We're launching a blog to share what Pony Club is about and all the fun things our club does. Most people don't know about Pony Club. Well, it's not just about ponies! It's a name, some think it's a silly outdated name, but despite not being well known here on the west coast, it is well known back east and especially in other parts of the world. We are a part of a worldwide family, not just a little local club on our own in Oregon!
Pony Club originated in Britain and the name is totally British. They refer to any equine, no matter what the size, as a "pony" if it is ridden by a child. It was formed in 1929 in Britain and in 1954 in the U.S. and is known here as the United States Pony Club or USPC. "The mission of the United States Pony Clubs 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."
Mary's Peak Pony Club serves members in Linn and Benton counties. We typically have about 12 members and the ages generally run from 8-20 years old. We have riders of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced. In Pony Club members take a "rating" which is a skills test of riding and horse management knowledge. All members start at the D1 level and move up at their own rate with the highest level being the "A" rating.
Our club meets three times a month. We meet twice a month for mounted lessons and once a month for our unmounted horse management lesson. We work hard but we play too! Sometimes our lessons are mounted games, trail rides, or a camp out. We have guest speakers come to teach us about things we need to know as horse people. This year we had a great time making a replica of a horse's intestines out of balloons! Our winter holiday party is a huge favorite. We make gingerbread houses (or sometimes barns!) and decorate them (and eat the decorations too).
Right now we're having a very busy fall. We have a rating coming up in a week so the kids are all preparing for that. In addition to our regular meetings we're having a practice session tomorrow with one of our older members. That's one terrific thing about Pony Club, all kids learn how to teach and give back to the club so by the time they're a teen or young adult they're giving lessons and passing their knowledge on to the younger kids. It's an amazing mentoring process and everyone benefits from it. We just had two members return from the regional Eventing Rally and despite the rain they had fun. We'll be moving our lessons back to the covered arena for the winter. We've enjoyed riding outside this summer and practicing our cross country jumping but with the rains coming we'll be dry under cover. We're so thankful to Wildrose Farm in Philomath for hosting our club meetings! It has been a great relief to have one place we can ride at all the time rather than moving around all the time.
Stay tuned for more updates on what our club is doing.