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!