The Pony Club movement is an international voluntary youth organisation for young people interested in horses and riding. It is represented in 15 countries and has a membership exceeding 102,000 – making it the largest association of riders in the world.
The movement originated in Britain in November 1929 as a scheme to encourage young people to ride, whilst providing the opportunity for these young people to benefit from instruction at a higher standard than many could obtain individually. The first overseas Branch was formed in Gibraltar in January 1930.
In Victoria, Pony Club riding membership is open all ages and of any riding ability. In 2012 the PCAV State Council changed the age rules for riders to include Adult Riding Members, Clubs are able to include adult riding memberships.
- Junior Riding Members - under 17yrs (starting age depends upon the club)
- Associate Riding Members - over 17yrs - under 26yrs
- Adult Riding Members - 26years and over (at Clubs who accept this membership category)
Other membership categories include:
- Adult Supporting Member - NonRiding Member
- Coach Member - NonRiding or Riding Member
Membership of Pony Club provides children and young adults with the opportunity to build and develop character, responsibility and consideration for others through their involvement with a living animal, which is an excellent medium for developing these attributes. Riding is also one of the few sports where male and female can participate on an equal basis.
Pony Club place in order of importance:
- The safety of the rider
- The comfort of the horse
- The enjoyment of the rider
- The progress of the rider
The Pony Club aim is not to produce individual riders of exceptional ability, rather to help ALL members improve their riding skills and to enjoy the experience.
Pony Club Mounts
Much care is needed when selecting a horse/pony for a Pony Club member, as it needs to be reasonably well mannered and obedient, and able to be ridden safely with other horses and ponies. Pony Clubs are an excellent starting point for further enquiries regarding the selection of suitable ponies.
Parents need to be certain that they and their children are fully aware of all the responsibilities and commitments of owning and caring for a horse before they consider purchasing one. If in doubt about the commitment and level of responsibility a child will take on when owning a pony, it may be better to hold off from the final purchase. It may be more realistic to hire or lease a pony in the early days, so as to gauge how committed the child will be.
The By-laws state (Section 19.3, 2013 ed)
1.1.If the DC, assistant appointed in accordance with rule 6.10.e, or zone representative, considers:
i.An injured, sick or undernourished mount is unfit to participate in an activity, the mount must not be ridden and he may require the responsible carer to remove it from the club grounds
ii.A mount unsafe or unsuitable, it must not be ridden.