Shore Riders

FAQ9 What Age, Horse, Attire for Pony Club?

WHAT ARE THE AGE REQUIREMENTS FOR PONY CLUB?

Pony Club is for children and young adults up to 25 years of age.  The term "pony" reflects the age of the members, rather than the size of the mount.   There is no minimum age for membership, yet the parent should be mindful of safety for their child and use their best judgment when deciding to begin participation in mounted activities.  That said, on average, the youngest sign-up age for Shore Riders is 5-ish.  That is not to say that you must be young to join the US Pony Club.  We have many members join while in their teens, even their twenties;  some who have been riding for years, and others whose only contact is with fairground pony rides. 

 

WHAT KIND OF HORSE/PONY DO I NEED TO PARTICIPATE?  

Horses and ponies used at any pony club activity must be at least five years old, have a current Rabies shot, and no stallions allowed.  

Horses and ponies of many different breeds, shapes, and sizes are seen in Pony Club activities.   We have members who are riding 17.1 hand, bay thoroughbreds, and others riding borrowed, backyard appaloosa POAs.  None of the Pony Club sponsored competitions ever judge the mount’s breed, conformation, or color.   Mounts must be serviceably sound, in good overall health and in condition for the activity in question.  Mounts must be appropriate for the rating level of the rider and must be at a level of training to participate safely in the activity.

Ownership of a horse or pony is not required for membership, but members must have access to the use of a pony or horse if they wish to participate in mounted activities.  Approximately 95% of our members either own or lease a mount.  Several of our members are fortunate enough to borrow mounts, but it would not be wise to count on such an arrangement for the long-term.  

Shore Riders Pony Club does not own a barn or any mounts, and we are unable to provide a mount to your child.  Our members have several different arrangements for accessing a suitable mount;  ownership, lease, borrow, boarded at home, boarded at a riding center, etc.  

What can I attend WITHOUT a horse/pony?  Your child is welcome at all pony club activities.  His/her participation in unmounted activities such as the monthly unmounted meetings, study groups, lectures, etc will provide a wealth of equine knowledge.  Your child is also welcome to attend mounted activities, as an auditor, to watch, listen, and learn as well.  Unmounted members are always valuable in assisting the instructors, or serving as jump crew, and helping other members prepare.  There are also competition opportunities available for unmounted members;  the regional Quiz rally is an unmounted knowledge competition in which all members are encouraged to participate.  Also, each mounted team competition requires an unmounted Stable Manager to compete as a team member and help the team with the organization of all horse management related tasks.  There is even a USPC rating certification just for Horse Management and a member can study and test for every level of USPC certification, all the way up to the HA rating, without ever mounting a horse.  (We currently have one member who is in this exact situation and is working toward progressing through the USPC ratings on the Horse Management "track")  However, attending club activities without a mount can sometimes be frustrating for a child so you will have to determine how this situation will work out for your child.  The take-a-way point here is this:  There are plenty of activities that your child may attend and receive exposure to horses if you find that you are unable to secure a mount.    

Need to find a horse? Unless you are a professional you should enlist the help of a trusted horse professional.  This should be someone either personally known to you, such as your instructor, or someone with an upstanding reputation and verifiable references. Your child's instructor will be the best judge of the suitability of a mount, and should work together with you and whomever you enlist to help you search for the horse.  Even knowledgeable and experienced people work with a professional to find the right horse. It is worth every penny to pay a professional to help you.  If you don't know where to begin, we are happy to refer to you some Pony Club friendly barns and instructors.

 

DO WE NEED OUR OWN TRAILER?

Well, yes.  It is sometimes possible to arrange to share a trailer with another family for a mounted activity, but it is up to each individual family to secure their own transportation.  USPC nor Shore Riders Pony Club provide this service. 

If you make arrangements with another family to trailer your pony, you should recognize the burden it may place on the family with the trailer.  They will need to schedule additional time (wake up earlier in the morning and get home later at night) in order to pick you up and drop you off, they also typically end up having to clean up the trailer themselves.  Certainly, be sensitive to problems that arise if your pony has issues with loading, standing in the trailer, or unloading.  And finally, there is additional stress caused by being responsible and liable for the transportation of your pony.   Sadly, family friendships can be strained over the issues that may arise from trailering, so please, all parties need to be certain to cover all the details, including appropriate compensation and assignment of responsibilities, if making such arrangements.  

Even so, we have had members who do not own trailers.  One member has been active for 11 years, participated in mounted clinics, regional pony club rallies, attended local schooling shows, and even got her horse to the USPC National Championships TWICE, all by asking for trailer rides.  But, again, this is not the norm and there were many activities to which this member was unable to attend for lack of a spot in someone else's trailer.   Perhaps the best way to see the no-trailer question is this;  Hope for the Best, Prepare the Worst.  Ask for a ride. Hope to get it.  Be prepared if you don't. 

 

WHAT KIND OF SADDLE SHOULD I BUY?

As your child progresses in skill level it is likely you will want a saddle that is appropriate to the particular discipline in which your child chooses to concentrate.  There is a world of saddles available and the best advise is to ask your child's instructor.   The saddle must fit the child AND the pony, so it is not wise to buy a saddle for a surprise gift. 

 

DO I NEED SPECIAL CLOTHING IN PONY CLUB?

Yes.  It is a membership requirement that Pony Club members wear a riding helmet meeting the ASTM/SEI standard when attending any mounted function.  A riding helmet can be purchased at any tack store.   Additionally, heeled boots that cover the ankle, and a medical armband (or bracelet) with updated medical card are also required at all times when working around horses.  These three items are hard and fast rules; no Shore Riders member will be permitted to mount their horse at any pony club activity without these three items.  No exceptions.

Note:  you will be given one medical armband and one insert when you join Shore Riders Pony Club.   If lost, additional armbands can be purchased at the USPC Bookstore at https://shopponyclub.org/

Much of the Pony Club attire requirements exist for reasons of practicality, tradition, and/or professionalism.    At a bare minimum, be prepared to have:  
>  A sleeved shirt with a collar (that can be tucked in) - a "polo" shirt, for example.  
>  riding pants
>  a belt if the riding pants have belt loops.    

Shore Riders Pony Club will, once or twice a year, try to make available an opportunity to order Shore Riders logo items, such as polo shits, saddle pads, tee shirts, etc.   We ask each Shore Riders member to purchase a club polo shirt and club saddle pad.  Shore Riders Pony Club sells these items to our members at cost - this is not a fund raiser and the club makes no money from the sale of these items.   

The attire needed to meet the varied US Pony Club activities can run from basic to formal;  the details of which are beyond this FAQ, and will be taught as a member advances through the certification levels.   The guidelines on attire do get revised from time to time.   The only real authority on suitable attire is the current discipline rulebook, and/or the Horse Management Rulebook.  

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