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vineyridge
Dec. 5, 2011, 07:26 PM
Is doing Pony Club incompatible with riding with a non Pony Club trainer? I know a lot of trainers might see Pony Club as a threat to their expertise, but is it really?

oldpony66
Dec. 5, 2011, 07:31 PM
It certainly shouldn't be. Even though pony club has mounted meetings, they are never a substitute for regular instruction from a coach/trainer. Many mounted meetings are more or less opportunities for upper-level members to get teaching experience with the supervision of someone knowledgeable so DEFINITELY not expected to be the sole instruction.
If someone feels "threatened" then maybe you need to look at what they are doing that would make them feel so insecure about their instruction.

gully's pilot
Dec. 5, 2011, 07:37 PM
Nope.

Golden Pony
Dec. 5, 2011, 09:21 PM
A Pony Club should encourage it's members to take regular lessons outside of any mounted meetings! Our club advocates riding with multiple trainers, as well, so that our members can get a "well rounded" education.

Your region should have posted on it's website a list of Pony Club certified trainers (they have attended a USPC Standards & Ratings Clinic at a minimum). If your PCer is in regular lessons with a specific trainer it is a good idea that the trainer be well versed in the "flow chart" for the PCers' level.

Robin Wilcox
Jt. DC, Gray Ghost Pony Club

SevenDogs
Dec. 5, 2011, 09:56 PM
There is zero need for a non-Pony Club trainer to have attended a USPC Standards and Ratings Clinic. It is a silly waste of time.

The original questions is just ridiculous and Gully's Pilot said it exactly right: Nope, doing Pony Club is in no way incompatible with riding with good non-Pony Club trainers.

Duramax
Dec. 5, 2011, 10:04 PM
Pony Club is intended to supplement a child's regular instruction program, not to replace it. Many non PC instructors get a little insecure when their kids join PC bc I think they're threatened by the idea of their students riding with someone else. (They would just as easily be threatened by the idea of their students riding with a non PC instructor though too...)

horsemom56
Dec. 6, 2011, 03:02 AM
My daughter is an A graduate and the biggest difference we noticed between PC instructors and non-PC instructors was the focus on discussions. They become more and more important as you go up the levels. Some trainers are more compatible with PC than others.

flashwhitelock
Dec. 6, 2011, 03:26 AM
Pony club instruction is supplemental not a replacement for a regular instructor. The advantage of pony club is making sure NOTHING is missed in a kid's education. My own kids found the pony club instructors reinforced what their instructor was saying. Hearing the same thing from other instructors helped cement the knowledge and sometimes made it more clear how it all related.

I have found that an instructor who is uncomfortable with pony club is usually insecure. My concern would be the regular instructor may not be sufficiently knowledgeable if they are so insecure or they are overly controlling. Either case, I would not want my kids riding with any regular instructor who would not allow pony club.

eventmom
Dec. 6, 2011, 08:09 AM
I have two girls in pony club. We have made it our practice to try not to take regular instruction from "pony club instructors". We feel like it is a breath of fresh air to get away from the pc mentality. Actually a large number of the kids in our club do the same thing. We are in a club that is very top heavy in upper level students.
We were initially with a club that pushed us to use one of their recommended instructors, but we declined and then ended up moving on.
For us this has turned out to be a very good decision.
While we appreciate what pony club has to offer, I do not want it to define my girls riding experience.
My feeling is that excellence never happens in a group. So if you are looking for a general, positive and fun riding experience for your kid, do pony club instructors. They are veted, safe, and usually pretty good.
But if your kids want more, you need to search for the best, and the best is not often in pony club.

Golden Pony
Dec. 6, 2011, 08:51 AM
Wow! Really seems to be some animosity towards Pony Club here...Well, having formed our own club from members who were not happy with the direction of their current one, I can certainly understand that some people have had not so positive experiences.

I think the best thing that has happened to us with Pony Club is the fact that our clubs mentality has been to ENCOURAGE riding with multiple instructors. Many of those instructors, having been former PCers themselves who want to "give back", have brought to us a whole upper level of instruction that many families could not afford. Because of their membership with Pony Club, our members have been offered reduced rates to ride with the likes of Gigi Winslett, Lauren Spreiser, Wendy Murdoch, and Lynn Symansky.

