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Wheatland Farm Pony Club

Wheatland Farm is a licensed United States Pony Club Riding Center and the first in the United States to offer Pony Club instruction and ratings to members with disabilities, as well as members who do not have disabilities. Membership is offered to students currently enrolled in lessons at Wheatland Farm. Participating in our pony club-affiliated lessons and events is also open to current members of Virginia Region Pony Clubs in good standing. The following information may be helpful to those considering participating in Wheatland Farm Pony Club or those who would like more information on how the Pony Club works.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Who can join the Wheatland Farm Pony Club?

Riders currently enrolled in our weekly lesson program or those presently enrolled in another United States Pony Club or Riding Center who wish to join ours. Our minimum age requirement for membership at Wheatland Farm is six years old. Our minimum skill level required is the ability to walk and trot a horse or pony unassisted in a lesson. Riders who need extra assistance or are just beginning to trot can participate if a parent or older sibling attends classes and lessons with them.

Is Pony Club open to adult students at Wheatland Farm?

Adults are welcome to participate and enjoy everything Pony Club offers fully. Whether you missed out on Pony Club as a youth or wish to continue your involvement through a participating membership, now is your opportunity to embrace the learning, camaraderie, and cherished memories the organization provides.

How much is it to join Wheatland Farm Pony Club Riding Center?

To be a member of our Pony Club here at Wheatland Farm, members fill out a membership form and pay $35 per year. Members are then sent a link to join the United States National Pony Club, as national membership is required to participate in rallies and ratings and to obtain certifications. 

Can riders with disabilities participate in Wheatland Farm Pony Club Riding Center?

Wheatland Farm is proud to be the first United States Pony Club Riding Center to offer memberships to riders with disabilities. However, it's important to note that the United States Pony Club's mission is focused on education, teamwork, and sportsmanship through riding, mounted sports, and horse care. As such, Pony Club activities for riders with disabilities are best suited for adapted and para-dressage riders who can independently ride without assistance (without side walkers or horse leaders) and safely navigate the barn and horses independently.

Can I bring my own horse?

Absolutely.  Although Wheatland Farm members usually use a Wheatland Farm horse or pony for their lessons, several trailer their horses or ponies in from their own home farm, and others ride their owned horses that are in training here at the farm.

What is a rally?

Rallies are regional competitions in which a Pony Club center can send teams of 3-4 riders to compete against other centers and clubs. The competition is based on riding and horse management. The horse management component includes the presentation of the horse and rider, safety, stall, tack, and cleanliness of the feed room. There is also a Quiz Rally in which teams compete solely on equine knowledge.  

What is a rating?

The rating system is how riders progress through the program and master the next level of riding and horsemanship. The lowest to highest ratings are D-1, D-2, D-3, C-1, C-2, C-3, HB, B, H-A, A. When riders have mastered a level, they are tested by a USPC examiner to ensure they master the riding skills and knowledge required for the next level. Pony Club instructors assist riders with preparing for their ratings.

All riders start "Unrated" and prepare for the level appropriate to their experience. The instructor recommends which level suits the rider, and the rider may rate up once they feel ready.

The "D" level introduces the rider to riding and horse care. The emphasis is on safe horsemanship as riders learn how to interact with the horse safely on the ground in the barn and in his daily care. The rider will learn to walk, trot, and jump a small course safely and independently inside and out of the arena.

The "C" level rider can care for her horse independently. At this level, a deeper level of knowledge is expected as the rider begins to understand more about the training and care of the horse. In the tack, the rider develops an independent seat and is competent over larger fences and on the flat.

 

Beginning at the C-3, the ratings are conducted at the National level. Until this point, all ratings are held at the Club level, organized by the club, and examined by regional examiners. At the national level, a national examiner will test the students to a greater depth of knowledge of equine, horsemanship, and riding ability.

 

Through the B and A levels, the rider is expected to not only ride the horse well but also positively affect his training. The National level ratings are very intensive, so the ratings are split into the riding and horse management portions. The riding portion of the C-3 is called as such; the horse management is called the "C+" rating. At the B, the horse management is called the "HB," and for the A, the horse management is the "H/A."

Are lessons, rallies, and ratings mandatory?

Riders progress through the USPC ratings at their own pace. Some pony clubbers are wholly committed and take advantage of all lesson and rally opportunities, while others prefer a slower pace and enjoy lessons and an occasional rally. Your Pony Club instructor will be there to support you and your goals!

Where can I learn more about Pony Club?

The USPC website is at:  https://www.ponyclub.org/

The Virginia Region Pony Club website is at:  https://www.vrponyclub.org/

 

How do I join the Wheatland Farm Pony Club?

Contact the office via email: wheatlandfarmsecretary@gmail.com 


 

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