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USPC A's and B's tell us about yourselves

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  • USPC A's and B's tell us about yourselves

    I would love to know how many COTH Eventing forum members achieved their Pony Club A, HA, or B ratings and what they think of their experiences. My daughter will be elgible to go for her A rating in two years, and is already nervous as heck. She thought the B was pretty tough, and as an observer I would have to agree. She says she will go for the HA for sure, but may wait quite awhile to ride for her A if she does it at all.

    So first off, who are the A's and B's? Then any suggestions for those hoping to rate up in the future.

  • #2
    I am a graduate A pony clubber. I was in PC in Texas in the 80's and 90's. I did my HA and A in the same summer the last year I was eligible. It was quite a summer because I had to do the required preps too. And NONE of them were offered in Texas that year. So I went to Illinois for my HA prep, then VA for my A prep (rode borrowed horses). Then to Ogden, UT for my HA test and Louisville, KY for my A test.

    It is a VERY challenging test - but if you do the work and have the ability to always answer the question "why" - it is attainable.

    I still list my achievement on my resume. It is a big deal and certainly one of the biggest goals I achieved in my youth. (Now that I have two kids - they sort of rank as my biggest achievements!)

    Good luck!
    Last edited by jredmon; Oct. 8, 2009, 01:03 PM.


    • #3
      Graduate B here. I loved my time in Pony Club, but like I ranted in another post, it has changed signifigantly. My coming 4 year old is already nagging me to join PC, but I'm not sure I want her to go that direction. I was fortunate to belong to very active clubs that enabled me to rally and rate, although my family didn't have much money. The clubs I've worked with in the past 3 years have been very different from what I grew up with. There are kids I've taught that had been rated a C3 before I taught them and back in the day they wouldn't have passed their C1!
      I only rode green or naughty horses growing up and finally had one nice horse, which I found boring. Now I do OTTB's and have 2 that I campaign, and 1 that is with a YR in NH. The 2 I have most people would run from because of breeding and their known neurotic issues, but they're great fun! The older brother is competing at Intermediate, preparing to move up to Advanced, the younger brother has just begun competing Novice--placing every time out.
      As far as advancing in PC, I have a few friends that have acquired their HA's and A's over the years. At one A rating, a friend was told by the examiner in a more "nice" version that it was political why she wasn't passing. Another friend just went for her A after receiving her HA. Her horse didn't haul well to the rating and was stiff, so she didn't pass, although there could have been other horses available--namely my idiot gelding who she could have ridden with no problem-- the examiners didn't make that an option, which I thought odd.
      My advice for all PC'ers as they come along is to ride LOTS of horses. Everything you can get your hands on. Find someone who is an UL rider that has gone through PC or a National Examiner that you can spend some time with. I used an A PC'er friend of mine when I went for my B. We paid her 2 separate times to come and go over EVERYTHING for me. From mounted work to bandaging, she ripped me up one side and down the other... then came back, I'd been working hard and was able to get feedback on what was lacking. I also asked her questions on things I was struggling with and got feedback on how she was able to overcome that. We had also been preparing for my B for 2 years--before I went for my C3. I also went to u/m preps outside my rating for HA's.
      Also, bandage every day. Every type of bandage you can do, work on. Work with a vet, if you can. Ride with your farrier. Make yourself an expert in everything. If you can know why your horse goes a certain way biomechanically and are able to verbalize it, that helps, as well... i.e my gelding was physically unable to lengthen his stride due to conformation, but I knew how to get the most out of him and demonstrated and expressed that at my rating, which put me well beyond the standards. As another poster said, it's the "HOW" and "WHY" that's most important. You may be completely wrong, but if you have a reason for doing what you do and it is logical and safe, you may be able to change some minds in the process.
      The biggest thing is to have fun and enjoy the learning process! It isn't the goal that's fun, but the experience of getting there! Good luck to your daughter!
      Keep your feet on the ground, but always look to the stars!


      • #4
        Grad A pony clubber here from a very competitve club and region. I graduated in 1995. I got my HA and A the same summer in 1992. At our A rating only 2 of the 8 passed. The other girl and I were from the same club and had both competed on various Young Rider teams. We were both competing regularly at prelim and intermediate.
        I know pony club has changed since I took my A but I feel as long as you are going to the rating with a good attitude and that you are able to explain what problems you had and how you could go about fixing them it isn't a big deal!
        Good Luck!


