1 Dedication The modest goal of this handbook is to de-mystify what Pony Club is all about, and how our club, Penobscot Pony Club, fits into the grand scheme. This format will serve as general information for new and existing members. There will undoubtedly be revisions and updates. Our policies include and may amplify those of the Northeast Region and the United States Pony Clubs. Our common belief is that lessons taught in the barn and astride a horse will carry over into our children s adult lives and that they will be better prepared for the years ahead because of their involvement with Pony Club. We dedicate this handbook to the Founders of Penobscot Pony Club- the Braley Gray family and the hundreds of PPC members and parents who have kept the Pony Club spirit alive for over half a century! Beth Sypher District Commissioner
2 Mission: The United States Pony Clubs, Inc., develops character, leadership, confidence, and a sense of community in youth through a program that teaches the care of horses and ponies, riding and mounted sports. Core Values: Horsemanship- with respect to healthcare, nutrition, stable management, handling, and riding a mount safely, correctly and with confidence. Organized teamwork- including cooperation, communication, responsibility, leadership, mentoring, teaching, and fostering a supportive yet competitive environment. Respect- for the horse and self through horsemanship; for land through conservation; for others through service and teamwork. Service- by providing an opportunity for members, parents, and others to support the Pony Club program locally, regionally and nationally through volunteerism Education-at an individual pace to achieve personal goals and expand knowledge through teaching others. Pony Club Pledge: As a member of the United States Pony Club, I stand for the best in sportsmanship as well as horsemanship. I shall compete for the enjoyment of the game well played and take winning and losing in stride, remembering that without good manners and good temper, sport loses its cause for being. I shall endeavor to maintain the best tradition of the ancient and noble skill of horsemanship, always treating my horse with the consideration due a partner. I shall strive at all times to uphold the high ideals of the Pony Club and my country.
3 An Overview USPC Structure Pony Club is an organization of dedicated volunteers that began in England in 1929 as a junior branch of the Institute of the Horse. It has expanded to most parts of the world, and the United States Pony Club was formed in Today (2008), USPC has almost 11,000 members in 593 clubs and 43 regions, as well as 39 Riding Centers. Pony Clubs are flourishing in 31 countries, with an estimated total membership of 130,000. The founders were enthusiastic foxhunters who recognized the need for an organization to provide sound instruction for all interested children, especially those who could not afford expensive lessons. Pony Club in the United States is patterned after the British Pony Club, but is independent from Pony Club there. Each Pony Club is run by a volunteer District Commissioner, but involves entire families, and is a monument to volunteerism. Pony Club graduates often continue as volunteers, as they become instructors, or bring their own children or grandchildren to Pony Club. The name Pony Club reflects that many members join at a young age, when they are still mounted on ponies. Members can remain in Pony Club until they are 25, and most members ride horses rather than ponies. Pony club welcomes riders of all levels, and provides instruction in the English balanced seat style of riding. A child begins as uncertified, and may progress according to ability through the levels D1, D2, D3, C1, C2, C3, H-B, B, and ultimately, H-A and A levels ( see Certification section). USPC divides the country into regions, presided over by Regional Supervisors. The RS is responsible for the activities of the region, and act as liaisons between the National organization and the member clubs within the region. They communicate national policy to the clubs and communicate concerns of the clubs to the national board. The officers of the region include the RS, one or more Vice- RS, Treasurer and Secretary, as well as the Regional Instruction Coordinator (RIC), and Horse Management Organizer (HMO). Penobscot Pony Club is a member of the Northeast Region, encompassing all of Maine. The other clubs of the Northeast Region are; Tamarack PC (Gardiner area) established 1983 Clary Lake PC ( Jefferson) established 2003
4 Meduxnekeag River PC ( Houlton area) established 2003 Foxcroft PC (Dover-Foxcroft area) established 1986 Mollyocket PC (Yarmouth area)- established 2002 Epona PC ( Turner area) established 2008 Seacoast PC (Southern Maine) established 1993 Three Flags PC (Madison area)-established 1999 Penobscot Pony Club History PPC was founded in 1956 (the first club in Maine), by the families of Braley Gray, Sandra Johnson, and Sally Witham. The club facility is located just down the road from the original Gray farm, now known as Puckerbrush Riding Center. We have 20 stalls, a tack/meeting room and a large sand arena, with access to nearby trails and cross country fields. Lendon and Marshall Gray, (graduate A s) grew up, rode and taught here, and went on to have illustrious equestrian careers. PPC has hundreds of graduates, including many at the A and B level. Penobscot Pony Club colors are forest green and white. PPC logo here