The great thing about Pony Club for our regular weekly trainer is that is has opened up a whole other venue of clients for her! After attending a Ratings & Standards clinic and coaching my daughter to attaining her D-3 (the trainer has no prior PC experience so she followed the flow chart & expectations sheets) she has gained 2 new PC clients :)

Highflyer
Dec. 6, 2011, 09:12 AM
I came from a tiny club in which the only regular instruction was provided by my mom-- so needless to say, my sister and I always had regular lessons elsewhere :) A good instructor should be willing to look over the ratings and standards information with the kid and work with them-- and at the D levels the stuff is so basic most of it should be covered in any lessons anyway. As the kid moves up, they should be able to read the standards and ask questions/ bring up things they feel they need to work on, too-- this is a big part of what pony club is trying to achieve, making horsemen capable of recognizing when they need help and knowing how to get it.

Around here, many, many of the UL riders came up through pony club and in my experience they are willing to give back if they are asked politely.

Janet
Dec. 6, 2011, 09:29 AM
Many of my sister's students are also in Pony Club.

I am not aware of any conflicts. (My sister was in PC through C-2 herself)

Oberon13
Dec. 6, 2011, 09:34 AM
I think it's helpful for a trainer to know what a kid's goals are...if that kid wants to get her A in Pony Club, the non-PC trainer can help aim her that direction (jumping heights, riding different horses, talking about what happened/what worked/what didn't). So, it may be helpful for the non-PC instructors to be at least somewhat familiar with where the kid wants to end up.

That said, if a kid isn't all that driven to move up the PC levels, so be it. Any GOOD instructor will help a kid improve - even up to C3 rather easily, I would think.

As far as seeing Pony Club as a "threat" of any sort, I'm not sure any decent instructor is going to care. Pony Club's mounted meetings are not meant to be replacement for regular lessons - they help a student get out and about and experience different styles of teaching...what's NOT to like about that? I WANT my students learning all they can from clinics, videos, or Pony Club lessons.

lcw579
Dec. 6, 2011, 11:54 AM
I arrange the mounted meetings for our club. I am lucky to have a number of great instructors in the area who are willing to come. I do not use the same person week after week but like to change it up so the kids get different sets of eyes on them. Some of the people I hire have been through pony club themselves and some haven't. I use trainers from dressage, eventing, jumping and am adding hunter/eq to the mix. I always thought the kids could use an eq tune up but now that there is the new PC track added it makes sense.

I have found that most of the kids regulare trainers are happy to share them with pony club. There are one or two who may throw up a roadblock to the child having the full pc experience but that is due to their control/insecurity issues.

In fact, I have Sally Cousins coming on the 18th and one of the trainers who has a bunch of students in our club asked if she could have a lesson too. :) So, no, pony club is not a threat to a kid's regular program but it can be a great addition.

dressagediosa
Dec. 6, 2011, 12:02 PM
I never did Pony Club as a kid, but I teach a lot of Pony Clubbers. They are TERRIFIC students - attentive, ask good questions, meticulous in their care of their horses and ponies. I met a lot of them through giving clinics and judging Dressage and Eventing Rallies, so the Pony Clubs in my area are definitely big on letting us non-PC trainers play :)

lcw579
Dec. 6, 2011, 12:05 PM
I never did Pony Club as a kid, but I teach a lot of Pony Clubbers. They are TERRIFIC students - attentive, ask good questions, meticulous in their care of their horses and ponies. I met a lot of them through giving clinics and judging Dressage and Eventing Rallies, so the Pony Clubs in my area are definitely big on letting us non-PC trainers play :)

If you are ever in PA and want to teach my gang let me know. :)

scubed
Dec. 6, 2011, 01:42 PM
At several of my former barns, kids rode with my trainers primarily, but also did pony club. It always seemed a great adjunct and never much conflict except for some occasional disagreements about minor specifics of horse care.

breakthru
Dec. 6, 2011, 02:21 PM
Some of my students are in Pony Club, some aren't. I used to be in Pony Club, and took regular lessons with a graduate A who was no longer active in Pony Club. I don't consider myself necessarily a "Pony Club" instructor, but my local club calls on me occasionally to give clinics and/or do ratings.

I don't think Pony Club is really the issue. I encourage all my students to seek other instruction if they want. I can't stand territorial trainers. The quality of your instruction should speak for itself. If my students want to take lessons from other people, then they should. If other people's students want to take lessons from me, then they should. I would be wary of anyone who forbad their students to take lessons from anyone else, full stop. Giving advice to stay away from one particular instructor you may think may not be great is one thing, but being insecure across the board is another.

