View Full Version : What skill level is a C3 Pony Clubber?

Oct. 7, 2009, 05:39 PM
I have tried w/o success to access the USPC website -- so I'm asking here. Would you call a C3 PCer a beginner, intermediate or what level rider? Would you think they are capable of riding a horse that is green in many situations and has very little schooling o/f? I know there are variables, I'm just trying to get an idea.

Oct. 7, 2009, 05:44 PM
A C3 is *roughly* equivalent to a Training Level Event rider (or possibly novice getting ready to go Training). When I say "roughly", equivalent, that means they may not truly be capable of going out and running a full Training Level Horse Trials... or they may be ready to go prelim -- can really vary based upon their other qualifications/horse. They are not a beginner by any means, but are usually demonstrating their skill level on seasoned mounts -- they are not expected to have the skills to bring a horse up to that level.

I would NOT use a C3 Pony Club rating alone as an absolute credential for starting a green horse over fences or being capable of riding a green horse. They might be or they might not be and a lot depends on the horse in question. Personally, if this person is still a junior, I don't think it is appropriate (but I am extremely conservative). We have had several C3's in our barn and they are excellent riders (way better than me!). However, I still wouldn't put them on a green horse nor expect them to introduce/train them over fences (again, very safety minded and just don't think they need to do that yet).

Hope that helps?

Oct. 7, 2009, 05:44 PM
A C3 should be proficient at Training Level. Check on the USPC website under forms...search for C3 Rating.

Oct. 7, 2009, 05:45 PM
they are not ment to be able to ride green horses at the c3 level

Oct. 7, 2009, 05:54 PM
The pony club site is down: but I found this 2004 C-3 checklist. http://www.fallbrookponyclub.com/forms/C3Qualification.pdf

Oct. 7, 2009, 05:55 PM
In the Pony Club book, it states that C Level is considered "Intermediate." And, C-3 is the "beginning of advanced horsemanship." Keep in mind, Pony Club rates you on riding AND horsemanship.

You want to be able to ride from inside leg to outside rein, properly bending a horse, use half halts, know basic lateral work, how to make proper transitions and, etc. So, probably somewhere around 1st or 2nd level dressage.

As far as jumping, you want to have good jumping form over both stadium and cross country fences, and be able to see your distances, and know your cross country pace. I can't remember what the fence heights are, but I would assume at least Training Level Eventing.

Again, they pay a lot of attention to horsemanship, so you will need to have good working knowledge of veterinary care, shoeing and trimming, nutrition, conformation and soundness, etc.

I hope that helps. I was in Pony Club years ago, and only made it up to C-2 before turning 18. I think you have until 21 or so to continue through Pony Club now.

FYI, you can buy the Pony Club Manuals online or in some tack shops.

Oct. 7, 2009, 05:58 PM
The USPC website has been down all day.

The testing for C3's does not include riding green horses.

But I have seen C3's who are capable of it and other C3's....not so much:eek:
Depends on the individual.

Oct. 7, 2009, 07:04 PM
But I have seen C3's who are capable of it and other C3's....not so much:eek:
Depends on the individual.

Also depends on who the examiner was that passed them... :no: :rolleyes:

Oct. 7, 2009, 07:14 PM
oh yeah...sad but true.:no::no::no::no:

Also depends on who the examiner was that passed them...

also--the ratings changed at the start of this year. They have been watered down. a C2 no longer has to ride w/o stirrups at all gaits. That now starts at the C3 level.

You'd have to judge each rider with the horse. My daughter has her 2nd green project. She is not a C3 but started a pony at 10 and that pony has been to Championships in games and also is an avid foxhunter. She now has another 3 year old...and this pony will go to the hunter ring in Greens next year. Both were very sane and safe ponies for a young girl to start.

Oct. 7, 2009, 07:25 PM
C3 is a national rating, and from what I have seen nothing has been watered down. There are two or three examiners coming from different parts of the country expecting the rider to come in "owning" the test. Besides expecting a competent and knowledgeable rider, that rider better be confident in everything they do.

