Thursday, October 27, 2011

A super busy summer and on to winter!

MPPC certainly outdid ourselves this summer!  We hosted a very successful D Camp where young members of the region came together, with their horses, for four days of riding, fun and more fun!  We held camp at McKnight's wonderful farm in Turner, OR where the kids could play in the creek, practice on the very friendly but challenging cross country course, and camp out with s'mores and great company. 

We had terrific instruction, both mounted and unmounted.  Each group designed and performed a quadrille, worked on stadium jumping and got tons of xc experience.  Dr. Wickliffe did a great hands on lesson with leg dissection and one of the moms volunteered to teach us how to make paper and the results were amazing!  The learning was terrific and the fun was even more terrific. 

The very next weekend we went on to host the first ever Area 1 Tetrathlon Rally.  This was organized by one of our own members for her National Youth Board project.  Area 1 consists of all the clubs in Oregon, NW, Inland Empire, Big Sky and Alaska regions.  We had kids from Oregon, Washington and Alaska attend and it was a great learning experience for all of us, hosts and competitors.  Tetrathlon is the perfect rally for those that travel a long way.  It's running, swimming, show jumping and target shooting.  The rules allow sharing of a horse so those that came from far away got to share a horse that was provided by other competitors.  Talk about the spirit of sportsmanship!  You loan your horse to someone you don't know, and potentially someone that can "beat" you in the overall placing....but that's part of what makes tet so fun, everyone really bonds and has a great time. 

We're now moving indoors for the rainy season and xc riding comes to an end for the year.  We've got a revamped instructional program and we're really excited about our plans! 

Stay tuned for more news....

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's still trying to be spring!

After a warm, sunny day yesterday it's back to cool and wet again.  Some day our horses will get out of the mud and  rain!  Even though it's not summer yet, we're already planning our summer fun.  Mary's Peak will be hosting D Camp again this year at Nancy McKnight's great place in Turner, OR.  Last year we had about 40 kids and horses at camp and it was incredibly fun with riding, playing in the creek, arts and crafts, and more riding.  The most amazing thing was the arts and crafts where the kids did quilt blocks and a mom sewed them into a quilt to give Mrs. McKnight.  Another event is being planned by one of our older members, an inter-regional tetrathlon rally.  That will also be held at Mrs. McKnight's in August. 

This month we had a great unmounted lesson on parts of the horse and conformation.  Madison's pony was very patient as she got labels taped to most of her body parts!  There were a variety of horses to look at and compare their conformation.  

We would also like to welcome Emily to the club!  Emily and her pony Sophie are excited to join the fun of Pony Club.  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's trying to be spring!

What a totally crazy day today!  We had planned to have an unmounted lesson to practice our bandaging and then ride in the outdoor arena.  The weather report was for some rain, but we're in Oregon, what do you expect?  If we let a little rain stop us we would never ride!  Well, it wasn't just a LITTLE rain!  Downpour, wind, more we just spent more time bandaging!  Our little ones got some great practice on what they need to know; bell boots, splint boots and then some hands on practice so they'll be experts later on.  Our C level kids got to wrap, wrap and wrap some more! 

So far this year we've had a very active group of kids.  Claire, Michelle and Clare all qualified to go to Championships in Lexington, KY this summer in Quiz.  Yippee!  It will be very exciting for them!  Maggie attended the annual conference in Nashville as a part of the National Youth Board.  Marshall headed to Palm Springs to compete as a member of the U.S. Men's World Cup Pentathlon Team.  We are proud of all our kids!

We don't have anyone competing in the regional Show Jumping rally next month, I think we're all a bit exhausted right now.  But, in May we will be at the Dressage Rally at Devonwood and then it will be summer and things will get so busy we'll wonder where the time went!

May spring find us all back in the saddle more!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A busy new year!

Things are certainly busy for all our club members!  One would think that winter would be a time when we slow down and relax but not the members of MPPC.  Clare, Michelle, Madison and Claire are all busy studying for Quiz Rally.  All but Madison hope to qualify for Championships this year and if Madison were old enough she'd probably want to go to!  They get together to study and Claire makes the trip up north to study with her Sr. D team.  Maggie just returned from Nashville where she attended the Annual Conference as a member of the National Youth Board.  She represents Area 1 which is comprised of the Pony Clubs in the following regions; Oregon, NW, Inland Empire, Big Sky and Alaska.  She participates in a monthly phone conference with the board and is working on an inter-regional tetrathlon rally as her NYB project.  Tarra is busy with high school basketball as well as riding.  Marshall has probably the busiest schedule with high school swimming and training for the World Cup Pentathlon (fencing, swimming, running, shooting, show jumping) later this month.  MPPC is proud of all our kids! 