Watermark Farm
Dec. 6, 2011, 03:19 PM
My two daughters have been in PC for 5 years and are traditional C2 and D3 members. Their horse management skills are excellent due to high PC standards. Mounted meetings are seen as a supplement to your regular instruction outside PC. Most people in our club ride with outside, non-PC instructors who support their clients being in PC and are not threatened by this.

As you start to work your way up the ratings, it's helpful if your outside instructor is at least willing to familiarize themselves with the requirements of that particular rating (there is a worksheet/checklist for trainer and student to work from), and basically what a PC examiner will be looking for so they can help their student prepare, OR take advantage of regional Standards & Ratings clinics or ratings preps at the club level.

It is quite true when they say "There is the right way, the wrong way, and the Pony Club way." Sometimes you have to work toward what PC is looking for and play the game. PC is a good organization with a lot of opportunities, but sometimes they make things too complicated.

Golden Pony
Dec. 6, 2011, 03:21 PM
LCW579 - Lauren Spreiser is GREAT to work with kids of all levels! She was wonderful at our PC Camp this summer. One thing that really made the kids love her is that she worked on "dressage for eventers" with them :) Made it fun!

PhoenixFarm
Dec. 6, 2011, 04:15 PM
I did not grow up in Pony Club, grew up in a European program where the unmounted/horsemanship bit was required as part of the lesson.

I have several students in a Pony Club in another area--started with one kid who was having confidence issues, and as she has excelled (in fact, she just won their "most improved rider" award--so proud of her) I've gained a few more students from the club. I may start teaching for their Pony Club next year. I don't know the ins and outs of ratings, but when my kids needed to get ready for their rating this year, the Moms just brought me copies of the test sheets, and we made sure we fully covered all the possible topics. It wasn't rocket science.

I am not remotely "intimidated" by the fact that my students take lessons at Pony Club, in general, I'm fine with it. However, at least in their club, they are definitely "lessons" and not simply mounted meetings, and a majority of the members use those sessions as "it" in terms of instruction for those members. My student was one of the few who worked with someone outside of the pony club lessons, though since I've started working with her and others, I understand a few others have started working with a local, non-PC instructor.

I'm sort of "meh" on Pony Club. The good ones are great, but rarer than they should be, and the opportunity for politics is a little high for me. I think it can be a wonderful opportunity for some kids, and in my role as an instructor, I always want to facilitate kids getting any opportunity to turn in to horse crazy kids and adults. :winkgrin: But I'm not really a fan of any philosophy being applied as the one and only.

dressagediosa
Dec. 6, 2011, 07:47 PM
If you are ever in PA and want to teach my gang let me know. :)

Thanks, Golden Pony! Your club is full of great kids. LCW, drop me an email at lauren@spriesersporthorse.com and let's see if we can find a time in 2012! :)

lstevenson
Dec. 6, 2011, 11:16 PM
I can't imagine how a trainer could be "threatened" by PC in any way.

I think the question is: is the riding part of the PC training compatible with regular trainers. Sometimes it is....but not always. It really seems to depend on the individual clubs and on the area of the country.



http://www.MyVirtualEventingCoach.com
Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Virtual-Eventing-Coach/121366797928434)

VCT
Dec. 7, 2011, 02:20 AM
I don't see why any trainer would be threatened by Pony Club.... ? I teach mostly beginners (kids and adults) but I have a few more advanced students (mostly adults who want a private feeling barn and a understanding instructor who won't push them too far out of their comfort zone, etc).

I never was in Pony Club, but I love Pony Club! :) I've gone to PC Camp in the summer for a week (they let adults go when they have extra space), and I do the website for our local club and volunteer for them as much as I can.

oldpony66
Dec. 7, 2011, 06:05 AM
Wow! Really seems to be some animosity towards Pony Club here...

No, I don't think it's animosity. We're just saying that PC is fine (sometimes great, sometimes not... like any club) but that PC is not supposed to be 100% of your riding education. No one should feel threatened in either direction concerning instruction.

vxf111
Dec. 7, 2011, 09:36 AM
Pony Club is intended to supplement a child's regular instruction program, not to replace it. Many non PC instructors get a little insecure when their kids join PC bc I think they're threatened by the idea of their students riding with someone else. (They would just as easily be threatened by the idea of their students riding with a non PC instructor though too...)