However, there is nothing about training green horses at the C3 level. And they do like to see horses that are "appropriate" for the rating.

Now that it is at the National level, I have seen less disparity between the kids obtaining this rating than when it was at the regional level.

Oct. 7, 2009, 07:25 PM
I was a C-2 in PC when I quit. I could have easily done my C-3, but my club required you to ride with their instructor to "prep" you and I was not at all impressed with the riders that the instructor was putting out and refused to ride with her. I therefore quit PC shortly after. I was riding my own horse at Training/Prelim and schooled a lot of Intermediate questions(who I bought as a very calm/quiet 4y/o doing BN). I also rode/helped start a few of my trainers OTTB's. That said there were a few of our C-2 and up PCers I wouldn't have let use my horse based on their track records with their own horses. It really does vary!

Oct. 7, 2009, 08:51 PM
I just recently got my C3 and what the PIP (head tester) said at the end of my rating was exactly what you guys said "We passed some who are knocking on the B door and others who are just climbing through the C3 window". The only reason it took me this long to get mine is because I didnt have a horse to do it on.
The levels vary a lot and I would never go to a new barn to ride horses for them and only state that I am a C3 pony clubber.
I work with OTTBs rehabbing them when they get off the track and I have started quite a few over fences, including my own who is about to go training level. And I got this opportunity from a racehorse adoption agency after they saw the success I had with mine (with the help of my trainer). There are a couple of C3's I know that I would not let them get on some of my younger ones.

I would say that a B or an HA, and definitely an A, should have the knowledge and level of riding to ride a green horse and even start them over fences, and could go to a barn saying they're that level and have the barn trust them, to an extent.

Oct. 7, 2009, 09:39 PM
Thanks all that responded! Very good information and insight. I am asking for a horse that I bred and trained that is being asked about by a C3 eventer. He is not a baby, but has not had much off the farm experience -- has not shown/cliniced or seen that kind of activity. He has not had alot of schoolling over fences, but is pretty solid in his dressage foundation and trail rides. He is mostly very good and listens, very soft to the aids and very talented, but is very aware of everything around him and quite keen, needs a rider that has the skill level to help him if necessary. He doesn't have any issues, very sweet and willing and fun, I just want him well matched -- he is quite special to me. Thanks, I'll see what develops.

Oct. 7, 2009, 10:06 PM
C3 is now a specialty rating, meaning that a pc kid can get a C3in dressage, show jumping or traditional(eventing). This changed in the past year or so when the HB was introduced. During the national testing which typically involves 3 national examiners candidates are expected to switch mounts and must be able to ride the switch horse as well as the owner/rider.
WE were at NAJYRCs doing the CIC* and all kids on the team came from pony club backgrounds..we had 2 Bs and 2 C3s on our team.
Technically it is not until the A rating that kids have to be 'trainers' but by C3 level they may have any great skills. A C3 should be equivalent to a training level eventer. There should be sound horse management practices...
I would anticipate that a C3 have the skills you are looking for...

Oct. 7, 2009, 10:10 PM
depends on examiner, specialty, a variety of variables.

IMO a C-3 SHOULD be quite proficient with a green horse. They should have exceptional horse management practices as well.

Oct. 7, 2009, 10:18 PM

I took my C3 way back when I was in Pony Club. I think that giving a rating level is a good place to start, gives people a basic idea of your skills.

As far as riding green horses... I recall from prepping for my C3 that a C3 rider was expected to be able to get on a new or strange horse, and ride it and either improve it slightly or at least not mess it up. In my testing for the switch horses, the examiners expected riders to be able to perform as well or better than the mount's original rider. By "better" it sometimes meant simply getting a horse forward. Could have been more complex, like getting more correct lateral work.

I feel a C3 is a good foundation and a fairly good descriptor, but in no means a credential that speaks to how well a particular rider will get on with a particular horse. It in no way recognizes an ability to train a green horse.

A really close friend of mine got her C3 at a relatively young age. She wasn't the type that I'd put on a green horse, not because she didnt have the knowledge or skills, but because of her temperment and personal philosophy of riding. I've seen other C3s that are capable of tactfully riding a green horse.

