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Western Track
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1. Why did Pony Club add another style of riding?

2. There are so many disciplines in Western (Western pleasure, ranch roping, team penning, reining, cutting, etc). What styles of Western riding are focused on in the Pony Club Western Standards?

3. I am currently a D-3 member and would like to also do the Western track. What Western certification level do I begin with?

4. Can I progress to upper level certifications as a Western Pony Club member?

5. Can I participate in national level competitions such as Championships, as a Western Pony Club member?

6. A member wants to switch to Western. What should they look for in a Western saddle?

7. Does the horse my child rides need to know how to neck rein in order to participate in the Western track?

8. A member’s Thoroughbred is not doing well in jumping and she would like to switch to Western. Can she use the same horse?

9. A member is going to borrow a friend’s team penning horse for the Western but the gelding uses a curb bit and tie down on him. Help?

10. Can our Pony Club members take roping lessons during a meeting and be covered by Pony Club insurance?

11. What about competition and rallies?

12. Can Horsemasters lessons be combined with Pony Club member lessons?

 

1. Why did Pony Club add another style of riding?

One of the outcomes of the multi-year USPC Strategic Plan was a general enthusiasm to seek opportunities to share the values of Pony Club across a broader audience and to enhance the diversity of our membership. In 2009 through 2010, Pony Club drafted a Western Standards of Proficiency, conducted surveys within Pony Club and outside with the majority giving an enormous positive response for a Western discipline in Pony Club. "We can’t be everything to everyone,” is one of the most frequently expressed concerns of some Pony Club leaders when asked about the inclusion of Western discipline youth riders. Yet, if we believe what we espouse about Pony Club and its mission and core values, we should be looking for ways to be "some things” to "more people.”

2. There are so many disciplines in Western (Western pleasure, ranch roping, team penning, reining, cutting, etc). What styles of Western riding are focused on in the Pony Club Western Standards?

The focus of the Western track is on good Horse Management skills and knowledge and equitation which will be taught through the disciplines of Western Riding, Trail, and Reining. As in English there are many styles of Western and Pony Club members may be exposed to these different styles of riding. Pony Club insurance does not allow participation in or practicing for any rough stock event such as: bull riding, bareback bronc-riding, saddle bronc-riding, or steer wrestling. Click here to access resource for descriptions of Western Riding according to AQHA.

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3. I am currently a D-3 Traditional member and would like to also do the Western track. What Western certification level do I begin with?

Since you have already passed the Horse Management at the D-3 level you just need to do the riding portion and turnout and tack section of the Western D-3 Standard. From there you can progress vertically up the levels. Check out the Chart of Learning on the USPC web site for more detail. Click here to access the Western Standards of Proficiency.

4. Can I progress to upper level certifications as a Western Pony Club member?

At this point the only Western riding certificate levels you can achieve are local level certificates (D-1 – C-2). However, all Pony Club members can progress along Horse Management levels into upper level certifications (H-B/H-HM/H/H-A) regardless of riding discipline. Bear in mind, though, that the upper level Horse Management certifications evaluate ground training and teaching techniques that may reflect specific English riding discipline traditions. Therefore, if you intend to progress through any of the Horse Management levels (especially at the upper level), you may want to ensure you receive specific instruction and training as facilitated by your club, center, or region, to enable your successful achievement.

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5. Can I participate in national level competitions such as Championships, as a Western Pony Club member?

There are no national competitions, such as Championships at this time for the Western Program. However, a western member may still be able to qualify in the other Championships categories such as Eventing, Show Jumping, Dressage, Games, Tetrathlon, Polocrosse or Quiz.

6. A member wants to switch to Western. What should they look for in a Western saddle?

No one particular type (pleasure, roping, games, trail, etc.) type of saddle is better than another, the importance is that the saddle puts the rider in a balanced position, should fit horse properly, and must always be safe for use and safe for the activity it is being used for. Lynn Palm’s book titled "Head-To-Toe-Horsemanship”  demonstrates the basic balanced position and ways to achieve it in the Western saddle.

7. Does the horse my child rides need to know how to neck rein in order to participate in the Western program?

No, they do not need to know how to neck rein. It depends on the bit/rein combination that the rider is using as spelled out in the equipment guidelines on the Western standards.

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8. A member’s Thoroughbred is not doing well in jumping, and she would like to switch to Western. Can she use the same horse?

Yes, they can use their Thoroughbred and learn ground handling, or any Western activity that fits their horse’s temperament.

9. A member is going to borrow a friend’s team penning horse for Western, but the gelding uses a curb bit and tie down on him. Help?

Any horse that is safe and appropriate can be used (Policy 0135 clearly defines age and appropriateness to mount).  Curb bits are allowed and regulations of shank length are specific to D and C levels as outlined in the Western Standards of Proficiency under equipment which also specifies the use of tie downs.

10. Can our Pony Club members take roping lessons during a meeting and be covered by Pony Club insurance?

Roping, penning, cutting, etc. would be considered resource activities which are covered under Pony Club insurance. Resource activities are encouraged to provide a well rounded education although our Western Standards do not include any form of roping. Pony Club insurance does NOT allow participation in or practicing for any rough stock events such as: bull riding, bareback bronc-riding, saddle bronc-riding, or steer wrestling. As with all Pony Club activities the facility must be on the ‘listed location’ list for your club/center.

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11. What about competition and rallies?

Clubs/centers and regions are welcome to include Western riders as they administer their rallies and competitions. National competitions are not yet established or available at this time.

12. Can Horsemasters lessons be combined with Pony Club member lessons?

Yes, as in all Pony Club lessons, regardless of discipline, Horsemasters can be included in mounted lessons since they are members. If non members are present and riding then the extra insurance fee must be paid to include them in the activity.

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