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Trainer vs. Pony Club

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  • Trainer vs. Pony Club

    So i just recently took my C2 rating and had a few comments on my position that were the opposite of what many instructors have told me.
    For ex. i might have my hands in a certain position like inside hand slightly more up then the outside hand to influence my horse to lift his that shoulder...
    Anyways, the examiner was commenting on how my hands should be even all the time.
    Also, in longing she wasn't wanting me to do a strong half halt to make him walk but of course i was telling him to walk and putting lounge whip in front of shoulder. Anyways, my instructor was saying before the rating that if he doesn't listen i should do a stronger half halt-which looked like pullling back.
    I just thought it was interesting how a trainer will tell you the oppoiste of what a pony club examiner will.
    And now i just have trouble knowing what i should be doing - what my trainer says or what pony club says...

    Your thoughts?
    Why walk when you can ride?

  • #2
    I have found, at least with a lot of the PCs in our area, that often times the PC instructors teaching and knowledge may be a little on the suspect side. I have often told kids when getting ready for ratings that we might do something a certain way to pass the rating but it does not necessarily equal correct. This can be TOUGH. I would always recommend doing as told by a PC instructor or rater (unless you feel it is truly dangerous or likely to cause you or horse a whole lot of upset), but then chatting with your real trainer about what you encountered. They may say "That's a perfectly acceptable way of doing that, too."

    I think the PC idea is great and can and does produce good horsepeople, however, I do know that some of the stuff that is considered gospel by the PC is very outdated (like properly cooling a horse and giving it water after exercise. The PC way is very old school and has be debunked by science). You just have to be smart and be willing to think for yourself a bit.
    Amanda

    Comment


    • #3
      That is why rating prep is so important. There is the right way, the wrong way, and the PC way. Sometimes the PC way is right, sometimes its outdated, sometimes its another acceptable way to do something. Same is true of your trainer- sometimes right, sometimes wrong, sometimes they have pet peeves and require you to do something one way when there are multiple ways to accomplish it.

      IMHO, learn everything you can from both and take what works for you- throw away the rest.

      Before a PC test, make sure you re-read the riding chapters of the manual and attend a camp or rating prep so you can refresh your memory as to what you need to change on rating day in order to be successful.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post
        That is why rating prep is so important. There is the right way, the wrong way, and the PC way. Sometimes the PC way is right, sometimes its outdated, sometimes its another acceptable way to do something. Same is true of your trainer- sometimes right, sometimes wrong, sometimes they have pet peeves and require you to do something one way when there are multiple ways to accomplish it.

        IMHO, learn everything you can from both and take what works for you- throw away the rest.

        Before a PC test, make sure you re-read the riding chapters of the manual and attend a camp or rating prep so you can refresh your memory as to what you need to change on rating day in order to be successful.
        I agree 100%
        www.rockhillfarm.net

        Comment


        • #5
          I think both were right.

          Your hands SHOULD be level and even and not move much. But sometimes you need to do something specific like raise your inside hand a little to encourage shoulder lift. However, the examiner wanted to see you ride 'correctly' and if you could not ride with level hands that's a problem. you shouldn't have to ride with your inside hand up all the time anyway - lift, and go back to level.

          As for the lunging, if you can EXPLAIN why you did something, and then go do it the way they asked, that shows that you know why you did what you did, and that you can adapt and try a new way, which may be more classically correct but not take into account a boor of a horse who didn't whoa when you asked nicely.

          At the C2 level you should be starting to ride with an independent leg/seat/hand you are not yet expected to fully train the horse, so the examiner may ask you to do something to make sure you don't have a hole in your education.

          When I have done ratings I want to hear why someone is doing something (From D1 and up!) which may explain what I'm seeing but I still might want to ask for something else.

          Comment


          • #6
            Spot on joiedevie99.

            Particularly "the right way, the wrong way, and the Pony Club way" I remember becoming acutely aware of this fact as a young PC-er.

            And Hilary adds an excellent point--if you can explain why you do something not quite by the (PC) book they may be more understanding but always try to do it the "PC way" as long as you feel it's safe.

