The horse industry at large has a language of its own. Pony Club is an organization that thrives on its acronymic lingo. If you have ever been confused about what a DC, RS, CA, or NE is, this is where you will find all of the important definitions to help you understand the acronyms Pony Club adds to the horse industry.


Activities Council: A group that includes all volunteers serving as Activities Committee Chairs. Members are responsible for reviewing and updating rules for rallies and competitions, planning and evaluating programs that enhance Pony Club activities such as Championships. For a complete description, see USPC Policy 6000.

Aids: Signals or cues by which the rider communicates his wishes to the horse. The "natural" aids include the voice, the legs, the hands, and weight. "Artificial" aids include the whip and spurs.           

Alumni: See “Graduate Pony Club member.”

Annual Directory: A yearly USPC publication that lists all National Board and Committee members, Clubs, Centers, DCs, Jt-DCs, RSs, VRSs, current upper level members, and graduate A, H/H-A, and B Pony Club members.

Annual Meeting (Convention): Most equine organizations hold meetings to discuss common practices and rule changes each year.

Annual Meeting of Sponsors (Club): A meeting of club sponsors held once a year for the purpose of electing club officers, setting sponsor fees, and transacting other club business.

Annual Report: A yearly publication listing the financial summary, all contributors to the Annual Fund, and USPC Life members.

Bit: Metal mouthpiece on a bridle to which the reins attach.

Board of Governors (Board or BOG): A group of volunteers elected for three-year terms by Corporate members each year at the Annual Meeting. (See Article 5 of the USPC By-Laws.) These volunteers manage and direct the National Organization.

Body brush: Soft-bristled brush used to remove dust and light dirt

Bridle: Harness that fits around the horse’s head while being ridden

By-laws: 1. National By-Laws — legal document that defines the Corporation known as the United States Pony Clubs, Inc. (USPC). These By-Laws have precedence over any and all other USPC By-Laws, Policies, or procedures. 2. Regional By-Laws — document that regions sign when they are formed. Regional B-Laws are the same for every region and must conform to National By-Laws and Policies. 3. Club By-Laws — By-Laws are the same for every club and must conform to National and Regional By-Laws and Policies.

Canter: Three beat faster gait of the horse in which the outside hind leg strikes the ground first, followed by the inside hind leg and outside foreleg simultaneously and finally the inside foreleg. Called the lope in western riding

Center Administrator (CA): Administers the Pony Club program for the members in a center. The CA is appointed by the riding center facility owner/lessee.

Certification: Once called a Rating, it is the level of proficiency/level of achievement in riding and horse management OR a test conducted by a club or center (D-1 through C-2), or National Examiner (H-B/C-3 through A).

Championship: A National Competition for riders and teams qualifying at regional and inter-regional rallies in any discipline.  In certain years, separate East, Central, and West Championships may be held.

Chief Horse Management Judge (“Chief” or CHMJ): The Horse Management Judge responsible for overseeing Horse Management judging and supervising assistant horse management judges at Rallies.

Club/Center Library: Set of books and materials sent to new clubs and centers. Established cubs and centers should have a library available for use by current members. The library is the property of the club or center, not of any individual, and should be housed and maintained by the current DC (or a designated librarian), or in the case of a center, held at the center's facility.

Coggins: A blood test for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). Horses which test positive may be required by the state of occupancy to be destroyed or permanently quarantined.

Coldblood: Draft horses who are very strong and often used to pull heavy loads.

Colic: General term describing abdominal pain in the horse. Ranges in severity from mild to life-threatening. A veterinarian should always be consulted in case of suspected colic.

Corporate Member (CM): This is membership at the national level. Individuals over the age of 18 who have paid the Corporate member fee become CM’s. CM’s receive USPC News, have access to the USPC Annual Directory, Annual Report, and more. All adults are invited to join USPC as a CM.

Crop or whip: Long thin hand-held device used to encourage a horse forward. Also may be referred to as a “stick”.

Curry comb: Hard rubber comb used to remove sweat and stimulate skin.

Dandy brush: Hard bristled brush used to remove dried mud and sweat.

