Shore Riders

FAQ9c-Pony Club Sports Overview

The USPC offers organized competitions ("Rally"), venues, and support, in 11 equestrian sports;

* Dressage * Stadium Jumping * Eventing * Tetrathlon * Mounted Games * Quiz *  Polocrosse  * Western Dressage * Gymkhana * Western Trail *

Not all regions/clubs have the facilities or expertise to participate in each of these sports.  Currently, the Delmarva Region, to which the Shore Riders Pony Club belongs, does not have a Mounted Games or Western program.  However, these sports are active in other regions and our members are allowed to participate in that region's activities (clinics and rallies).


DRESSAGE:  Dressage is a discipline where the rider and horse perform a series of movements in a flat arena (no jumps) in a prescribed sequence known as a "test".  Usually there is one D level and one C level rally in our region each year.  (Normally held in May, in Maryland)  At a USPC Dressage rally you can expect to ride 2 or 3 dressage tests, the test being equivalent to your current rating level.  A full team is made up of 4 riding members and 1 stable manager.  ( a 'short team' of 3 riding members and a stable manager is allowed as well)   With a full team, the lowest score of each round of tests will be dropped.  All scores are counted when competing on a 'short team'.  Currently, a musical test must be ridden in order to qualify for USPC championships.   
    D1 rated members do not compete within the team and are scored independently but are allowed to have a 'horse handler' (older member of the club) to assist with the day's organization, and care and tacking of the D1's mount.  BUT, the D1 member will be situated with a team from their club (if available) and be able to enjoy the support and horse management skills of a team.  
    The USPC Dressage Rules of Competition are based on the US Dressage Federation (USDF) rules for competition.  A Pony Club competitor is expected to know the rules of the sport and will be tested on these rules on a written test during the rally.  Click here to read or save the USPC rulebook.  


EVENTING:  Eventing (the competitions are also referred to as "Combined Training", "3-Day", or "Horse Trials") is sometimes called the Triathlon of equestrian sports because the horse and rider must complete three phases of competition: dressage, cross country, and stadium jumping.   
    Eventing was first introduced at the Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1912 and the tests of this newly organized equestrian competition were patterned after the training and testing of military chargers;
        1)  precision, elegance, and obedience on the parade ground.  (Dressage)
        2)  jumping ability and endurance in traveling great distances over difficult terrain and formidable obstacles in the relaying of important dispatches (Cross County)
        3)   and jumping ability in the arena to prove the horse's fitness to remain in service (Stadium Jumping)
Spread over consecutive days, it was a complete test for the Army horse, and in fact only Army officers on active duty were allowed to compete in that first Olympic Three-Day Event, and they had to be mounted on military chargers. 
    The different levels of competition are Elementary, Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, Preliminary, Intermediate and Advanced.  The competitions for the lower levels of Eventing are often called Horse Trials.  Higher levels of competition are conducted over two or three days, the ultimate being the 3-Day event.  
    As with most USPC competitions, a USPC Eventing Rally is a TEAM competition.  A full team will have 4 riders and 1 stable manager. ( a 'short team' of 3 riding members and a stable manager is allowed as well)  With a full team, the lowest score of each round of tests will be dropped.  All scores are counted when competing on a 'short team'.   
    The US Pony Club organizes Eventing competitions in the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, and Preliminary levels.   Normally, the Delmarva Region will have one Eventing Rally per year.  In past years, the Eastern Pennsylvania Region has held a D1/D2 Eventing Rally for members who have never Evented before.  The Delmarva Clubs have been allowed to send competitors to this introductory Eventing Rally.  
    The USPC Eventing Rules of Competition are based on the US Eventing Association (USEA) rules for competition.  A Pony Club competitor is expected to know the rules of the sport and may be tested on these rules on a written test during the rally. ?


