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USPC Horsemasters

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  • USPC Horsemasters

    I see mention online of the Horsemasters program available through the United states Pony Club. I see that they now offer ratings through the national levels.

    Has anyone been involved in these upper level testings? I'd love to go back and get my HA and maybe my A, although I'm not sure that jumping around 3'9" without stirrups sounds like as great a time as I age. Are you tested with the kids? Or is it necessary to set up a separate testing? I am located in Albuquerque, New Mexico so any info on local clubs would be appreciated, but I'm most interested in the testing.

  • #2
    Have to check with PC and see if there are any local chapters that have Horsemasters. It very much depends on your area if there are any or not. Believe the closest PC chapter to my area did try to get HM rolling but had a tough time getting it started despite getting a lot of interest initially. Distance was a problem, they are way out from any metro area, as was needing to have a horse. Same problem with the regular PC activity.

    Quick google reveals your closest PC chapter is 60 miles away in Los Alamos. Contact info is given. They have a website but it’s rather sparse. The USPC website has a description of the HM ratings and briefly discusses the new national ratings. It’s on one of the drop down menus, Disciplines maybe or right above or below it on the drop down list. Not that easy to use.

    Would expect to be combined with the kids unless there are a large number of participating adults locally.

    Next closest chapter is in Cortez Co. at close to 200 miles which surprised me a bit, kind of remote. Military center maybe? Otherwise it’s touristy, Mesa Verde National Park. It’s on the USPC website as a PC chapter.
    Last edited by findeight; Jul. 8, 2018, 02:16 PM.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

    Comment


    • #3
      Our club has a few horsemasters. It started out as separate but USPC decided that they should be regular members of clubs, and had the option to join an existing club or start their own. In my region, the horsemasters group, which had been attached to the region, decided to join our club instead of forming their own. It started with a large group of mostly D2-D3 level riders, predominantly based out of one barn. After joining us, most of those riders did not renew the next year, and we were left with 3-5 horsemasters.

      Now, we have 5. Two of those rarely participate. Three is not enough to make separate plans for, and none of them want to take it on, so they are fully included in lessons with the kids (our club offers lessons weekly). Some of our horsemasters have competed at mounted rallies (dressage, eventing and show jumping), mostly in a separate HMX division, but not always. Two have been stable managers at rallies. Two have competed at the Quiz rally, along with a horsemaster from a neighboring region. Most of the horsemasters we've gotten over the last few years are in the 45-60 age range. Some are parents of current or former members, but a lot are people who missed out on Pony Club as a kid and want to do it now. We have one right now who is 26, and was a youth member of our club for many years before rejoining as a horsemaster after one year out of the club. She competed in the eventing rally this year, as an individual in a horsemasters divsion. We were able to give her a kid as her stable manager.

      As far as ratings go, for the national level ratings you are talking about, they would definitely be to the same standards, and tested at the same time as the kids. It takes a lot of money and effort to put on those ratings and fly out national examiners, etc, and there are few horsemasters at those levels. At the lower levels, it's up to the club (but ours are also combined).

      Before you decide, you might want to read the standards for those levels, because I am pretty sure once you get to a certain level, they include requirements such as having competed in at least one rally in the past year, or similar wording. They all definitely require that you have been a "member in good standing" which requires you to participate, and more importantly, give back to the club. You can't just join to only do the ratings.

      I'd find your nearest club and inquire. Even if they don't currently have horsemaster members, they might be willing to give it a try (I actually think the national office says you can't deny them, but you don't want to be unwanted). I would think they would be happy to have a B member around who can help improve the club.

      Personally, I kind of have mixed feelings about horsemasters in Pony Club, but since the national office says they're here to stay, I take anyone who wants to join, and try to fit them into the program. I do not actively recruit for them, though.

      Comment


      • #4
        Mango20 has given you great information. I am an adult member of a small Pony Club that actually has a majority of adult members at present. At the lower level ratings, I think the only difference is that they don't require adult members to do an emergency dismount at the trot!

        Comment


        • #5
          Recently, I lucked out that some adult riders in Lexington, KY formed The Serendipity Pony Club, which was begun for Horsemasters, but any age is welcome. So far, we have a huge interest (16 signed up at the first meeting, including me.)

          If you were in Pony Club and aged out, you will be reinstated at your former level. I was a "B", so will be eligible to take my "HA", if I choose to do so. At my age, I would never think of going for my "A", because I never plan on jumping that high again.

          You might put out feelers on Facebook to see how much interest there would be in you starting your own Horsemasters Pony Club, especially if there are so many younger people who do not particularly want us in their Pony Club. I feel that Pony Club should be about learning, not age discrimination. After all, a lot of us have a wealth of knowledge to give back to those, for whom Pony Club was not available when they were younger.
          When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

          Comment


          • #6
            For years USPC said letting the HMX do National Ratings was their "I'd do anything for members, but I won't do THAT" and I guess I missed that they now indeed do. (did my Meatloaf reference make sense? My coffee hasn't kicked in.)

