Shore Riders

FAQ7 What is a RATING?

Note:  As of 2011, USPC has changed the terminology from "Rating" to "Certification".   A C3 member would have referred to himself as having a "C3 Rating", where now it would be "C3 Certification".  However, these words are commonly interchanged among the Pony Club membership at large.

Pony Club provides a structured curriculum of both mounted and unmounted skills and knowledge for our kids to follow. Ratings provide a progression for the mastery of these skills. The USPC ratings system measures each Pony Clubber's progress through the instructional program. Ratings are achieved by performing specific tests against a prescribed standard of proficiency, both mounted and oral, before a recognized Pony Club examiner.  

Your child joins Pony Club as an unrated member and progresses through the lower level ratings (D1, D2, D3, C1, C2).  The top five rating levels, C3, HB, B, HA, and A are national ratings, administered by the National Testing Committee. Here is a brief overview of each level:

D Ratings
This is an introduction to the fun and challenge of riding, establishing a foundation of safety habits and knowledge of the daily care of a pony and tack. The D1 through D3 learns to ride independently and with control, maintaining a reasonable secure position at the walk, trot and canter, and over low fences.

C Ratings
Pony clubbers learn to become an active horseman, to care independently for pony and tack and to understand the reasons for what he or she is doing. The 'C' shows development towards a secure, independent seat, and increasing control and confidence in all phases of riding.  Of the three C level ratings, the C1 and C2 can be tested and arranged by our local club, while the C3 is arranged and tested at the national level by national USPC examiners.  

B Ratings
The 'B' rating is for the Pony Clubber who is interested in acquiring further knowledge and proficiency in all phases of riding and horse care.  The rating tests for this level are taken at two separate times;  the mounted portion (the 'B" test) and the horse management portion (the "HB" test) are both only given by national USPC examiners.   

A Ratings 
The 'A' rating is the highest certification and is also divided into two parts: 'HA' covers horse management, teaching and training, and 'A' tests the riding phase. This is given at the National level only.

If there is enough interest from our members, our club will hold two ratings per year for the lower rating levels (D1, D2, D3, C1, C2*), one in the spring and one in the fall. About 3 months before the rating an email will be sent to the club membership asking who wants to 'rate up'. You would need to respond telling us about your intention to rate up and for which level you would like to test. Prior to the rating date the club will offer mounted and unmounted preparatory meetings, sort of a mock-rating, to members who have indicated they want to try rating up. Normally, the prep meetings are taught by an upper level member and may cost $15 to $40 depending on the number of participants. However, we generally hire a upper level pony clubber from another club to do the actual rating and there might be a fee ranging from $30 to $100, depending on the examiner and your intended rating level.

A few random notes about ratings:
-        You must progress through the rating levels in order.  Even though you may have been riding for the past 6 years at 4th level dressage, and jumping over 7' brick walls, you must begin at the D1, and may not skip a level.  However, with permission of the club's District Commissioner, you may test for 2  D levels on the same date.  (ex. D2 and D3 may be administered at the same time.  The decision to test for 2 levels at one time will be made by the DC after discussing the member's individual situation with the member and/or their family.)  

-        The horse you ride must also be ready for the rating level;  you must attend the rating certification on a horse capable of doing that level's required elements.   For example, your mount having a slight lameness, skittishness, or unschooled at the location or element will not be accepted as reasons for not doing the test's requirements.   If you can't get your horse to perform the requirements of the certification level, you will not meet the standards and therefore, not pass.   If your everyday mount cannot do it, borrow, practice, and test on a mount that can.  

-        Generally, the rating preparation meetings held prior to the actual rating date are considered mandatory for the member who will be rating up. 

-        Rating prep meetings are open to all members, even those who will not be participating in the upcoming rating test.  We offer this as a kind of rating pre-test so a member can see what aspects of a particular rating level they need to work on.
-        We allow the D1 level rating to be administered by the member’s instructor or an upper level Shore Riders member upon approval by the DC.  Generally, if the examiner is a upper level club member, there will likely be no charge for the D1 rating.   However, this is up to the examiner and since a rating can take several hours, the member/family should be prepared to offer compensation for their time.  If there is a fee to be paid, the Shore Riders DC will notify you of the amount in advance.  (Average $20 - $40)  See video below of a typical D1 rating.

-        Other than the D1 level, the examiner will NOT be your instructor or anyone familiar with you, and likely to come from a club outside of Shore Riders Pony Club.   
-        All rating test dates for the lower rating levels (D1 – C2) must be scheduled and approved by and through the Shore Riders District Commissioner.  A member is never allowed to schedule their own rating.  If the need arises for a rating outside the club the DC will do his or her best to find one.

-   *   Generally, Shore Riders will NOT host a C2 rating test.  The C2 rating is the highest of the local club ratings.  The next rating, a C3, is a national test.   Please contact the Shore Riders DC if you are interested in a C2 rating.    See video below of a C2 rating.

-        There is no required amount of time between rating levels.  You progress through the levels at your own pace.  The decision to rate up is best done in consultation with your regular instructor.  Although we have had members who have remained at the same rating level for years, and others who have moved from D1 to C1 in a month, typically a member would remain at each rating level for a year.   Again, there is no rule dictating a minimum or maximum amount of time at each level.
-        Each rating level may have 2/3 parts depending on which track you choose;  Horse Management plus the Riding Sections. The order of ratings and all the various machinations of options are way beyond this FAQs; please ask our DC for clarification. 

To read and/or download the USPC rating tests go to the National USPC website.  You must be a member of USPC and have a password to the national website to access the rating tests.  


Below is a 7 minute video of a D1 ratings.  The second video is one of our Shore Riders member's C2 rating.


D1 Rating Test


C2 Rating Test




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