And finally, even though I girded my loins and got through my C3 on my pony, I don't like riding a hot or spooky horse, or really jumping much over the C3 height in the least. So the C3 that contacted you might be CAPABLE of riding your guy but may not be the type of ride she's looking for.

Hope this ramble helps some!

Oct. 7, 2009, 10:36 PM
The traditional C3 certainly has the proficiency to go out and event at training (given an appropriate horse). As others have said, just because the test doesn't require proficiency in riding/training green horses doesn't mean that the rider doesn't have those skills. For every rider who passes on a made horse, I'd bet there's one who passes on a horse she made herself. Or, nearly as many.

The C3 candidate must demonstrate a certain level of maturity and understanding of riding theory to pass, no matter how good a rider she might be. I feel like the rating is actually a better indicator of riding and horsemanship skills than a really good record at training level, in a lot of cases.

I would be very encouraged if a C3 or above PCer contacted me about a horse. Certainly, she might not get along with the horse, but she's probably a pretty competent rider.

Oct. 7, 2009, 11:25 PM
There really is huge variation in what can pass at any pony club rating. Sometimes candidates just barely eek by, and sometimes they exceed expectations. I took my C3 5 or so years ago and I would say that I was a pretty solid training level rider at the time, but had little experience with very green horses. At the same time, the horse that I had at the time was an uber sensitive TB who could have "green" moments from time to time so when I started working green horses a couple years later it was an easy transition. I think that a rider who properly prepared for their C3 by sitting on a lot of different types of horses should be able to adapt and cope with a green horse. The reason being that you never know what someone is going to bring to ride at a testing that you might have to switch onto.

Oct. 8, 2009, 05:54 AM
[quote=OneMoreForTheRoad;4424732]I just recently got my C3 and what the PIP (head tester) said at the end of my rating was exactly what you guys said "We passed some who are knocking on the B door and others who are just climbing through the C3 window".

Very well put. Definitely depends on the rider. My son only reached C-2 level, but competes at Intermediate with an eye towards moving up and is an A grade polocrosse player.

Bosox - got your message - Mr. PM is still out of the country and won't make the BOG meeting, but he will forward your comments on.

Oct. 8, 2009, 10:40 AM
C3 is now a specialty rating, meaning that a pc kid can get a C3in dressage, show jumping or traditional(eventing).

What? This makes me really sad. I am sorry but the entire purpose was to produce horsemen(women) and they should be able to do all of those things. All the old time dressage and show jumping specialists managed to achieve their national ratings just fine.

I was prepped for all of my national ratings by a local hunter jumper pro who was an "A" graduate, and I took the majority of my ratings with a good friend who was an equitation rider. Not to mention for a good period of time I was the only eventer in my "show jumping" pony club (it put on an A rated show that held a grand prix) and the club had the highest number of HA/A in the area.

I have noticed myself in the lower level testings I do that the tack and the horses are not as clean as they were even 5-8 years ago. It all makes me sad, I think Pony Club is one of the best institutions there is.

Oct. 8, 2009, 10:49 AM
As a graduate B from way back, and Intermediate event rider, and someone who has competed extensively through 4th level dressage and UL jumpers, and taught Pony Club for over 15 years I can honestly say that ratings give an idea of competency of rider in terms of rating levels, but that the true test is how that individual does in the real world. When I acquired by B only 2% of all PC'ers ever achieved this rating... furthermore only 1% ever achieved their A's. I love being able to go anywhere in the World and tell people I'm a B Pony Clubber. They know exactly what is expected of me and that I don't give up easily. It's very similar to a college degree.

The concept behind National ratings is to keep consistency throughout, but as the C3 used to be a Regional rating, it could be more difficult or quite a bit easier depending on examiners-- as others have said. At my B, I wound up on a very green gelding for my switch horse o/f. He stood off to fences, so I galloped him around and got his confidence up. I was actually scolded for improving him, since you are only to "maintain the current training of horse" at the B level. My whole life I had ridden green and nappy horses, so this one was no different.
A good friend I grew up with finally stuck it out and got her C3 and HB-- 2 days before she turned 25. She's evented Intermediate, brought horses through Grand Prix in dressage, and is a phenomenal instructor and trainer. Her examiners told her she should have been going for her A, not her C3.

