If you’ve been looking for a Pony Club chapter in the Los Gatos, CA, area, you are in luck! Bear Creek Stables now offers a registered Pony Club program, and you don’t even need to have your own pony to participate.
The United States Pony Club, Inc. now allows riding centers, like Bear Creek Stables, to provide ponies for those who want to participate but do not own a horse. And that’s great news for anyone who has wanted to participate in a Pony Club program but didn’t have a mount.
According to Pam Ashford, Bear Creek Stables manager and Pony Club Chapter district commissioner, “We started our Pony Club chapter in September 2019 with about seven kids. By November, we were up to 25 members. Our growth was fast!”
“I’m looking forward to this year and adding in rallies, clinics, and more,” said Ashford.
What is Pony Club?
According to the U.S. Pony Club website, Pony Club is the largest equestrian educational organization in the world. The foundations of the program include education, safety, sportsmanship, stewardship, and, of course, fun. Pony Club chapters teach members riding and the care of horses as well as the skills, habits, and values instilled through horsemanship, which apply to every part of a member’s life. The United States Pony Clubs, Inc. grew out of The British Pony Club, which was created in 1929 as a junior branch of the Institute of the Horse. “Since then, Pony Club has expanded to many countries around the world, with the main goal being to promote sportsmanship, stewardship and leadership through horsemanship,” reports the U.S. Pony Club website.
What’s a Pony?
In 1929, the term “pony” was used to describe any mount of a youth equestrian. Today, to call your mount a pony requires specific requirements. Typically, a pony is a small horse—one that grows less than 14.2 hands high (58 inches) when measured at the withers – the high point where the pony’s back meets the shoulder.
Just like horses, there are many breeds of ponies, including miniature ponies. However, ponies do differ from horses in several ways. Ponies tend to have:
- thicker manes and tails
- shorter backs
- A stockier build
- shorter strides
Pony Club Changes Provide Opportunity
In the last decade, Pony Club has changed its programming to meet the needs of equestrians of all ages—as well as those that don’t own ponies. That created the opportunity for Bear Creek Stables to open a Pony Club chapter. Additionally, riding centers now can offer programs that lead to certifications in dressage and show jumping as well as Western riding disciplines.
Pony Club membership offers opportunities for members, too. For instance, members have access to:
- the Pony Club online community
- sponsor discounts
- educational standards and achievements
- a Pony Club Pin
- the chance to participate in lessons, certifications, rallies, competitions, championships, and Pony Club Festival
According to the Pony Club, members also are privy to a host of additional programs, such as international exchanges, USEF Pony Finals, Dressage for Kids, National Youth Board, National Youth Congress, scholarships, and the Visiting Instructors Program.
Membership in Pony Club is also an opportunity to develop life skills. The U.S. Pony club claims, “Many of our graduates feel that Pony Club helped shape their character and the choices they have made as adults.”
Join the Bear Creek Stables Pony Club Chapter
If you want to see Pony Club in action, come observe the next event. The Bear Creek Stables Pony Club Chapter meets twice monthly, on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month.
For more information or to join, contact Pam Ashford.
About the Author
Nina Amir is known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach. As one of 700 elite Certified High Performance Coaches working around the world—the only one working specifically with writers, dancers, and equestrians, she helps her clients Achieve More Inspired Results. She also works with creators of all sorts to help them get from the light-bulb moment to the realization or their dreams without letting anything get in the way of that goal.
Additionally, Nina is an Author Coach who supports writers on the journey to successful authorship.
Nina has been riding since she was seven years old. She used to compete in the areas of equitation (Medal/Maclay) and hunters in the NY/CT/NJ area and briefly worked as an instructor and trainer in CA. However, she has schooled/trained horses in most places she has lived.
For more information, visit www.ninaamir.com.