            Comment


            • #7
              I know as a PCer as well that to successfully pass a rating you must be able to perform the required expectations (for lack of a better term) with your eyes closes and your hands behind your back. You must be able to give a reason for everything you do and while you are doing it.
              Its just how pony club is. I know for just my D3 (which was years ago) I was expected to take my then green pony over a oxer (that shouldnt have been there to begin with) that exceeded the pc standards.
              All examiners have different opinions on what "the right way, the wrong way and the Pony Club way" are. Another example is that while I was at champions this last summer, my team was docked down in HM because we didnt one of our team didnt have a metal storage container for our grain, yet the PC manuals dont state this, it was because it was expected because of the area we were in. Not everyone in PC agrees with all of the standards, not even the examiners, everyone one has a reason why they do something or why they would like it done as such.
              Eventingismylife
              http://www.jumpingthebigsky.wordpress.com

              Comment


              • #8
                The challenge here is for the kids, especially young ones. How are they supposed to know if the PC way is right or wrong, especially if they are new to horses, or have been riding at the same barn and taught one way to do things that they thought was right/made sense to them then were suddenly told different by PC. It's tough, I think for the non horsey parents also to know which is the best way for their kids to learn. I never did PC, but I know my parents really struggled in helping me make the decision to switch barns when I was a young teen. Luckily they had horsey friends who offered advice, but I know it was hard for them to know if they were doing the right thing because they simply did not know enough about horses.

                I think PC has it's place & *can* be a very good thing, but it's a hard line to draw where PC is useful and where it turns narrow minded.

                For you personally, do your research. If something instinctively seems wrong, it probably is. Remember ultimately you are responsible for your horses care, so take into account what PC teaches you, what your trainer says, and what you find from other sources to make an informed decision. It is a tough one.
                "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

                Comment


                • #9
                  Does your region have rating preps? Assuming you passed your C2, your next rating will be the C3, which is a national test and a whole different ball game. It is VERY important to prep for the national tests with an experienced PC trainer, preferably a National Examiner. What others have said is true - you have to be able to explain everything you do. Even if you do something a little differently, if you have a good reason and it is a safe/acceptable practice you should be fine.

                  In regards to your question, Joiedevie said it best IMO a lot of times PC kids have an advantage over kids with just one trainer because of the exposure we get to a ton of different methods - some better than others. Now that you are riding at the C2 level, you should be able to take what works and leave the rest.

                  Also, while it is obviously impossibly to completely standardize individual examiners, NE's go through rigorous training and certification. At the C3 and up level, examiners are generally fairly similar, trying to stick to the standard. At the C2 and below level, literally ANYONE can be an examiner. So, what the examiner was telling you might not even be the "PC" way at all.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If I may defend "the pony club way" for a minute, it is based on classical riding and SAFETY.

                    I was always taught that a metal grain can is BEST because they are waterproof and rodent proof and if secured correctly, Pony Proof. They are just better than rubber or plastic. Should you have been docked? I don't know, I'm a softie and probably would have just told you to use metal next time.

                    PC reminds me of classical dressage training - there is no quick way to the end result and if you spend 8 (or 18) lessons keeping your elbows at your sides and your hands steady, so be it, you can trot later. PC can be sort of like that.

                    The absoluteness and stringent-ness can be over the top. does everything you own you NEED to be that clean ALL the time, probably not, but it's better if you are. Do you always set the jump cups so the pins are facing a certain direction and remove them from the standards if they don't have a rail? No, but it IS safer to do it that way.

                    I'm often first in line to poke fun at the rigors of PC but when it comes down to it, I seldom find it incorrect.

                    I hope you passed your rating, btw!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      One way of dealing with this is to go take a lesson from a well-known, successful trainer who is also an A pony clubber. Tell them point blank why you are there and what things you want cleared up. Then they will evaluate your riding and be able to give you an opinion on both your riding and what you need to do the Pony Club way for your rating. This way you will feel that you got an opinion on what works in the real world and whether that meshes with Pony Club and what you were told at your rating.

                      Make sure you have your rating sheets (with the comments you got) as well as your testing procedures or Pony Club manuals - things change and it might be helpful for the instructor to refer to them as well.
                      Blugal

                      You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hilary View Post
                        If I may defend "the pony club way" for a minute, it is based on classical riding and SAFETY.

                        THANK YOU Hilary! Have any of you guys ever looked through the ICP required reading materials? It looks like it came straight from the USPC Manuals of Horsemanship. Just saying...

                        I am in agreement with the examiner- having uneven hands is incorrect. I've never understood how a horse will lift his shoulder by you lifting your hand- that is what your leg is for. Also when longeing you don't necessarily always need to go to a stronger 1/2 halt from your hand to get the downward trans. you can use your body positioning and body language to affect the horse.
                        Last edited by Duramax; Apr. 4, 2010, 11:52 AM.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks for all the helpful comments!!
                          I did pass my rating except for the longing portion...
                          Personally, considering the C2 level is supposed to just be a basic knowledge of longing(i.e. walk & trot is only required). She said that i brought this horse to the rating and should be able to longe him... i longe him every week but in side reins so when all the sudden he wasn't in side reins(i wasnt allowed to use them) he was just kinda confused and wasn't walking.
                          That was the only problem.
                          I dont mind it, i just have to re-take my longing so no biggy!