        • #5
          Graduate H-A here.

          My experiences with PC were amazing. I learned so very that I use every day, still. I stayed involved for many years as an examiner, taught at camps, and did some SM judging. I'm out of the loop now, but I miss it.
          "Aye God, Woodrow..."


          • #6
            I'm a graduate A! I failed both my B and HA the first times I took them, but I felt very prepared and capable at my A.

            The knowledge sections of the B and the HA overall were difficult for me, but through practice and mentoring from older pony clubbers I was able to get through.

            I think a major component to any upper-level rating (and it says so on the standard) is maturity. The more you can approach the rating as an opportunity to show what you know--as well as to learn from the examiners by taking constructive criticism and applying it--the better off you'll be.

            Achieving the A is something I'm very proud of, and I encourage every PC'er to set their goals high and see what they can accomplish!


            • #7
              At 16, I achieved my B. Only 3 of 10+ passed. I considered going on for my HA and A, but at that time it was either pony club and college, or eventing and college. My family set a limit on horse time while starting the college search, and rightfully so. Eventing won.

              Without Pony Club, I would have never become involved with horses. My parents knew nothing about them, except their blue eyed girl fell in love with every pony and horse we passes. To this day, I still use the knowledge I gained form the organization. Citing your upper-level rating helps to distinguish you and your background. It also opens doors to wonderful contacts and opportunities no matter where you may be located. When I taught, I always employed the Pony Club practice of safety, horsemanship and respect to your horse/pony.

              This all happened in 1996, when Pony Club was very different then it is today. Similar to an earlier poster's note - I do not agree with the direction Pony Club has recently gone, and the adjusted requirements for the upper levels.

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              • #8
                I'm a graduate B! I also failed my first time I took the B but I was sure ready the second time and passed with flying colors. Pony Club was amazing and I use what I learned every day.
                My horse of a lifetime!!


                • #9
                  I am a USPC graduate "B" Pony Clubber. It took me two times, also, to pass. The first time, I passed the riding portion, but failed the knowledge. I worked very hard on the knowledge and practical for the next try.

                  Passing my "B" really prepared me for the BHSAI exam, which I passed in 1975 at the Fulmer School of Equitation in Ledston, UK.
                  When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


                  • #10
                    Current 'HA' here, testing for my A next year. I'm 21 and still in pony club... i think that says it all
                    Courtney Sendak


                    • #11
                      My trainer has her A rating and she has the most amazing eye for biomechanics of both the rider and the horse and I know PC helped her become that way.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Eventingjunkie View Post
                        I would love to know how many COTH Eventing forum members achieved their Pony Club A, HA, or B ratings and what they think of their experiences. My daughter will be elgible to go for her A rating in two years, and is already nervous as heck. She thought the B was pretty tough, and as an observer I would have to agree. She says she will go for the HA for sure, but may wait quite awhile to ride for her A if she does it at all.

                        So first off, who are the A's and B's? Then any suggestions for those hoping to rate up in the future.
                        I am a graduate H-A, I did my B when I was 14 (I presume your daughter was too) and then had to wait two years to do my H-A. I passed on the first time and a great prep for college interviews etc. My A eluded me because it took a back seat to my other goals CCI's, and college and I never fully focused on it. I wish I had had the luxury of having until I was 25 to take my A.

                        My suggestion for your daughter is to find an old school A pony clubber (a graduate from the 70's/80's/90's) and have him or her work with your child on the various areas once a month since she has 2 years.

                        My greatest fear was failing the lunging at my H-A. A group of friends that went for their H-A a few years before me had multiple people fail lunging and the work with the local pro was a huge help. She had a barn of 30 horses and I also had to go through the entire barn and age them by their teeth and assess them for what "job" they would be suitable for.

                        And the wrapping, assuming PC is still going the cottons/cheesecloth and flannels route practicing H-A level shipping, standing, exercise and spider bandages is really important.

                        PC is an excellent organization and as with PP I don't necessarily agree with the new direction I still think the horsemanship and maturity it teaches kids is worth the negatives.


                        • #13
                          Graduate HA

                          Graduated in '96 with my HA--this is back when everyone did their "A" in eventing and you aged out at 21...sadly, I didn't have a horse capable of taking my "A"--only youngsters. I wish I had. That's actually a big regret of mine...not going for my "A"

                          I'm proud to say I made it to my HA without EVER having to redo a wrap and without ever failing a rating or part of a rating! It's still one of my greatest achievements.

