WHAT KIND OF HORSE/PONY DO I NEED TO PARTICIPATE?
Horses and ponies used at any pony club activity must be at least five years old, have a current Rabies shot, and no stallions allowed.
Horses and ponies of many different breeds, shapes, and sizes are seen in Pony Club activities. We have members who are riding 17.1 hand, bay thoroughbreds, and others riding borrowed, backyard appaloosa POAs. None of the Pony Club sponsored competitions ever judge the mount’s breed, conformation, or color. Mounts must be serviceably sound, in good overall health and in condition for the activity in question. Mounts must be appropriate for the rating level of the rider and must be at a level of training to participate safely in the activity.
Ownership of a horse or pony is not required for membership, but members must have access to the use of a pony or horse if they wish to participate in mounted activities. Approximately 95% of our members either own or lease a mount. Several of our members are fortunate enough to borrow mounts, but it would not be wise to count on such an arrangement for the long-term.
Shore Riders Pony Club does not own a barn or any mounts, and we are unable to provide a mount to your child. Our members have several different arrangements for accessing a suitable mount; ownership, lease, borrow, boarded at home, boarded at a riding center, etc.
What can I attend WITHOUT a horse/pony? Your child is welcome at all pony club activities. His/her participation in unmounted activities such as the monthly unmounted meetings, study groups, lectures, etc will provide a wealth of equine knowledge. Your child is also welcome to attend mounted activities, as an auditor, to watch, listen, and learn as well. Unmounted members are always valuable in assisting the instructors, or serving as jump crew, and helping other members prepare. There are also competition opportunities available for unmounted members; the regional Quiz rally is an unmounted knowledge competition in which all members are encouraged to participate. Also, each mounted team competition requires an unmounted Stable Manager to compete as a team member and help the team with the organization of all horse management related tasks. There is even a USPC rating certification just for Horse Management and a member can study and test for every level of USPC certification, all the way up to the HA rating, without ever mounting a horse. (We currently have one member who is in this exact situation and is working toward progressing through the USPC ratings on the Horse Management "track") However, attending club activities without a mount can sometimes be frustrating for a child so you will have to determine how this situation will work out for your child. The take-a-way point here is this: There are plenty of activities that your child may attend and receive exposure to horses if you find that you are unable to secure a mount.
Need to find a horse? Unless you are a professional you should enlist the help of a trusted horse professional. This should be someone either personally known to you, such as your instructor, or someone with an upstanding reputation and verifiable references. Your child's instructor will be the best judge of the suitability of a mount, and should work together with you and whomever you enlist to help you search for the horse. Even knowledgeable and experienced people work with a professional to find the right horse. It is worth every penny to pay a professional to help you. If you don't know where to begin, we are happy to refer to you some Pony Club friendly barns and instructors.
Answer contributed in part by the Radnor Hunt Pony Club; http://radnorhuntpc.org/index.php/faqs and in part by Shore Riders Pony Club