Disciplines: The equine sports that Pony Club recognizes are: Dressage, Show Jumping, Eventing, Western, Quiz, Tetrathlon, Mounted Games, Hunt Seat Equitation, Polo, and Polocrosse.

District Commissioner (DC): The volunteer leader of the local Club.

Dressage: Training and education of the horse through prescribed movements and patterns on the flat (no jumping) from level to level.

Equestrian: One who rides horses.

Equine: Anything horse-related.

Equitation: The position of the rider on the horse.

Eventing: Equestrian competition held over one, two, or three days and including the disciplines of dressage, cross country, and show jumping.

Farrier: Skilled professional who shoes horses.

Fault: Penalties assessed for knocking a rail, traveling too slowly, refusing to jump a fence during competition.

Frog: The sensitive, triangular area on the sole of the foot that acts as a shock absorber.

Gallop: Four-beat gait of the horse, in which each foot touches the ground separately, as opposed to the canter, which is a three-beat gait.

Gelding: Castrated male horse

Graduate Pony Club Members (Alumni or alums): Former members who graduated from Pony Club. That is, after December 31 of the year the member turns 25.

Green: A horse that is in the early learning stage of his particular discipline is said to be green.

Ground line: Pole placed on the ground in front of a fence to help the horse and/or rider judge the take-off point.

Half halt: A tug on one rein or change in the rider’s seat to communicate to the horse," pay attention, please.” Usually used before asking for a change of direction or gait, or other exercise or movement.

Halter: Head harness used in the barn to control or restrain a horse.

Hand: How horses are measured—one hand equals 4 inches.

Helmet: Safety headwear that must meet certain standards to be worn.

Hoof: The horse’s foot. Round in shape. Made of hard human fingernail-like material.

Hoof pick: grooming tool used to keep the hoof free of debris.

Horse Inspection (Jogs): When a horse is trotted in hand to make sure it is sound for competition.

Horse Management (HM): Refers to un-mounted instruction that teaches the skills for caring for the horse.

Horse Management Organizer (HMO): Elected volunteer who oversees regional horse management clinics and who works closely with the RIC (Regional Instructional Coordinator) in supporting unmounted instruction.

Hotblood: Term describing horses of Arabian or Thoroughbred blood, they are speedy and fine boned.

Instruction Council: A group that includes all volunteers serving as Instruction Committee Chairs (along with additional, “at-large,” members). Members are responsible for reviewing and updating the Standards of Proficiency, implementing and evaluating programs which enhance instruction, and supporting and coordinating the Instruction Committees.

Joint District Commissioner (Jt-DC): The person or persons voted by the sponsors and appointed by the RS to assist(s) the DC with the administration of the club.

Jump Cup: Attaches to the wing or standard of a jump to hold the rail in position.

Junior: Any rider under the age of 18.

Lead: Term used to indicate the horse's leading leg in canter i.e. "right lead canter" or "left lead canter".

Library (“Club/Center Library”): A library of books and teaching materials for the use of a club or center’s members; new clubs and centers receive a start-up library once the National Office has received their paperwork and fees.

Mare: Female horse aged four and over.

Medical Armband: Plastic sleeve carrying basic medical information for the purpose of reference by medical personnel in case of emergency. Worn on the upper arm.

Medical Bracelet: Device worn on the wrist engraved with basic medical information for use my medical personnel in case of emergency.

Member Report Form: The form submitted by the DC/CA when a new member joins and is signed by the new member and his/her parents/guardians. The form is submitted, along with payment for dues, to the National Office.

Mounted Games: Games on horseback that help improve balance and confidence in a rider.

Mounted Meeting: Scheduled club/center riding activity.

National Examiner (NE):  Examiner at upper level H-B, C-3, B, H, H-A, and A levels.

National Office: The USPC Headquarters building located in the Kentucky Horse Park which houses the paid USPC staff members.

Oxer: Single fence consisting of two elements which make a spread jump.

Pace: The speed and way of going of the horse gait.

Participating Member (Pony Club Members): Currently-paid participants.

Pinny: Identification vest worn to easily see competitors’ numbers.

Policies: Documents that provide additional structure to the framework established in the By-Laws; approved by the Board of Governors.

Pony: A small horse, standing 14.2 hands or less. Historically in England, all mounts ridden by children, regardless of height.