There will be no rest for us once spring starts.  First the show jumping rally, then the tet rally in the NW Region, then on to the dressage rally.  What could be more fun than kids and horses? 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


We were lucky with a fairly warm fall but now winter has set in.  You forget how cold you can get sitting at the barn watching the kids ride, hour after hour!  We have had some great lessons lately.  This week we had longe line lessons and worked on position.  It's amazing how many little things you find that you need to work on!  The kids all have homework assignments for next time and we're already seeing improvement. 

We decided that the Pony Club moms are overwhelmed so we brought in some expert help on our unmounted meetings.  Our older kids are in need of more information that we, and a few guest speakers a year, can give them so we have an A graduate coming in to give the unmounted each month.  This should really beef up our knowledge! 

Even though it's winter we have a busy schedule ahead of us.  We have plans to visit the Portland Racetrack for a tour, a weekend beach retreat, Quiz Rally is coming up sooner than we would think so we have to start our study groups for that.  Oh and riding in the cold, wet and dark....can't forget that! 

For now, we can enjoy the early Thanksgiving gift of snow and remember when we complained this summer that it was too hot.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rating Day

Another day in the life of Pony Club DC!  I was out hauling jumps as the sun was trying to wake up and saw a bunny, a deer and heard an owl.  When I heard the owl I seriously thought I must be crazy to be out there but then again, what better way to start your day? 

The day started off cool and cloudy but the sun finally came out and it was a perfect day for riding.  It is the most wonderful feeling to see how far the kids have progressed in the past year.  It was hard to believe that the youngsters that weren't able to any xc at the beginning of summer were cantering through the woods with smiles on their faces, jumping logs and having fun!  The horses were all good citizens and behaved beautifully.

The day of the rating has a bit of everything; nerves, excitement, stress, fun, joy, and unfortunately it can also have disappointment.  We had candidates that reached their goal of rating up and those that did not. It's always so hard to see the disappointment but we try to remind them just how far they have come to even attempt the rating and of all the things they have accomplished.

It was definitely a Pony Club weekend with a rating on Saturday and mounted lesson on Sunday!  We've moved back to an indoor arena so that means that winter and the rains are on their way.  With a couple weeks of rain in September it seemed like the rain was here for good but we've had a reprieve and it was HOT a few days last week.  We're so lucky to have a barn to ride in for the winter!

Now to get ready for the annual Sponsor's Meeting, the paperwork of the membership renewal and the planning for another year in Mary's Peak Pony Club.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rating Week

We're getting ready for a club rating tomorrow so it's been a busy week for all our kids.  A rating is where members are tested on their skills based on a national testing system.  The riding and knowledge skills get progressively more challenging with each rating, with each rating adding more on to what was required in the previous one. 

Here's an example of how the ratings progress:
D1 -  Name any 10 parts of the horse (such as mane, tail, hoof)
D2 - Name and locate any 15 parts of the horse
D3 - Identify at least 20 parts of the mount, to include withers , hock, fetlock, pastern, gaskin, croup, loins, as well as others.
C1 - Identify good and bad points of basic leg conformation. Describe five common unsoundnesses as to location and outward appearance.
C2 - Name five basic conformation qualities you want in a mount for your own use, and how they affect basic
movement and soundness. Name and locate on a mount the following areas of unsoundness: ringbone, curb, bowed tendons, sidebone, spavin, navicular, splint, thoroughpin, sprains.
HB -  Cause of lameness, location, and inner structure of: Navicular, Sidebone, Ringbone, Splints, Osselets, Bog and bone spavins, Thoroughpins, Curb,  Bowed Tendon,  Bucked shins, Cracks, Corns, Suspensory problems.
H-HA - Lameness associated with listed conformation faults, uses and limitations of horses with listed conformation faults.

So, how did you do?  Our kids know a lot by the time they get to the upper levels of Pony Club!  This is just one section covered in the rating so you can imagine how much preparation it takes to get ready. 

And of course there's always the rest of your life that gets in the way of Pony Club.  This week, while getting ready for the ratings I was sent to Spokane on the spur of the moment for a conference.  That meant driving south an hour to race home and pack, drive back north to work, pick up my co-worker that was going with me, then drive seven more hours.  Then attend a conference (which was well worth the effort!) and leave at noon to drive back.  But it's not just me!  One of our kids lost their Pony Club pin (required to wear at ratings) so there's a scramble to find an extra.  One of the horses in the club fell in the trailer on the way home from a lesson Sunday (he's fine) and a mom ends up in ER to get stitches after getting a hoof in the face (she's fine too).  We have a group of terrific kids and parents in the club that take these things in stride and keep their eye on the prize which is to learn more about riding and caring for their horses and having fun while they do it.  So tonight is a BBQ dinner with the upper level kids and examiner, tack cleaning and horse bathing for two of the members that are currently sharing a horse and then the big day tomorrow where we'll all try to avoid the crazy traffic caused by our OSU Beaver football game (Go BEAVS!) on our way home from the rating.

Good luck to the kids testing tomorrow!