From Connie J., the Director of Instruction at Pony Club
What kind of horse-related background do you have?
…and had a few western lessons. I just keep bugging them and we finally moved to where we could have a horse. Thank goodness a girl my age (graduate A Heather Bell) asked me to join Pony Club when I was 11. During this time I was also in 4-H so showed at little shows and rode anything I could, whatever discipline the horse could do I wanted to do that. Eventually focused on Dressage and Eventing and achieved my A in 1979.
What made you want your child/children to join Pony Club?
I stayed involved in Pony Club through and after college as a Chief Horse Management Judge and club instructor. Once I had children we had a pony and a cart and since I was involved with a local club my girls were always with me. They each joined Pony Club when they were 6 only because the club wanted them to. I was happy to wait until they could do things on their own but that is where the older PC members took over and enjoyed leading them around and teaching them which is what Pony Club is all about.
In your opinion, what is the best thing your child/children has/have learned from their time as a Pony Club member?
My girls are now 24 and 22 years old. They have very fond memories of Pony Club and still help out at regional rallies in HM when they can. They have both said that the life skills of being able to work as a team, learning to accomplish a task after studying or practicing and knowing how to lose gracefully have paid off and helped them to be successful in other sports, college and now ‘big girl jobs!’
Do you have a favorite memory of a Pony Club event?
Wow, lots of favorite memories. Early on the girls were on an Everything But the Horse Rally and their tack room was in our open sided horse trailer. The weather changed drastically and went from sunny and 65 to snowy and 32. By the end of the rally, they had every blanket and item covering up the sides of the trailer and found places to hide to stay warm. The funny part was everyone else wanted to come in their team’s trailer as it looked so interesting and they all had a grand time! My other favorite memory time was another rally where my tallest daughter vaulted on the smallest pony and missed the saddle and landed right behind it. She decided to just wrap her long legs around the flank area and hung on through the finish line. They were so elated that they had won that race until the judge said you must be in the saddle by the finish line. Some great photographs were taken and in the end they had won the regional games rally and made it to Championships!