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Pony Club and trainers

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  • Pony Club and trainers

    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?
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire

  • #2
    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.


    • #3


      • #4
        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


        • #5
          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.


          • #6
            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...)


            • #7
              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.


              • #8
                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.


                • #9
                  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.


                  • #10
                    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


                    • #11
                      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.


                      • #12
                        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)

                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                        • #13
                          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.


                          • #14
                            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.


                            • #15
                              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
                              spriesersporthorse.com | farm on Facebook | me on Facebook | blog


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by dressagediosa View Post
                                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.


                                • #17
                                  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.
                                  OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


                                  • #18
                                    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.


                                    • #19
                                      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.


                                      • #20
                                        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!