Interested in Starting Your Own Pony Club? We would love to help! See below for more information.
Why start a Pony Club?
Pony Club is about KIDS! It’s much more than just riding lessons – Pony Club is all about horses/ponies, about taking very good care of your animal, and about forming friendships with other horse-crazy kids (and volunteers) who share this passion.
In a world where many parents are always looking for activities that get children out in the fresh air, getting exercise and having fun, Pony Club offers a social and educational environment based around a program that is recognized world-wide. Pony Club kids have a great reputation for having excellent horsemanship and stable management skills.
We develop these qualities with the following:
Emphasis on hands-on learning experiences
Local, regional, national and international training and competitive opportunities, exclusively for Pony Club members
Individual and Team opportunities
Networking with existing local training, coaching and equine educational resources (clinics, vet, farriers, etc.)
High-quality, easy-to-use teaching manuals and workbooks
An internationally-recognized education and testing system (testing is optional and ALWAYS at each individuals’ own pace).
Connections to other horse-related organizations and programs they offer.
Plenty of social time – kids LOVE hanging out with their Pony Club friends!
Opportunities for parents to share together in their kids’ passion and activities that can help them strengthen family bonds that are often hard to maintain in our busy lives. Pony Club gives parents a chance to work and play with their child!
How Would Hosting a Pony Club Benefit My Stable?
Pony Club draws kids and volunteers to your door, increasing your visibility and profile in your surrounding community. This often leads to increased business in the form of demand for riding lessons, leasing, etc. Pony Club is not designed to be a business, however, historically as interest and commitment grow, inevitably demand for equine services grows as well. You’ll be known in your community as a positive, safe place for children to learn!
Any stable with Pony Club kids around will find that their stalls get cleaned, their tack polished and their horses groomed to a shine and socialized as stable management lessons teach kids these vital and basic horse care skills. Pony Club kids are taught to leave things as good or better than how they found them, and respect and personal accountability are stressed when it comes to cleanup and maintenance of site and resources.
Although not all Pony Club memberswill have the opportunity to go on to own their own horse, those who do commit strongly to it. They represent the future owners, boarders, coaches-in-training and parents of the next generation of riders who will need stables and coaches to pass on their love and dedication to the sport of horsemanship.
How do I get started?
The best place to start is by contacting the Regional Chair in your area (this can be done through on the Contact Us page.) We will help you with planning, starting and running your Pony Club. There are two options for you – you can choose to be either a branch or a center. A Center is a facility which wishes to offer the Pony Club program through its site without forming a branch. There are guidelines about how this works on our website. A liaison from the stable replaces the branch exec and an annual fee is submitted to Pony Club for the use of its program.
If you wish to form a Branch:
Identify some potential members in your barn or surrounding area (young people aged 6-25).
Offer an information session (your Regional Pony Club representatives can help you with info, supplies and come assist you with this if you’d like)
Identify a few parents/volunteers to help you and form the branch executive (decision-making body for the club) – if necessary, you can start small and grow!
Choose a club name and submit to the Regional Pony Club for consideration and approval.
Once your club is approved, begin signing up members and organizing activities – this is when the fun begins!
Here are some things to consider if you’d like to start a Pony Club:
Do you have an adult (21+) who is willing to be the lead organizer?
This person will take on the role of DISTRICT COMMISSIONER – it’s basically doing the paperwork and administration of the club. If you are a riding instructor who is being paid to give PC lessons, you can’t be the District Commissioner (conflict of interest). The DC can’t make money operating a Pony Club (leasing/selling/boarding/training horses, etc.)
Ideally, you will have a core group of volunteers/parents who are willing to form a Club/Branch Executive (District Commissioner, Assistant DC, Secretary, Treasurer) – this makes things easier than one person doing it – however, sometimes the adults take on more than one role.
Do you have access to horses?
It’s not necessary to have your own barn or offer riding lessons – but it is definitely an asset if you can regularly offer hands-on activities involving horses/ponies. The animals should be kid-friendly – we want to build confidence! If you don’t own a barn, is there a barn in your area that would be willing to host Pony Club? You could use one as a home-base or circulate to different locations – whatever works for your group.
Do you have children in your area who are interested? This is who you’re looking for:
They must be a minimum of 6 years of age to join, maximum 25 years old.
They must purchase an NBEA or Island Horse Council membership (this provides them with necessary insurance – it’s MANDATORY that they have an NBEA or IHC membership (this is known as a PSO number).
They must have an INTEREST in horses. They don’t have to own one or even be taking riding lessons.
Can you offer stable management/horse care lessons and activities to members?
Pony Club follows an internationally-recognized education (and optional testing) program that is very thorough – we have tons and tons of resources, books, guides, etc. to help you teach members to do things the “Pony Club” way – it’s all about safety and doing this to ensure the health and well-being of horse and rider.
Depending on your volunteers, expertise, facility and schedule, you create a program to meet your group’s needs – every club does things a little bit differently.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to have special insurance to run a Pony Club on my property?
No, our General Liability Insurance covers all properties where properly sanctioned Pony Club activities are held, during that activity.
Do I need to be a certified coach?
No, Pony Club does not require its coaches to be certified by any specific body. You need someone with experience at the level they will be teaching. Older, more experienced members are often used as coaches/instructors, especially for the lower level members.
Is this the same thing as Equine Canada Rider Levels?
The Equine Canada Rider levels are based on the Pony Club education and testing programs. Your members can do both since you’ll be preparing them for the same sorts of things. You don’t have to choose one or the other. However, to progress through Pony Club levels, the member will need to follow our program and take our tests. Also, EC will recognize our levels in their training programs (LTED, for example). For example, a Pony Club member with C2 will be given a Rider 6 level without testing in the EC program. A Pony Club B level is the equivalent of a Rider 8.
What equipment do I need?
You don’t need special equipment – Pony Club works with real barns, real horses and real people – we promote safety and care of the animal, it doesn’t need to be fancy. If you’d like us to visit your property to give you some feedback, we can do that!
Can Western riders be in Pony Club?
Western riders would be most welcome to follow our Stable Management stream. At this time, we do not offer Western riding lessons. Members are welcome to ride Western but our current education and testing documentation are geared toward knowledge of English equipment and methods.
Do I have to take kids to horse shows?
How “competitive” a club is depends entirely on the interests and resources of the club. There are some Pony Clubs that go to horse shows, events, etc. regularly. Some attend Pony Club competitions only. Others focus much more on recreational sport and learning. This is entirely up to you and your members. Pony Club branches in your region will support and assist you – it’s not just the kids that will form close friendships in Pony Club!