5 PPC Membership A Pony Clubber s age is deemed to be their age as of January 1 st of the current year. Therefore, a child who turns 10 on February 9 th would be considered 9 yrs old for all rallies and activities from January 1 December 31 st of that year. There is no minimum age for PPC membership, but for riding purposes, all new members should be able to control their mounts at the walk and trot, and be able to pass the D1 rating requirements within 6 months of joining. Members may remain in Pony Club until they are 25 years old. New PPC members enter the club as uncertified and should be able to pass the D1 certification (or above) within 6 months. New uncertified members may compete at rallies for the first year only, at a level assigned by the DC. Uncertified members are not allowed to compete at the national level. Members of PPC are not required to own their own mounts; however they must have regular access to a mount in order to participate in mounted lessons. PPC does not own any mounts, and is under no obligation to provide members with a mount. Often PPC members and instructors can serve as contacts to find a suitable mounts, but arrangements for use lay with the member and their parents. PPC mounts must be at least 5 years old, and approved by the DC and instructors as safe and suitable in a group situation. Mounts deemed unsuitable may be asked to leave by the instructor or DC. Members and families must also make arrangements for trailering their mount to the PPC facility for lessons. PPC lessons consist of both mounted and unmounted instructions, and members are expected to participate in both. Older, more experienced members are expected to assist in both mounted and unmounted lessons according to their level requirements. PPC is not meant to be a drop off/take your lesson/leave situation. You will get as much out of your involvement in Pony Club as you are willing to put into it. A PPC member in good standing has paid dues for the current year, and has not been delinquent in fees/dues from the previous year. PPC members pay National, Region, and Club dues; these entitle members to participate in activities at all levels. Most activities require additional participation fees. Dues are payable on or before November 1 st each year, and are usually collected at the Annual Meeting of Sponsors in the fall. Late fees are assessed for national dues, payable by the member. Dues are set separately by the national, regional and local clubs and are subject to change. PPC sponsors and assists in numerous activities at the Club and Regional levels. Club dues are used for instructor salaries, member participation in rallies and ratings, and assistance with registration fees for competing at the national level. This fee doesn t cover all of these expenses, therefore children and parents contribute their time and leadership throughout the year to support the club. Our primary fundraisers are the PPC adbook, and PPC camp, with additional fundraising as needed.
6 Paperwork Coggins testing- documentation of a negative Coggins test at least every 3 years, as required by Maine law. A Coggins test assures that the equine is not infected with, nor a carrier of, Equine Infectious Anemia. Medical Armband Pony Clubbers must wear an up-to-date medical card in an armband to all mounted and unmounted Pony Club activities. Members without armbands may be held back from participating by the activity organizer. See the Forms section of the USPC website (ponyclub.org) for a copy of the Medical armband. Liability release PPC parents are required to sign one liability release form annually, releasing PPC from liability that may arise from or in connection with activities run by or sponsored by PPC. Expected Behaviors Penobscot Pony Club supports the USPC objectives of promoting safety and sportsmanship in an educational, supportive and fun environment, and will not permit any member of PPC to be disrespectful, ride in an unsafe manner, show unsportsmanlike conduct, abuse their ponies, or show improper behavior at any local, regional or national activity. Activity organizers have the option of issuing a warning to offenders, or of excusing them from the activity, depending on the severity of the offense. PPC members and their families must abide by the policies of the USPC, Northeast Region and PPC Parent Responsibility Parents are the most important participants in all of our club activities. PPC is an active club, and it takes a substantial amount of volunteer time to make it successful. We invite you to participate at our SPONSOR MEETINGS. Not everyone, of course, can or wants to be a club officer, but your attendance at meetings is critical, because your ideas and suggestions are very much appreciated and needed. Sponsor fees allot the sponsor voting rights in affairs of the club. Volunteering for one or more PPC JOBS that support the ongoing activities of the club is essential. Fundraising, as well as dues, pays for lessons, rallies and ratings, as well as facilities maintenance. This can include (though not limited to): organizing a regional rally, coordinating PPC Camp or the annual adbook, running yard sales, clinics, or fun shows. Our facility is over 50 years old, and parental assistance in the physical upkeep of the facility is critical maintaining it as a safe and effective place for our children to learn the art of horsemanship. Parental and member participation in Opening and Closing day activities is important.
