Certifications for Everyone

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The goal of Pony Club is to teach life skills in addition to horse care and riding. Life skills, such as communication, confidence, leadership, safety, responsibility, and teamwork, develop as members progress through the Pony Club curriculum at their own pace. The curriculum includes the Pony Club Standards of Proficiency (SOP), which outline a clear progression of skills in riding and horse management.

Each certification level builds on the participant’s depth of knowledge and abilities as they progress through the program. For example, a D-level (beginner) Pony Club member would learn how to give water, forage (e.g., hay), and grain to their horse, whereas an A-level (advanced) member would have the ability to identify different types of grains and forage, as well as discuss the nutritional value of each type of feed.

Moving Up the Levels

To receive a certification at a new level, the member must showcase their knowledge, based on the Standards of Proficiency for that level, for both Horse Management and riding. The levels of certification start at the D level (beginner), progress to the C level (intermediate), then to the B level, and the A level indicates you are an advanced equestrian.

As members test for the next certification level, they should demonstrate their newfound skills and express an appropriate level of knowledge for the next level. Members are evaluated based on the Standards of Proficiency for each certification level (e.g., D-1, D-2, D-3, C-1, etc., on up to A). After a test, members will receive feedback, which includes positive comments on how a member can continue to improve their skills in horse management and riding.

Members follow the Horse Management track first and foremost from the basic level all the way through the various certification levels. To kick off their progress through the Pony Club levels, a member should first test and pass the certification for the D-1 level. Then, as long as they have access to a horse for hands-on care, they can continue on through the Horse Management track without being required to ride (however, continuing on a riding track as you learn Horse Management is advised). The Horse Management certification is meant to showcase a member’s skills in horse care, horse health, and horse handling on the ground.

For members who choose to continue on a riding track, certifications are available in Dressage, Eventing, Show Jumping, Hunter Seat Equitation, Western Dressage, and Western. However, regardless of the track or discipline a rider has chosen, opportunities may exist to try additional disciplines during their time in Pony Club, if they so choose.

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