Agree. If most pony clubs are like ours, the mounted meetings are not the same as "lessons." They are more about preparing for rallies/ratings and less about the detailed, nitty gritty level instruction you would get in lessons. They also happen infrequntly enough that I think most children would need more instruction in between to keep up.

runnyjump
Dec. 7, 2011, 10:04 AM
I teach a few PCers. I don't have a problem with them taking the PC lessons when offered by qualified instructors.

I do have a problem when they go to camp. One of the local PCs has the C's teaching the D's. This may be ok, but they are apparently not under the supervision of more experienced PCers or instructors. I had one student who was in no way ready to canter, even on the lunge, let alone in a group of greenies all having control and balance issues. They allowed a couple of Cs (low level Cs at that) to instruct this group and the PCers thought it would be ok to have them canter! This presents a problem. I had to backtrack about a months worth of work to "reinstall" confidence in my student after she was nearly bounced off.

I was trained in the traditional British school of horsemanship on which PC is based. Sadly, I see many PCs around here not working those classic methods, but pushing to compete, buy better horses, etc. And I have witnessed a couple of PC chosen instructor lessons where safety was not the primary concern... "just go jump that." Yikes. I have also seen some wonderful PC instructor lessons which gives me hope!

I would hope parents put their kids in PC to really learn the entirety of riding and horsemanship. Sadly, I see some that don't. I have met many absolutely wonderful PCers through my experiences; humble, hard-working, focused. I have also met my fair share of "it's all about me" types. Thankfully, those are fewer.

So, no, I am not threatened when my students take lessons with qualified PC instructors. Just like any of my students attending a clinic, take with you what works and leave the rest. If they have any concerns or questions about different techniques, we discuss it openly. As an instructor, sometimes you get so close to a rider that you miss things and having them go for a clinic or lesson will help work out a problem before it begins.

Janet
Dec. 7, 2011, 10:26 AM
Agree. If most pony clubs are like ours, the mounted meetings are not the same as "lessons." They are more about preparing for rallies/ratings and less about the detailed, nitty gritty level instruction you would get in lessons. They also happen infrequntly enough that I think most children would need more instruction in between to keep up.
I would guess it depends on the Pony Club. One of my instructors is also a Pony Club instructor (and PC "Legend"). I used to meet her quite often for a lesson "right after" her PC lessons. Since she consistently runs behind schedule, I would often watch her finish her PC lessons.

They were DEFINITELY "lessons", not "prep for Rally/Ratings". They were GROUP lessons, and I agree there is a difference between a group lesson and a private, or semi private. But they WERE lessons.

Nowadays, Pony Club lessons may typically supplement (or be supplemented) by lessons from "outside" instructors, but I don't think that was what was intended.

When I was in Pony Club (later 60s, early 70s), our lessons were once a week or once every two weeks, Spring through Fall. From the age of 12 to 17 (when I went to college) I don't think I took a single lesson that wasn't associated with Pony Club in some way. Yes, some were older PCers or parents, but we also had lessons from a number of top level instructors, includig a former member of the SRS, an Olympic Dressage rider, a top national jumper rider, an International level Eventer, and so on.

vxf111
Dec. 7, 2011, 10:35 AM
I guess every club does it differently! Which makes it hard to give a universal answer to the question.

lcw579
Dec. 7, 2011, 10:48 AM
Our mounted meetings are lessons. But they are meant to supplement the regular instruction that the kids are getting. All of the instructors I use are not former pony clubbers but they are professionals. Occasionally, as part of the rating up process a pony clubber will need to assist with a mounted meeting. However, they are never alone with the students and they are closely supervised by the pony club instructor.

We do have ratings prep meetings too but those are a different animal than the regular meetings. For a ratings prep I have a National Examiner come in a month or two before the kids will be attempting a rating so that they can see where the holes in their own preparation are. They then go back to their own trainer with homework in order to prepare.

Lisa Cook
Dec. 7, 2011, 10:51 AM
Our pony club has weekly mounted meetings April - June and then again Sept-October, with a week-long camp in the summer time. They are definitely structured lessons and with really good instructors, if I say so myself (I'm the instruction co-ordinator). With that being said, lessons provided via the club are still considered to be supplemental to a regular lesson program, not the only source of instruction for our members.

