Recently published in the USPC News Magazine Winter 2016 issue, this article is meant to be a primer for the popular Pony Club Badge Program. For more information and questions email mandy@ponyclub.org

Lots of clubs and centers have embraced the Achievement Badge Program offered through Pony Club. For those who have yet to discover this excellent program this will be a primer to introduce you to the idea. The program is designed to be an introduction to Pony Club education. The lessons are all geared towards the entry level Pony Club member. They are presented in order of succession for skills that need to be learned or built upon. There is not a set way to teach each lesson and each club or center is encouraged to make the curriculum their own. We will go over what each badge book contains as well as the badges and some ideas on how some clubs and centers utilize them for their members.

To Begin: The Books
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Shop Pony Club offers four Achievement Badge Program books. There is a workbook each for Horse Management and Riding as well as one each for the Instructor. The Achievement Badge Workbook for Horse Management for the member and for the Instructor delve into 15 lessons regarding good horse management practices. These lessons range from haltering and leading a horse, to stall cleaning, and grooming. The other two books offered are the Achievement Badge Program for Riding and its Instructor book. These lessons are geared towards basic riding skills at the walk, trot, and canter with the culmination being some small jumping exercise. In the riding program there are 10 lessons.

The Badges

Each book has badges that go with it. In the Horse Management program there are 15 badges while the Riding program offers 10. Each one corresponds to a lesson presented by the book. The badges are a simple picture representation of the lesson. They are made with a good adhesive on the back and can be either sewn on or ironed on items such as backpacks, sashes, vests, jackets, or saddle pads. Shop Pony Club also markets a ribbon that could be displayed with the badges in a bedroom or barn.

Lessons

Many clubs and centers utilize the lessons just the way they are presented. Each lesson contains a simple outline followed by a practical element. Some clubs or centers will use these lessons in unmounted meetings to create the idea and then at a hands on or riding meeting they will practice the skill they have discussed and gone over. Other clubs and centers have taken the lessons and elaborated on them, adding parts to them before presenting the badges to the members for completing the lesson. Some have even taken the lesson presented and made their own to use in lieu of the lesson as it is presented, still using the same badge for the lesson, but making the lesson their own unique message.

The Program
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While Pony Club presents the Achievement Badge program, it is not a set curriculum. Each club and center uses the curriculum as they see fit in a time and manner appropriate for them. Many leaders ask if there are recommendations as to how to present the program to their members. Each club and center is different. Some choose to buy the program for ALL of their members just so everyone can be on the same page. Others will pay for half of the program and ask their members as a part of a level or joining to pay for the other half. Just as many clubs and centers require their new members to purchase the books and badges as they go along with the lessons. Some creative ideas that have been presented include fundraising for the badge program with various bake sales, car/pony washes, and horse treat sales, or for the club or center to have the members purchase the program, but the club or center provides them with the item to sew/adhere them onto. The Badge program is a great way to teach the Pony Club program in a low key, easy to use, lesson system. It is easy to tailor to each and every club or centers’ specific needs.

Visit www.shopponyclub.org to get your club or center involved with the badge program today.

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