7 We believe that the degree of satisfaction and growth that you and your child experience as a result if your involvement in Penobscot Pony Club is proportional to the time and effort invested in the club. Activities January/February/March April/ May USPC Annual Meeting Unmounted Instruction/Quiz Rally practice Regional Rendezvous Quiz Rally NER Ready to Ride camp Open PPC grounds Mounted lessons begin in May Saturdays Horse Management/Standards and Ratings Clinic Spring Ratings June/July/August Mounted lessons continue switch to Wednesday when schools end for summer; lessons end when school restarts Regional Rallies: Dressage, Show Jumping, D rally PPC Camp USPC Championships September/October/November Regional Rally Games Fall Ratings
8 PPC Annual Meeting of Sponsors Northeast Region Annual Meeting Holiday party/ Awards Instruction PPC provides mounted instruction for all members. When school is in session, mounted meetings are held Saturdays at the PPC facility on the Miles Rd. in Newburgh. When school lets out for the summer, lessons switch to Wednesdays until the end of August, providing about 15 lessons for members to take advantage of. Lessons will generally be held regardless of the weather, with options of holding unmounted lessons inside the PPC tackroom, or riding indoors at a nearby facility. Proper attire for lessons for both mount and rider are required. Tack must be clean, in good repair and appropriately fitted to the mount. Riders should wear jodphurs or breeches, paddock boots with half-chaps or garters, ASTM/SEI approved helmet, shirts that cover the midriff and shoulders and are tucked in. There will be a safety check prior to mounting for each member, and ponies with unsafe tack will not be permitted to be ridden until the tack is changed. Lessons begin promptly at the appointed time. Members should arrive early enough to allow time for the safety inspection and a mounted warm-up. Members should notify the DC in advance if they are unable to attend a lesson. Members may attend a lesson unmounted. Pony Clubbers are expected to give their full attention to the instructor and participate fully in the lesson. Instructors have complete authority during the lesson. Any Pony Clubber who is disrespectful, disruptive, or riding in an unsafe manner, will be excused from the lesson.. Parents may supervise their children to prepare for the lesson, but are reminded that the children are encouraged to be as independent as possible; older members are expected to assist younger and less experienced members. Unmounted meetings are learning opportunities for both Pony Clubbers and their parents. Topics in horse management, rallies, nutrition, veterinary topics, etc. will be covered, as well as important review for upcoming rallies/ratings. Upper level rated members may conduct these sessions, in order to fulfill the teaching experience required of them at the advanced levels. Unmounted meetings take place in January through March in preparation for Quiz Rally in March; as well as with mounted meetings in the summer. Parents are welcome to assist/lead an unmounted meeting on a topic of interest; please contact the DC.
9 Certifications General The USPC Standards are divided into separate levels to provide a progressive program of certifying members from one level to the next in both Horse Management and Riding skills. These levels begin with the fundamental level of D-1 and progress through D2, D3, C1, C2, C3, H-B, B, H-A, and A. The highest levels represent a degree of competence considered to be that of a professional horseperson. Pony Clubbers are certified so that they may be assigned to appropriate levels of riding at rallies and camps. At PPC, D1 and D2 members are tested by our instructors. D3 through C2 ratings are usually done by an outside examiner, but held locally. These tests are paid for by the club (if adequate funds exist). C3 and above certifications are considered national tests, usually done at an outside facility and scheduled to accommodate several members from multiple regions. Fees for these tests are usually borne by the member, although PPC can consider partial reimbursement for successful completion (again, if adequate funds exist). To be eligible for a certification, the candidate must be a member in good standing, with a record of regular attendance at lessons and activities. Members should have a thorough knowledge of the requirements for the level being tested, as evidenced by a completed flow sheet signed off by club instructors or other Pony Club approved person. D3 and above certified members may sign off for members seeking testing 2 levels below them (i.e., D3 s may sign flow sheets for UR/ D1 candidates). DC and instructors must approve all certification applications. Members wishing to certify up should submit an Intent to Certify form to the Certifications coordinator/dc a minimum of 4 weeks prior to a scheduled testing. Certification Levels Members are referred to the New Member Book and Parent Answer Book (available online at ponyclub.org>forms), as well as the Standards of Proficiency for each level for details on each levels requirements. New to Pony Club in 2010 is the Alternative Certification program, designed to allow members flexibility in testing upwards. Starting at the D2 level, members may progress through one or two of the three testing skill sets (Horse Management, On the Flat,) separately or together prior to or instead of testing for the Over Fences portion. The traditional certification consisting of all three components may still be done. For example, a Pony Clubber may progress sequentially through a test: i.e. D2/HM (D2 in horse management, D1 on the flat and over fences); D2 HM/Fl (D2 in HM and on the flat, D1 over fences), or the traditional D2 (tested successfully at all 3 components). Horse Management must be completed first, and On the Flat must be completed before Over Fences can be tested.
