NYB: How to Master Horse Management at Rallies

By Jessica Flores

Throughout my time in the USPC, participating in different disciplines at rallies has always been something I have looked forward to and enjoyed. I have competed in rallies from 8 years old until now at 21 years old. From the variety of disciplines, my extensive time participating in rallies, and my general growth in the USPC, I have definitely learned the details and specifics of rallies and been in about every situation possible. You can always prepare for a rally for the given discipline as well as the horse management portion. Sometimes that discipline aspect is out of your hands as unexpected situations can arise; we all know that’s just part of riding horses! Because of that, I knew that HM was always an area I could fully prepare for and somewhat predict the outcome of how myself and my team would work together and perform. Here are some of my tips I’ve learned and done over the last few years!

What to do before the rally:

  • Read/skim the Horse Management Rulebook
  • Read/skim your given discipline’s rulebook
  • You want to look through and generally read both of these rulebooks so you 1) know what to expect and 2) know where to find things when you are at the rally if something comes up or you want to possibly try to get back points
  • Meet with your team and check and prepare all team equipment together! If not everyone can meet due to not being from the same region/club or they just can not before the given rally date, then the assigned team captain or someone else should take on this role to ensure the team is ready before the rally with all necessary equipment and tools. (You can find all the information and required equipment lists on the USPC website!)
  • Check all of your personal equipment for yourself and your mount! You want to make sure you have done your part before the rally for your own success and your team’s success!

What to do during the rally:

  • Main rule of thumb: Divide and conquer – obviously, this looks a little different at different points/stages in the rally, but ultimately, working together as a team is what will lead to the best outcome as well as the most enjoyable time for all team members!
  • When setting up the tack room/feed room/horse stalls, divide the tasks among teammates so everyone knows what they are clearly doing
  • Throughout the time at the rally give certain tasks to each teammate to be in charge of and then just adjust as necessary/when certain individuals are available!
    • Here is a general example of how tasks could be planned to be divided:
      • Teammate A (Team Captain): keep tack room/feed room clean and tidy, clean stalls, fill/check horse’s waters, overlooks other tasks/team
      • Teammate B: clean saddles, girths, saddle pads, feed horses
      • Teammate C: clean horse boots, people boots, feed horses
      • Teammate D: clean bridles, mainly assist other teammates when they need help with tacking up/brushing
  • Be open to new ideas/suggestions and work together as a team! Obviously, adjusting will be necessary and nothing will go to plan perfectly, but having a clear idea/plan ahead of time will help when unexpected situations do arise!

What to do after the rally: (yes you heard that right, AFTER the rally!)

  • When offered if you want your individual and team horse management score sheets with notes, take them! ALWAYS.
  • Read ALL of the HM sheets and notes from the HM judges. Do not only read your individual HM score sheets and notes, but also read your team ones! This will help you understand what you did wrong, what you did extremely well, and how you can prepare and improve for next time!

Rallies are one of the most rewarding parts of the USPC! Even though it can sometimes seem like a lot of work for the before, during, and after, working together as a team and planning ahead as much as possible truly makes the rally experience that much more worthwhile and fun!

The National Youth Board (NYB) serves as a liaison between Pony Club’s youth members and the Board of Governors by communicating the needs, ideas, and concerns of USPC youth. NYB members also work with the national office on projects related to marketing, leadership development, and service for the benefit of the organization and all Pony Club members. Delegates of the NYB are between 18 – 23 years of age, highly motivated and dedicated, and have strong leadership and communication skills. To learn more, log in and visit the National Youth Board page.


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