Melissa M. from Bluegrass Pony Club in the Midsouth Region:
1. What kind of horse-related background do you have?
I’ve always loved being around horses, but didn’t have a lot of opportunities to do so. My grandfather had a couple of Tennessee Walking Horses I rode when I was young. They stayed in our small field with the cattle and I often rode them bareback with only a lead rope tied to the halter. When I was in high school, we had a group that would regularly go to a riding stable and rent horses to trail ride.
2. What made you want your child/children to join Pony Club?
We unexpectedly acquired a weanling horse when my daughter was just turning 9 years old. I knew she would need to learn anything and everything she could to be able to safely and properly handle her pony. I had heard good things about our local Pony Club from a friend, so we began attending the unmounted meetings. Along with regularly taking riding lessons, she learned quickly, so we started renting ponies for her to use in some mounted meetings.
3. In your opinion, what is the best thing your child/children has/have learned from their time as a Pony Club member?
The importance Pony Club stresses on being safe with horses is paramount to anything and everything else she has learned. The education she has received on the responsibilities involved in caring for and working with horses has been great.
Also, the dual concept of horsemanship AND sportsmanship is very important to me. I want my daughter to know that it’s not always about winning. Her horse is her partner and her fellow club members are her team. She has a duty to respect and support anyone who is a part of Pony Club or the horse community.
4. Do you have a favorite memory of a Pony Club event?
Since we’ve done mostly unmounted activities due to her horse’s young age, I would have to say attending Quiz Rallies have been our most memorable events. They’re always so much fun for the members and their families. Also, watching her make new friends through Pony Club has been wonderful.