|Quadrille at Dressage Rally-1996ish?|
… never stop talking about Pony Club. Because once you’re in the Club, you’re in it for life — and you’re not alone.
That first sentence from the post on Eventing Nation couldn't be a more true statement if it tried. I was/am fortunate that my mom decided Pony Club was something important and when I was 7 she signed me up and I became a member of Cardinal II Pony Club. Soon I met friends through the club and even had my other horsie friends join so that we could all ride together. After a while Pony Club was more than a "club"- it was my social circle, it was my life. My best friends were in Pony Club, my goals were centered around reaching my next rating, and as I started to become more competitive and decided I wanted to compete my goals became qualifying for Nationals in 2000 and 2001, achieving my C-3 and H ratings, and helped focus my riding career on eventing where I compete through Training level until I graduated from high school and set off for college.
|Pony Club friends celebrating Jen's 13th birthday on a trail ride|
"Not sure if you’re in the presence of an alum? Hang a water bucket in front of them
with the snaps facing outward. If they start twitching, they’re in the Club."
This quote made me laugh out loud because it speaks the truth!!!! I will flip snaps around if I see them facing the wrong way on buckets. Why is this important you ask? Have you ever seen a horse catch an eye on the snap? No? I have and it's not pretty. (though it wasn't on the snap but the part where the handle connects to plastic and curls back- all my buckets have duct tape there if the rubber part has fallen off b/c of this) Every rule Pony Club has is for you and your horses safety. Back before Courtney King Dye, Silva Martin, and all the other high profile head trauma stories became big news in the horse world, Pony Club was there making it a rule that you had to ride with an ASTM SEI approved helmet. To this day I will not ride a horse without a helmet and the very few times that I have ridden without one I felt naked and exposed. Yes sometimes the rules seem over bearing and some seem pointless, but as a young impressionable child they set the standards very high and I did my best to adhere to them. Now as an adult I tend to skimp on some of them. I'll wear tennis shoes to the barn, have even worn flip flops if I wasn't going to be near a horse, I don't always clean my tack after I ride (though I try to- just depends on how sweaty my horse was) and I wear jeans over khaki pants if I'm going to shows and such, but beneath my "rule bending" I know the reason behind every rule Pony Club has and am grateful for who I am because of Pony Club.
|Cardinal II Pony Clubbers hanging out together|
"The Pin Promise is also a tribute to the sense of camaraderie that Pony Clubbers experience, not just while they’re active members but for years, even decades, after they graduate."
Even if you did not have the opportunity to grow up in Pony Club, because lets face it, not all clubs are created equal and not all parents are aware of Pony Club's existence, and even some trainers do not allow their students to join because they don't truly understand Pony Club themselves or feel that they want to take their students different route (usually to really expensive shows so they can earn more $$$ as a trainer). If you are one of these riders that either started riding late in life, was in a situation where Pony Club was not an option, or whatever the reason- have no fear- Pony Club is for all and you can join as a Horsemaster to a local club or if you become friends with a Pony Clubber (graduate or current member) I know they will bring you in and make you an honorary Pony Clubber so you can become part of the community that is this amazing organization.
I am Pony Club Proud and will wear my pin with pride. Thank you Pony Club for all the memories, friendship, and knowledge I have because of you.
|All of were members of Cardinal II except our trainer- but she is a graduate A from a different club :)|