                          Yes with the hands thing your hands should obviously be level and steady following the horses mouth, but - if i even lifted my inside hand(with leg) she would get a little "grumpy"

                          P.S. the examiner was a national examiner, so i got a good feel of how the C3 would be.
                          Why walk when you can ride?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post
                            That is why rating prep is so important. There is the right way, the wrong way, and the PC way. Sometimes the PC way is right, sometimes its outdated, sometimes its another acceptable way to do something.

                            IMHO, learn everything you can from both and take what works for you- throw away the rest.
                            Well said. There is a fair amount of "teaching to the test" that goes on with rating, and rating prep. Our club does rating preps with a national examiner, which is very helpful for the girls.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hmmmm... I think a lot of this "trainer v. PC" stuff is really overblown.

                              PC people ARE trainers. Many of them have specialty areas, and train regularly for non-PCers in dressage, eventing, etc. Yes, there are some trainers who specialize in preparing students for national level PC ratings. But I think the dynamic you speak of is somewhat overblown. If you ride with any new trainer (PC examiner or otherwise) that person probably will not agree with everything your old trainer told you. Sometimes that is because your "old" trainer sucks. Sometimes that is because the PC examiner sucks. Without knowing more, its impossible to say who is right. My advice is to keep riding with different trainers, because as you hear more and more recitations of how your should ride, some of it will start to make sense to you, and you will get better at distinguishing the professionals from the charlatans.

                              In some parts of the country, the non-PC trainer population is better than the PC-trainer population. In other parts, its the other way around. My (old) home club routinely uses former Olympians and other really good trainers in their PC programs, and in general I think the regional and national examiners that I've known are good solid horse people who know the difference between good riding and bad riding. (For the record, I'll tell you that PC or no, I would say that carrying your hands unevenly, or lifting your inside hand to get the shoulder to lift, is just bass-ackwards... and I'd get grumpy too if I saw a rider doing that. IMO, its incorrect. Period. And I get that from my German-born Grand Prix dressage instructor, not PC)

                              I think PC'ers who go through their ratings often have a skewed sense of what they're really getting rated on. It frequently happens with kids who don't pass a rating, and then seize on some picky comment or question the examiner made/asked as "THE" reason they didn't pass their C-3. I think this is rarely the truth. Usually its because the overall riding picture wasn't up to the standards.

                              I'm not sure its productive to engage in a big discussion over whether the trainer or the examiner is "right". I think you need to accept the fact that when you go to a rating, you are riding in front of a different trainer than your own. He or she may or may not particularly like your riding. But I think that occurs much more in the borderline cases. I think most people agree on the beautiful riders. So if you want to pass, find a trainer (PC or otherwise) that can turn you into a beautiful correct rider.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Not to highjack but what does a kid do in this situation....

                                Only boy going for his C1. Passes knowledge, formals, flat work with flying colors. Said boy is riding a horse that can be difficult to jump but when ridden a certain way horse goes around very nicely. They jump a course - examiner says excellent, very nicely done but would like for him to ride more in his two-point. Boy tries to explain to examiner that horse cannot be ridden that way and tries to explain what horse does - examiner says "no" you must ride in two-point and has him do another course. Boy tries examiners way but horse acts up immediately so he goes back to riding horse the way he needs to be ridden and finishes the course nicely. Comes back and examiner says "wow - 100% better!!!, But wasn't going to pass him because he rides like a guy ". And that's what she did - she failed him for that one section of the C1 test. All of the PC parents were very upset over this since he had the nicest course out of all the girls - one girl going for her C2 trotted her course. One parent called our DC to complain and the boy was able to re-take that part of the test a week later and passed. The boy was very discouraged - never wanting to go for another rating ever again. I felt so bad for him. He's been told by a lot of different BNR's and BNT's about what a nice, quiet rider he is so this rating -he was just so confused.
                                Mosmom

                                http://photobucket.com/albums/f45/ksox/

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  It can be really tricky. We used to say that you will never get into any trouble doing things the PC way, but sometimes there are better ways to do things. You just have to be aware of that going in.

                                  Some of these examiners sound like they shouldn't be doing lower level ratings. That's the nature of any subjectively judged test, but it underscores how important it is for DCs and other club officials to be familiar with the examiners they work with. A rating should be a positive, affirming experience, not an excuse to pick a kid apart. If they're not up to standards they should have that explained in a constructive way.
                                  life + horses
                                  beljoeor.blogspot.com

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I think that PC is really about learning how to 'play the game' (as in reference to mosmom situation). And PC is all about 'it's self'. I think that it is extremely unfortunate that it is so rigid. Sorry I was raised to be an independent thinker and if someone would try to make me ride a horse that I know as much about - without asking any questions nor acknowledging what is working - and then backslide their statement like that and come up with another absurdity, well that speaks for clarity!