                          I remember at my HA, the examiner asked about my bandages that I presented..."What do you think of your bandages," she asked.

                          "I think they're good."

                          "Is there anything about them you'd like to change?"


                          "I agree!" she said.

                          HAHA! So nerve wracking.

                          Longing and teaching were the two "events" people failed on FREQUENTLY at my B and my HA. Practice those, and practice them on DIFFERENT horses. I drew a 3 year with little/no experience longing and basically had to TEACH her to longe (and wrap her, braid her, bathe her, present her for show)...She (the filly) was a pill, but I grew up in a combined driving barn, so I longed CONSTANTLY , so I solicited a second person to assist in teaching her (she was a two-man job )---they respected that I knew enough to realize she/I needed a second person to give her a positive experience on the longe line. 50% of people at my C3, B, and HA failed them.

                          I basically rode around with my vet for a year before I was brave enough to go for my HA...which was a good thing, because you really needed to know your stuff!!!

                          They are looking for maturity as well...dress the part, act the part, speak the part, be the part of a professional horseperson.

                          I have yet to use that much practiced Spider bandage...

                          I did a little volunteer work within the last several years with a local club and was very unimpressed with the regular turnout of the kids to clinics, their general attitudes, and the attitudes of their parents, but I'm hoping that's a local issue and not a nationwide trend.

                          If PC made an HA pin, I'd buy one and sport it at the recognized dressage shows I'm attending these days...


                          • #14
                            Got my HA when I was 16 (omg, 9 years ago! ) and never tried for my A... never really had a horse, and then when the increased the age limit, I seriously considered going for it, but decided that there was better things I could be doing with my $$. I was a HM judge from the time I was 18, judged at nationals, and now teach for local pony clubs. I think that pony club is a very good thing to go through, but there definitely were some, um, interesting experiences that I had to go through.


                            • #15
                              Ahhhhh.... the Spider Bandage....

                              I have yet to use that much practiced Spider bandage...
                              My trainer is also a graduate "A" and I actually saw him pull out the "spider bandage" once several years ago! I think he muttered something about practicing it all those years....


                              • #16
                                Graduate HA. I didn't pass my A, but I don't have any regrets. Pony Club is a great organization, and I learned a TON along the way.

                                The upper level ratings are hard. That's all there is to it. I hadn't ever failed a rating until the A, and it was really hard on me, but I know it's because I didn't meet standards. I'm still very pleased to be an HA. If she really wants to be overprepared for her testings, have her spend several weeks (if not a whole summer) with a national examiner prepping. It really makes a difference in your understanding of the system and nerves.
                                "One thing vampire children have to be taught early is, don't run with a wooden stake."


                                • #17
                                  Graduate A here! back from the 90's in Minnesota! Took my A in IL and also my HA....

                                  One of my proudest accomplishments...

                                  Very tough but worth every minute!


                                  • #18
                                    Current B! I got my B when I was 16 and just starting to event. It was a big stretch for me and the examiners definitely said that I "needed a little more time" before I took my HA. Since then (4 and a half years!) I've still remained an active pony clubber but lost interest in rating again. Maybe someday. . .


                                    • #19
                                      I got my HA in 1987 and did not take the A for a couple of reasons - mostly I didn't have a horse. I was in college and it was hard enough borrowing horses for the B test that finding an A horse and having the time to work a summer job and prep for the A just wasn't in the cards.

                                      I really appreciate how much knowledge PC sort of forced me to learn - and I actually HAVE used that spider bandage! (And the figure-8 and the real exercise wrap).


                                      • #20
                                        Graduate A

                                        Penobscot Pony Club near Bangor/Brewer Maine.

                                        I love pony club and the emphasis on learning and respect and care for the horse first.

                                        I think that the stupid picky tack inspections (except for safety and cleanliness) turned many away from pony club (including my brother who was a much better rider than I will ever be).

                                        I never would have gone to law school if I did not want to find a job to support my horse.

                                        I have loved horses since I was in fifth grade. I still ride three or four days a week. I keep my mare at home and just love to hang out at the barn.

                                        Most of my jobs have come from what I learned in pony club. This includes my first job out of law school. I was teaching for a pony club near Boston. The economy was very bad and one of the pony club dads gave me a lead. I also lived overseas for ten years and taught in pony clubs.

                                        So often, my life has been touched by the things I learned and the people I met in pony club.