Pony Club Raised Me Right

Six years ago I joined my local Pony Club. At the time, my trainer recommended that I attend a meeting and find out more about Pony Club.  She knew that it would be a great addition to her instruction, as Pony Club teaches so much more than just riding.  During the first year, I realized the United States Pony Club offered such a depth of training and horse management knowledge. The opportunities were vast, affordable and experiences of a lifetime.

Within these past years not only have I become more knowledgeable, but I also have gained responsibility. In the long run the educational services that have been place before me have helped me grow. Personally, I am thankful to be privileged growing up in this community. Pony Club has afforded me many opportunities from riding with top clinicians, to teaching younger members, as well as competing in personal and team events with friends from all over the country.  Recently, I was honored in becoming the President of the Atlanta Pony Club’s Junior Board, an accomplishment that never even crossed my mind six years ago.

Atlanta Pony Club is just one club of many in our South Region. Each club has its similarities and differences, but with my years of growing up around other riders that thrive for knowledge, I have come to see a major common ground. We are all like extended family. I appreciate and respect every rider. What I love most about this is that one can visit another club, and they will still feel the same atmosphere or commonality. We are not only equestrians who ride but equestrians who have met the requirements and earned our certifications, for both our riding skills and horse management knowledge.  So it does not matter what state or region one is from, if you are a Pony club member, there is a level of mutual admiration. Each of us earned our positions due to a lot of hard work, dedication and great mentors.

Additionally, I have had some phenomenal trainers and experiences outside of pony club. But thanks to Pony Club I have an extensive knowledge regarding horseback riding. I cannot imagine where I would have had the opportunities if was not for USPC.  Personally, I feel the South Region has raised me right!

Advisors and Chief Horse Management Judge, Brenda, pose for a photo op!
Advisors and Chief Horse Management Judge, Brenda, pose for a photo op!

The mission behind Pony Club is to “develop character, confidence, and leadership in a youth community.” Pony Club is known for teaching in great detail the full care of horses and ponies. The teachings that are provided through this organization help one to become a well-rounded horseman.

Within PC all educational programs emphasize equality on the teaching of riding skills, team participation, horsemanship, and sportsmanship. Members are given the opportunity to broaden their network through both mounted and unmounted meetings.

I would encourage all young riders to check out their local Pony Club.  To find a club in your area, visit the United States Pony Club website and click on the link for Pony clubs in your area.

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Passion

PassionHave you ever thought about where your passion for horses and riding comes from? I think about it all of the time. Is the passion something you inherited or learned?

For me, I started riding when I was in second grade because my mom won a basket at my school’s Fall Festival silent auction. Little did either of us know that what was a fundraiser would take me on the journey of my life. From the moment I mounted that first lesson horse, I knew I was in love.  I loved the horse, the arena, and the instructor, who by the way I am good friends with still to this day.

But before that first lesson, my family has a history of riding and training horses. My mom had ridden as a child with no formal instruction and so had my dad.  Both lost a parent to cancer early in their lives and they each had a horse that helped them through those tough times.  So for them, riding horses held this sense of healing and renewing.  I am sure neither of them consciously thought about this when they bid on that silent auction horse basket.

But even before my parents began riding their fathers rode. My maternal grandfather, Roy Palmer, who is now 91 and quite a character still to this day, used to train horses when he was a young man.  People from all around would bring their most challenging mounts for him to ride.  He had the reputation of being able to break just about anything. He would break mules for riding and plowing, along with horses and cows.  Yes, back then he even used to ride a cow to school.  I cannot imagine how uncomfortable of a ride that must have been.

When I speak to my grandfather, he always tells me how thrilled he is that I ride and compete. For him, I have taken one of his passions to a newer and higher level. As equestrians today, we have so much more available to us than others did many years ago.

So for me, I believe my passion was an inherited one. I ride because I love it, but I love it because riding is in my blood. I can only imagine what kind of incredible competitor my grandfather would be if he had all of the opportunities we equestrians have today.

So, where did your passion begin?

A junior young rider's insight into the horse world… For all equestrians!