The only restrictions placed on Pony Clubbers concerning the horses they choose to ride is that Rigs or Stallions are not allowed in Pony Club for the safety of others - However, the following points are worth noting when choosing a horse for Pony Club.
Pony Club horses can come in all shapes and sizes, however when choosing one there are two main points to consider:
1. The suitability of the mount for the rider’s experience.
A young or inexperienced rider rarely has sufficient ability to cope with a “green” or untrained horse. Horses, just like riders, need to be taught and trained. This requires years of skill and patience, as well as a wealth of knowledge gained from experiences with previous horses before this training can be undertaken by a rider. For example; it is simply not possible for a rider who has never jumped to train a green horse to jump, as it takes many years to understand the principles and training methods and steps for progression.
This applies also to all facets of horse handling. An inexperienced rider will not want the limitations that green horses impose on them while they themselves are busy learning and finding out what is involved in riding horses properly and safely. Therefore, the more inexperienced the rider is the more experienced the horse should be. It must be reliable, capable of tolerating the rider’s mistakes, and lack of judgement and have a personality that compliments the rider. Those first bonds that a rider forms within their first associations with a horse are very important in deciding whether a horse is suitable, remember also that these qualities are a lot to ask from a horse and so be patient when looking.
A distinction must also be made between experienced and performance horses. Performance horses are those which have been trained and been successful in competitions, these horses are usually very expensive and are bought by people wanting to win events without having to put large amounts of time and effort into training at high levels. Most people feel that this is not a very fair way to win and that true winners are those who have trained the horses themselves.
Experienced horses are those which have been around in Pony Clubs for many years, but have not necessarily competed extensively or to high levels, but know the ropes and are suitable for teaching riders their first lessons.
2. The tasks the horses must be expected to do.
When choosing a horse the rider’s interests must be considered. Compromises must be made as horses cannot be expected to be brilliant at everything. Pony Club horses are usually good all-rounders capable of being average at anything from polocrosse, trail riding, sporting, jumping, dressage, cross-country and troop drill. If a rider wishes to specialise in something after they have ridden for a while (it is recommended that new riders experience a little of everything), then they would have to buy a horse specifically for that purpose, and train along those lines if they wish to succeed at it.
When doing this it must be remembered that the horse will not be as successful in other types of competitions. For example, a dressage horse will rarely beat a sporting horse in sporting competitions, whereas an all-rounder will be reasonable at both. For more advice, talk with your instructors.
LEASING AND BORROWING HORSES
If you haven’t yet bought a horse, you can borrow or lease one from someone else while you are looking. However, you must first register any horse you wish to use with the Pony Club. If you wish to use a leased horse, you must first get a lease form from the Pony Club and have it signed by both parties to the lease, and submit it to the Club. This is for legal and insurance reasons.
RED RIBBONS - HORSES THAT KICK
Some horses are known to kick out at times. To let other riders now this, a red ribbon is tied in the tail of that horses. This is to tell other riders to not ride too close to the horse, and not to approach it too quickly.