            For you that have joined, what enticed you in? I need to find some members and would love to get an HMX group going, though we are open to any age.

            Comment


            • #7
              I joined again, because I loved Pony Club. I was older, 16, when I joined. So, I aged out quickly (21 was when you aged out during my era.) I love learning. I love having the opportunity to ride with good instructors and get clinic discounts. Being on a team was stressful, but fun. Back in the late '60's, we only had a "Combined Training Rally", so working to get ready for it was challenging and rewarding. I just turned 66 years old. When I lived in Ohio, I gave back by teaching for a Pony Club and by becoming an Examiner, through the "C" level. Becoming an "A" was always a goal. I will never reach that one, but I can achieve a "HA."
              When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by pologirl27 View Post
                For years USPC said letting the HMX do National Ratings was their "I'd do anything for members, but I won't do THAT" and I guess I missed that they now indeed do. (did my Meatloaf reference make sense? My coffee hasn't kicked in.)

                For you that have joined, what enticed you in? I need to find some members and would love to get an HMX group going, though we are open to any age.
                What enticed me in was -
                1) As a youth, I did not have the opportunity to own or lease a horse or do horse 4-H or Pony Club. I adored the "Cammie" books in which Pony Club featured prominently. So to an extent, joining Pony Club fulfilled a childhood dream.

                2) As an adult, what Pony Club provides me is an opportunity to meet other like-minded horse people, learn in a group setting, and learn from trainers/instructors I might not otherwise lesson or clinic with.

                3) In theory, I like the idea of being able to rate and get recognition for achieving standards of performance in a setting that is not competition based. In actuality, I am finding that the HM portion of the D level ratings feels like jumping through so many hoops. I have acquired most of the info needed to pass through the normal course of horse ownership and don't always buy in 100% to what PC considers the correct answer or way. I do think it is great for the youth members to have to learn the HM stuff in order to advance. I have not looked as much at the C level stuff though we spent an unmounted meeting recently learning how to make flannels. It seemed a bit outdated to me, but "tradition".

                Comment


                • #9
                  Another thought derived from the idea that allowing adult members to participate fully with youth members and achieve national ratings dilutes the experience for the youth members...

                  Over the course of the last twenty or so years (period when I was actively raising my kids to adulthood), I have observed that all youth focused organizations have been affected by the intense competition for kids' time. In response, I have seen organizations broaden their programs to try to appeal to a broader base. Not only does Pony Club now allow adult members, but there are advancement tracks in dressage, hunt seat eq, and even western - never mind that the local clubs I am familiar with don't have a lot of western specific resources for members on the western track to access. I am not sure that the strategy of trying to be all things to all people who would possibly like to join is in the long term best interests of any organization (whether PC or Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts or whatever). It will be interesting to see if they cycle back around to more specificity, stabilize, or continue to wither away.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pologirl27 View Post
                    For years USPC said letting the HMX do National Ratings was their "I'd do anything for members, but I won't do THAT" and I guess I missed that they now indeed do. (did my Meatloaf reference make sense? My coffee hasn't kicked in.)

                    For you that have joined, what enticed you in? I need to find some members and would love to get an HMX group going, though we are open to any age.
                    Originally, there were totally separate ratings for the horsemasters, but now there is only one set, with the provision that horsemasters can discuss the emergency dismount instead of demonstrate it, if desired. They can go for upper level ratings.

                    For the horsemasters I've known, these are their reasons:

                    1. Large group of older beginners at a barn whose manager was involved in Pony Club thought it would be fun, never had the chance as kids, etc. Since there were a lot of them, they managed their own schedule, with many social activities (usually including some sort of horse knowledge and food/wine), as well as lessons. They lost interest after most activities moved from their barn.

                    2. Parents of current members figure they're coming to everything anyway, so why not get something out of it? (discount lessons, etc)

                    3. Parents of former members say "it's my turn now" (sort of a spin-off to the current parent thinking)

                    4. Adults who never had the chance to be in Pony Club and who want a comprehensive learning experience. They have no family ties to Pony Club. They seem to have the most enthusiasm about it.

                    5. Graduate members

                    I'm a current parent, club officer, and an H-A graduate. I have no desire to be a horsemaster at this point. Maybe once my kid is at college and I need something to do, who knows? I think that your typical new member will be a D-level rider who needs to learn the HM and wants to be part of a group.

                    I've found that kids don't care at all about adults being in their lessons. Perhaps some adults might feel self conscious about it, but that's their problem (I have three that attend lessons. We have good dressage and jumping instructors, so that helps). Our lessons are not divided by age, but by ability and how many sign up. So it's possible that an adult will be in the same lesson as a 9 year old D2 on a small pony.