10 Pony Clubbers with a certification of D3 or higher are required to keep an up-to-date USPC Health Maintenance Book. When the candidate has met the standards, he/she will receive a certificate indicating that they satisfied all the requirements for the testing at that level. If a candidate does meet the standards for a particular section, then arrangements can be made for retesting that/those section(s).needing to retest any sections, or even an entire test, should be viewed as a learning experience, and the candidate can try again another time. It should be pointed out that most Pony Clubbers, especially rating at the upper levels, will need to retake a rating at some time in their Pony Club careers. Rallies A Pony Club Rally is an opportunity for Pony Clubbers to compete on a team in a fair and friendly way at competitions organized at the Regional and National level. In the Northeast Region, rallies are held in Dressage, Show Jumping, Games and D level eventing. There is also an unmounted knowledge based competition known as Quiz rally. Rally teams compete in horse management, evaluating the rider s knowledge of sound, practical horse care according to the rider s certification, with scores for Formal Inspection, team equipment scores, and any spot inspection scores earned throughout the day. A separate ribbon is awarded for the Horse Management scores. The team riding score combined with the HM score are combined for the final team placement ribbon. Rally teams consist of three or four riding members, and a Stable Manager (except Quiz, which doesn t require a SM). The Pony Clubbers age, experience, riding skill, certification, cooperativeness and lesson attendance all play into the decision as to team makeup. Rallies designated as Qualifying for National Championships may be at the maximum scale of difficulty. Rally teams will most likely be composed of older, more experienced members along with younger, less experienced members in order to provide an equitable mix of experience and ability. On occasion, there may not be enough members interested to make up an entire team, in which case a scramble team includes members of other clubs. This is a great way for kids to network and make friends from other clubs; they will continue to interact with these kids at other pony club activities, and many fast friendships are made this way. Team members are expected to work together with respect, cooperation and mutual encouragement, remembering that they represent PPC and their actions are a reflection on PPC. National level Rallies At the National level, team membership is based on the riders regional rally performance. USPC hold yearly Championships for the Eastern, MidWest and Western regions of the US. Every three years, a Festival portion is added the week after Champs, during which pony clubbers can take advantage of mounted and unmounted clinics with top equestrians in many equine disciplines. Eastern Championship
11 is held alternating years in Lexington, Kentucky at the Kentucky Horse Park, as well as Lexington, Virginia at the Virginia Horse Park.. Stable Management Horse care and stable management at rallies is based on safe practices. Pony clubbers are expected to have fun in a safe setting. Horses must be sound and display a level of conditioning appropriate for the level of performance. All mounts are checked by a veterinarian for soundness during the jog phase at the onset of rally. Unsound horses will be excused from the competition. Rally Commitment A decision to commit to be a part of a rally team is required by the date set by the PPC rally coordinator or DC. Once a commitment has been made, the pony clubber is expected to participate, unless, of course illness or mount unsoundness is the reason. The team may be left to participate as a short ( 3 person) team or combine as a scramble team with another club. Rally Fees and Paperwork All rally teams are charged a fee by the hosting club or National office to cover the costs of hosting the rally. It is the policy of PPC to pay these fees for its team members and stable managers. PPC may pay a portion of the registration fee for members participating in Championships as funds allow, and the Region may also pay a portion. The ability of PPC to cover these costs is dependent on its fundraising successes. Parents/family is responsible for supplying the competitor s food, drink and travel or accommodations. The Team Captain The team captain is chosen by the DC and PPC Rally coordinator. Age, experience, rating and attitude are factors considered in this selection. The team captain and stable manager can be the same person. The team captain is responsible for working with the stable managers to ensure that all the required equipment is on hand and ready for rally. The team captain is the only member authorized to protest rulings made by horse management and riding phase judges. Team members should take scoring concerns to the captain, who in turn takes their concerns to the Chief Horse Management judge. Rules for protest are found in the Horse Management Rulebook, which should be reviewed prior to the rally. The Stable Manager The Stable Manager is a integral part of the rally team. The SM assists the team captain in getting all required equipment ready for rally. They assist members in setting up in the tack room/trailer at the start of rally. They help members get ready for Formal Inspection, and help them get to inspections and riding phases on time. The SM is not a maid or slave of the other members. All team members are ultimately responsible for the care of their own mount and care of the team area. Stable managers are discouraged from also being riding members. The SM usually wears a club polo shirt and khaki pants/ jodhpurs and must have proper footwear and medical armband while on rally ground.
