A USEF Center of Excellence for International Para Dressage
Wheatland Farm USPC Riding Center
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I bring my own horse?
Absolutely. Or riders can use a Wheatland Farm horse or pony for lessons or rallies.
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 center. The competition is based on riding and horse management. The horse management component includes horse and rider presentation, safety, stall, tack, and feed room cleanliness. There is also a Quiz Rally in which teams compete solely on equine knowledge.
What is a rating?
The rating system is the way riders grow through the program and master the next level of riding and horsemanship. The ratings, from lowest to highest, 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 have mastery of the riding skills and knowledge required for the next level. Pony Club instructors assist riders with preparing for their ratings.
All riders start out “Unrated” and prepare for the level that is appropriate to their experience. The instructor makes a recommendation as to which level is appropriate for the rider, and the rider may rate up once he or she feels 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 his daily care. The rider will learn to walk, trot, and jump a small course safely and independently, both inside and out of the arena.
The “C” level rider is able to care for her horse independently. A deeper level of knowledge is expected at this level 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 equine knowledge, horsemanship, and riding ability. Through the B and the A levels the rider is expected not only to ride the horse well, but to also have a positive effect on his training.
The National level ratings are very intensive, so the ratings are split in to the riding portion and the horse management portion. 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 individual pace. Some pony clubbers are completely 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/