Originally posted on Academie Duello’s blog in September 2011
Followers of this blog will have noticed several mentions of the Pony Club. This is partly because the Richmond Branch of the Canadian Pony Club often operates out of our barn, and partly because I have kids in Pony Club; but also because I value so highly the organization’s approach to developing competent riders and all-round horsemen.
The Horsemanship and Riding levels in our Cavaliere Program mirror the CPC’s Stable Management and Riding levels, our reference text is the British Pony Club’s Manual of Horsemanship, and our Mounted Combat games are very similar to some of the Pony Club’s Prince Phillip Games
The British Pony Club was formed in 1929, and the Canadian version brought over in 1934 by two ex-military riders, Colonel Timmins and Brigadier McKee. The CPC is a volunteer-run organization for young people up to the age of 25 who want to learn how to ride and care for horses. There are around 3000 members in 180 branches in Canada, and Pony Clubs in at least twenty other countries.
Pony Club members can graduate through 12 levels of Riding and Stable Management achievement, with those at the highest level automatically qualifying to become Equine Canada coaches. The tests for the A level are extremely rigorous and take three days to complete for Stable Management, and two days for riding.
Aside from the serious business of testing, members also participate in many equine sports, such as dressage, show-jumping, eventing (Rally), tetrathlon, and Prince Phillip Games. The Pony Club’s motto is “Loyalty, Character, Sportsmanship”, and while all these are true, I would add that the underlying theme is “fun”.
If you’re under 22 and wanting a complete education in all things horse, I can suggest no better place to go than your nearest Pony Club. There are branches all over the Lower Mainland. If you’re too old for Pony Club, we can offer you the next best thing with our Cavaliere Program.