition eligibility requirements, exceptions to specified Championships competition eligibility requirements may occasionally  be granted.  There is a specific process for requesting these exceptions, which are outlined here

Q: I would like to request an exception to the discipline competition eligibility requirement.  When can I make that request?

A: Through their RS and the specified process, a member may request an exception at any point in the competition year.  This will accommodate members planning their upcoming competition season

Q:  The mount that I compete on at Show Jumping rally is now lame and unable to attend Championships.  Can I bring a replacement mount?

A:  Through their RS and the process specified in the discipline rulebook, a member may request a substitution of mount for Championships. 

Dressage

Eventing

Q: I am participating in my region’s eventing rally, which is held in conjunction with a USEF/USEA recognized horse trial.  Does this count as two competitions towards championships competition eligibility?

A: While participation in a rally that is conducted within the framework of a recognized event may seem to be fulfilling two obligations at one time, it does NOT count as two qualifying outings for your Eventing Affidavits. You are still only completing one competition. The purpose of requiring two affidavits is to show that you have two experienced separate competitions at your level of competition.

Q:  I was received a technical elimination at Eventing rally because I jumped the wrong fence on Cross-Country.  Am I still eligible for Championships?

A:  While you would not be eligible for standard Eventing Championships, which requires the completion of the competition without elimination.  You may still be eligible for modified Eventing Championships where a technical elimination does not prohibit you from earning eligibility.  Please review the current rulebook and current Guidebook to Championships for full details. 
 
Games

Q: There are so many Games divisions, what will happen if there aren't enough teams to support all the divisions? 

A: Divisions may be combined based on entry numbers and approval of the organizer and the Vice President of Activities, for Championships. Communication with regions and entered competitors will be made if divisions are combined or team size changes need to be made to hold a viable Games competition.

Q: Why isn’t there the Walk Trot competition level at Championships?

A: The Walk Trot level is a regional/interregional-only level.

Q: Can members that earn eligibility on a pairs team at regional rally play on a five-rider team at Championships or vice versa?

A: Yes, members must earn eligibility for Championships by riding at regional rally and completing on all eligibility requirements. If necessary, the rider may be combined/divided into a different team and communication with competitors and teams will be made by the National Office.

Q: If members can switch team sizes to go to Championships, why is there a Team Formation appendix in the Games Rulebook?

A: The team formation algorithm in the appendix of the Games Rulebook shows a method to form regional and Championship teams when a club team cannot be formed/maintained. Exceptions may apply based on participation numbers within your club or region, but the algorithm should be attempted. If you have questions on team formation, you may ask the Games Committee Chair or contact the National Office.

Q: Can my 12-year-old D-3 certified member play up onto a Senior Open team at Championships? They play on a team with  friends who are all seniors outside of Pony Club and would like to go to Championships together.

A: No. Standard division riders must meet the minimum C-1 DR/EV/Flat/HSE certification.

Q: Can my 12-year-old D-3 certified member “rate up” to a C-1 after the regional standard rally, but before Championships in order to be eligible to compete in the standard division?

A: Yes. However, they must have competed at the standard Games Rally at the minimum of the C-1 level, completing HM evaluations/scores at that certification level or above. Subsequently, they also need to have achieved the minimum riding certification level of C-1 and have it recorded with the National Office by the closing date of the Championships.

Q: Can my 11-year-old C-1 certified member play up onto a Senior Open team at Championships? They play on a team with friends who are all seniors outside of Pony Club and would like to go to Championships together.

A: No. Standard division riders must meet the minimum age of 12 as of January 1st. Members may only play up one age group. (Example youth to junior, junior to senior)

Q: I do not meet age or certification requirements for the standard division. I really want to try to qualify for one of the invitational cup competitions. Can I email the Games Committee Chair for an exemption?

A: No. The Games Committee Chair cannot grant exceptions for age or certification. Please note that no age or certification exceptions are granted for Championships.

Gymkhana

Polocrosse

Quiz

Show Jumping

Q:  I was received eight jumping faults and five time penalties during Show Jumping rally.  Am I still eligible for Championships?

A:  Yes! Time penalties do not count towards the maximum number of penalties outlined in Show Jumping Championships competition eligibility. Please review the current rulebook and current Guidebook to Championships for details on maximum jumping faults per competition division. 

Tetrathlon

Western Dressage

Special Competitions

Dressage

Eventing 

Games

Q: What division will Prince Philip Cup teams be chosen from?

A: The Standard Youth Open (12-14 yo) division.

Q: What division will President’s Cup teams be chosen from?

A: The Standard Junior Open (15-17 yo) division.

Q: Why did the choice of divisions for Prince Philip Cup and President's Cup change?

A: The 2019 version of the Games Junior age group included a broad age range of 17 and under, which USPC realized was an anomaly. The Prince Phillip Cup competition was intended for a younger group of riders, now called the Youth age group. The President’s Cup, when created, was intended to be for the older Junior members of Pony Club, now called the Junior age group. Remember that, broadly speaking, a “Junior” in Pony Club is now a term that means under 18/minor members. However, in individual disciplines, Junior may have a more specific meaning. For games divisions, the Junior age group is now 15-17 years of age as of January 1st . In Games, the Senior age group is now 18+ as of January 1st.

The invitational cup competitions are chosen from the standard open divisions as those are considered the highest level of USPC Games competition.


Q: Why are Juniors now competing for the President’s Cup instead of Seniors?

A: See above. The age group names for USPC Games divisions have changed. The same age group of riders is playing for both Prince Phillip Cup and President’s Cup as has in years previous to 2019. The names of the age groups have changed, but the ages of the riders eligible have not. With the additional split into three age groups in 2020, we are back to the original age eligibility for these special opportunities.

Gymkhana

Polocrosse

Quiz

Show Jumping


Q:  I was received eight jumping faults and five time penalties during Show Jumping rally.  Am I still eligible for Championships?

A:  Yes! Time penalties do not count towards the maximum number of penalties outlined in Show Jumping Championships competition eligibility. Please review the current rulebook and current Guidebook to Championships for details on maximum jumping faults per competition division.

Tetrathlon

Western Dressage