Heart Of Illinois

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What is Pony Club?

Youth Pony Club members start at about age six and graduate at age 25. Throughout their years in Pony Club, members progress through a standard evaluation system called Certifications. Each level requires them to learn more about horses and their care and to become increasingly accomplished riders. You don’t have to own a horse to be in Pony Club although access to a horse you can borrow or lease will enable you to take full advantage of our local program.  Additionally, adults wishing to take part in Pony Club educational opportunities may join Horsemasters Program for Adult Volunteers. 

Heart of Illinois Pony Club's program designed and best suited to act as a supplement to a regular lesson program. Members need to be building a strong riding foundation with their regular instructor in order to be able maximize what they are able to learn from guest clinicians.

If you are not already involved with horses in some capacity, or are looking for an instructor familiar with the Pony Club program, there are several local barns that have a strong program that supports our club. Most have lesson horses that may meet the minimum requirements of any certifications you may wish to take as you progress.

Do I need a horse?

A horse or pony is not required for memberships although access to a horse or pony you can borrow or lease will enable you to take full advantage of our local program.

What does Heart of Illinois Pony Club have to offer?

Mounted clinics provide members with an opportunity to learn from instructors other than their own, and with it the opportunity to ride at different facilities. HIPC generally offers up to ten mounted clinics per year, some free of charge and others not.  Clinic fees are no more than $25 (for the first group ride). Members should consult with their regular riding instructor when deciding whether to participate in a mounted clinic.

Unmounted clinics or study sessions aim to teach members about horse management; how to properly care for a horse or pony. Members are tested on their horse management skills during certifications and at rallies. There are typically two sessions per month from January to March to prepare for Quiz Rally. There are not any study sessions during the summer except for at camp. Once monthly sessions then resume from September to December. 

Study sessions give us the opportunity to get to know each member as an individual, and for our members to get to know one another. Horse management skills are developed with a strong emphasis to safety, cooperation, confidence and leadership traits. Some topics that are covered:

  • Parts of the horse, colors, marking’s and breeds.
  • Parts of the tack Types of tack. Bits and their uses.
  • Diseases and Parasites
  • Conformation and Lamenesses
  • Wounds and Bandaging
  • Toxic plants  
  • Land Conservation

Camp offers several mounted and unmounted learning opportunities. It also allows the members to spend time with each other and  to forge camaraderie through team work. They always have a great time and learn a lot from camp.

Rallies are unique Pony Club events that allow members to test their knowledge and skills in both horse care and riding in a competitive atmosphere. They are team-oriented competitions. There are mounted rallies in various horse sports, and Quiz. Quiz rallies are slightly different. Team members are unmounted and are tested on their equine knowledge in four separate phases. In some phases members may collaborate to answer a question and in others, they must answer individually. Topics range from horse care to horse sports to general equine knowledge and can offer a hands-on component. Quiz happens in the spring in the North Central Prairie Region.

The following rallies are typically offered during the year:

  • Quiz
  • D Eventing Rally
  • Eventing Rally
  • Show Jump Rally
  • Dressage Rally
  • Games Rally
  • Tetrathalon Rally

Each year we host a Schooling Show. It is a great way for our pony clubbers to get some low cost show experience, and to have a ton of fun with fellow members! It is also the club's major fundraiser for the year.

The HIPC Policies document offers additional information on how we deliver the USPC program.

What are Certifications?

The Chart of Learning provides an overview of the progression through the USPC Standards of Proficiency.

Progression through the Certification levels starts at the local level.  Clubs and centers offer mounted and unmounted meetings where members are taught the Standards of Proficiency (SOP).  Each member progresses in their skills and knowledge at a pace appropriate for them. Members set their own certification goals. Check-lists based on the different sections of the SOP have been developed to assist members and their instructors in assessing their readiness and confidence to be evaluated.

Heart of Illinois Pony Club typically offers local certification testings at least twice a year.  After the D-1 (beginning) level, a member may progress through the horse management levels, learning horse care and maintenance without continuing to ride if they choose. At the local level, a member must achieve certification in horse management before proceeding to the next riding level certification.  Members may choose to hold riding certifications in one or more of the offered riding tracks – Traditional (Eventing), Dressage, Hunter Seat Equitation, and Western.

The D Level Certifications (D-1, D-2, D-3) offer an introduction to the fun challenge of riding, establishing a foundation of safety habits and knowledge of the daily care of a horse.

At the C Level Certifications (C-1, C-2) members become active horsemen, caring independently for his/her horse and tack. Focus on more independence in horse management as well as developing increased control and confidence in riding are studied.

Where does Pony Club happen?

Our program is offered at multiple barns that generously support our club. 

Can I check it out?

Yes! We welcome anyone interested to attend a mounted or unmounted clinic to better understand how we operate. We are pleased to host potential members, and answer any questions you may have during the meeting.

What does it cost?

Fees include local club dues($30 annually), regional dues($35 annually) and USPC membership fees. The club holds fundraising efforts to help cover costs for clinicians so that our members can ride for $25. Study sessions are free to attend. Camps, rallies, certifications and our Schooling Show are all additional costs (fees vary). We try to offer a variety of events at as low a cost to our members as possible.

How do I join?

Please contact one of our officers on the Contact Us page.

Membership runs the duration of the calendar year, is not retroactive, and ends on December 31. If a person chooses to join after September 1, a prorated option is available that allows them to participate for the remainder of the present year until December 31 of the following year at a discount. An original, signed copy may be mailed to the District Commissioner or Treasurer along with the required dues, and we submit to the National Office for processing. Some activities do require that your membership be completed correctly and received by the National Office before you may participate, but attending a meeting as a spectator for informational purposes is not one of them.

Heart of Illinois Pony Club operates as a tax-exempt nonprofit 501(c)(3) with Employer Identification Number (EIN) 37-1076031. It is a subordinate organization of USPC Newco, Inc., EIN 61-1352306. All donations are tax deductible to the extent of the U.S. tax code.