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What is Pony Club?
Pony Club originated in Great Britain in 1928. The first official meeting was held in January 1930 with a recorded membership of 700. Today Pony Clubs are alive, well and flourishing in 31 countries, with an estimated membership of more than 130,000. It is the leading junior equestrian organization in the world. The United States Pony Clubs, Inc., was founded as a nonprofit national youth horsemanship organization in February 1954 with 18 formerly unaffiliated clubs and an estimated 750 to 800 members. The USPC founders were enthusiastic foxhunters who recognized the need for an organization to provide sound instruction for all interested children, especially those who otherwise could not afford expensive lessons. Today 10,000 happy children on happy horses and ponies participate in a variety of activities as members of some 600 clubs and centers across the nation.
The mission of Pony Club is “to provide a program for youth that teaches riding, mounted sports, and the care of horses and ponies, thereby developing responsibility, moral judgment, leadership and self-confidence.” Members of USPC have joined an organization dedicated to producing well-rounded horsemen and women and one that has produced many of the past and current Olympic and International riders.
USPC is unique because its educational programs place equal emphasis on the teaching of riding skills, horse-care fundamentals, and team participation with sportsmanship. From the moment youth join USPC until they graduate, they are part of a broad network of activities and educational programs that promote the health and safety of both horse and rider. USPC is dedicated to developing knowledgeable, competent, responsible, and caring horsemen.
More information about Pony Club can be found online at www.ponyclub.org
Irish Run Pony Club Riding Center
Established in 2005, the USPC Riding Center Program is designed to work with equestrian facilities that have a current riding lesson program, and provide them the opportunity to offer the Pony Club program through the administration of their facility. The intent of the program is to make available Pony Club membership to youth who would not traditionally been able to participate in Pony Club due to not owning or having consistent access to a mount. Riding Centers offer instruction in line with the Pony Club mission to teach children how to ride on the flat, over fences, and in the open. In addition to the Pony Club mounted meetings, Riding Centers also hold un-mounted meetings where members learn about the care of horses.
Pony Club Riding Centers are able to offer the full Pony Club program, including ratings and rallies. In addition, Pony Club members through the Riding Centers have access to all the opportunities and activities that USPC provides for its members, including Clinics, International Exchanges, National Youth Congress, Championships, College Scholarships, and so much more!
While Riding Centers are administered by the business owner, many centers rely on their parents and other volunteers to make Pony Club program successful. The riding center at Irish Run was started in 2009 and quickly became the largest club in the Midwest Region. With over twenty current members, it is an active club with great potential for growth.
What do you get?
Monthly meetings offer a lecture and presentation on some aspect of horse management and/or riding discipline. Topics have included equine disease, hoof care, feeding and conditioning, dental care, dressage, games on horseback and cross country. Lecturers have highly respected veterinarians and farriers in the area such as Dr. Roy C. Kipper, Dr. Dixon Appel, Dr. David Radechel and Randy Hensley.
Pony Clubbers have also had private tours of the Equine Referral Clinic and Prairie Meadows Race Track.