SHOW JUMPING:  Show Jumping, also know as "stadium jumping", "open jumping", or "jumpers", is a timed competition where the horse and rider are required to negotiate a series of obstacles in a predetermined order and do so without knocking down any jump rails.  Classes are commonly seen at riding competitions throughout the world, including the Olympics.  
    People unfamiliar with riding competitions may be confused by the difference between hunter classes and jumper classes.  Hunters are judged subjectively on the degree to which they meet an ideal standard of manners, style, and way of going.  Conversely, jumper classes are scored objectively, based entirely on a numerical score determined only by whether the horse attempts the obstacle, clears it, and finishes the course in the allotted time.  Jumper courses often are colorful, and at times, quite creatively designed.  Jumper courses tend to be much more complex and technical than hunter courses, because the riders and horses are not being judged on style.  The US Pony Club offers competition in "Jumpers", not "Hunters".  
    Usually there is one D level rally in October, and one C level rally in May in our region each year.   At a USPC Show Jumping rally you can expect to ride 3 jumping rounds.  At the C level, one of the rounds may be a "take-your-own" line course, where you decide in which order to jump each of the obstacles.  The height of the jumps will closely coincide with your current pony club rating level.  For example, at a D rally a competitor will not be given the choice to jump 3' jumps, and at a C level rally the competitor will not be able to choose 2' jumps.  A full team is made up of 4 riding members and 1 stable manager.  ( a 'short team' of 3 riding members and a stable manager is allowed as well)   With a full team, the lowest score of each round will be dropped.  All scores are counted when competing on a 'short team'.  
    The USPC Show Jumping Rules of Competition follow the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) rules for competition.   A Pony Club competitor is expected to know the rules of the sport and may be tested on these rules on a written test during the rally.   A copy of the USPC Show Jumping Rulebook must be available in the team tack room during a Show Jumping Rally.  


QUIZ:  At a USPC Quiz rally, pony clubbers' knowledge is tested regarding horses, their care, and equine sports. This is an unmounted rally, held indoors, and our Delmarva regional rally is usually held in February.  Members compete as a team, with one member being designated as the captain.  Like most other rallies, the lowest score of each round/phase is dropped if you are competing on a full team (4 members). Shore Riders strongly encourages every member to compete at a Quiz rally. 
    Shore Riders Pony Club holds Winter Quiz Study Groups to prepare our members for the Quiz Rally. These study groups begin in November and run weekly until the rally in February.  The study group sessions are usually held at a member's home, on a Friday or Saturday, lasting approx. 2 hours with 4 topics being covered.  All Shore Riders members and sponsors are welcome to attend any/all study group meetings.  There is no charge for attending the winter study group meetings and it is not required the member compete at the quiz rally in order to attend the study group.  The winter study group meeting schedule will be published and distributed to all members in November.  
    Quiz is also competed at the USPC National Championships each year, one of the few sports where a member as young as 11 years old (and a D2 or higher) may participate in USPC Championships. The member has to have finished in the top 10 scorers in their division to be considered for the Delmarva National Team.  Selection to the Delmarva National Team is decided by the Delmarva Regional Supervisor.
    There are five main phases in a quiz competition: classroom, barn, stations, mega-room, and the written test.
    Classroom Phase – Questions are asked of each individual member of your team in a classroom setting. The questions are matched to the competitor's rating level and cover such areas as equine nutrition, conformation, competition rules, riding skills, veterinary knowledge, and equine first aid. There would typically be between 2 – 5 rounds of questions asked in this phase.
    Barn Phase - Members are taken into a barn (or mock barn) and asked questions that test the members' practical, hands-on knowledge (for example, identifying unsafe barn situations, how to bank a stall, tying a quick release knot, etc.). Typically 2-4 rounds of questions will be presented in this phase.
    Stations Phase - The stations phase is limited only by the creativity of the organizer: questions can be written, games, hands-on, oral, etc. All questions in the stations phase are answered as a team, with deliberation and collaboration among team members allowed. The questions are meant to be of a more difficult nature than in the classroom phase. Each team may be presented with 3 to 8 different stations (teams move from table to table).
    Mega-room Phase – Competitors move from table to table to identify equine related objects. Members compete as individuals and are not standing with their teammates during this phase. Each table will display horse-related items based on a particular theme (e.g. farrier tools, tack, types of feed, polocrosse umpire signals, etc) and the competitor will have to identify the items within a given time limit. 
    Written Test Phase – well, its’ a written test. The test is taken individually (the member is not sitting with their team) and may have up to 25 questions matched to the rating level of the competitor. 
    A Pony Club competitor is expected to know the Quiz Rulebook. However, at a Quiz rally, the competitor is expected to know the rules of EVERY USPC sport! You can expect to be presented with questions on all aspects of horse care and sport, appropriate to your rating level. 