12 Rally Attire All PPC members are expected to take turns being the SM at a rally. Rally attire must be neat, clean and in good repair. Long hair is to be secured at all times and hairnets worn. Jewelry could be hazardous to other riders and is limited to stud earrings (no other piercings) and medical bracelets. Pony Club pin, rally pinney and medical armband are to be worn at all times while on rally grounds. Proper headgear is required while mounted, at formal inspections, and at jog. Conventional riding footwear must be worn at rally, having a heel and made of leather, synthetic leather, or rubber riding or jodhpur boots. Muck boots, Wellies and leather sneakers are allowed only if not mounted. Formal vs Informal Attire At rallies, pony clubbers may dress either formally or informally. Coat color defines whether dress is formal or informal. Formal dress consists of a solid black, solid navy or solid dark grey coat; a white riding shirt with stock tie fastened with a plain gold pin fastened horizontally through the knot; white, canary, tan or buff breeches; black field/dress tall boots or matching black jodhpur boots with smooth half-chaps; white, black or brown gloves (optional), and a simple belt if the breeches have belt loops. Informal dress is defined as wearing a coat of any color other than black, and collared shirt or turtleneck, a choker ( pin optional), white or colored stock tie; any color jodhpurs/breeches; black or brown boots with smooth half-chaps; white, black or brown gloves ( optional), and belt if belt loops present. Medical Armband Medical armbands with a current copy of the USPC Medical card (find at ponyclub.org > forms>medical card) must be worn at all times while on rally grounds, as well as all other Pony Club activities. These may be worn on the upper arm, or in the case of a very small member, around the leg or pinned to the sleeve. One armband will be provided to new members; lost armbands can be replaced at cost (see the DC) or found at most tack shops. The penalty for a missing armband may be exclusion from the competition or activity. Sample One-Day Rally Schedule 7 am Competition grounds open unload, unpack and trailer set-up 8am briefings of competitors, parents and friends 8:30 volunteer briefings
13 9:30 Formal inspections/safety checks/soundness jogs 10:00 competition begins Turn-backs after last ride of the day Awards/Closing One-day rallies typically last all day, and competitors may well fall asleep on the way home!! Parent s responsibilities Rallies are for the Pony Clubbers. They gain valuable experience, knowledge and growth in responsibility by participating with the help of their team members. TEAMS MAY BE PENALIZED IF THERE IS ANY UNAUTHORIZED ASSISTANCE!! Parents can help in many other ways. Parents are responsible for ensuring that their child is well rested and fed prior to rally. Getting child and mount to rally on time is important. Snacks, lunch and drinks packed in a cooler for the competitor to keep at the team trailer is important. The rally is run by volunteers, so parents may volunteer for a variety of jobs that will allow them to watch their children in action, yet not interfere. Each team is assigned a chaperone that the children can go to for problems that the Stable Manager or Team Captain can t help with. By being a Horse Management Assistant, parents can have access to the trailer areas and can check on their kids from a distance. HMA s avoid directly interacting with their home team to avoid a conflict of interest. Other Activities PPC Camp PPC s camp is an opportunity for pony clubbers and non-pony clubbers to spend time with the friends and their ponies in s fun, relaxed, supervised environment where quality instruction is offered in a structured format. Camper tent out at the facility, and take care of their mounts themselves while they are here. For PPC, this is a major fundraiser, and all parents are asked to participate in some way, whether their child is attending or not. Donating food for meals, snack, running an unmounted lesson or craft, as well as supervising for a day or a night are all ways that parents can make this camp a success.