Pony Club News: Magazine sent to each current youth and adult member (one per household), also available online.

Primus Inter Pares (PIP): Senior member of the team of National Examiners for national certification testing. The PIP is in charge of the testing and takes responsibility for checking on planning, administration of the testing, and follow-up with paperwork (evaluations and test sheets).

Programs Administration Council (PAC): A committee composed of the volunteer Chairs of certain National Committees and the on-staff Department Directors at the National Office. Purpose is to review and bring forward recommendations to the Board of Governors about the Pony Club program.

Quiz: A knowledge completion like trivia for horse people. (Formerly known as Knowdown.)

Quadrille: Performance given by a team of four, six, eight or more riders, involving riding an intricate pattern to music.

Rally (Competitive Rally): Members from one or more regions get together to compete in various disciplines.  Rallies offer members an opportunity to compete as a team in their favorite discipline.

Refusal: When a horse intentionally avoids jumping a particular obstacle when asked.

Region: A geographic grouping of registered clubs and riding center programs for administrative purposes. There are 43 established regions.

Regional Council: A group consisting of the RS, VRS(s), RIC, HMO, DCs, CAs, and any other Regional Officers and officials appointed by the Regional Committee. Other members, considered ex-officio members, include the USPC President and the Vice President for Regional Administration.

Regional Instructional Coordinator (RIC): Volunteer appointed by the RS whose job is to work within the region to strengthen local club/center and Regional Instruction programs.

Regional Supervisor (RS): Adult volunteer who supervises a number of clubs and centers throughout a particular area of the country.

Registered Club/Center: Club or center that conforms to the regulations and requirements of USPC and has been recommended by the Regional Supervisor and approved by the Board of Governors.

Riding Center Program (Center): A business entity, typically a training/lesson barn, that has entered a contract with USPC to offer the Pony Club program through the administration of that facility.

Saddle: Tack on which the rider sits on the back of a horse.

Show Jumping: Riding competition showing speed and agility over technically difficult jumps that easily fall down.

Sponsor (Of Clubs): Parents and other interested adults who have demonstrated an interest in the welfare of the member club and who have paid the club’s current annual Sponsor’s fee.

Spur: Pointed device attached to a rider’s boot heel and used to cue a horse

Stable Manager (SM): Non-riding member of a team.

Stallion: An intact male horse often used for breeding purposes

Standard: The upright portion of a jump used to create height.

Standards of Proficiency: USPC levels of achievement in riding and horse care.

Start Box/flags: Denotes where the time starts when a horse begins his round.

Stride: The step of the horse.  Often used as a system of measurement between 2 jumps.

Tack: Term includes saddle, bridle, and other horse equipment.

Time Faults: Incurred when the rider uses too much time between the start and stop.  Usually 1 penalty point per second over the allowed time.

Trot: Moderate-speed gait in which the horse moves from one diagonal pair of legs to the other, with a period of suspension in between.

Turnout Inspection:  This is when a CHMJ or Assistant CHMJ checks rider and mount for cleanliness and safety.

Unmounted Meeting: Scheduled club or center non-riding activity.

Upper-level Pony Club members: Pony Club members certified higher than C-2, including H-B, C-3, H/H-A, B, and A.

Vaulting: Equestrian sport involving gymnastic exercises done on the back of a moving horse.

Vertical: Jump with poles or planks placed one directly above another with no width.

Vice Regional Supervisor (VRS): Volunteer leaders who assist the Regional Supervisor with the administration of a region.

Vice-President of Regional Administration (VPRA): Board of Governors member who supervises and directs all registered clubs, riding center programs, and regions.

Warmblood: In general terms, a half-bred or part-bred horse, the result of an Arabian or Thoroughbred cross with other breeds. Also one of a number of specific breeds of horse which were developed by crossing hotblood and coldblood horses to produce a more refined, but athletically strong and capable horse.

Youth Board: A group of youth members who assist adult volunteers with club or center operations such as: formulating a calendar, developing educational programs and teaching schedules for younger Pony Club members, and/or organizing community service and public outreach projects. Not all clubs and centers have Youth Boards; some regions have Youth Councils who provide input into the operations of their region.

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