Every two years USPC selects a US team to send to the International Quiz Exchange.  The countries participating in the International Exchange are Japan, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.  Click here to go to the International Exchange page of the USPC.  


TETRATHLON:  The Tetrathlon (“Teh” “trath” “lon”, or commonly referred to simply as “tet”) is a four-phase competition comprised of running, swimming, shooting, and riding.  Think of this as a TRIathlon, but with the added enjoyment of riding your horse.  However, unlike a TRIathlon, where one phase runs right into the next phase, in a TETrathlon rally the four phases are competed separately with ample time to prepare in between each phase.  The US Pony Club is the only youth organization in the United States to host tetrathlon competitions.   
    The Delmarva region normally holds their regional Tetrathlon rally in May, with both qualifying and non-qualifying divisions.  A tetrathlon rally will always be held over two or more days, as the rulebook requires that the endurance phases (running and swimming) may not be held on the same day.  A typical schedule would be riding and swimming on day 1, and running and shooting on day 2.  

Shooting Phase - The shoot phase of competition tests a competitor's skill, in a standing position, using an air pistol on a 10 meter course.  Any type of compressed air or CO2 pistol which does not exceed the specifications outlined in the Tetrathlon Rule Book is permitted.

Riding Phase - The Ride phase of competition provides an opportunity for the rider and mount to demonstrate equestrian skills over a predefined course. Courses are designed as Stadium, Cross Country, or a combination, where the course incorporates stadium fixtures as well as natural terrain (this phase is always competed in an enclosed jumping ring)

Running Phase - The Run phase of competition challenges each competitor's physical stamina and endurance. The course is designed over cross country terrain and may include obstacles that must be negotiated, such as hay bales, logs, low event fences, etc.

Swimming Phase - The swim phase of competition allows competitors to demonstrate their swimming skills over a pre-defined course length, measured in either meters or yards.


HORSELESS RALLY:  The Horseless Rally, in some regions called the “Everything but the Horse Rally”,  is a competition organized to simulate an actual mounted competition without riding and caring for an actual horse.   It is intended primarily for members new to Pony Club who have not yet participated in a USPC rally, but all members are welcome and some of our members have attended multiple times.   
    New and young members can sometimes be quite anxious about competing in an unfamiliar place with an unfamiliar format.  Adding the responsibility of horse care and riding to this situation may be overwhelming to some.   The purpose of the Horseless Rally is to familiarize our new members with the format, structure, and procedures of a competition in a fun, low-stress way by removing the responsibilities of the actual horse, but yet keeping the spirit of the competition intact.   Think of the Horseless Rally as a “mock-rally” or “practice-rally”.    After participating in the Horseless Rally, our new members will have less anxiety about competing in their first mounted USPC competition and be better prepared for concentrating on their horse care and riding.   We recommend all new members participate in at least one Horseless Rally.   
    Everything that happens at a mounted competition will be scheduled at a Horseless rally;  
·        members are sent in teams of 3 or 4,  
·        they will set up a team tack room, 
·        they will be properly attired for the sport being simulated (i.e. Show Jumping, Dressage, etc),
·        attend the rally briefing,
·        go to formal inspection
·        take a written test
·        ride a jumping or dressage course (on foot) 
·        go to a safety check and turnback
·        be judged on the horse management of their simulated horse,
·        attend the awards ceremony
·        pack up the team tack room
    The Delmarva region normally holds their Horseless Rally in March or April each year.  There is no rulebook for a Horseless Rally.  The rules of the rally follow the sport that is being simulated. For example, if the Horseless Rally is simulating a Show Jumping Rally, the team will be required to know, bring, and be tested on the Show Jumping Rulebook. 


Go here to read about each of these sports in USPC.


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