                    Horsemasters at rallies is sort of a touchy subject. I think it would work well if there were MORE of them so that a totally separate division would work well. Right now in my region, there are only a few who compete, so they end up competing as only 1-5 individuals at a rally. In the past, we had them on kids' teams, but I think we're trying to keep them separate now. Some people didn't like when we used a horsemaster member as the stable manager on a kid's team. They thought it was an unfair advantage. The kids were at a higher rating, but the adult D2 probably had better time management skills and attention to detail. No one seems to have an issue with having a kid be a stable manager for an adult team or individual. Another issue is if a parent and child both want to compete at a rally. How do you keep the parent from parenting the child (in other words, interfering with his/her independent rally experience)? Some of this will depend on the parent's personality. We've had our issues.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I joined pony club as an adult because it was not something I ever had a chance to do as a kid.
                      (I did not own a horse until I was an adult.)

                      It has been a great experience. I have learned a ton. Though I agree with what was said above, some of pony club's HM rules are not necessarily in agreement with my thoughts but I do their way at rallies and such.

                      Rallies around here have been split as far as Horsemasters competing with the kids or in a separate division, and they have said which way the show is going in the entry packet. Sometimes there is only one Horsemaster team, sometimes more.



                      Originally posted by Mango20 View Post
                      Some people didn't like when we used a horsemaster member as the stable manager on a kid's team. They thought it was an unfair advantage. The kids were at a higher rating, but the adult D2 probably had better time management skills and attention to detail.
                      This is kind of funny to me. Some of the ladies in our group could get out organized by the youngest of D1 and for sure time management is not their thing at all.
                      The best stable manager in our club is still a junior member.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thank you all for your responses! Love to hear that there are a few of you Horsemasers active on the forums. Anybody taken any of the regional or national ratings as an adult? I'm interested in getting involved in the local club mostly to bring along the younger members, but I like to have a goal in my riding and achieving my HA and A seems more economical and way more significant than showing. Something to work toward without so many $1000 weekends.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Groom&amp;Taxi View Post
                          Not only does Pony Club now allow adult members, but there are advancement tracks in dressage, hunt seat eq, and even western -
                          I did not know this! Western Pony Club!?! I can not for the life of me understand why that offends me so much. Nothing wrong with western, I had a (western) barrel pony that I ended up winning Games Rally with. It's like some unholy mixing of church and state! So silly of me, but reading that made my stomach drop. Guess that's no further fetched than my old self trying for ratings. My how things have changed.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well jonem004 'western' is pretty much happening as Western Dressage right now and isn't terribly popular. I think that is probably a different story in states where more people ride western. Here in the east it seems unneeded.

                            Thanks for everyone's feedback, seems I am looking for the more beginner adult riders.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jonem004 View Post

                              I did not know this! Western Pony Club!?! I can not for the life of me understand why that offends me so much. Nothing wrong with western, I had a (western) barrel pony that I ended up winning Games Rally with. It's like some unholy mixing of church and state! So silly of me, but reading that made my stomach drop. Guess that's no further fetched than my old self trying for ratings. My how things have changed.
                              I totally understand feeling like that. I feel the same way every time I read one of your snobby posts.

                              The horsemasters group I am familiar with is mostly beginner adults. They have a really good time and while I don’t participate in Horsemasters, I do help set up and participate in their schooling derby’s and ride-a-test events.
                              http://theotherboard.boards.net/ An OT forum for CoTHers to give our dear Mods a break

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by jonem004 View Post

                                I did not know this! Western Pony Club!?! I can not for the life of me understand why that offends me so much. Nothing wrong with western, I had a (western) barrel pony that I ended up winning Games Rally with. It's like some unholy mixing of church and state! So silly of me, but reading that made my stomach drop. Guess that's no further fetched than my old self trying for ratings. My how things have changed.
                                Teaching young people proper horse management and basics with western horses? Shocking. What a travesty.
                                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post

                                  I totally understand feeling like that. I feel the same way every time I read one of your snobby posts.

                                  The horsemasters group I am familiar with is mostly beginner adults. They have a really good time and while I don’t participate in Horsemasters, I do help set up and participate in their schooling derby’s and ride-a-test events.
                                  I did point out that my emotional reaction was unmerited. I think your comment is unnecessarily harsh.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by findeight View Post

                                    Teaching young people proper horse management and basics with western horses? Shocking. What a travesty.
                                    Again, I commented that my feelings about western in PC were silly, especially since I was interested in participating in a child club as an adult. I seem to have offended you. That was not my intention. I was seeking to poke fun at myself.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      FYI, I was interviewing a national Pony Club leader yesterday for an article about upcoming Championships in Tryon and when I mentioned "Horsemasters" she said that category was essentially going away and members of any age were just going to be "Pony Clubbers" from now on, with the same ratings scale, etc. We didn't get into details like what the "more mature" Pony Clubbers" might be excused from doing, like the emergency dismounts.
                                      It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by GotMyPony View Post
                                        FYI, I was interviewing a national Pony Club leader yesterday for an article about upcoming Championships in Tryon and when I mentioned "Horsemasters" she said that category was essentially going away and members of any age were just going to be "Pony Clubbers" from now on, with the same ratings scale, etc. We didn't get into details like what the "more mature" Pony Clubbers" might be excused from doing, like the emergency dismounts.
                                        Thank you, that is interesting to know.

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