United States Pony Club is known to many, if not most, horse lovers, because it is a highly respected organization that promotes knowledge and riding skills for individuals up to the age of 25. Unless you live in an area where it is active, you may have some misconceptions about what Pony Club actually is and what it does. If you have never been involved, read on, chances are, you might want to look further into this amazing club.

The largest equestrian educational organization in the world

With over 600 individual clubs and 12,000 members across the United States, there is probably a local Pony Club near you. But even if you live outside the United States, you may be able to find one to join, as Pony Club operates in over 30 countries worldwide.

You don’t have to own a pony to belong

In fact, the word pony actually refers to the mount of a junior rider rather than the size of the animal. Many riders do own ponies, but there are as many—if not more—full size horses in Pony Club. Actually, you don’t have to own any horse at all to join Pony Club, but you must have access to a horse or pony so that you can participate in the mounted activities. Pony Club does not offer horses to potential members; it is up to you to make your own arrangements.

Pony Club is not just riding lessons

Although a lot of the mounted portion of Pony Club meetings are riding lessons, the organization involves much more. Education, safety, sportsmanship, and stewardship are the cornerstones of the foundation. You’ll learn much more than riding, too, as the values, skills and habits will serve you in every aspect of your life.


Pony Club is a family affair

Parents are very important in Pony Club and they are expected to take an active role in the club’s functions. Their involvement is vital to the club, although parents need not be “horse people.” There are plenty of other needs that don’t involve equine knowledge. Some of the volunteer opportunities include providing snacks to meetings, helping to organize unmounted meetings and implementing rallies.

Each local club sets its own schedule and fees

Although there are National dues that are set by the organization and Regional dues set by the region, each local club sets its own dues. How often they meet and expenses of running the club will vary by location, so each club will be slightly different. Membership runs yearly from January 1st to December 31st.

What happens at a Pony Club meeting?

The typical Pony Club will have both mounted and unmounted components at their meetings. Riding lessons are often taught by instructors who may be parents of members or others who are interested in helping club members learn to ride. (There may be a charge for lessons, depending upon the availability of volunteer instructors.) Because members will be at different levels in their riding skills, many clubs adopt a clinic format and may focus on upcoming rallies. Unmounted portions offer educational horse instruction on a diverse range of topics. Some of the topics may include: safety, rules and etiquette, veterinary subjects, nutrition, tack, trailering, horseshoeing, anatomy, and more.

What is a Rally?

A Pony Club competition is called a rally. Teams from local clubs challenge each other at the regional level. At rallies, parents are not allowed to interact with clubbers as they take care of their own horses in the barn and in the show. Teams usually consist of members, one of which will not ride, but will be the Stable Manager. He or she takes care of the many essentials that support the mounted competitors. This fosters teamwork and leadership. Members compete as teams, including being judged on their horse management skills in the barn.

What if you prefer riding western style?

Since 2010, Pony Club has opened its excellent program to include western riders as well as the traditional English style of riding. Currently, clubbers can seek certification in Western Riding, Trail, and Reining. At this time, there are no National Championship events for western riders, but you can achieve local level certificates (D-1 – C-2). All Pony Clubbers, regardless of their chosen style of riding, can complete the Horse Management levels into upper level certifications (H-B/H-HM/H/H-A).

What if there’s no local club?

Pony Clubs can be started by individuals who would like to be involved with the amazing programs offered by USPC by contacting the National Office. If there’s no club near you, consider starting one yourself. It may be the very thing that turns your horse loving kid into a mature, knowledgeable and responsible person who exhibits values that are desirable in any walk of life.

For more information, please contact the National Office.

United States Pony Clubs, Inc.

Mailing Address: 4041 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511
Phone: 859/254-7669     Fax: 859/233-4652

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