What’s in a name? The United States Pony Clubs, Inc. (USPC or Pony Club) isn’t actually for ponies. When Pony Club was originally founded in Great Britain in 1929, the term “pony” was used generally to describe the mount of a youth rider. Horses, ponies, and equines of all sizes and breeds are welcome to participate with USPC members in the various activities available through the United States Pony Clubs.
The United States Pony Clubs, Inc. was founded in 1954 to teach riding and the proper care of equines. In nearly 70 years, USPC has grown and changed with the times while remaining true to its original mission and core values. Here are a few fun facts you might not know about today’s United States Pony Clubs:
There aren’t any age limits. Pony Club welcomes members of all ages.
While we are proud to be “where it all begins” for so many young riders, the United States Pony Clubs also welcomes adult members and anyone who wants to learn more about horse care and safe horsemanship. We have adult beginners and advanced adult riders, returning adult riders, parent-child duos who participate in Pony Club together, members who have earned their Century Award in dressage (where the combined age of the rider and mount equal 100 total years of age), as well as members who rejoin to complete certification goals and participate in Pony Club again as adults.
Western riders can be part of Pony Club, too.
USPC offers instruction and competitive opportunities in 11 English and western riding sports, including Dressage, Eventing, Gymkhana (barrels, pole-bending, and more), Horse Management, Mounted Games, Polocrosse, Quiz (a knowledge-based competition), Show Jumping, Tetrathlon (a four-phase event including running, swimming, riding, and shooting), Trail, and Western Dressage. With so many disciplines, Pony Club has something for everyone.
You don’t need to own a horse to join Pony Club.
No horse? No problem. Pony Club Riding Centers help make horses, equestrian sports, and Pony Club education accessible to more people, whether they own a horse or not. Pony Club Riding Centers are lesson barns and professional facilities licensed to offer the USPC curriculum and programming.
Pony Club teaches horse care, not just riding.
It’s not just about riding, or winning ribbons. Horse care is the cornerstone of the Pony Club program. Pony Club emphasizes horse management and care of our equine partners in all activities. The Pony Club certification program encourages members to set goals, expand their knowledge, and learn and progress at their own pace. From the beginning D-1 all the way to the advanced A certification, each of the Pony Club certification levels is more challenging than the preceding one and requires members to learn more about horses and their care, in addition to becoming increasingly accomplished riders, trainers, and instructors.
Lessons learned in Pony Club last a lifetime.
The benefits of the Pony Club program go far beyond the barn. In addition to horsemanship, Pony Club teaches valuable life skills, including teamwork, leadership, responsibility, confidence, and more—which all serve our members well, both personally and professionally.
Local Pony Clubs and Pony Club Riding Centers offer Pony Club education in safe horsemanship, with the opportunity for members to participate in mounted and unmounted meetings, clinics, Pony Club rallies, the Pony Club certification program, and much more. Anyone interested in becoming a Pony Club member may join a local club or riding center in their area. Visit the Pony Club website to learn more about membership and find a Pony Club or Riding Center nearby.