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Can you talk about U.S. Pony Club?


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I rode in a pony club in the 1980s. :) When I rode, it was awesome. I think it is crazy expensive, but that's more because of having to own a horse than the club itself. My comments may be less than helpful if policies/rules/programs have changed a lot. :) So, take it with a bit of salt.


Back then, you had to have a horse (owned or leased, but available for your use), and had to haul the horse to weekly group lessons. Lessons were sorted by ability/level. The levels motivate the kids to work on skills in order to pass tests to get to the next level. It was all about 3-day-eventing (dressage, jumping, cross country) which is English style. Events (horse shows) could keep you busy most of the year on the weekends. You'd need to do at least a handful each year, and you could do many more. They are expensive mostly due to horse-hauling costs, but you also have to invest in the fancy riding outfits and show fees.


There are also knowledge-based contests which are fun. My team won 2nd at nationals in the "Knowdown" one year. We got to go to Kentucky for it (from VA). It was fun. I liked that stuff. Summer camp was also fun. It was local to my area, so I didn't stay overnight, but my horse did. :) We won a trophy for having the best "horsemanship" which means clean and well-cared for horse, stall, tack, etc. LOL, I liked taking care of the horse more than riding, and Pony Club supported that interest, which is nice.


Overall, pony club was a great experience for me. Good kids, nice lessons, fun events, nice social things. If we owned horses, were able/willing to do intense showing/etc, and had a pony club locally, I am sure I'd consider it for my kids. It could be very fun socially. For me, it definitely was a positive experience. In mine, there were some very wealthy kids, some pretty poor kids, and some in the middle. I think that would vary with where you live. Back where I did it in the 80s is now sooooo expensive that I doubt there are any poorer kids riding anymore; their families have sold the land a long time ago. But, if you live in a more rural place where a variety of income levels ride (as that area was in the 80s), then you can get a nice cross section of folks, but all with involved/interested parents since pony clubbing requires a lot of parental involvement. So, generally good families and good kids.


I think any pony club would be highly dependent on the LOCAL pony club leaders. They are/were geographically organized, so you'd just need to check out your local one. IME, they attract people who are willing/able to spend a lot on horses, so if the horse thing is really tight in your budget, then investigate show/camp/etc costs thoroughly before taking the plunge in order to avoid nasty surprises.


Good luck.

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Thanks. I spoke with the leader tonight and it sounds nice. Nothing is required really, everything (Shows I mean) is what hte kids make of it. Not every meeting is a mounted meeting especially in Wisconsin. We live in a pretty rural area and there is only one club near us. There are 10 girls in this club :)

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