PONY CLUB PONY CLUB

No hunting updates for a while, unfortunately, since I used up all 6 of my caps (though I did go car following). My latest riding adventure actually didn’t involve riding at all–I attended my first Pony Club Quiz (horse knowledge) meeting and potluck dinner.

I’ve been super excited to join Horsemasters, which is Pony Club’s adult education/volunteer recruitment arm, since my instructor told me about it a few months ago. I feel like I say this every couple months on my blog, but I know there are holes in my riding and horse management knowledge. In the past I’ve tried dressage to get at the riding issues, and though I enjoy learning dressage, focusing on it exclusively makes my type-A, overachiever, obsessive head explode with all the ways I’m terrible at it. Hence this year’s approach–going back to basics and getting the riding education I wished I knew about as a kid through Pony Club.

Flickr: Five Furlongs/CC

I brought juice for kids and wine (Mommy’s juice) for parents because I figured that would be a fast way to make friends. Wined and dined for a little bit with the parents, and then I took my place in a circle with the D (lowest level) Pony Clubbers. Yep, criss-cross apple sauce with three kids and an older Pony Clubber about my age to teach us (okay, yes, she was slightly younger than me too, age 20).

At first I felt a little ridiculous. I had brought my wine glass over because I thought there would be other adults but as it turned out, the other Horsemasters adults were not at this particular meeting. I slid my glass over on the side table, and got on with the day’s topics of discussion: tack, turnout and horse sports.

If there is one thing I really enjoyed about school it was being a total teacher’s pet. I was always the first one with my hand up, a regular at professors’ office hours, and the only one who refused to speak English in foreign language classes. (Teacher’s pet, total suck up…you say tomAYto, I say tomAHto). I soon found myself in my element as we went round-robin around the circle, naming obscure bits of tack and aspects of horse and rider turnout. Once we moved on to horse sports (foxhunting in particular) I totally schooled those eight-year-olds.

I mean, I shared my knowledge with the next generation. And I learned some new things from them too–for example, did you know that Pony Club is adding hunter/jumper and Western as disciplines to specialize in? One of the young girls in the circle scoffed at this development, saying that “Reining puts wear and tear on horses’ legs” and that she “hates hunter/jumpers.” The instructor gently set her on a less sassy track but I really had to keep myself from laughing…I agree with you, girl! (Not that all hunter/jumpers are awful, but if I had done Pony Club instead of hunter/jumpers as a kid I would be a way better rider!)

This will be me at a rally one day!
Flickr: Dominion Valley Pony Club/CC

Anyway, I ended up having fun. It felt like being at summer camp. I just have to remind myself–A) I look younger than 24, so I don’t LOOK totally out of place even though I may feel that way, and B) there’s nothing wrong with sitting criss-cross apple sauce with a bunch of elementary and middle school kids, especially if we all end up becoming Prelim-level event riders!

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2 Responses to PONY CLUB PONY CLUB

  1. Personally, I think that all disciplines can teach you something about horsemanship and that one doesn't teach you more than another. Rather, it's the particular training you receive that dictates your learning.

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  2. Carla says:

    True. Not knocking all hunter/jumpers–but the instruction I received in that discipline as a kid was not good, and at the time neither my parents nor I had the horse experience to recognize that. I just mean to say that if I had a solid riding curriculum like Pony Club offers as a kid, I would have had a much better foundation!

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