The same can be said about those with degrees. There are people who barely graduate college with a 2.0 from partying and never use their degree and those who work hard and get a higher gpa and go on to be successful in their field. Just because you have that college degree does NOT mean you are competent in that field of study.
A few years ago I leased a gelding to a PC'er going for her B I had competed on through prelim, 4th level dressage and level 7 jumpers. He was as classically trained as they came. Read a book on how to ask for a half pass, then apply that to him and bingo! you have a half pass. Well, he was also a horse that couldn't be pulled on or he'd run away with you. The girl took him to a prep clinic and when she switched horses, the switch rider pulled and yanked on his mouth... yes, he ran off with her. Rather than tell the pony clubber who couldn't ride this horse that her skills were weak and she needed more quiet hands, they told the girl leasing my gelding that she needed to find a horse that would show off skills better to get more kids to pass. A B is considered "professional trainer 101", not professional in looking pretty. In my day, you rode what you had and made the best of it, learning what gave the best ride possible.
Pony Club has definately changed and I'm not thrilled with the direction it has been going. I am a firm believer in riders being well rounded. There are so many jumper riders out there that don't know anything about quality flat work or how to really gallop to a fence, like on XC. Many dressage riders don't truly push their horses forward and the horse is in a frame, rather than coming through their back and sitting on their haunches. Jumping and gymnastics help teach that. I wish we could go back to having the "classic" rating format to make real horsemen, rather than allow people to escape some of the essentials by having a specialized rating--and this is the UL's not those beginning. My daughter is coming 4 and as I think about her joining Pony Club, I am saddened that she won't grow up in the days I experienced, where naughty ponies taught you how to ride and stick it out and where real horsemanship would shine through and those that tried to buy their way to the top couldn't. Pony Club used to even out the haves from the have nots, because you really can't fake being able to ride anything and everything placed in front of you.
Sorry for the rant, but in reality, you have to see the kid ride the horse. Ratings can give you an idea, but they don't mean someone will or won't be able to ride a horse.

Oct. 8, 2009, 11:52 AM
I have noticed myself in the lower level testings I do that the tack and the horses are not as clean as they were even 5-8 years ago. It all makes me sad, I think Pony Club is one of the best institutions there is.

Come see my daughter's horse and tack before her next rating - it will restore your faith!

As for the C3's - The ones I know event Prelim and Intermediate and one at least has gone Advanced, I'm pretty sure. All are quite capable of taking on a young horse. One was even a recent cover girl. ;)

I think it really depends on the individual and what they do outside of Pony Cub too. These days not every kid is lucky enough to have the chance to work with green horses. Liability is such an issue - it isn't like it was when we were kids and just got to learn by doing because the threat of a lawsuit wasn't always in the back of everyone's mind. If the BO needed a young horse ridden and you were the teen lucky enough to be on hand - you got a great lesson in horsemanship.

Oct. 8, 2009, 12:09 PM
HAving been uninvolved with PC now for MANY years, I can only speak for when I was a pony clubber in the late 70's, a C3 was basically a training level rider in terms of eventing. However, not so much a rider that trains a green hrose at this level, but rides a more made horse. Of coruse, rratings have SO much more to them than riding skill! I am a graduate H-A rated PC (Horsemanship half of the A test, I aged out before I could do the riding half) and let me tell you, once you get past the "C" levels, to the B and A levels the testing is MAGNITUDES harder!! The H-A test was over a period of three solid days of testing! And very few of us passed it!

Oct. 8, 2009, 12:40 PM
The H-A test was over a period of three solid days of testing! And very few of us passed it!

I am an H-A as well and recently found my 15 year old flash cards that I used to prep for it and I couldn't believe what we had to know, I remember one of my testers was a vet too. I flew from the midwest to Idaho since there was nothing closer with a box full of home made bandages, 2 bridles for the in hand portion, lunge line and lunge whip (which the captain kindly stored up front for me!)