14 Camp is held for 3 or 4 days, after school is out for the summer. Campers begin the day around 7 am and feed their ponies and clean stalls. The day ends around 6 pm with campers feeding their ponies and bedding them down for the night, after which they have dinner and free time or a structured activity. Campers take 2 mounted lessons a day, taught by seasoned instructors as well as upper level pony clubbers. Lessons will teach flat, jumping and riding in the open. There are also unmounted lessons each day, as well as a craft activity. Local equestrians may come to teach or demonstrate a related topic, such as trailer safety, showing miniature horses, equine massage therapy, or saddle fitting. Pony clubbers can take this opportunity to practice required skills in preparation for certification testing. The last day of camp may include a fun show or mounted games. Meals are provided for the campers, with PPC parents providing and serving the food. Campers are busy every minute, and lots of progress is made in riding skills, as well as developing friendships. PPC Junior Board The Junior Board may consist of all members 18 and under. They can nominate and elect their own officers, then develop an activity to work on as a group, including fundraising. They could then plan a horsey or non-horsey activity, such as a trip to Splashtown or perhaps buy saddle pads with the PPC logo. Any interested member or parent is encouraged to contact the DC. PPC Awards Penobscot Pony Club holds an annual Holiday party each December, during which we give out achievement awards for participating members and volunteers. PPC recognizes the following achievements: Ratings: members who have rated up during the year are recognized. Membership: certificates for five, ten, and fifteen years of participation in USPC/PPC will be given Instructors Award: given by the instructors for members demonstrating the meaning of a good Pony Clubber ; for riding skills as well as participation in PPC activities. This award is a small engraved plaque. Friend of Penobscot Pony Club award: given to a parent, sponsor, or volunteer who has shown considerable effort to help PPC in its mission. This is a perpetual plaque with the name engraved, and displayed at the PPC facility. Other awards may be given as suggested by the sponsors/members. Regional Activities The Northeast Region offers several activities throughout the year:
15 Regional Rendezvous is a fun-filled week-end held each February, and offers educational sessions on topics pertinent to pony clubbers, including hands-on activities. There are guest instructors as well as familiar faces. A banquet, regional awards and silent auction are held Saturday evening. This popular activity breaks up the winter months, and lets Pony Clubbers from all over the state see old friends and make new ones. Ready to Ride Camp is held each spring, and serves as a jump start for the upcoming competition season. This is an opportunity for pony clubbers to ride with a USPC Visiting Instructor an A or B level Pony Clubber from another area of the country. This is an overnight camp as well, and riders care for their own mounts while attending. This is another great way for members to see old friends and make new ones that they will see again in upcoming rallies and clinics. Horse Management Clinic is held in early May, and is an important clinic for all Pony Clubbers (and parents) to attend. Focusing on the Horse Management Rulebook, topics in horse care, feeding, tack and veterinary care take place with knowledgeable instructors. In conjunction with HM Clinic, a Standards and Ratings Clinic is usually held every other year, using current Pony Clubbers to demonstrate the skills necessary for each rating level, so that other interested instructors ( and parents) can see in person what a D1 rider looks like, and how that differs from a D2, D3, etc. Other clinics and educational opportunities may be offered as well. PPC Organization The PPC organization is made up of the District Commissioner, officers, all pony clubbers, parents, sponsors and volunteers. A PPC sponsor is any interested party over the age of 21 who notifies the Secretary of his/her wish to be a sponsor, and pays the sponsor fee as designated. PPC sponsors have the power to: Elect PPC officers the DC, Join DC(s), Secretary, and Treasurer, and other Board members deemed necessary. Vote on PPC issues at the Annual Meeting of Sponsors, and other sponsor meetings held throughout the year. To conform to USPC requirements, an Annual Meeting of Sponsors is held each fall. The records and minutes of this meeting are sent to USPC so that PPC can retain its USPC Member Club charter. PPC may communicate with its members and families through mail, , and phone. Facebook may be used as well, for members over 13. It is very important that the DC have accurate phone numbers