I have never heard of a non-pony club instructor having an issue with their students being in pony club, and many of our members (including my child) ride in lessons with instructors other than those used in mounted meetings.

vxf111
Dec. 7, 2011, 11:03 AM
I didn't mean to imply that the mounted meetings I have seen are UNLIKE lessons. But they are targeted to the GROUP and not to the individual and are planned with the thought that they are preparing that group for something that needs to be done at that level. So it's not the same as "gee, Suzie really needs to work on XYZ and her horse needs to work on ABC, let's work on X and A during today's lesson and keep at it until she progresses." It's more like, "well, this a a group of C3 students and they need to be doing ABC at their rally so we're all going to do ABC." ABC might be really easy for Suzie and Jane may run into a problem with B, but everyone does their best to work through it and carry on. It does not turn into a "work on B exclusively until we get it" experience just because Jane runs into a problem there. It's more linked to the level of the kids in the group as opposed to a lesson, which I think of as time to work on me/my horse on something that we as a partnership specifically need to work on. From what I have seen, it is very fruitful instruction-- but not what I would expect from a lesson that's tailored to me/my horse specifically and what we want to work on/need to do at that specific moment in time to progress.

Lisa Cook
Dec. 7, 2011, 11:11 AM
vxf...what you describe sounds like more of an instructor issue...the instructors we use do not use a "one size fits all" lesson plan for their group. Many times, while a group may have a common theme, ie. show jumping...they do not all work on the same exercise, and the instruction/exercises within a group are altered individually as needed.

Also, the groups generally run at about 4 riders, so the instructors CAN focus individually as needed. We try to have an instructor work with a group at least 3 weeks in a row before rotating instructors so they can build upon a previous week's lesson. AND, the instructors fill out notes about each student and what was worked on in each lesson with feedback. When the group changes instructors, the next instructor can read through the rider notes and better plan their lesson.

Janet
Dec. 7, 2011, 11:36 AM
I agree that it sounds like an instructor issue.

I still vividly remember a lesson with our dressage instructor (the one from SRS). I was a C-2 going for my B (no C-3 in those days). The others in the lesson (about 6), ranged from D-2 to C-2. One of the lower level riders (who was also a good friend) had a pony who WOULD-NOT-CANTER-ON-THE-RIGHT-LEAD.

Somehow, in that one lesson, he managed to teach EACH of us what we needed, but always working as a group, not taking turns.

While it isn't PC per se, in my jumping lessons with the PC "Legend" I am often paired with a horse/rider at a very different level of competence (even if we are jumping the same height). I get instruction on the things I and MY HORSE need, whether I am the more advanced or the less advanced of the pair.

vxf111
Dec. 7, 2011, 11:43 AM
I don't want to make it sound like there's no effort to tailor it to what is happening/rider need... but it's different.

If I showed up at a lesson and said "I want to work on nothing but walk today," my trainer would accomodate that. If I decided "hey, I don't want to show all winter, I'd rather break it down and go back to basics," we'd do that. The mounted meetings aren't really like that. There's a plan made in advance, and the plan looks forward to whatever is coming up on the schedule. Which is not to say that the kids riding are overfaced or there's no effort to work through issues or even that it's a one-size-fits-all exercise-- but it's not the same as a lesson where you can decide to change the goals or take an entirely different strategy. There's some effort to link what's happening to what's coming up for the club. And it's not as frequent as what I think of as a regular lesson program.

Lisa Cook
Dec. 7, 2011, 12:04 PM
but it's not the same as a lesson where you can decide to change the goals or take an entirely different strategy

Again - this sounds like an instructor issue or program issue. We have certainly tailored our program to meet student and/or horse requests or goals, even adapting mid-lesson if needed to move to a different instructor group that very day if necessary.

Which is why the back of our club is built upon our wonderful instructors. I am always horrified to read when pony clubs try to get instructors at bargain basement rates or even for free (!!) "because it's pony club". Sure, maybe you'll get lucky and get some good instructors that way....maybe? Sometimes? We hire good instructors and pay them what they are worth. With that being said, some of our instructors do voluntarily discount their usual rate because it is pony club. But they are still paid well, IMHO.

vxf111
Dec. 7, 2011, 12:15 PM
Okay, your pony club is better than our pony club. Pissing contest won! On to the next subject...

lcw579
Dec. 7, 2011, 12:23 PM
Actually, MY pony club is the best. :lol::lol::winkgrin:

Lisa Cook
Dec. 7, 2011, 12:38 PM
:lol: :lol: :lol:

vxf111
Dec. 7, 2011, 01:13 PM
Actually, MY pony club is the best. :lol::lol::winkgrin:

I agree, actually :)