                                    As in life, it is the lesson about what matters if you want to belong. Like society and class manners differences - PC cultivates you to mold you their way. You have to lift your pinkie, juuuust exactly the right way.
                                    Last edited by babecakes; Apr. 5, 2010, 10:20 AM.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I think the boy (C1 candidate) did the right thing. rode the horse the way the horse likes to go, explained why, and tried to do as the examiner asked. It failed. He regrouped and did it right. That the examiner still failed him means one of 2 things - the examiner could be a moron. OR -there really was something else going on with his riding that he was not up to par. "rides like a guy" is NOT a good reason. Too heavy in the hand, unstable lower leg, unable to ride in 2-point. Those are good reasons for not passing someone. And sometimes it is very hard to explain to a family why their child is not up to the standard THAT DAY. They are disappointed, angry, frustrated.

                                      However, what happens when you go to an event and have a bad day - you regroup. Call it character building, call it experience.

                                      Talk to the examiner later, and see what you can get when the emotions are not running high.

                                      Just like the dressage judge has to judge what is going on in the test right now, not what happened in warm up or last week in a lesson, the examiner's job is to decide whether or not the kid is up to the standard on that day.

                                      It breaks my heart when kids come to a rating on an unsuitable horse (not saying this is the current example, but think about it) because while I may be able to see that the kid is a crackerjack rider, if the horse is lame, being ridden by their sister, too green, too wired, never jumped XC before, in the throes of a heaves attack, doesn't have a left lead..... (yes, I've seen all these at ratings)

                                      I cannot pass that kid that day because I can't see that the kid can do what is on the piece of paper on my clip board.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by mosmom View Post
                                        Not to highjack but what does a kid do in this situation....

                                        Only boy going for his C1. Passes knowledge, formals, flat work with flying colors. Said boy is riding a horse that can be difficult to jump but when ridden a certain way horse goes around very nicely. They jump a course - examiner says excellent, very nicely done but would like for him to ride more in his two-point. Boy tries to explain to examiner that horse cannot be ridden that way and tries to explain what horse does - examiner says "no" you must ride in two-point and has him do another course. Boy tries examiners way but horse acts up immediately so he goes back to riding horse the way he needs to be ridden and finishes the course nicely. Comes back and examiner says "wow - 100% better!!!, But wasn't going to pass him because he rides like a guy ". And that's what she did - she failed him for that one section of the C1 test. All of the PC parents were very upset over this since he had the nicest course out of all the girls - one girl going for her C2 trotted her course. One parent called our DC to complain and the boy was able to re-take that part of the test a week later and passed. The boy was very discouraged - never wanting to go for another rating ever again. I felt so bad for him. He's been told by a lot of different BNR's and BNT's about what a nice, quiet rider he is so this rating -he was just so confused.

                                        Mosmom - This account of a failed rating is all too common. And while I don't think the kid involved is being dishonest, I view these stories with a fair amount of skepticism, because these are kids, they just failed their rating, and experience tells me that two things are common: 1) the kid really isn't hearing what the examiner is telling him. (e.g., examiner says, "You're far too heavy with your hands, which is common in men, therefore I'm not going to pass you." PCer hears "I'm not passing you because you're a boy."); or 2) the examiner actually does say something boneheaded (e.g., "I can't pass you because you ride like a guy."), but it isn't ACTUALLY why the examiner fails the PCer. The real reason is the examiner sees a rider who is too heavy with his hands, and for whatever reason is unable to articulate what is really wrong, and instead has a boneheaded moment and says something stupid.

                                        Occasionally, you really just have a dumb examiner... but I think that is the rare exception.

                                        What do you do? Well, first I'd try to get an account of what was ACTUALLY said. Talk to the DC. Tell him/her what your son said, say you're not sure what the actual reasons were (and neither is your son) but you don't think the reason as articulated would be appropriate. See if the DC can talk to the examiner and find out more. This is helpful for two reasons. If the poor kid is actually going to pass his C1 next time, he needs to know what to work on. Obviously, he can't work on being a boy. And second, it tips the DC off about a potential problem with the examiner. Maybe there is no problem there... but if the DC has heard the same comment before from the mom of another boy, then suddenly you have some real credence to your account, and the DC can act accordingly. If instead the DC calls the examiner, and the examiner says, "no, that's NOT what I said, what I said was "blah blah blah which is a common problem in boys"... then at least you can go back to your son and see if this account jives with him. Or perhaps the examiner says "gee, I did put it like that, and I shouldn've have... what I was really trying to say was blah blah blah."

                                        Either way, I think everyone comes out better for it.

                                        But at the end of the day, pony club is like life in that matter. Most people are competent and fair, but not everyone. Sometimes you take your lumps, and hope for a different examiner next time.

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