LCW that does give me faith! Last time I asked if any of the candidates had tried using tooth brush on their seams of their tack and they were dumbfounded.

I agree with all the PP that a C-3 is a mixed bag. At mine there were two of us who had brought along green-broke horses to prelim and then a couple riders who had not sat on anything but their own made horse, it all depends on the individual.

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Oct. 9, 2009, 08:26 PM
My recollection is that the C3 is supposed to be basically a solid lifetime horseperson -someone who could come back as a re-rider and do no harm, and in the meantime be able to get on horses, recognize their level of training, and not mess them up - but not necessarily skilled in bringing along greenies.

It at least used to be the rating which USPC sort of hoped everyone could or would get to, iirc... Not that everyone should be able eto bring along greenies, just to be able to get on a strange horse and do decently.

Oct. 10, 2009, 11:12 AM
It definitely depends on the rider. A C3 exemplifies a certain standard of riding and horsemanship, but not of training. You can go to www.ponyclub.org and look up the standards for a C3. I've known C3's that have brought along their own green horses & C3's that have never ridden anything other than made horses. We joined PC late, coming from the hunter world. My oldest (currently rated C2) didn't have time to take her C3 before she went to college, and has since spent her summers as a WS. She could easily pass the rating if she could devote the time to the mandatory preps and actual rating. She's brought along several green, right off the track TB's including her own training level horse, but she's still a C2. The rating is an indication of skills, but it's not all encompassing.
I'd love to hear how this unfolds, and what your decision is.

Oct. 10, 2009, 12:49 PM
I think if the rider knows that your horse is green, and is interested in him, they are probably more than capable to ride him. It is also important to remember that this person may have been a C-3 for a while. Granted, I got my C-3 in the early '90's, but I was a pretty typical C-3 for my region.

I was already eventing at training level successfully long before I took my C-3 rating. Shortly after getting it, I moved up to prelim, and evented at that level for a year on my "been there, done that" but not necessarily easy to ride guy. I then sold him and bought an extremely talented upper level prospect OTTB whose brain had been fried by jumping 5' with a jumper trainer in his first year off the track (at least he was 6). He was all but unrideable, but CHEAP, and my family didn't have the $$$ to buy a made upper level horse. I worked with him doing all sorts of ground work, long lining, etc. and taught him to trust again. Six months later, I took that horse to my B test, even though i had to trot my jumping portion because he still wasn't quite ready to canter courses but could trot 3'6 easily.

I have no doubt that I, or really any C-3 I knew at the time would be perfectly fine on a green horse. Some of us would be more comfortable than others, but I don't think any of us would screw it up. I would be much more comfortable selling a green horse to a C-3 ponyclubber than an adult who was just doing training level eventing.

Thames Pirate
Oct. 12, 2009, 05:24 PM
Just curious--what do you guys make of a person who failed the riding portion of the C2 but is competing (and placing) at Training?

Oct. 12, 2009, 05:33 PM
Just curious--what do you guys make of a person who failed the riding portion of the C2 but is competing (and placing) at Training?

There isn't necessarily a correlation between ratings and being a successful event rider at a specific level.

He/She could be a very effective rider but doesn't test well. He/She could have had an "off" day at the rating or had a less than knowledgeable Examiner (remember a C2 is a local not National Rating). He/She could have failed a small part of the riding portion that does not prevent him/her from being a successful competitor. Club politics could be involved (again a club/regional level rating). There are a million and one reasons why he/she may have failed the C2, that don't necessarily mean that they aren't a safe and competitive Training Level Rider.

Oct. 12, 2009, 06:02 PM
When I took my C-3 (back in the dark ages) the whole group that I took it with rode and worked with green horses, however we all pulled out the old school masters for the test. A C-3 level rider is probably has the knowledge and skill to work with a green horse but they'll probably still need to have a good coach...

At that level, riders are expected to get on and ride any other horse at the test. Riders are not expected to improve (train) the other horses but the are expected to ride pretty much anything they're sitting on with confidence and control.